On Wednesday (11/14) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft overhead and reasonably clean but an oil covered toxic mess in the San Francisco area. Ocean Beach, Sharp Park, Rockaway and Lindamar remain closed due to the oil spill. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high to 2 ft overhead and clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was chest to head high at the better exposed north facing breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high to chest high, maybe pushing head high at the best breaks. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-3 ft overhead and reasonably clean early. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore chest to head high at the right spots.
North/Central California was on the down side of an advanced class Gulf swell that hit on Tuesday. Southern California was getting a reasonably good shot at the Gulf swell with well rideable surf in best exposed north facing breaks. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a good shot of what was essentially north windswell generated just north of the Islands on Mon/Tues. Some of that swell was pushing into exposed breaks on the East Shore too. No swell was hitting the South Shore. First up is little south swell pushing best towards Hawaii from a little gale that developed under New Zealand Wed/Thurs (11/8) expected to arrive on Thurs (11/15) with some background energy possible for Southern California by the weekend. But of more interest is the building gale pattern setting up off the North California and Oregon coasts, with one system currently 650 nmiles off generating 40-50 kt winds and near 30 ft seas. A second system is developing right behind but broader and expected to push east before tracking north in to the Gulf for the weekend. This one to generate 25 ft seas aimed well to the east through it's life. Some sideband energy to track into Hawaii. But longterm a series of gales are forecast to take good aim at the Islands, likely setting up some semi-real size next week. So a little something for everyone looks possible. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Wednesdays jetstream charts (11/14) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate but nearly split flow tracking west to east with the southern branch having the most energy tracking on the 35N parallel, with a weak ridge north of Hawaii and winds to 120 kts flowing off Japan into the ridge, but fading east of there. The flow was split over the West Pacific with a weak stream flowing off the main stream (above) tracking up into the Bering Sea then almost joining the main flow north of Hawaii then almost splitting again. It was really hard to define any good area supportive of gale development at this level in the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours the pattern to slowly become a little more cohesive flowing generally on the 35N latitude, with winds about 120 kts and a weak ridge over the dateline, with more energy pushing into Oregon by Friday on into the weekend. A bit of a trough is to try and set up north of Hawaii on Sunday offering a little hope, but the pattern generally to remain to well organized. Beyond 72 hours things to change significantly with the jet become more cohesive by Monday with winds to 150 kts setting up off Japan and a big trough building just north of Hawaii by Wednesday (11/21) very much supportive of surface level low pressure development while a big ridge sets up off the US West Coast. Possible storm development possible in the trough.
At the surface today weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was just north of Hawaii generating light trades at 15-20 kts and was barely ridging into California setting up even weaker northwesterly winds there confined to just off Pt Conception. Of far more interest was a series of 2 gales, one off Oregon (see Storm #4 below) and a broader one stretching from the dateline east to a point 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii (see Gulf Gale below). These are to be the focus for the next 72 hours.
The first gale fired up Tuesday evening (11/13) with 40-45 kt westerly winds confirmed by both the QuikSCAT satellite at 40N 144W and pushing over buoy 46006 with gust to 40 kts there. Late seas were modeled at 21 ft @ 38N 142W and the Jason-1 satellite passed right over the fetch confirming it at 25 ft with a peak reading to 29 ft. So the models were a conservative estimate.
By Wednesday AM (11/14) the low was pushing east with 35-40 kts winds confirmed at 41N 138W aimed right at NCal up the 295 degree path (300 SCal). Seas at buoy 46006 were 22-29 ft @ 14 secs from 2-10 AM with pure swell 17-22 ft @ 14 secs from 4-9 AM. This was a really short window, but was as much a function of the gale passing directly over the buoy than anything. The wave models suggested 25 ft seas at 40N 138W. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the fetch and confirmed seas at 24.7 ft, but mostly off the southeastern quadrant of the system, so this wasn't of much use. In the evening this gale to be lifting northeast with winds down to 30-35 kts at 45N 135W aimed 20 degrees east of the 310 degree great circle path to NCal and outside the SCal swell window. Seas modeled to 25 ft at 42N 133W 548 niles away from and aimed down the 300 degree path to North CA. Buoy 46059 started to get the leading edge of this swell at 7 PM with pure swell 5.6 ft @ 16.5 secs pushing up to 9 ft @ 15.5 secs by 9 PM.
By Thursday AM (11/15) this sytem is to be effectively inland over Washington.
