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 Saturday (11/8) North/Central California was getting chest to shoulder high dateline swell with shorter period Gulf swell in between with decent winds early, but raining by afternoon. Southern California was getting a shade of the Gulf windswell but mostly background southern hemi swell at waist high plus with good winds even late. Hawaii's North Shore was getting residual dateline swell at chest high with clean conditions. The South Shore was thigh to waist high. The East Shore had waist high east windswell.
For Central California new northwest larger but raw swell is expected for early Sunday with waves double overhead but hacked even early. This from a weak gale just 600 nmiles out on Fri/Sat. Southern CA to see a fraction of the local swell by afternoon, but still rideable with waves probably head high at best spots late. The North Shore of Hawaii to get the leading edge of a new dateline swell late Sunday (11/9) reaching 1-2 ft overhead continuing Monday. The South Shore of Hawaii to see some southern hemi background swell by Sunday into Monday too in the 3.5-4.0 ft face range. The East Shore to see some easterly windswell picking up pretty good by Sunday too reaching 4.5 ft on the face. Longterm the charts suggest a slightly improving pattern with a small gale developing in the Central Gulf on Sunday with 23 ft seas, followed by another one Monday night at 23 ft, with one more Tuesday night at 23 ft. All are to be about in the same area (east of the HAwaiian swell window), dropping a bit further south with each one and moving better into the California window each time. And the strongest of them all is to be building off Japan on late Sunday moving over the dateline Tuesday with seas at 32 ft, then fading fast but pushing energy into both Hawaii and the West Coast again. The result is to be swell starting Tuesday for CA and continuing non-stop into the weekend. Nothing huge, but fun sized.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday (11/8) the North Pacific jetstream continued flowing flat from Japan over the dateline and north of Hawaii, then pushing into the Central Ca coast near San Francisco. A strong pocket of energy was pushing off Japan with winds barely 190 kts, fading over the dateline then goosing up a bit in a trough just off North California with winds to 140 kts. This trough was supporting weak gale activity off the CA coast. No other troughs of interest were occurring capable of supporting gale development over the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the energy over Japan is to build more and push east to the dateline with a contiguous stretch of 190-200 kt winds there, but no real trough to support storm development into Monday, though gale development there is likely. But these winds are to persist with a trough forming on the dateline Tuesday (11/11) with 180 kt winds in it tracking to a point north of Hawaii on Thursday but fading. Good support for possible storm development if this occurs. Beyond 72 hrs the jetstream to fade out and drift north, offering no real energy to support even gale development.
At the surface today the remnants of a gale on the dateline (See Dateline Gale) were pushing into British Columbia with winds building to 40 kts again, but outside the California swell window and expected to be inland by evening. A new weak gale was building in the Western Gulf with 35 kt west winds pushing east and expected to hold into Sunday AM. 20 ft seas forecast at 45N 165W Sat PM peaking at 23 ft Sunday Am at 46N 157W pushing down the 300 degree path to North CA and 1500 nmiles out. This suggest swell in North CA of 5.5 ft @ 14 secs (7.5 ft faces) starting Tuesday PM (11/11) from 300 degrees. Also a broad low pressure system was filling the West Pacific from the Kuril's to east of the dateline with an area of 40 kt west winds building on the dateline and a secondary fetch of 35 kt winds off Northern Japan.
Over the next 72 hours two fetch areas of interest are forecast. First the bigger one off Japan is expected to move to just west of the dateline by MOnday AM generating 35-40 kts fetch all the while. By Monday Am (11/10) a broad area of 35 kt northwest winds are forecast at 39N 170E generating nearly 30 ft seas at the same location aimed right at Hawaii down the 310 degree great circle path. This fetch to build to near 40 kts in the evening at 37N 178E with 32 ft seas forecast at 38N 174E, 1700 nmiles from HI and 2800 from Ncal (292 degrees). Fetch is to start fading Tuesday AM (11/11) from 35 kts with 30 ft seas at 36N 180W aimed at Hawaii down the 311 degree path. Fetch is to be gone after that with 29 ft seas Tues PM at 39N 170W targeting the US west coast better. Possible decent 17 sec period swell for Hawaii first light Thursday AM (11/13). Energy to be seeping into NCal by Saturday AM (11/15).
