On Thursday (10/19) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high with a few bigger sets. Central California surf was waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe up to waist high at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were about waist to chest high with bigger sets occasionally. The North Shore of Oahu was 1-3 ft overhead wit bigger sets at the best spots. The South Shore was head high with sets 2 ft overhead. The East Shore was flat.
Hawaii is getting the best of both worlds today with solid southern hemi swell on the South Shore and dateline swell hitting the North Shore. This is the peak with a downward trend expected there. California was seeing a little southern hemi swell focused best on the south end of the state. But that is just the start. A pair of swells that have been hitting Hawaii originating from under New Zealand are tracking east and expected to hit the state for the weekend continuing well into the following week. And for the northern half of the state, semi-real swell from the Gulf of Alaska is pushing southwest, expected to hit at the same time making for an interesting mix at exposed breaks. Further out the Eastern Gulf of Alaska is forecast to become more active as a series of weak gales track over the dateline providing only very limited energy pushing into Hawaii's swell window then strengthening as as they reach the Gulf focusing on California and the Pacific Northwest. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (10/19) indicated a zonal/flat flow pushing east off the Kuril Islands on the 47N longitude line at 110 kts holding reasonably well across the dateline then lifting just a hint into a ridge in the Gulf of Alaska with winds 120 kts there. no real support for gale development but not too bad either. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (10/22) a small steep trough to set up in the western Gulf tracking east with up to 150 kts winds trying to feed into the troughs western quadrant, but not quite making it. In all the jet flow to be tracking a little more northeast to, suggestive of a ridge building in the area. No real support for gale development indicated. Beyond 72 hours more of the same forecast with a moderate flow at 130-140 kts pushing off Siberia and gently rising northeast into the Gulf with just a hint of a trough in the far eastern Gulf early next week. A slightly stronger trough forecast building in the western Gulf mid-week tracking east, but it's still to be positioned a bit too far north to be optimal. Still some support for surface level gale development possible.
At the surface today two high pressure systems at 1028 mbs each were in control of the North Pacific south of 50N, one off North CA and the second over the dateline. One moderate low was in the bering Sea tracking east and the remains of a swell producing Gulf storm [see Gulf Storm below] was pushing into far Northern Canada. A weak cutoff low was sandwiched between the two highs north of Hawaii. No swell producing fetch was evident. Over the next 72 hours the high off California is to track northeast into Canada while the dateline high builds to 1032 mbs driving a 30 kt fetch of north winds positioned just north of Hawaii Sat/Sun likely generating sizeable moderate period windswell for northeast and northwest shores. At the same time nondescript tropical low pressure to get sucked north up into a developing low just west of the dateline tracking over the Aleutians and into the Bering Sea Sat/Sun with 40-45 kt winds positioned just below the Aleutians but aimed mostly north, resulting in no swell producing fetch for the usual targets immediately.
A low pushed to the dateline and started building late Saturday (10/14) with pressure dropping to 968 mbs generating a small fetch of 40-45 kts winds and 25 ft seas at 50N 175W aimed southeast towards Hawaii and the US mainland, but positioned fairly far away from both. This gale pushed barely into the Bering Sea late Saturday into Sunday morning but with 35-40 kts winds continuing dangling just south of the Aleutians and over the dateline tracking slowly east through mid-Sunday (10/15) with seas 25-27 ft at 50N 172W then rapidly fading. Small energy to push towards California Thurs/Fri but generally unremarkable. See QuikCAST's for details.
Gulf Storm - First Semi-Decent One of the Season
On Tuesday AM (10/17) the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Soulik had tracked fast to the dateline and was reorganizing in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska with pressure at 984 mbs and winds confirmed via the QuikSCAT satellite at near 60 kts over a tiny area at 48N 172W aimed towards Hawaii down the 340 degree path and better at California down the 304 degree path. Seas were on the increase. By evening the remains of Soulik continued spinning with 50-55 kt winds confirmed at 51N 162W aimed generally like before though favoring the US west coast more down the 306 degree path and seas building to 24 ft. By Wednesday AM the low was starting to fade though a moderately broader fetch was in place confirmed at 40-45 kts aimed due west with seas modeled at 32 ft at 52N 159W mostly beyond Hawaii but aimed well towards California down the 310 degree path. Of even more interest is this fetch passed just south of buoy 46066 mid-day Wednesday with seas for 6 hours in the 34-37 ft range with one reading to 39.8 ft. Winds were 39-49 kts from the west during this timeframe. This system was pushing out of the California swell window with seas fading from 30 ft Wednesday evening at 53N 152W.
In all this was a small short-lived storm lasting only 36 hours, but it was a certified storm and it did produce confirmed seas in excess of 30 ft, a start for the season finally. Interestingly, this storm did better than the models originally suggested, reversing the trend of late where gales actually develop something less than what the models suggest. Regardless, most energy from this storm tracked reasonably well down the great circle paths to North CA and locations north of there up into Oregon and Washington, but less so towards Hawaii. Hawaii's swell is actually generated as this system pushed over the dateline. No significant class potential is suggested for any locale, but decent utility class swell generation potential is likely for the weekend centered on North CA to Oregon with lesser energy south of there and into Hawaii.
Hawaii to see some form of swell starting peaking late Friday (10/20) with swell 6 ft @ 13-14 secs (7-8 ft faces) and fading from 5.2 ft @ 13 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces) Saturday. Swell Direction: 330 degrees
North California to see energy starting between 1-4 AM Saturday (10/21) with swell possibly pushing up to 6-7 ft @ 15-16 secs mid-morning (8-9 ft) and holding through the afternoon, then fading from 4.2 ft @ 12 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Sunday AM. Swell Direction: 306-312 degrees.