This system is not really a storm, and would normally not be of any particular interest other than the fact that it is so close to the North CA coast. The seas it generates will have little time to decay resulting in significant class swell impacting the North and Central CA coast with much smaller energy wrapping into Southern CA.
North CA: Expect swell arrival starting at 2 PM Thursday (11/15) with swell peaking near 8 PM at 10 ft @ 15 secs (14-15 ft faces) from 295-300 degrees. Swell holding till near midnight then fading. Swell fading from 9 ft @ 12-13 secs (11 ft faces) sunrise Friday (11/16)
A gale developed Tuesday AM (11/13) near the dateline with pressure 992 mbs and winds 30-35 kts over a fragmented are near 37N 160E aimed generally towards Hawaii. Seas were building. By evening it was tracking due east but lacked definition, with 30-35 kt winds at 37N 165E again aimed towards Hawaii down the 303 degree great circle path. seas were only 18 ft.
On Wednesday AM (11/14) the gale was reorganizing with 30 kt winds still aimed at Hawaii from it's aft at 37N 170E with 20 ft seas at 37n 165E but 40 kts confirmed winds were building to the east at 41N 159W. By evening most of the fetch was to have moved fast east to the leading edge of the gale repositioned at 40N 150W aimed 10 degrees north of the 290 degree path to North CA (293 SCal) but totally perpendicular to any route to Hawaii (though sideband energy is still likely). Seas forecast at 25 ft at 40N 158W.
On Thursday AM (11/15) this gale to be building in the Gulf of Alaska with 45 kts winds forecast at 47N 143W aimed right down the 303 degree path to NCal (310 SCal) with pressure down to 972 mbs. Seas forecast building to 25 ft at 43N 148W (296 degrees relative to NCal). In the evening the gale to build to storm status with pressure at 960 mbs positioned just off the coast of Northern Canada with 50 kt winds aimed due east at 50N 140W 35 degrees east of the 319 degree path to NCal. 28 ft seas forecast at 48N 140W (312 degrees relative to NCal and outside the SCal swell window).
This system to continue circulating in the northern Gulf on Friday (11/16) into Saturday with 30-35 kts winds near 50N 150W and seas at 20-23 ft at 47N 140-150W likely generating and extended run of 13 sec period energy pushing towards the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA.
Rough data suggests large advanced class swell (not significant class) arriving in North and Central CA Saturday (11/17) fading some Sunday but hanging on solidly Monday and Tuesday.
Hawaii to see a little burst of energy on Sunday (11/18), but not anything more than what has occurred recently.
No systems of interest were being tracked.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Wednesday (11/14) high pressure at 1022 mbs was just barely hanging on over California while a building gale pattern built off the Pacific Northwest. Generally light northwest winds were over all costal waters expect a bit stronger off Pt Conception (to 20 kts). No significant change is forecast through the end of the week into the weekend with high pressure barely hanging on off the coast while two gales and multiple embedded short waves push into the Pacific Northwest generating copious rainfall and southwest winds as far south as Cape Mendocino. But south of there a light northwest flow to prevail.
Wednesdays jetstream charts (11/14) for the South Pacific indicated a very weak flow and no support for surface level low pressure development. A big ridge was pushing south over the Ross Ice Shelf. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast with the ridge over the Central Pacific holding tight. Beyond 72 hours a pretty energetic trough is forecast building under New Zealand Tuesday (11/20) with 140 kts winds pushing northeast through mid-week.
At the oceans surface a calm wind pattern was in play. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast, with the only wind indicated pushing south towards Antarctica.
On Thursday (11/8) 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
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 nice little storm is forecast building in a steep upper level trough over the dateline on Sunday (11/18) with winds to 50 kts at 44N 175W in the storm northwest quadrant, aimed a bit east of the Hawaiian Islands. North winds to continue in the area into Monday fading to 45 kts but not before generating 29 ft seas at 40N 172W (Monday AM) aimed well towards Hawaii. North winds to fade through Tuesday in this area with seas in the 25 ft range pushing very close to Hawaii at 30N 160W before dissipating. Possible north angled and raw significant class swell to result.
Otherwise strong high pressure at 1036 mbs to build just off the North Ca coast next week and pushing into Canada generating a nearly offshore flow for Central and South CA. A;so a second large 1032 mb high to set up off Kamchatka pushing towards the dateline and shutting the storm track down, then dissolving mid-week.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a storm is to develop under New Zealand starting next Monday (11/19) with 50 kts pushing east-northeast through Tuesday then fading out Wednesday in the Central South Pacific. Seas modeled to 35 ft on Tuesday, but that seems highly unlikely.
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