On Sunday (10/2) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high with clean conditions. South facing breaks were waist to chest high. Central California surf was chest to head high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were mostly flat though a few waist high waves were showing at the best breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to maybe waist high at the best spots. Southward to San Diego waves were waist to near chest high at the best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was up to waist high. The East Shore was waist to chest high.
The first hints of Fall swell arrived in North California over the weekend providing moderate sized surf with a little power. That is to be just the first taste of a string of North Pacific swells pushing east over the coming week. Three systems are charted in the Gulf with the third being the strongest. Beyond that more is forecast, but it's just too far our into the future to have any confidence in. The focus is to be North California and the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn't mean Hawaii and Southern CA are out of the picture. A solid storm developed last week under Tahiti producing swell that is tracking north primarily towards Hawaii with lesser, more shadowed energy, towards South CA. Waves are coming for all to enjoy. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday (10/2) a rather healthy upper level flow was in-place with pockets of wind to 140 kts that was expected to continue through the week, supporting development of a series of gales at the surface. Today high pressure at 1024 mbs continued north of Hawaii but it was getting ready to be overtaken by low pressure tracking in from the west. The first low in the series was just starting to develop over the dateline with pressure 992 mbs and winds modeled at 40-45 kts over a tiny area in it's west quadrant aimed south at open ocean. 18 ft seas over a tiny area expected today aimed at Hawaii but shifting east late.
Over the next 72 hours this low is expected to lift a little north on Monday with 35-40 kt winds and 21 ft seas aimed well at California and the Pacific Northwest while taking an easterly track into the Gulf of Alaska, fading just off the Central Canadian coast by late Tuesday (10/4). In all the fetch area is to be tiny to small with only a moderate bit of swell generation potential expected mainly for California and points north. Swell arrival scheduled for Thursday if all works as planned.
Also on Monday (10/3) a new broad low is to be organizing off the Kamchatka Peninsula with pressure 980 mbs and 30-35 kts winds in it's south quadrant. Most energy is expected to track into the south Bering Sea by Tuesday (10/4) but the models are showing all the good fetch to remain in the North Pacific just south of the Aleutians at the dateline tracking east. Winds there forecast at 35-40 kts covering a decent area aimed a bit south of the 306 degree path to North CA and 40 degrees east of the 333 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 25 ft. Things to start getting interesting early Wednesday (10/5) as the core of the low starts pushing south over the Aleutians and into the Gulf of Alaska with pressure 980 mbs. Winds forecast building to 45-50 kts centered at 50N 160W aimed right at North CA down the 308 degree path. Seas building to 30 ft pushing to within 1500 nmiles of the California coast and closer to the Pacific Northwest. This system to fade out on Thursday (10/6) as the low pushes into North Canada. Decent swell energy expected for the US West Coast if this system develops as forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
In addition to all the gale activity forecast above (and below), the remnants of to gale that made this weekends swell are still circulating in the eastern Gulf of Alaska with pressure 1004 mbs. 20-25 kts northwest winds were confirmed in it's west quadrant aimed right at North Ca down the 308 degree great circle path. The low is to sink slowly southeast positioned just off Oregon early Tuesday (10/4) with pressure up to 1015 mbs and a steady 20-25 kt flow is to continuing with it, aimed at North CA. 13 ft seas forecast under this fetch, fading on Tuesday. This is expected to produce windswell for the North and Central CA coasts arriving on late Monday (north) and continuing through Wednesday with pure swell 5-6 ft @ 10 secs (5-6 ft faces).
Otherwise an area of rather brisk northwest winds is to set up off Pt Conception late Monday (10/3) at 30 kts then lifting slowly north taking up shop over Pt Arena through Saturday (10/8). This to generate periods of brisk north winds directly along the coast over the coming workweek.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
Tropical Storm Otis was just west of Cabo San Lucas with sustained winds 55 kts and expected to fade fast. Examining the track Otis has taken over the past 3 days he has not moved within the Southern CA swell window except for a short period on Saturday and then only for maybe the most exposed tip of Pt Conception. No swell generation potential forecast.
No other swell producing tropical systems forecast.
Things have really settled down with the passage of Storm #6 (see below). A series of generally weak lows were tracking east across the South PAcific, none with swell generation potential of interest. By Tuesday (10/4) high pressure at 120 mbs is to set up east of New Zealand and start building in intensity while ridging south towards Antarctica. It's no expected to close off the storm corridor just yet, but long-term the prospects are looking much worse. No swell generation potential forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
On Wednesday AM (9/28) a solid low developed southeast of New Zealand with pressure 958 mbs producing a broad fetch confirmed at 40-45 kt winds centered at 48S 174W aimed northeast. In the evening the system was building with winds confirmed at 40-50 kts over a broad area roughly centered at 54S 160W aimed north and northeast towards Hawaii, Tahiti and California. Seas built to 30 ft centered near 48S 172W. No good Jason-1 satellite passes occurred to verify sea height info.
