On Thursday (11/8) Northern CA surf was chest high and not good. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to 1 ft overhead from the south. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to chest high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was chest high near head high at the better exposed south facing breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with some chest high sets. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high with best breaks to head with sets 2 ft overhead. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high or so. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California was still receiving southern hemi swell generated by Storm #5S, but on the way down. Southern California was still getting energy from Swell #5S, but it was well past it's peak and heading down. Hawaii's North Shore was not getting any swell of interest. Nothing was really happening on the East Shore either. Southern hemi swell was slowly fading along the South Shore. Down south a new little system was organizing under New Zealand expected to generate more near-30 ft seas pushing reasonably well to the north, likely setting up Hawaii's South Shore with more moderate surf a week out. Up north a weak gale that has be slowly easing it's way across the dateline is forecast to move into the Gulf and start developing modestly early this weekend, focusing on the US West Coast. If the models are right a very strong system is forecast right behind it Sun/Mon with winds to 65 kts focused on North CA and southern Oregon. And yet another more modest one is forecast behind that mid-week tracking into the Northern Gulf. The net result is to be alot of energy pushing towards California and the Pacific Northwest with lesser sideband energy for Hawaii starting early next week and continuing for a while. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (11/8) for the North Pacific indicated a reasonably solid flow pushing off Central Japan slowly tracking just north of east with winds to 160 kts pushing over the dateline towards the Gulf of Alaska. The flow fell appart about 600 nmiles west of Vancouver Island. No troughs or ridges were indicated in the flow, therefore not providing much support for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours stronger winds are to start building over the dateline Saturday (11/10) with winds to 180 kts and feeding into what could almost be considered a mini-trough that is to push into the Northern CA late Sunday. Some support for marginal low pressure development there. At the same time a second almost-trough is to try and form over the dateline pushing east through the early part of next week with winds to 160 kts. Some support for surface low pressure development there. Beyond 72 hours that trough to fade and eventually push over North California Thursday (11/15). At that time the flow back to the west is to be loosing energy, though still flowing generally flat over the 35th latitude and offering no support for surface level low pressure development of interest.
At the surface today weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was positioned between Hawaii and Central California offering only light trades blowing over the Hawaiian Islands. Of slightly more interest was a tiny 1000 mbs low 600 nmiles off Oregon tracking northeast generating confirmed winds of 40 kts at 45N 136W aimed right down the 306 degree path to North CA. It is expected to hold through the evening while lifting northeast generating 18 ft seas, pushing into Vancouver Island Friday AM. Minimal swell expected for North and Central CA on Saturday (see QuikCAST's for swell details). Otherwise a broad but weak low pressure system has been working it's way east across the Southern Bering Sea, and was now at 972 mbs straddling the Eastern Aleutians and about ready to push into the Northern Gulf of Alaska. Limited 25-30 kt west winds from it were blowing from the dateline over the Western Gulf generating 16 ft seas of no particular interest. Over the next 72 hours this low to hang in the Northern Gulf generating a slightly enhanced fetch of 30-35 kt west winds tracking east into British Columbia early Sunday (11/11) with seas peaking at 25 ft Friday near 45N 160-180W. This ought to be good for another spurt of swell pushing into Hawaii Monday (11/12) at 6 ft @ 14 secs (8 ft faces) but focused more towards the US West Coast, pushing into North CA Monday (11/12) at 6.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (7-8 ft faces).
On Tuesday (11/6) weak low pressure at 980 mbs was in the southern Central Bering Sea generating a weak fetch of 25 kt west winds south of the Aleutians pushing over the dateline. These winds had been up to 30-35 kts for a short spell Monday (11/5) generating seas in the 21 ft range at 47N 170E, and continued into Thursday (11/8), good for maybe a few days of 12-13 sec period swell for the Islands, but nothing more. Expect swell hitting the North Shore of Oahu Friday (11/9) at 5.2 ft @ 13 secs (6.5 ft faces) continuing in the 12 secs range through Sunday. Swell Direction: 320-325 degrees
On Thursday Tropical Depression Peipah was 100 nmiles off South Vietnam tracking southwest with sustained winds 30 kts.It is to moving over South Vietnam late Friday (11/9).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/8) a very weak low pressure cell was off the Central California coast generating a very weak south wind flow over nearshore central waters while weak high pressure was pushing into the Southland generating an equally weak northwesterly flow there. More of the same is forecast Friday into early Saturday. Then Sunday a short wave (low pressure) is pass through early winds high pressure building right on it's heels with northwest winds 20 kts pushing into Central CA early working it's way in to South CA by night fall. Fortunately it to be short-lived with the high ridging into North CA Monday (11/12) setting up near offshore winds Tuesday and Wednesday in the south and calm winds in the North with north winds over Pt Conception at 15-20 kts.
