On Tuesday (10/9) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high with south winds on the increase. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to waist high and weak wit south winds building. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to chest high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high at the best breaks. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were thigh high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was up to waist high. The East Shore was waist high plus.
North/Central California was getting a little short period swell from the Gulf of Alaska and fading. Southern California surf was generally flat with no discernable swell hitting. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore. Moderate tradewind generated windswell was hitting the East Shore and barely wrapping into exposed breaks on the South Shore. The Southern Hemisphere is asleep for the moment, but activity is forecast in the Southern CA swell window by the weekend. The Northeast Pacific is active with a real storm wrapping up off Oregon. By real, that means winds are 50 kts or greater. But it's very close to the coast and likely going to produce surf only for Central CA up into Oregon, and really raw at that. The good news is there's more forecast behind this one, though not as large. But if one like to be teased by the long range models, there plenty there to get excited about, but again limited to the eastern half of the Gulf of Alaska. So it looks like our Fall pattern is getting some legs under it, with plenty to keep an eye on in the coming week. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (10/9) for the North Pacific indicated a reasonable flow pushing off Japan ridging north up to the Aleutians near the dateline then drifting a bit south through the Gulf of Alaska, finally dropping into a steep trough just off the Pacific northwest with 140 kt winds diving due south down the western side of this trough. Good support for gale development there. Otherwise winds were in the 120 kts range over the rest of the jet. Still, not too bad. Over the next 72 hours that trough is forecast to fade and push inland over Central CA Wednesday AM (10/10) eliminating any hope for this area. A second very weak trough with 110 kts winds is to form in the same area Thursday (10/11) sweeping onshore over Central CA Friday AM and serving only to support weak low pressure and rain for the coast there. Beyond 72 hours things to get interesting with a large batch of moderate energy pushing off Japan arching over the dateline at near 160 kts by Sunday almost the width of the North Pacific feeding into the pre-existing trough in the Gulf. This trough to be most solid by Sunday and continuing into Tuesday (10/16) providing very good support for surface level gale development through the period. The jet to remain reasonably impressive even as the trough moves onshore next week with more energy lurking offshore. The persistent ridge over the dateline to remain problematic for Hawaii and the Western Pacific though.
Jetstream Models: We've upgraded our jetstream forecast models to includes topographic land with the jet flowing over it. Wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. See it here:( NPac, SPac )
At the surface today the first winter storm of the 2007-2008 season was poised off the Pacific Northwest tracking north towards British Columbia (see details in 'Gulf Storm' below). Weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was north of Hawaii having almost no effect other than to perpetuate some weak easterly trades there, but fading. Another low at 992 mbs was just east of the intersection of the Aleutians and the dateline tracking east and bound for the semi-persistent upper level trough that has set up in the Eastern Gulf. No winds of interest were occurring though. Yet a third low was over the Kuril Islands pushing east, but no winds of interest were occurring. Over the next 72 hours the second low is to push into the Gulf and try to develop but only generating 25-30 kt west winds in it's southern quadrant aimed at Central CA Wednesday, then fading out totally before pushing inland early Friday over the Pacific Northwest. Windswell generation only expected.
Gulf Storm - First of the Season
On Monday AM (10/8) a 998 mb gale started to develop 900 nmiles due west of San Francisco generating 40 kt west winds aimed right up the 290 degree path towards the Central CA coast. Seas were on the increase. By evening pressure dropped to 968 mbs with the storm moving north. Winds were confirmed at 60 kts at 43N 135W positioned 600 nmiles from San Francisco aimed right down the 302 degree path there. Seas were modeled at 22 ft at 41N 135W. This 60 kt wind reading confirmed it as a certified storm. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the southeastern quadrant of this storm and reported seas to 31 ft, but they were all pushing due north towards Canada. Seas were confirmed at 23-27 ft aimed towards the mainland and better than what the models suggest. This is a good sign.
On Tuesday AM (10/9) pressure held with the core of the storm off Northern Oregon. Winds confirmed at 50-60 kts at 46N 135W aimed right at Northern CA down the 310 degree path. Seas were modeled at 25 ft at 43N 133W. Seas were 25 ft @ 11-13 secs at buoy 46006. Swell was already in the water pushing southeast and east towards Central and North CA on up into southern Oregon. In the evening this system to be fading while tracking north with winds down to 40-45 kts 47N 133W aimed at Central CA down the 319 degree path. Seas modeled at 25 ft at 45N 135W.
