New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Tuesday (11/4) North/Central California was getting head high to 2 ft overhead blown out windswell from the northwest. Southern California was getting waist high northwesterly local windswell and chopped conditions. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some generic background swell with waves in the waist to chest high range. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore had knee high east windswell.
For Central California consistent northwesterly modest period windswell from the Gulf to be pushing in through the rest of the week on through the weekend in the chest high range with a little pulse of dateline background swell building underneath for late weekend. Southern CA to see a fraction of the windswell at breaks with good northern exposure, but in all it's to be pretty weak with good odds for wind to be on it. The North Shore of Hawaii is to get a bit of swell starting Thursday from a gale that passed over the dateline Monday (11/3) with 35-40 kt west winds and 25-26 ft seas, fading out on Tuesday. And better odds for surf is expected beyond. The South Shore of Hawaii is to remain essentially flat until Sunday when some southern hemi background swell is expected to show. The East Shore to see some easterly windswell starting Friday and building over the weekend and holding in the rideable range well into next week. Longterm the charts suggest that a series of weak gales are to start setting up first on the dateline Thursday (11/6) with one having 23-25 ft seas then building eastward into the Gulf by Saturday with seas to 20 ft. These to offer good potential for Hawaii by Sunday (11/9) and lesser energy into the Pacific Northwest and exposed breaks in California by early next week. And by early next week 2 slightly stronger system are forecast, on on the dateline and another in the Gulf with seas to 30 ft. But that's only a guess at this time. If you want to know the long term projection for the winter, take a look at the El Nino forecast. More details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (11/4) the North Pacific jetstream was flowing more-or-less flat from Japan into Central CA with a defined split occurring west of the dateline and pushing up into the Bering Sea then returning to join the main flow in the Gulf of Alaska. Winds were 140-150 kts at the split points, but overall no defined support for surface level low pressure development was indicated. Over the next 72 hours that split flow is to dissolve by late Thursday with a nice broad trough developing at the same time over the dateline with 150 kt winds flowing under it offering some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hrs a more energetic singular flow is expected to build over the North Pacific with a thin elongated flow of up to 190 kt winds pushing generally more flat than anything off Japan and reaching east of the dateline into the Gulf by Monday (11/10) continuing till mid-week. Some degree of support for low pressure development, but no larger scale defined troughs are indicated capable of supporting pronounced gale development.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered mid-way between San Francisco and Hawaii generating a brisk north flow down the California coast serving only to chop up residual northwest windswell that started over the weekend. Leftover low pressure was well northwest of Hawaii, residuals from a gale on the dateline on Monday (11/3) that had produced swell pushing towards Hawaii - (see details below). Another broader low was inland over Siberia starting to leak west into the North Pacific setting up a broad pool of low pressure from Kamchatka to the dateline and beyond, though no defined fetch was occurring yet. Over the next 72 hours the Kamchatka low is to push east and get better organized over the dateline later Wednesday with a fetch of 40 kt northwest winds forecast on the dateline generating 20 ft seas at 44N 175E late. On Thursday AM (11/6) 40 kt northwest winds to hold in the same area with a small area of 23-25 ft seas forecast at 46N 175E aimed well towards Hawaii, then sinking southeast in the evening with nearly 28 ft seas forecast over a tiny spot at 44N 177E. This fetch for sink further southeast Friday AM (11/7) with winds 35-40 kts and seas estimated to 25 ft at 40N 178W, then heading more east in the evening with 25 ft seas at 40N 170W. Most of this fetch to be aimed at Hawaii though some energy undoubtedly will track due east towards California up the 292-300 degree paths, though most winds to be aimed 30 degree south of those tracks. Limited energy from this system could push into Hawaii starting late Sunday (11/9) with swell 5.2 ft @ 15 secs (9 ft faces) from 325 degrees continuing early Monday at 6.2 ft @ 13 secs.
A cutoff low formed west of the dateline Monday with pressure 984 mbs generating 40 kt west to northwest winds, then pushing to and over the dateline Tuesday with west winds fading from 30-35 kts. Seas reached 26 ft Monday AM at 39N 172E fading from 25 ft in the evening at 39N 178E and 23 ft seas Tuesday AM at 39N 178W. Limited swell is pushing towards Hawaii expected to arrive later on Thursday (11/6) with swell 4.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (8-9 ft faces) fading Friday from 5.0 ft @ 13 secs (8 ft faces) from 315 degrees. Lesser energy for exposed breaks along the US West Coast (NCal) Sunday (11/9) at 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft faces) from 292+ degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (11/4) high pressure at 1026 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of Pt Conception ridging east towards San Francisco, though not quite reaching the coast. Still it was generating northerly winds sweeping down the Central CA coast creating chop. The high to push east Wednesday pushing into San Francisco suppressing winds somewhat there, but building the gradient over Pt Conception with 25 kt north winds there pushing a bit west of the Channel Islands. Chop to be in effect from Monterey southward, then starting to break up on Thursday but not quite disappearing and holding there on Friday before reinforcing high pressure builds in on Saturday and Sunday making a mess of things over all of Central CA. Southern Ca to remain mostly protected. A steady stream of progressively more intense low pressure systems are forecast pushing into the Pacific Northwest, with a hard boundary over Cape Mendocino. Rain north of there, and more of a high pressure regime south of the there, with a little mix of the two in-between through mid-next week.
No tropical activity of interest was occurring.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast.
Of note: A small gale pushed under New Zealand Sunday (11/2) generating 32 ft seas at 58S 178E pushing near 35 ft in the evening at 55S 175W, then fading from 32 ft Monday AM at the same location. Some hope for small background swell pushing into the South Shore of Hawaii starting Sunday (11/9) with swell to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) continuing at 2.3 ft @ 15 secs Monday (3.0-3.5 ft faces) and fading from there. Swell Direction: 192-198 degrees.
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 remnants of the Hawaii gale to try and reorganize in the Gulf Saturday and Sunday generating 35 kt west winds near 45N 140-160W producing 20-23 ft seas Sunday (11/9) at 44N 158W in the AM and 21 ft seas at 44N 145W in the evening 1600 and 1100 nmiles out from NCal). Utility class swell with period in the 13-14 sec range possible by Wednesday (12/12).
Also a new broader gale is supposed to try and build off Kamchatka extending to the dateline Sat (11/8) setting up two small fetch areas of 40-45 kt west winds. The one on the dateline is to build generating a tiny area of winds to 55 kts Sunday producing 32 ft seas holding while tracking east into the Gulf of ALaska Monday, possibly setting up more somewhat longer period swell arriving along the US West Coast on Thursday (11/13).
A second broader fetch of near 50 kts winds to push off Kamchatka Saturday (11/8) generating 36 ft seas targeting Hawaii, sinking southeast and regenerating some pushing 28-30 ft seas almost to the dateline by late Monday and targeting Hawaii well.
Things to calm down after that.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (11/4) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving to the Active Phase. The Daily SOI index was down to 9.54. The 30 day average was steady at 14.77 and the 90 day average was holding at 12.34. This is symptomatic of a weak La Nina. Winds anomalies at at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated neutral winds over the balance of the equatorial Pacific. But the leading edge of the Active Phase of the MJO was starting to push east over the Philippines seeping east into the equatorial North Pacific and expected to continue into the second week in November, then push over the dateline mid-month and dissipate. The Active Phase is to slightly enhance storm development in the Northern Pacific over the coming 2 weeks.
No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.
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