On Thursday (10/26) Northern CA surf was head high. maybe 1 foot more and clean but heavily warbled from strong north winds late yesterday off the coast. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high. Central California surf was 1-3 ft overhead. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high with chest high sets at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high. The South Shore was shoulder to head high, maybe a little more. The East Shore was top dog at head high to 2 ft overhead.
Hawaii had a mix of windswell coming from the northeast and minor southern hemi swell providing something rideable at the better South Shore breaks. California was getting leftover swell from a storm that was in the Gulf and that hit on Wednesday, mixed with a fair amount of more local windswell. This energy was wrapping down into South CA. A small pulse of Gulf swell is forecast for north and Central Ca over the weekend, but size to be rather modest. Of more interest is a small cutoff low forecast for the Southern Gulf Sun/Mon setting up a good pulse of north swell for Hawaii initially then getting reinforced by more low pressure next Wed/Thurs possibly targeting all of California, but that's a bit of a reach. The West Pacific to remain calm with a poor jetstream flow aloft not allowing anything to get going down at the oceans surface. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (10/26) indicated a big ridge over the dateline pushing steeply up into the Bering Sea then dropping just a sharp south into a pinched trough in the Western Gulf of Alaska with only 110 kt winds flowing under it, then lifting into a moderate yet energetic ridge lifting up into the Eastern Gulf with winds 150 kts and pushing into Central Canada. in all not a lot of support from surface level low pressure development except in the tiny space in the aforementioned trough. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (10/29) the whole pattern to push east with the trough digging deeper but even more pinched, limiting it's ability to produce anything of interest and eventually cutting off just northeast of Hawaii. Beyond 72 hours that trough to become more established and become a semi-permanent fixture there but weak, while back to the west the jet is to split with the northern branch of energy taking a very high line north of the Bering Sea into Alaska and the southern branch feeding into the Gulf trough. The split flow to not allow much energy tracking into either branch, though towards the end of the 7 day window the northern branch looks to be fading out with a more robust flow developing off Japan and dare we say feeding into the Gulf trough. If this develops a more energetic storm pattern could emerge favoring both Hawaii and the US mainland, but that's a poor bet at this time.
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mb high was centered 600 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA and ridging into Oregon while a second stronger high at 1036 mbs was anchored over the dateline just south of the Aleutians, totally blocking the Aleutian storm corridor into the gulf of Alaska. An inconsequential low was trying to push west off the Kuril Islands, but was totally blocked by the dateline high and is bound for the Bering Sea. In short, no swell producing fetch was in evidence today over the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the dateline high is to track west blowing a fair sized fetch of 20-25 kt north winds south along it's eastward flank towards Hawaii Fri/Sat likely generating north windswell for the Islands while the Cape Mendo high pushes inland over the Pacific Northwest.
But of more interest mainly for Hawaii is the forecast development of low pressure along the eastern side of the dateline high late Saturday, dropping to 996 mbs Sunday AM (10/29) with a tiny fetch of 50 kt north winds taking aim on Hawaii and holding through late afternoon. But a quick death is forecast with winds down to 40-45 kts in the evening and 35 kts Monday AM swinging into the low south quadrant and targeting Southern CA. Seas Sunday forecast at 30 ft at 40N 150W holding for almost 24 hours aimed right at the Hawaiian Islands and likely setting up decent NNE swell there for Wednesday AM (11/1).
Weak Gulf Gale
On Wednesday (10/25) a low raced east over the Northern Gulf generating a limited fetch of confirmed 35-40 kt west to southwest winds targeting Northern Canada and generating 23-25 ft seas in the vicinity of 53N 145-155W putting a little more energy down the 315 degree great circle path relative to San Francisco. That energy is started to hit buoy 46036 off Central Canada Thurs afternoon with seas 14 ft @ 12 secs. Swell to arrive early Saturday (10/28) peaking mid-morning with swell 5 ft @ 13 secs (6 ft faces) from 310-315+ degrees. Even less for Central CA (see QuikCAST's for details).
No named tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/26) moderate high pressure was off the coast ridging northeast into the Pacific Northwest, but no real gradient north winds were present off Cape Mendocino making for a calming seas state. The high to dissipate through the weekend with light winds and calm seas expected over nearshore California waters into early the following week. But low pressure is expected to develop starting to move perilously close to the coast by late Tuesday (10/31) with winter-like southeasterly winds developing Wednesday as far south as San Francisco and then into Central CA Thursday.
On Thursday (10/26) weak zonal/flat flow was drifting east along the 60-65 south latitude flowing over the northern edge of the Antarctic Ice sheet and not supporting any form of surface low pressure development. A weak trough was over the far Southeast Pacific. More of the same is forecast through the coming weekend, then a strong ridge to set up late Sunday (10/29) pushing over Antarctica Ice and eliminating any hope for storm development while pushing east through early next week. Maybe another weak trough over the deep South-Central Pacific mid-next week.
At the surface today and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch other than from the far Southeastern Pacific, and there it was had potential for Southern CA (see details below) and locations south of there.
1st South CA Pulse
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 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) Fri (10/27), fading Saturday with period dropping from 14 secs from 200 degrees.
2nd, 3rd & 4th South CA Pulses
On Tuesday (10/24) a tiny 960 mbs low was on the eastern edge of the California swell window just off the edge of Antarctic Ice generating a small area of 40-45 kt winds aimed northeast towards California up the 190 degree great circle path and holding through evening. 30 ft seas were modeled by evening at 55S 138W building to 32 ft Wed AM at 52S 130W. This low to tracked east with fetch fading as it pushed out of the SCal swell window. A second low formed in the same region Wed PM (10/25) generating 45 kts southwest winds aimed again well towards SCal producing 32 ft seas at 55S 120W expected to continue into the evening with 32 ft seas pushing out of the swell window from 50S 110W. Yet a third and the strongest pulse is forecast Fri/Sat generating 32 ft seas Fri PM at 55S 125W pushing to 37 ft at 52S 113W Sat AM before totally out of the Scal swell window. Some form of small but continuous swell likely for Southern California starting Thursday (11/2) at 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces from 180 degrees) and continuing into the following weekend. Note: This swell to possibly get obscured by bigger swell coming from the west.
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 some form of low pressure to hold in the Southern Gulf of Alaska with more energy tracking into it mid-next week around Wednesday (11/1). A broad fetch of 40 kt winds to set up in it's southwest sector through mid Thursday generating 25-27 ft seas around 35N 150W aimed towards Baja but likely spreading energy as far north as northern Central CA and as far south as the Hawaiian Islands. This looks like an interesting situation, but it's way to early to tell with any confidence. The whole low to then start tracking northeast towards the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia possibly setting up a early season significant snow event for upper elevations there.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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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
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table