On Wednesday AM (10/10) this systems to be pushing into British Columbia with fetch 30 kts and fading fast. residual seas of 20 ft fading at 45N 130W. This system to be dead.
This system was actually quite surprising in that it actually developed as expected by the models days earlier, and that it built stronger than originally modeled and with much more fetch in it's southwest quadrant aimed at the California coast, pushing 60 kts confirmed. This makes it a certified storm and the first one of the season. But it was moving north awfully fast limiting it's fetches ability to get traction on the oceans surface, which inturn will result in less than possible seas heights. Also it's close proximity to the coast (600 nmiles max) is problematic, not allowing the swell adequate room to unwrap. The result to be a jumbled and raw swell, with 9-14 sec period swell energy all intermixed and coming from a wide angle. Far from an ideal setup with the front from it pushing over land at the same time the swell arrives. Still, it's better than nothing, but not enough to warrant a significant class swell rating mostly due to the anticipated 13 sec period.
North California: Expect the meat of the swell to arrive starting Wednesday morning (10/10) with pure swell ramping up to 8.7-9.4 ft @ 13 secs (11-12 ft faces) and rather raw. More period expected in the afternoon with swell 9 ft @ 14 secs with copious lesser period junk intermixed (12-13 ft faces) though better conditions possible. Swell to start fading out late night and dropping from 8-9 ft at 12-13 secs first light Thursday (10 ft faces). Swell Direction: 295-308 degrees
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (10/9) low pressure was in control of the Eastern Pacific with a early season cold front pushing down the Northern CA coast, expected to reach as far south as Monterey Bay late evening, then dissipating. The usual wintertime routine is starting early with south winds building in that area and rain forecast. By Wednesday AM that front to be all but gone with southerly winds fading and a light westerly flow building in, fading to almost calm Thursday. A much weaker front is expected pushing into the same area Friday AM with more south winds (15 kts) forecast maybe pushing as far south as Pt Conception late. A generally calm pattern is forecast though the weekend as yet another stronger system sets up in the Gulf with a weaker one in front if it, sweeping down from San Francisco to Pt Conception Monday (10/15) with a much stronger right behind for late Tuesday. Southern CA to remain protected so far with light winds in the forecast through the forecast period. Looks like this season might be making up for last years inactivity at least from a local weather perspective.
Tuesdays jetstream charts (10/9) for the South Pacific indicated no support for surface level low pressure development with the southern branch of the jetstream raking from the Ross Ice Shelf on further south for the next few days. but an impressive trough is forecast to set up in the Central Pacific this weekend pushing well to the north with 130-140 kts winds Friday and Saturday (10/13). some support for surface level low pressure development.
At the oceans surface today no winds of interest or significant weather systems capable of generating swell were in-play in our forecast window. Over the next 72 hours a 960 mbs low is modeled developing over the Eastern Ross Ice Shelf Friday tracking northeast into Saturday (10/13) generating a small area of 45 kt winds and seas modeled 36 ft Friday evening at 52S 135W pushing 39 ft late Saturday on the eastern edge of the California swell window at 50S 118W. If this occurs some form of southern hemi swell is possible for mainly Southern CA. Will monitor.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours the third low in the series it to track through the Bering Sea falling into the Gulf of Alaska Fri-Sun (10/14) generating 30-35 kts northwest winds and seas in the 21 ft range, but positioned well up in the Gulf. Limited 13 sec period swell possible. Yet a stronger system to follow falling into the Western Gulf on Monday (10/15) generating 35-40 kts winds pushing to 45-50 kts Tuesday aimed well to the southeast targeting Central and North CA. Seas theoretically to 38 ft late Tuesday at 45N 135W aimed right down the 310 degree great circle path to Central CA. Very limited support for sideband swell to be pushing south towards Hawaii, but odds low. This is a nice tease, but we have no belief it will actually occur. At least it's something to watch for. yet another low to be right behind it too.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no potential for generation of swell producing fetch. The South Pacific is asleep.
Details to follow...
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) , Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) , Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) , Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table