By Thursday AM (9/29) the system maxed out from a pressure perspective down to 936 mbs with some degree of 45-50 kt winds confirmed centered at 47S 168W aimed northeast with seas modeled at 32 ft centered at 47S 170W. These winds were aimed towards California up the problematic 205-209 degree path, and well up the 185-187 degree path to Hawaii. In the evening winds continued at 40-45 kts centered at 46S 168W. Seas mostly from previous days fetch were modeled at at 37 ft centered at 46S 165W, again with the Society Islands providing shadowing problems for California.
A quick decay settled in Friday AM (9/30) as the storms core split in two with the southern core holding stationary while the northern core rotated around it tracking towards Antarctica. This directed the remaining wind energy towards Antarctica. Still some 40 kts winds persisted in the storms northwest quadrant aimed like before centered near 44S 156W but mostly out of the Hawaiian Swell window. Seas modeled at 35 ft centered at 43S 159W and fading fast. By the evening the systems is to rapidly decay with no additional fetch of seas being generated. Animation
This was not a great system, with winds really fragmented and not getting a good hold on the oceans surface for any great length of time in any one area. And top winds were only 50 kts, and that over a limited area and time. You really have to see the QuikSCAT imagery to see the problem. Still, the best winds were consistently imbedded in a good area of 30+ kt southerly winds with a good sized footprint. It is believed that some decent swell is radiating north, through no good Jason-1 satellite passes have occurred to confirm this. Hawaii and Tahiti to get the lions share of the swell. The issue with California is that Tahiti and the Society Islands are sitting right in the middle of the swell window, having some degree of shadowing affect on the resulting swell, especially true for the Northern half of the state. This to be no issue for Hawaii though. But overall, this was just a standard significant class storm.
Confirmed data indicates Tahiti to have good winds as the swell arrives early Sunday AM (10/2) (2 AM) with period at 18 secs peaking into mid-day with swell 7.5-8.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (12-14 ft Hawaiian). Swell to be fading fast by Monday AM (10/3). Local winds north 10 kts Saturday and Sunday turning slightly northwest Sunday afternoon. Swell Direction: 200-209 degrees
Expect swell arrival in Hawaii starting early Wednesday morning (10/5) with swell period at 18 secs and coming up. Rideable size in place at sunset with swell 3.5 ft @ 17 secs (6 ft faces). The peak of the swell to hit Thursday (10/6) near 2 AM and hold through noon. Swell size 3.7-4.5 ft @ 16 secs (6.0-7.5 ft faces). Swell decent on Friday (10/7) but fading as period drops to 14 secs. Swell 4 ft @ 14 secs (5-6 ft faces). Swell Direction: 181-187 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival starting Friday (10/7) at 2 AM with period at 19-20 secs but size tiny if even noticeable. Maybe something to ride by sunset with swell 2.6 ft @ 18 sec (4-5 ft faces). Swell to be peaking Saturday (10/8) from 3 AM to 3 PM with swell 2.9-3.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.8-5.8 ft faces). This estimate does NOT include the negative effects of the Tahitian swell shadow. Decent 15 sec energy to continue into Sunday (10/9) with swell 2.9-3.3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.5 ft faces). Residual 14 secs energy fading out from early Monday morning (10/10). Swell Direction 203-209
North California: Expect swell arrival starting Friday (10/7) at 6 AM with period at 19-20 secs but size tiny if even noticeable. Maybe something to ride by sunset with swell 2.4 ft @ 18 sec (4 ft faces). Swell to be peaking Saturday (10/8) from 10 AM to 10 PM with swell 2.7-3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5-5.5 ft faces). This estimate does NOT include the negative effects of the Tahitian swell shadow. Decent 15-16 sec energy to continue into Sunday (10/9) with swell 2.5-3.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.8-4.5 ft faces). Residual 14 secs energy fading out starting at sunrise Monday morning (10/10). Swell Direction 202-207
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours another small low is forecast for the Gulf of Alaska late Thursday into Friday (10/7) at 988 mbs. There is suggestions that 45-50 kts winds and 30 ft seas could develop briefly as this system pushes into the Central Gulf of Alaska, but it will be on the very north most edge of the North Ca swell window and totally out of range of HAwaii and South CA. Confidence low on any of this outcome.
Beyond that things to remain active but not quite at the levels expected this week. A series of relatively weak lows to be tracking east from Kamchatka towards the Gulf, none with any winds above 35 kts suggested.
At the surface beyond 72 hours high pressure at 1024 mbs is to build south of Tahiti ridging south to the Ross Ice Shelf and totally blocking the storm corridor. No improvement forecast until Sunday (10/9) while it's to peter out and a more favorable surface level pattern is expected to return. But given the time of year, nothing major expected. We're moving towards providing updates for the Southern Hemi on an exception basis.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table