Secondary fetch off the leading edge of this system is to be pushing into the CA swell window Monday PM (11/10) at near 40 kts racing east and nearly gone by Tuesday evening but not before generating 23 ft seas at 40N 160W (Tues AM) and near 25 ft seas in the evening at 40N 152W maybe to 25 ft Wednesday AM at 43N 147W, 1100 nmiles from North CA. Possible swell for NCal starting Friday AM.
A cutoff low formed west of the dateline Monday (11/3) 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. Small swell expected 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.
Local California Gale
Remnants of the Dateline Gale (above) reorganized in the Gulf Friday-Saturday (11/8). On Friday AM pressure fell to 992 mbs generating 45 kt west winds early near 42N 145W producing 17+ ft seas and building in the evening to 40 kts at 44N 138W generating 21 ft seas at 43N 140W (900 miles from NCal). Saturday AM (11/8) the gale faded while lifting northeast with 35 kt northwest winds at 45N 134W and more 19 ft seas at 43N 132W (550 nmiles from NCal) and then pushing inland over the Pacific Northwest with 21 ft seas at 45N 130W outside the NCal swell window. This system to be in almost direct contact with the Pacific Northwest Coast on late Saturday into Sunday making a mess of thing up there. But raw very north angled swell is possible pushing into North and Central CA starting late Saturday peaking Sunday (11/9) at 4 AM with swell 8 ft @ 14 secs (11 ft faces) from 295-305 degrees (shadowed in the SF Bay Area). Lesser energy expected fading through Monday. Only a tiny portion of this to wrap into exposed breaks in SCal with luck.
2nd Dateline Gale
A low that pushed east from Kamchatka got better organized over the dateline Wednesday (11/5) with a fetch of 40 kt northwest winds generating 20 ft seas at 44N 175E late. On Thursday AM (11/6) 40 kt northwest winds held in the same area with a small area of 23 ft seas modeled at 46N 175E aimed well towards Hawaii, then sinking southeast in the evening with 25 ft seas over a tiny spot at 45N 177E. This fetch to sunk further southeast Friday AM (11/7) but fade with winds 30 kts and seas estimated to 23 ft at 44N 178W, then heading more east in the evening with 19 ft seas at 40N 175W. Most of this fetch was 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 is expected to push into Hawaii starting late Sunday (11/9) with swell 4.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (7 ft faces) from 320 degrees continuing early Monday at 4.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (7 ft faces).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (11/8) high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 900 nmiles west of San Francisco trying to ridge east into Central CA, but was being held at bay by a gale off Vancouver Island. Limited wind and rain was pushing into the Central CA coast associated with this weather system. By late evening the front is to push through and strong north winds at 20-25 kts associated with the gradient between the high out at sea and the low now inland to be raking the coast from Washington south to Northern Baja and continuing through Sunday. By Monday things to start settling down with 25 kt northwest winds limited to the Pt Conception area and fading into early Tuesday, with light winds everywhere else. The only winds of interest is a possible bit of high pressure north winds expected Thursday over all of Central CA, turning back to calm by Friday (11/14) and holding through the weekend.
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 a bit of a a pause is forecast while the jetstream realigns itself, with a small but reasonably strong little storm forecast forming on the dateline Thursday PM with 55 kts pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast, tracking over the dateline Friday AM (11/14) on into the evening, then looking to stall northwest of Hawaii with 55 kt winds aimed almost right at the Islands. 38 ft seas projected all the while. Possible real swell for Hawaii, the first of the season it this plays out as modeled. Not likely though at this early date.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Saturday (11/8) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving to the Active Phase. The Daily SOI index was down at 14.76 (still pretty high). The 30 day average was down to 15.11 and the 90 day average was up to 13.67. This is symptomatic of a weak La Nina (regardless of what NOAA indicates). Winds anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated neutral conditions over the balance of the equatorial Pacific. And now the leading edge of the Active Phase of the MJO, which was starting to push east over the Philippines has all but fallen apart and is not even on the charts anymore. Suspect it will reappear, especially considering the pulse of gale activity forecast for the next 7 days. This active phase is expected to continue into the second week in November, but dissipating all the while. The Active Phase is to slightly enhance storm development in the Northern Pacific over the coming week or so, but not much given this anemic forecast.
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