On Wednesday (11/9) Northern CA surf remained head high and clean. South facing breaks were 1-2 ft. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe up to thigh high, but that was stretching it. Rain too. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to waist high. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was 1-2 ft overhead with solid windswell.
Windswell from the Gulf of Alaska continues to provide some fun surf for California north of Pt Conception, while rain a miserable conditions are south of there. Hawaii has sizeable easterly windswell, but not much else. The focus is now on some small energy tracking towards Hawaiian North Shore, but more on the promise of energy on the charts from a low pressure system that tracked from the dateline and is heading towards the Gulf of Alaska. It's expected to intensify over the next 48 hours and should provide good potential for North and Central CA with lesser energy to the south. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Wednesday (11/9) the jet was starting to dig out a bit of a trough (dip) in the Gulf of Alaska with winds up to 140 kts running through it. This looks good and supportive of some form of storm development at the surface, though not remarkable. A weak secondary trough was retrograding off South California providing a rather rainy day there. Again a bit of a ridge indicative of high pressure aloft was over the dateline while the jet continued solid over Japan tracking east at 160 kts, but faded just off the coast. So the Gulf of Alaska was of the most interest. No real change is forecast through Friday (11/11). Then the ridge that has been over the dateline is to track east shutting the Gulf down while the flow that has been pushing off Japan makes a bad turn, splitting, with most energy following the northern branch heading due north well beyond the Bering Sea while the much weaker southern branch meanders east eventually feeding into the Gulf ridge starting near Hawaii. This pattern is not encouraging and is expected to continue unabated through Thursday of next week, suggesting no support for surface level storm development.
Today at the surface the most noticeable feature was low pressure building in the Gulf of Alaska (see Dateline Storm below). Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs was anchored well off South California driving brisk easterly trades over the the Hawaiian Islands at 20-25 kts producing solid windswell. Weak low pressure was over Southern CA at 1012 mbs producing a bit of a rain event there while the northern half of the state remained dry. Weak low pressure was just west of the Kurils and was have virtually no swell producing impact.
Over the next 72 hours the Gulf low is to remain the focus of attention while high pressure off California slowly tracks east pushing into the northern half of the state through the weekend and setting up brisk north winds coastside. This should serve to moderate the Hawaiian easterly windswell. Some hints of weak low development are suggested north of Hawaii, but nothing that would produce decent seas.
See QuikCAST for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Potential Dateline Storm
On Sunday (11/6) a small and weak low pressure system was near the dateline tracking north towards the Aleutians whilst high pressure blocked it's path to the east. The faintest bit of 35-40 kts winds were confirmed at 44N 168E aimed down the 319 degree path to Hawaii.
On Monday (11/7) this low started building with 40-50 kts winds blowing south over the Aleutians just west of the dateline. Seas were building. By nightfall the lows core is to be centered just south and east of the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians with pressure 980 mbs. Winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts centered at 47N 177W providing a small 300 nmiles long fetch dangling south of the Aleutians aimed best at Hawaii down the 334 degree great circle path. Seas were modeled at 24 ft centered at 47N 178W pushing best towards Hawaii.
On Tuesday AM (11/8) things started falling apart as the core of the low fell south of the Aleutians and started tracking east. Pressure was 984 mbs with a fading fetch of 40 kts winds centered at 45N 168W aimed at Hawaii down the 336 degree path and taking better aim at the US West coast up the 301 degree path. Seas nevertheless built to 28-29 ft at 47N 172W mostly on the strength of previous fetch. In the evening the fetch dropped more to the southeast and expanded but winds faded to 30 kts centered at 44N 165W aimed mid-way between Hawaii and California (347 HI, 296 NCal). Seas were modeled down to 27 ft centered at 45N 165W.
On Wednesday (11/9) things were redeveloping on a more positive trend. Pressure dropped to 972 mbs with the fetch expanding while tracking northeast with the core now firmly planted in the northern Gulf of Alaska and interacting with a 1028 mb high centered well west of the Southern CA coast. Winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts centered at 46N 158W aimed 25 degrees south of the 299 degree great circle path to North CA (303 SCal) but 75 degrees east of any route to Hawaii. Seas were 25 ft centered at 44N 158W, mostly decaying remnants from the day before. In the evening storm pressure to drop to 970 mbs (really a strong gale) with a broad fetch of 40-45 kts winds building at 48N 150W aimed due right up the 308 degree path to NCal (313 SCal). Seas forecast up to 27 ft centered at 48N 155W.
