On Saturday (10/15) Northern CA surf was head high and reasonably clean, at least in the AM. South facing breaks were about head high too. Central California surf was chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe up to waist high at the best breaks but otherwise flat. The LA area southward into Orange County was flat with a few stray waist high peaks. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was waist high.
Swell that made good surf in Hawaii is fading in California. But for the mainland that's no worry because things are just getting warmed. 2 other decent swells are in the water and pushing east. First a local storm off Oregon has generated rather large ragged and raw swell moving into North CA first. At the same time a solid storm has been tracking north of Hawaii generating more energy expected to push south to the Islands but mostly tracking east towards California. After that a bit of a slowdown with windswell the best bet for Hawaii while the storm track reorganizes and moves to the Northern Gulf of Alaska, setting up a new round of energy for next weekend focused on the mainland. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday (10/15) the jetstream was starting to fall apart with a big ridge building in to the Gulf of Alaska and another over the Kuril Islands. Still much energy was present with winds 150 kt over the Gulf. Over the next week a steady ridge is to persist over the dateline with winds 150 kts dipping south a but in the Gulf. So the Gulf looks like the best bet for surface level storm development, though not great.
Today at the surface the fading remnants of a Gulf storm were pushing in to the northern Gulf of Alaska and fading out (see New Dateline Storm below) and the remnants of a gale off Oregon were pushing inland (see Oregon Storm below). Otherwise two highs were present, one just off the California coast at 1028 mbs and another at 1032 mbs over the dateline. Both were solid enough to be pushing any low pressure well out of the area and basically shutting the Aleutians storm corridor down. Fortunately by late Monday (10/17) they are to moderate and fade providing a somewhat better environment for storm development. Over the next 3 days a series of 2 gale are to track east through the Bering Sea, but no swell generation potential is forecast from them during this timeframe. Northeast winds from high pressure north of Hawaii is likely to generate some short period north windswell for the Islands Sunday (10/16) through Wednesday (10/19), but that's all.
New Dateline Storm
On Thursday AM (10/13) a modest low of tropical origin was pushing towards the dateline and beginning to rapidly deepen with pressure 992 mbs. Winds of 40 kts were confirmed over a small area centered near 39N 177E aimed somewhat towards Hawaii. The gale was lifting east-northeast. By nightfall things improved dramatically with pressure down to 972 mbs and 50-60 kt winds with a few barbs to near hurricane force (65 kts) confirmed in it's south quadrant centered at 43N 175W aimed east right up the 297 degree great circle path to North CA and up the 337 degree path to Hawaii in it's west quadrant. Seas were building.
By Friday AM (10/14) the storm was holding with pressure 972 mbs with 55-60 kt winds confirmed in it's south and west quadrants centered at 44N 172W and aimed at Hawaii down the 337 degree great circle path and at California right down the 296 degree path. But the fetch was tiny now and the night before, only 343 nmiles long aimed at CA and 300 nmiles aimed at Hawaii. Seas 29 ft centered at 45N 170W and building fast but this estimate was probably low. The storm continued on a northeast track. By nightfall pressure held at 972 mbs with only 40-45 kt winds confirmed over a tiny area mostly in it's south quadrant centered at 47N 162W aimed 25 degree north of the 301 degree path to California down the 299 degree path with even less fetch from the storms west quadrant aimed at Hawaii down the 348 degree path. Seas were modeled at 36 ft over a tiny area centered at 46N 164W.
By Saturday AM (10/15) a quick decline set in with residual 35-40 kt winds aimed mostly at targets north of California with nothing at Hawaii. Winds aimed 25 degree north of California down the 299 degree path. Seas from previous days fetch were 33 ft centered at 48N 158W and fading fast. This system to be gone by nightfall with residual 30 ft seas forecast at 49N 152W.
This was a very intense but compact storm that lasted only about 24 hours. As a result the fetch area was not very large and was short lived, falling apart right when the seas it was generating were starting to push up to respectable heights. This will definitively be a limiting factor on it's swell generation potential. But it was positioned 1443-2150 nmiles from NCal, moving right through the swell spot well out to sea. As a result a moderate to large utility class swell will likely result for California since the bulk of the fetch was aimed right down their great circle paths and the storm was tracking right towards them. Hawaii to potentially get some rideable swell too, but the fetch was pushing sideways through their swell window, not getting good purchase on the oceans surface and thereby limiting it's ability to generate seas pushing south. Small utility class swell is more likely for the Islands.