Thursdays jetstream charts (11/8) for the South Pacific indicated a weak trough under New Zealand with winds to 120 kts feeding up in to it offering some support for surface level low pressure development. The flow reversed direction east of there and was gently pushing to the south over the Central and Southeast Pacific, suppressing odds for low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to weaken and slowly shift south and east, offering decreased odds for low pressure development under it while the ridge holds pat in the east. Beyond 72 hours a generally weak and flat flow is to track east over the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, pretty much shutting things down.
At the oceans surface a non-closed isobar low was sitting just southeast of New Zealand forming a pressure gradient with higher pressure at 1032 mbs centered southwest of Tasmania. The result was and has been a steady patch of 35-40 kt southwest winds near 50S 175E since early Wednesday (11/7) aimed well towards Hawaii up the 200 degree great circle path pushing to near 45 kt Wednesday evening, generating 29 ft seas Wed PM at 53S 165E peaking at 30 ft at 51S 175E Thursday AM. Another little pulse of 40 kts winds are forecast Thursday PM with seas holding in the 29-31 ft range at 46S 170W, then fading. Assuming all this develops (a likely scenario) expect a nice little pulse of summer time utility class swell with period at 15-16 secs arriving on Oahu's South Shore Thursday (11/15) with swell 2.3 ft @ 16-17 sec late (3.5-4.0 ft faces) holding into Friday. Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees
Central Pacific Storm #5S
On Monday AM (10/29) a new low pressure system was building fast with pressure 960 mbs and in close proximity to a 1036 mbs high over New Zealand, generating a moderate fetch of confirmed winds at 60 kts winds at 50S 162W aimed 25 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 203 degree path to California unshadowed by Tahiti. Seas were on the increase with winds acting on an already agitated ocean surface. By evening pressure dropped to 948 mbs with 60-65 kt winds confirmed over a solid area at 43S 155W aimed 25 degrees east of the 178 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 202 degree path to California. Actually there was 720 nmiles of straight line fetch grater than 40 kts with most 50-60 kts. Seas built to 37 ft at 49S 158W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the edge of this system and reported seas of 35 ft, right on-track with the ave models.
This system was fading fast Tuesday AM (10/30) with residual 35-40 kt south winds up to 42S 147W. Seas were modeled at 39 ft at 45S 150W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the leading edge of this system and reported seas of 38 ft, right on-track with the models. Still 40 kts winds to hold into the evening aimed due north at 50S 145W aimed right up the 190 degree path to California, then dissipating late. Seas from previous fetch fading from 36 ft at 42S 145W but mostly just the decaying energy from previous days fetch.
This swell started hitting Hawaii on Sunday AM (11/4) just as expected with pure swell 2.6 ft @ 18 secs and most energy in the 20 sec range. This is right on track with expectations.
This was a very short lived system, but was concentrated with high winds acting essentially on a consistent part of the oceans surface. Sea heights were not over the top, but were solid given the short life of this storm and were confirmed twice by the Jason-1 satellite. Current data suggests significant class swell is likely for both California and Hawaii and much more for Tahiti.
Southern CA: Solid 14 sec residuals expected Friday (11/9) at 3.3 ft @ 14 secs (4.5 ft faces) early and drifting down. Swell Direction 201-205 degrees
Northern CA: Still decent swell to continue Friday (11/9) with swell fading from 3.3 ft @ 14 secs early (4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction 196-201 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 models suggest a significant change in the pattern in the Gulf of Alaska, fueled by a strengthening flow of wind energy in the jetstream. On Sunday AM (11/11) a new 984 mb low is to start circulating 1200 nmiles due north of Hawaii with pressure 976 mbs. By evening pressure drop to a deep 952 mbs with 60-65 kt winds (hurricane force) at 43N 155W building in it's west and southwest quadrants aimed briefly at Hawaii down the 360 degree great circle path but set up best of Central and North CA aimed right at them down the 295 degree path. Seas modeled to 30 ft at 43N 153W. This system to track steadily northeast with 65 kt west winds forecast over a solid area at 45N 142W Monday AM (11/12) aimed at Northern California down the 302 degree great circle path. Seas building to 42 ft at 43N 145W (297 degrees NCal). This system to be fading in the evening with residual 45-50 kts winds at 46N 135W aimed 25 degrees east of the 310 degree path to NCal with 43 ft seas at 46N 137W. Possible large raw swell since the storm is to move within 600 nmiles of the coast. This could become Swell #4.
Beyond a more modest system is to develop in nearly the same location Wednesday AM (11/14) north of Hawaii with 40-45 kt northwest winds pushing up in to the Northern Gulf Thursday with winds 40-45 kts and seas 21 ft, building in the Northern Gulf late Thursday into Friday AM with winds 45-50 kts and seas 32 ft at 50N 145W aimed reasonably well down the 310 degree path to North CA but better at the Pacific Northwest. Only very limited 35 kt winds to be aimed at the Islands early in this systems life. Odds are none of this will happen, but it's something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest maybe another little pulse pushing under New Zealand mid-next week, but very small in size and likely only having effects for Hawaii, if it materializes at all.
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