On Thursday (11/10) the system to hold in the Gulf with pressure up to 976 mbs and winds 45-50 kts totally filling the Gulf covering everything north of 47N. These winds are to be centered at 48N 145W aimed right down the 309 degree path to North CA (315+ SCal). Seas forecast at 35 ft over a broad area centered at 48N 150W (307 degrees). By evening the core pocket of winds are to build even better in the 45-50 kt range in the Gulf at 50N 143W aimed well down the 315 degree path to NCal (320+ SCal) producing seas of 38 ft at 50N 144W (312 NCal).
This system to quickly dissipate Friday (11/11) but with 35 ft seas continuing but on the northmost edge of the North CA swell window (48N 138W), but well within the Pacific Northwest window.
The models have been amazing not in their ability to forecast strength, but in the positioning of the fetch. There has been virtually no change since 4 days previous. Obviously the first half of this gale was a real dud, not good for Hawaii, though some energy expected to trickle south to them. But that is to be more than made up for by the second half of the storm in the Gulf. We'll see what actually develops through. Current data suggests a moderately large swell with period in the 14-17 sec range resulting for the Pacific Northwest south into North and Central CA with much less energy wrapping into unprotected areas of Southern CA. Again, it's pure speculation at this time and doesn't count for anything until confirmed data starts coming off the satellites. You can watch the models using the links above for reatime updates too.
California Offshore Forecast
On Wednesday (11/9) high pressure continued strong 1000 nmiles west of Southern CA but was not ridging inland just yet, held at bay by a local low at 1010 mbs centered just off Pt Conception. The gradient between the two competing systems was fueling the production of north winds confirmed at 25-30 kts well off the coast, but that was expected to pass well south of the our area. So windswell produced days earlier in the Gulf of Alaska were to source for today's and the next few days windswell. That little low off the coast is to be gone by Friday (11/11) and that's to open a clear path for high pressure to build in by nightfall, with the usual north winds hitting at that time. North winds to continue through the weekend at 20-25 kts 50 nm off the coast (North and Central), but the local impact is likely to be something less, though still undesirable. Calmer winds to move in by Monday (11/14) and beyond.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Wednesday (11/9) the last little bits of energy from another pulse of energy that pushed under New Zealand earlier this week (11/7) was generating 23 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii (see details below). No other swell producing systems forecast.
On Tuesday through Thursday (11/1-11/3) a moderate 964 mb gale low pushed under New Zealand with 30-35 kt fetch aimed northeast producing seas modeled at 28 ft. This was the culmination of 2 previous days of lesser fetch and seas and has produced some degree of decent summer time utility swell pushing north towards Hawaii with period in the 14-16 sec range. This system dissipated on Friday (11/4). Swell arrival expected along Hawaii's South Shore on Thursday (11/10) with swell possibly up to 3 ft @ 16 secs late (4-5 ft faces).
On Monday (11/7) another pulse of energy pushed under New Zealand (11/7) with pressure 972 mbs and winds 35-40 kts for near 24 hours generating 23 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii continuing through Wednesday (11/9). Another batch of small utility class swell is pushing north towards Hawaii.
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 picture is unclear, with each new run of the model providing an different outcome. The latest iteration suggests a 006 mb low forming just northwest of Hawaii on Sunday (11/13) tracking quickly northeast with limited 35 kt winds aimed back at the Islands, then stalling in the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday (11/15) and slowly petering out with additional fetch aimed south and some 35-40 kt winds aimed at the Pacific Northwest. In all this might be good for windswell for the Islands and the West Coast, but not much. Also a little low is forecast just off Japan, but not much is expected from it either. In all a rather placid pattern expected driven by the jet racing off to the far Arctic north.
At the surface beyond 72 hours a fleeting little low is forecast south of Hawaii off the Antarctic Ice Saturday and Sunday (11/12) generating seas forecast to 25 ft. Will believe it when it happens. Otherwise no swell producing fetch of any sort is projected.
Details to follow...
Sharks, Sharks and more Sharks: Want to know all the details of every shark encounter over the past few months in California? You can read all about it in the fascinating chronology produced be the Shark Research Committee. There's alot more going on in our waters than you could ever have imagined (or ever wanted to know). http://www.sharkresearchcommittee.com/pacific_coast_shark_news.htm
Stormsurf Weather Model Update: Over the weekend (10/30) we moved new new code into production that should dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of our weather models. We've had problems with them not keeping in-sync with the wave models. Hopefully that problem is now resolved though we're still dependent on NOAA data servers just like everyone else. What this fix does do is provide the infrastructure now to rapidly expand our offering of weather models, enabling more detailed global coverage. We will be working on that as time permits.
Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him: http://www.pacificsurfgallery.com
Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table