North CA: Expect swell arrival Monday (10/17) at 6 AM with period at 20 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to peak between 3-8 PM at 7.5-8.0 ft @ 17 secs (12-14 ft faces) and holding reasonably through the evening. Period dropping to 14 secs by 9 Am Tuesday (10/18) with size trickling down through the day. Swell Direction:297-301 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (10/17) at 5 Pm with period at 20 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to peak Tuesday (10/18) from 6 AM-1 PM with swell 2.4-2.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces at exposed breaks). Period dropping to 14 secs at 1 AM Wednesday (10/19) and fading steadily through daylight hours. Swell Direction: 302-306 degrees
While the storm above was doing it's thing yet another more local gale was building off Oregon starting late Thursday evening (10/13). Pressure was 1004 mbs with 30-35 kt winds confirmed wrapping around the gales southwest sector at 41N 141W aimed right at North CA up the 286 degree path and at Southern CA up the 297 degree path. By Friday AM (10/14) pressure was dropping fast to 992 mbs with 45-50 kt winds confirmed over a small area in it's west quadrant centered at 46N 137W aimed right at NCal down the 309 degree path but outside any path to Southern CA. Seas building to 19 ft centered at 40N 139W. By nightfall the core of the low was approaching Vancouver Island and maxing at 988 mbs with a solid 40-45 kt fetch in control of it's southwest sector centered at 44N 132W aimed right at NCal down the 310 degree path. Seas 29 ft centered at 43N 133W. By Saturday AM (10/15) this system was pushing inland over Washington with pressure up to 1000 mbs and limited 30 kt fetch aimed towards CA down the 319 degree path. 27 ft seas were still pushing towards NCal centered at 42N 132W well in the Ncal swell window.
The initial pulse from this gale hit buoy 46006 Friday (10/14) at 8 AM with swell 15.7 ft @ 11 secs and seas to 21 ft. Swell pushed up peaking there are 11 AM with swell 18.1 ft @ 12.6 secs with seas 22 ft. Swell quickly dropped to the 12-15 ft range by 4 PM and held there through Sunday AM but with period more in the 14 sec range. And considering that most of the fetch was inside and north of buoy 46006, suspect there is much larger energy pushing towards the coast not registering there.
A rather large but north angled lumpy, uneven and raw swell is expected to push into North CA Saturday evening. Limited energy to push down into Central California and most energy likely to pass Southern California with no impact on shore.
North CA: Expect swell arrival starting Saturday at 8 PM (10/15) with period a jumble of 13-15 secs and size on the increase fast. Swell to peak Sunday (10/16) between 1 and 7 AM with swell 10-11 ft @ 13-14 secs (13-15 ft faces) with seas to 15 ft then fading steadily through the day. Swell Direction 307-313 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (10/15) the remnants of the Oregon gale were pushing inland over Washington while strong high pressure at 1028 mbs was sitting 800 nmiles west of San Francisco and ridging east. By afternoon the north wind machine is to kick up as the high pushes east and remnants of the Oregon low drop south inland resulting in 25-30 kt north winds from late Saturday afternoon through early Sunday, then the gradient to turn offshore and calm winds to settle in, persisting through next work week.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
No swell generating fetch of interest forecast.
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 high pressure is to lock things down till Wednesday (10/19) when a 968 mb low in the eastern Bering Sea starts pushing southeast over the Aleutians and into the Gulf of Alaska. Some degree of 45 kt winds and 32 ft seas forecast pushing southeast but it is unclear how much of this fetch will actually get decent traction in the Gulf Gulf with the core of the low expected to remain north of the Aleutians. Another low to follow the same track on Friday (10/21) moving perhaps a bit further south with yet a third setting up over Kamchatka. Too early to tell how this will play out.
At the surface beyond 72 hours the models suggest a progressive pattern of lows to push east under New Zealand and perhaps gathering some momentum over time. But the projections are nowhere near as optimistic as a few days ago and a best guess is that maybe background swell could be expected to result mainly for Hawaii, with little of interest making it to the mainland. .
Details to follow...
Down the Line: Powerlines Production movie guru's Curt Myers and Eric W. Nelson unleash their latest creation which explores the big wave conditions in Hawaii, California and Chile last year. Includes footage from Peahi, the Mavericks Surf Contest and Ghost Trees. See it Oct 21st at 7 and 9 PM in Santa Cruz. More details here: http://www.powerlinesproductions.com
New Stormsurf Wave & Weather Models have been Released: After a year of development we're released our newest installment of Regional and Local wave models. Read more here.
Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him: http://www.pacificsurfgallery.com
Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table