On Thursday (11/17) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high with clean offshore conditions. South facing breaks were up to waist high. Central California surf was waist to chest high at the best breaks. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high or less. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high or less. Southward to San Diego waves were flat. The North Shore of Oahu was double to near triple overhead. The South Shore was chest high plus. The East Shore was waist high.
Swell #3 was still quite solid along Hawaii's North Shore today, though down a bit from the triple overhead plus bombs Wednesday late afternoon. They easily take the prize. A far smaller version of this swell is starting to move through the outer California buoys, but small is the operative word here. Just sideband swell generated off the main fetch. Further out a series of solid storms were on the charts, but have been bobbling all over the place more on the down-side lately, so it's anyone's guess what will actually happen, though the thought is only small swell will result. And again Hawaii likely be best positioned. Best bet is to watch the models. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays (11/17) jetstream analysis indicated continued solid energy pushing due east over Japan (35N) at 150 kts reaching just across the dateline then veering northeast to the south Alaskan coast and turning east into Canada. This pattern suggested low pressure aloft off the Kuril Islands (and the best location for storm activity) and high pressure off California. This pattern is to become even more entrenched over the next 72 hours with winds building to 170 kt off Japan by Saturday (11/19) holding most solid well into Wednesday of next week then starting to slacken. A real trough is to start developing north of Hawaii beginning Tuesday (11/22) looking favorable for surface level storm development while the jet continues pushing east, getting dangerously close to California late next week. Still the upper level forecast suggests that a continuous series of fast moving lows are to track off Japan and build, maxing somewhere in between the dateline and Hawaii, then track rapidly off to the the northeast pushing into Alaska while high pressure, light winds and dry conditions persist over the Western US and British Columbia.
Today at the surface strong high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered off North California pushing into the Pacific Northwest. Weak low pressure at 992 mbs was north of Hawaii and starting to develop while lifting fast to the northeast. Over the next 72 hours starting Friday (11/18) the low is to deepen to 968 mbs with winds 40-45 kts wrapping around it's west and south quadrants, but most energy is to be in it's east quadrant aimed north at Alaska, pushing inland in the evening. Maybe 20 ft seas pushing east towards North CA on Friday, and even that is generous, with no winds getting any traction aimed at Hawaii.
Beyond that another new low is to start building north of Hawaii at 988 mbs on Sunday (11/20) but it is looking to suffer a similar fate to it predecessor with next to no fetch being present aimed at Hawaii and only limited fleeting fetch aimed at California.
See QuikCAST for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Storm #3 - Dateline
On Saturday AM (11/12) a small but very intense little storm developed just off the northern coast of Japan with pressure 980 mbs and winds confirmed at 60-70 kts late morning centered at 40N 159E . These winds were aimed well down the 306 degree great circle path to Hawaii with some energy aimed up the 299 degree path to North CA. The storm was tracking northeast. By nightfall pressure was 970 mbs with winds still confirmed at 55-65 kts centered at 40N 165E now aimed right down the 308 degree path to Hawaii with some energy aimed 30 degree south of the 297 degree path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 41N 157E.
On Sunday AM (11/13) the storm was drifting east with pressure 972 mbs and winds confirmed again at 55-70 kts over a small area in the storm south quadrant running 437 nms centered at 41N 166E aimed right up the 308 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees south of the 299 degree path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 39 ft centered at 40N 164E. By nightfall this system was starting to wind down with pressure up to 978 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-55 kts centered at 39N 167E aimed 10 degrees south of the 309 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degree south of the 295 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 37 ft centered at 42N 165E. The GFO satellite passed over this area at 4Z and indicated seas 43 ft at 40N 165E right on track with the wave model if not beating it.
On Monday AM (11/14) this system held at 980 mbs continuing on an eastward track with winds modeled at 45-50 kts centered at 39N 168E aimed right down the 311 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degree south of the 294 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 39N 167E. In the evening pressure jumped to 988 mbs with winds 40-45 kts centered at 38N 172E and fading. These winds were aimed 15 degrees east of the 312 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degree south of the 292 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 34 ft centered at 38N 169E.
By Tuesday AM (11/15) this system was nearly gone with pressure 992 mbs and winds confirmed at 35-40 kts at 38N 178W with seas 30 ft centered at 38N 176E aimed 30 degrees east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii and 15 degrees south of the 290 degree path to NCal. This storm to be gone by nightfall.
By Sunday AM the bulk of the strongest winds had already passed with the largest seas recorded and fading. Only lesser winds (and lesser period energy) followed, with seas 30-35 ft for an additional 48 hrs. This is fairly good. This storm was most impressive in terms of it's ramp-up from nothing to a full hurricane force storm in 12 hours, holding there for 24 hrs and then ramping down but steady for an additional 48 hrs for a total life of a little over 72 hours. Respectable. Though not covering a large area, solid seas have already been produced pushing well down the great circle paths towards Hawaii and the fetch was relatively close to Hawaii (1830-1545 nmiles), minimizing decay and likely setting up a significant class swell for the Islands, thereby providing the rational for giving this storm a number.
But these seas were aimed mostly well south of any route to California. And the long travel distance (3031-3600 nmiles) and associated swell decay will dampen the energy pushing to the US West Coast. The extended life span of the storm may drive a little more lesser period energy towards North and Central California but nothing of real interest. And the route into Southern California is even more problematic, which will reduce the eventual swell size there even more. So don't expect too much for any California location.
Hawaii: Expect 14 sec energy to continue on Friday (7/18) with swell 7 ft @ 14 secs (8-10 ft faces) fading through the day. Swell Direction: 309-315 degrees
North CA: Swell continuing Friday morning (11/18) with swell up to 3.0 ft @ 17-18 secs and holding through the day (5.0-5.5 ft faces). Some energy continuing early Saturday (11/19) with swell 4.0 ft @ 15 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces). Swell 3-4 ft @ 13-14 sec expected on Sunday (4.5-5.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 290-299 degrees
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/17) high pressure remained firmly in control with no end in-sight. It was at 1030 mbs anchored just 600 nm off Cape Mendocino and ridging into the Pacific Northwest setting up a light offshore flow with no change forecast with more high pressure to move in early next week. Protection for California with light local winds forecast through Thanksgiving, though stormy weather will be lurking just offshore.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Thursday (11/13) no swell producing fetch of interest was present in the South Pacific. the models suggest a tiny low developing south of New Zealand on Saturday (11/19) with seas building momentarily to 20 ft over a tiny area, but fading just as fast. At best some more background swell for Hawaii, but confidence is very low. Otherwise no swell producing fetch expected over the next 72 hours.
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 continue to suggest a series of 3 storms moving in rapid succession from the dateline northeast into the Northern Gulf of Alaska and inland into Alaska. All are looking to have reasonably winds, but the problem remains that they are to be moving so fast to the northeast their winds will have little time to get much, if any, traction on the oceans surface.
The second one has the best potential for development starting to wind up Monday (11/21) just north of Hawaii with pressure 976 mbs and 45-50 kts winds and 35 ft seas pushing east through late Tuesday aimed well at all of California from a very westerly angle (35N-40N). But based on previous experience, this is only a projection and likely not worth the time it took to write this.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch.
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