On Sunday (10/14) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to chest high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high with luck at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high at the best breaks. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California was still getting fun sized swell and clean conditions from gale energy that was in the Gulf earlier in the week. Southern California was getting a fair amount of rideable surf from previous gale energy in the Gulf of Alaska earlier in the week. Hawaii had some small surf, maybe a bit more than we expected with waist high surf on the North Shore. There was tiny 2 ft northeast swell pushing into the East Shore. And about equal sized background swell was fading on the South Shore. Things to continue settling down for the next day or so surf-wise along the US West coast and the Hawaiian Islands, but that is to be short lived if one is to believe the models. The Madden Julian Oscillation has not given up and if anything is surging, helping to usher in a new era of increased storm activity. A gale is trying to develop over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians and is to work it's way in to the Gulf of Alaska by late Tuesday and start wrapping up, ultimately looking pretty good by Wednesday providing significant class swell generation potential. And yet a second system is forecast right behind it, building further south in the Western Gulf Thursday due north of Hawaii, pushing towards British Columbia with significant class potential too. Nothing is guaranteed yet, but it looks tempting. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (10/14) for the North Pacific indicated a solid pocket of wind energy pushing more or less flat off Japan at 130 kts building to 160 kts as it arched over the dateline. It then rapidly faded while driving south into the Central Gulf of Alaska forming a trough there. It is this wind energy and trough that will be the focus of attention for the coming week. Over the next 72 hours the dateline energy is to gently build into the Gulf while pushing southeast towards Central CA with winds reaching 180 kts early Tuesday (10/16) forming a reasonable trough there and providing good support for surface level gale development. It to slowly fade into Wednesday while more energy pushes off Japan. Beyond 72 hours the Japan energy to build to 180 kts Thursday again falling gently southeast towards Northern CA regenerating the trough in the Gulf and providing more opportunity for surface level gale development. And yet a third pulse is forecast late Friday (10/20) with winds to 190 kts more in the Eastern Gulf this time, again increasing odds for surface level storm development. Things to settle down after that, but when it's all over the jet is to be flowing flat over the 40N latitude, much further south that a week before and helping to usher Fall in further.
At the surface today low pressure at 984 mbs was in the southern Bering Sea pushing east over the dateline generating a thin swatch of 40-45 kts winds mostly obscured by the Western Aleutians. Limited 35-40 kt west winds were south of the Aleutians trying to get some traction on the oceans surface producing seas modeled to 29 ft near 53N 170E, but mostly aimed at the Aleutians themselves. Otherwise high pressure at 1024 mbs was positioned 700 nmiles north of Kauai ridging gently southeast, but having no real impact on anything. On Saturday a light gale was in the Western Gulf of Alaska generating a fetch of 30-35 kts northwest winds aimed well towards the Pacific Northwest down into California generating seas of 20 ft at 47N 163W moving east to 47N 156W by nightfall, then dissipating. Small 13 period swell possibly pushing towards the US west coast with perhaps tiny sideband energy pushing south towards Hawaii late Monday (10/15) with period 14 secs then peaking Tuesday at 2.6 ft @ 12 secs (3 ft faces). Swell also pushing east towards California but that likely to be overridden by larger swell generated locally. Over the next 72 hours the gale pushing east from the dateline is to fall in to the Gulf of Alaska and develop generating solid winds and seas (see details below - Gulf Gale). Otherwise weak high pressure at 1024 mbs is to persist pancaked north of Hawaii and slowly edging east. but weakening, serving only to offer a modicum of protection to Southern CA from the building gale pattern in the Gulf pushing into the mainland.
A gale was passing east through the Southern Bering Sea Sunday (10/14) with fetch pushing south of the Aleutians at 40 kts at 52N 175E in the morning generating 29 ft seas at 53N 170E, providing a little sideband exposure to Hawaii. By evening the fetch is to hang at 40 kts covering a broader area at 50N 168W moving into the Western Gulf of Alaska generating seas of 27 ft at 50N 180W again offering Hawaii a little sideband swell exposure.
By Monday AM (10/15) 40-45 kt west winds are to develop at 50N 160W as the gale gets better organized in the Northern Gulf aimed right down the 307 degree great circle path to North California but mostly east of the Hawaiian swell window. Seas building from 29 ft at 52N 164W. By evening 40-45 kts winds to reconfigure themselves aimed more to the southeast at 55N 158W aimed down the 315 degree path to North CA. 30 ft seas forecast at 53N 155W.
By Tuesday AM (10/16) the fetch is to try and get better organized with a larger area of 40-45 kts northwest winds at 52N 155W aimed right down the 310 degree path to North CA (well outside the South CA swell window) with 29 ft seas at 50N 150W (310 degrees). Things to start getting interesting in the evening as the low deepens to 976 mbs with 45-50 kts winds setting up at 52N 152W still aimed down the 310 degree path to North CA and better at the Pacific Northwest. 30 ft seas building at 50N 150W.
Wednesday the last bit of 40 kts fetch is forecast at 50N 145W pushing southeast but the core of the low is to be heading towards Canada. 32 ft seas are forecast at the same location and aimed reasonably well towards North CA down the 310-315 degree great circle paths. By evening this system to be gone with seas fading from 29 ft and outside the California swell window pushing towards the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.