South California to see very limited energy at only the most exposed north facing breaks starting right before sunset Saturday (10/21) with period in the 17 secs range peaking late night with swell up to 3 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces). 14 sec residuals by sunrise Sunday with swell 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 308-315 degrees
No named tropical systems were being tracked.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/19) high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of Oregon generating a bit of a gradient off the southern Cape Mendocino area expected to continue into early Saturday with north winds there 25-30 kts producing some form of small to moderate short period windswell adding a bit of bump to the early Friday/Saturday swell mix. But no winds of interest are forecast south of Bodega Bay with a generally light windflow forecast for the weekend. The Cape Mendocino gradient is to resurge Mon/Tues as more high pressure develops in the Gulf at 1032+ mbs, then the whole mess is to sink south setting up a major wind event over the entire state mid-week with a chop fest likely.
On Thursday (10/18) a trough in the jetstream remained over the far Southeastern Pacific with 170 kt winds flowing over it aimed at southern South America. A split flow was over the Southwestern Pacific with the southern branch flowing into Antarctica, shutting down potential there. Over the next 72 hours a weak flat/zonal flow to build along the 60S latitude minimizing any chance for gale development at the surface. More of the same forecast beyond 72 hours.
At the surface late Wednesday (10/18) a small low developed on the southeastern edge of the California swell window generating a tiny fetch of 50 kts west winds fading to the 40 kts range Thursday AM and aimed more to the southeast. Seas modeled to 32 ft at 48S 128-132W pushing mostly east towards Chile through some small energy was likely trickling north, best suited to impact Southern CA breaks with swell in the 15-16 sec range Fri/Sat (10/28), though not much size-wise.
Otherwise on Thursday (10/19) non-productive remnants of a gale were in the far Southeast Pacific tracking out of the California swell window while a new gale was tracking east from under New Zealand with winds 40 kts aimed well to the northeast towards Hawaii. This one to hold into Friday AM if not intensify just slightly during that time window, then quickly disintegrate, but not before producing some 27 ft seas, good for some background swell targeting Hawaii a week out. Otherwise over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is suggested.
1st New Zealand Storm
A low started forming Wednesday AM (10/11) in a developing upper trough under New Zealand with pressure 948 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-55 kts over a small area aimed northeast. Winds continued at 50-55 kts late and taking aim more to the north with seas to 39 ft at 55S 175E. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and reported seas to 38.4 ft before even reaching the core (where readings were contaminated by rain). By Thursday AM (10/12) pressure was up to 952 mbs with a small fetch of 40-45 kts winds remaining aimed mostly east and then gone by evening. Seas still held at 39 ft at 53S 175W and then started decaying from 35 ft in the evening at 50S 165W. Given the time of year this was a fairly impressive system, though very short lived with only 36 hours of good fetch indicated. Of note: the entire duration of this storms life was shadowed by Tahiti for California.
Small sideband swell hit Hawaii late Wednesday (10/18). That swell to fade from 2.8 ft @ 14-15 secs Friday (4 ft faces) from 185-195 degrees
A bit smaller swell to push into California on starting late Thursday (10/19) with period 21 secs and size tiny but on the increase, reaching 1.5 ft @ 20 secs Friday (3 ft faces) and near peaking late Saturday (10/21) with swell 2.6 ft @ 18 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft faces) peaking Sunday with swell 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) from 212-208 degrees. Some size into Monday with period 14-15 secs but heading down.
2nd New Zealand Storm
A second 952 mb low developed under New Zealand on Friday AM (10/13) generating a small fetch of 50-55 kt winds confirmed aimed almost due east while tracking east. Seas were modeled at 37 ft at 55S 165E. The fetch faded to 45-50 kts in the evening but aimed a bit more to the northeast at 50S 170W while seas built to 40 ft over a tiny area at 53S 178E. By Saturday AM winds faded to the 40-45 kt range with seas 37 ft at 52S 172W. A downward trend forecast from there with no swell producing fetch indicated.
Another pulse of smaller sideband swell expected to push into Hawaii starting Friday (10/20) with initial size 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces) building to 2.8 ft @ 16 secs Saturday (4.5 ft) then fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs Sunday (3.5 ft ).
Likewise small swell to push into California Sunday (10/22) with period near 20 secs, but size tiny and lost under the previous swell.
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 models suggest that additional subtropical energy to join pre-existing low pressure in the eastern Bering Sea sinking southeast with a rather strong storm developing there somewhere in the late Sunday (10/22) timeframe possibly producing 50 kts winds and seas to 39 ft aimed towards the Pacific Northwest then tracking southeast down the coast Tuesday forming a gradient with a 1036 mb high forecast behind it in the Central Gulf of Alaska. These winds to push inland near Oregon early Wednesday (10/25) with a broad fetch of 25 kt north winds lingering off the entire US west coast making for highly chopped conditions into next weekend. But this is quite a ways off and any particular outcome is far from certain. Another fetch to be following close behind with yet another trying to develop west of the dateline next Thursday (10/26).
Behind that another 1036 mb high to push off Siberia to the dateline while ridging into the Bering Sea and totally blocking the Aleutian Storm corridor Wed/Thurs (10/26).
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
'Inside Mavericks' Signing Session: Buy a book, meet the authors and get some signatures from some of the crew that contributed to 'Inside Mavericks' on Saturday (10/21) starting at 5 PM in downtown Half Moon Bay at Moon News book store in the Tin Palace. It's located on Main Street right next to Pasta Moon Restaurant.
New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here: http://www.insidemavericks.com/
Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management plan has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/jointplan/involved.html
Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml
Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the implications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html
New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: Nine months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height plus the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table