On Thursday (11/10) Northern CA surf was about shoulder high and clean. South facing breaks were thigh high with some waist high sets. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to thigh high at the best breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was thigh high. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high. The South Shore was chest to head high with bigger sets. The East Shore was head high to 1 ft overhead.
Southern hemi swell is hitting the South Shore of Oahu providing some fun sized surf. And the first signs of swell from a gale that was over the dateline is hitting the outer Hawaiian buoy, right on track. Windswell from the Gulf of Alaska continues to provide some minimal surf for California breaks north of Pt Conception. And better swell is starting to show at the outer buoy providing the first confirmation of better surf for the weekend. So the focus now is on that gale which has moved from the dateline to the Gulf of Alaska. It's following close to expectations, just a little less 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 Thursday (11/10) the most noticeable feature in the jet was a shallow trough (dip) in the Gulf of Alaska with winds 120 kts running through it. This continues to look supportive of some form of storm development at the surface, though not remarkable. A weak secondary trough was pushing in over South California. The jet continued solid over Japan tracking east at 130 kts then faded over the dateline, feeding in to the trough in the Gulf. Nothing really interesting though. Through the weekend the trough in the Gulf is to fade being replaced by a ridge (suggesting high pressure at the surface) while the jet continues solid off Japan feeding into a new trough over the dateline. But a strong batch of energy is forecast to push north off Japan well past the Bering Sea suggesting a nearly spit jet. This pattern is not encouraging and is expected to continue in fit's and starts through next week, not totally shutting things down but not allowing any real energy to build up in the jet. This will likely hamper surface level storm development.
Today at the surface the only feature of interest was low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska (see Dateline Storm below). Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs was stretched from the dateline southeast to a point well off South California driving brisk easterly trades over the the Hawaiian Islands at 20-25 kts and still producing solid windswell there. Weak low pressure was off Southern CA at 1012 mbs. Also inconsequential low pressure was just west of the Kurils.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to build off California while 2 weak lows develop north of Hawaii and track northeast over the top of that high. Limited 35-40 kt winds are forecast from both, but the second one is to be best. It's to start circulating north of Hawaii on Saturday (11/12) at 1000 mbs tracking quickly northeast with limited 35 kt winds aimed back at the Islands moving well into the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday (11/15) and pushing into Canada late that evening. Then a short spurt of 40-50 kt winds are forecast aimed at Vancouver Island right before landfall which might be good for something from the northern Pacific Northwest on up into British Columbia. But only windswell is expected for the Islands and the West Coast.
See QuikCAST for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Dateline Storm (updated Fri PM 11/11)
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 started developing on a more positive note. 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 dropped to 970 mbs (really a strong gale) with a broad fetch of 40-45 kts winds building at 47N 147W aimed 25 degrees south of the 303 degree path to NCal (308 SCal). Seas were modeled at 27 ft centered at 47N 156W (30 ft MPC). The Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 28 ft at 3:38Z centered at 47N 156W .
On Thursday AM (11/10) the system held in the Gulf with pressure up to 976 mbs and winds confirmed at 40-45 kts totally filling the Gulf covering everything north of 47N. These winds were centered at 48N 143W aimed right down the 311 degree path to North CA (314 SCal). Seas were modeled at 32 ft over a broad area centered at 48N 148W (307 degrees) with the MPC indicating 35 ft. Of interest is the readouts from the Jason-1 satellite indicating a 40 and a 43 ft reading at 11:30Z at 45N 148W and 50N 152W. This seems highly unlikely and we're discounting it, but it does make us pause for a nanosecond. Swell from the first part of this storm started to hit buoy 46006 at noon with swell up quickly to 9.4 ft @ 18.6 secs, but that quickly settled down to the 14-15 sec range. By evening the core pocket of winds are to continue at 40-45 kts but over a little small area in the Gulf at 50N 145W aimed well down the 312 degree path to NCal (320+ SCal) producing seas of 35 ft at 50N 145W (312 NCal).
This system quickly dissipated Friday (11/11) but with 32 ft seas continuing on the northmost edge of the North CA swell window (50N 140W), but well within the Pacific Northwest window. Swell from the core of this storm hit buoy 46006 between 9 AM-2 PM with seas 19-23 ft and pure swell 15-16 ft @ 16 secs, right on track with expectations. It moved into buoy 46059 by 7 PM with pures swell 12-13 ft @ 16 secs, right on track.
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 5 days previous. Obviously the first half of this gale was a real dud, not good for Hawaii, though some energy has trickled south to them. But that was made up for by the second half of the storm in the Gulf. Latest data suggests a large utility class 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.
San Francisco: The first bit of energy to arrive starting 3 PM Friday with period at 17 secs and size small coming up through the night. Swell to peak from 11-6 PM Saturday (11/12), with swell about 9 ft @ 16 secs outside the Farallons and at exposed breaks (14-16 ft faces) and 6.0-7.0 ft @ 16 secs inside the Farallons (9.6-10.4 ft faces). Swell declining with 14 secs energy left Sunday morning (11/13). Swell Direction 299-311 degrees
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/10) high pressure at 1026 mbs continued strong positioned 1000 nmiles west of Southern CA but was not ridging inland just yet, still held at bay by a local 1010 mb low centered off San Diego. Windswell produced earlier in the Gulf of Alaska continued to push onshore north of Pt Conception. That little low is to be gone by late Friday (11/11), but the models are now suggesting that high pressure is not to push east as fast or as strong as originally anticipated. North winds are now modeled to remain in the 15-20 kts range and mostly off the coast, improving the chances for reasonably decent conditions through the weekend. Calmer conditions still to move in by midday Monday (11/14) and beyond as wave after wave of low pressure pushes in the Gulf producing some degree of windswell pushing into our region.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Thursday (11/10) 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 generating 23 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii. This low continued through Wednesday (11/9) at the same strength then faded. 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 remains unclear, with each new run of the model providing an different outcome. The latest run suggests a small but intense low building just off Japan on Saturday (11/12) quickly tracking north with winds 55 to near 65 kts that evening through Sunday evening (11/13) aimed well at Hawaii down the 306-315 degree great circle paths. Seas to 40 ft. Will believe it when it happens. Also another broad low is to form north of Hawaii mid-next week pushing north into the Gulf while expanding some, with yet another low following the same track by the weekend.
Beyond 72 hours 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