This system has been on the charts for 4+ days now, but has gone though many incarnations, the latest of which is far from it's best. At this point it looks like some form of significant class swell would be possible with period in the 16-17 sec range, but the rather steep north angle would have serious implications for any but the most exposed north facing breaks. Will monitor.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (10/14) the remnants of a gale in the Gulf were pushing east, now about 600 nmiles off the North CA coast. Weak high pressure at 1016 mbs was over outer Southern CA waters, having no impact. Remnants of the Gulf gale are to push inland over North and Central CA mid-day Monday bringing more rain down as far south as Monterey Bay a nd maybe some light southerly winds, with higher pressure, north winds and clearing skies forecast by sunset. On Tuesday high pressure to be in control of the south end of the state with northwest winds at 15-20 kts blowing from Pt Conception southward, but light winds to the north until the next front pushing onshore up there late afternoon with 15 kt south winds expected. mo. More of the same is forecast Wednesday with south winds up north and north winds down south, with high pressure taking control everywhere late. Thursday to have high pressure barely in control over North CA early and light winds but strong north winds over the Pt Conception southward. After that is isn't even safe to make a forecast based on what the forecast gale north of HAwaii does, or if it forms at all.
Sundays jetstream charts (10/14) for the Southeast Pacific indicated a weakening trough pushing east out of the California swell window towards Chile while a big but weak ridge had control of the Southwestern Pacific. No support for surface level low pressure development indicated. Over the next 72 hours the ridge in the west is to only strengthen early, continuing to shut down potential for surface level low pressure development, then fading late. Beyond 72 hours there's suggestions that another trough might set up next weekend (Sunday 10/21) offering some support for surface gale development, but that is very preliminary.
At the oceans surface today no winds of interest or significant weather systems capable of generating swell were in-play in our forecast window. Low pressure was off Chile with 30-35 kts winds pushing towards the coast there, but all outside the California swell window. This system was stronger earlier and has generated swell pushing north (see SPac Storm below). Over the next 72 hours no winds of interest are forecast.
South Pacific Storm
A 960 mb gale developing over the Eastern Ross Ice Shelf Thursday (10/11) tracking northeast.
It finally got some exposure over open ice free waters on Friday morning (10/12) with confirmed winds of 40-45 kts at 55S 140W aimed almost due north aimed towards California up the 190 degree path. Those winds expanded rapidly in the evening with 45-50 kts winds confirmed streaming northeast to 50S 132W aimed towards Southern CA up the 188 degree great circle path. 30 ft seas were modeled at 54S 134W. The Jason-1 satellite passed directly over the core of the fetch an confirmed seas at 28.4 ft with individual readings to 35 ft, which is pretty good and about in line with the model.
Saturday AM (1013) a solid fetch of 35-40 kts winds was confirmed at 50S 126W with a new core to 50 kts at 54S 123W aimed right towards Southern CA up the 184 degree path. 35 ft seas were modeled at 51S 129W. In the evening 40-45 kt winds were aimed northeast at 50S 123W aimed 25 degrees east of the 183 degree path to South CA. 36 ft seas were modeled at 50S 122W. The Jason-1 satellite passed south of the core of the fetch but confirmed seas at 31 ft, better than what the models indicated. This is a good sign.
Sunday AM (10/14) this system moved out of the Southern CA swell window winds winds 35 kts or less. 32 ft seas were modeled at 48S 118W and fading.
In all this was a pretty good late season storm for the southeast Pacific. All fetch was aimed well to the north, 5100 nmiles away, and should push a decent amount of utility class swell into Southern CA starting late Saturday (10/20) with swell 2 ft @ 19 secs (3.5 ft faces) peaking Sunday (10/21) with swell 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft faces) holding well into Monday as period drops to 16 secs. Swell Direction: 182-188 degrees Swell to also push into exposed breaks in North CA arriving 12 hours later.
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 some more action might be scheduled, this time more to the south but still in the Eastern Pacific but actually starting in the Hawaiian swell window. Note: Yhe models have been on-again-off again concerning this system with one run showing it, then the next having no trace of it. It's a 50/50 shot at whether it will even form. Low pressure is forecast Wednesday AM (10/17) in the Western Gulf well to the south of past systems with a tiny area of 40 kts winds at 43N 170W aimed right at Hawaii down the 336 degree great circle path. Seas building. By nightfall pressure to be 980 mbs with 60 kt winds at 44N 160W aimed 30 degrees east of the 355 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degree south of the 295 degree path to North CA (301 SCal). Seas to 28 ft late at the same spot. Some swell likely radiating towards the Islands. Thursday AM (10/18) this storm to be pushing west with 55 kt winds continuing at 43N 150W aimed right at North California up the 294 degree path (302 SCal). 32 ft seas forecast at 42N 155W. In the evening 55 kt winds to continue at 43N 140W aimed right at North CA down the 296 degree path (305 degrees SCal). Seas forecast at 37 ft at 42N 143W. Friday AM (10/19) the storm to be ready to move into the northern Pacific northwest with 50-55 kts winds holding at 47N 134W aimed a bit east of the 315 degree path to North CA. 37 ft seas forecast at 43N 134W. In the evening 45 kt winds to be fading just off Vancouver Island with 39 ft seas pushing into land there. Assuming all this occurs as forecast (a bold assumption) some for of significant class swell is expected from Pt Conception northward as biggest from North California up into the Pacific Northwest. But it's still a long time till then.
The active phase of Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), which we wrote off about 10 days ago, has decided it's not quite ready to die yet. Earlier model projections suggested it as to be dead by 10/4 or so. But latest data suggests that though the SOI index is still positive, a large swath of anomalous 850 mb winds are blowing west to east over the equator from the dateline into Central America, expected to continue but slowly fading through the end of the month. This suggests increased support for gale/storm development in the Gulf of Alaska through the period. And that appears to be what's might happen. Will monitor.
Beyond 72 hours new low pressure is forecast well south of Tahti late Thursday (10/18) generating 40 kts winds and 32 ft seas aimed east-northeast over a moderate area and continuing unchanged into Saturday (10/20) as it pushes to the far Southeast Pacific and out of the California swell window. Possible small utility swell for California if this comes to pass. Even more possible behind that too.
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