On Thursday (11/16) Northern CA surf was waist to shoulder high and clean but weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was waist high or so. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County had surf rarely pushing waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high with some bigger sets. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was flat.
A small pulse of northwesterly windswell was hitting Hawaii's Northern Shores, but nothing special. California was effectively flat both north and south. Small bits of northerly swell are in the forecast for Hawaii building into late weekend when some semi-real surf is expected. A new swell is in the water pushing south towards North and Central California, expected by late Thursday (today) with more on tap for Saturday. A bit of a back off then more forecast well into next week. only very limited energy forecast wrapping into exposed breaks in Southern CA. Stormwise, more of the same is forecast with a series of weak low pressure systems redeveloping in a upper trough locked over the northern Gulf of Alaska, pushing bit's of swell energy south towards the Pacific Northwest and California with weaker tangent energy pushing due south towards Hawaii. The big issue remains a poor jetstream flow aloft, splitting off Japan and pushing north to the Bering Sea then diving south and reconsolidating in the eastern Gulf of Alaska. The split flow steals most energy from the southern branch that is pushing across the North Pacific, depriving developing storms of much required energy, leaving them weak. High pressure is locked between the split flows centered right over the dateline and right in the middle of the main storm corridors for Hawaii and California. No change forecast into mid next week, so take what you can get and be glad the split isn't right over the Gulf. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (11/16) remained essentially unchanged from previous days with a pronounced split flow of energy developing just off Japan, with the northern branch pushing direct north into and beyond the Bering Sea then recurving south and merging with the main flow which was flowing generally flat across the Pacific with only a slight dip over the dateline. The two streams merged in the Central Gulf of Alaska forming a weak trough there then pushing into the Pacific Northwest. This was the only area capable for supporting low pressure development at the surface, and even that was limited in it's capabilities. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (11/19) much the same pattern is forecast but with the split in the jet centered just east of the dateline riding north up into the Bering Sea and south to 35N. Again the Gulf to remain the best hope for low pressure development at the surface, and even that to be limited. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest the split is to start becoming less pronounced, with the northern branch just tracking north to and just over the Aleutians but not tracking north of the Bering Sea. Perhaps this is the first sign of the split pattern moderating. And back west there's even a hint of a strengthening consolidated flow just off Japan, but just barely so.
At the surface today low pressure remained in the northern Gulf of Alaska while high pressure at 1032 mbs was locked over the dateline ridging north of the Aleutians and totally blocking the storm corridor there on back to the Kuril Islands. The low in the Gulf has gone through multiple cycles of surging then fading. A Surging cycle started Wednesday (11/15) with pressure dropping to 968 mbs and northwest winds 40 kts building in areal coverage pushing well towards the Pacific Northwest and California holding through the day. Seas built to 27 ft near 52N 150W pushing well down the 312 degree path to North CA Wed PM into Thursday AM, then fading from 23 ft in the evening. the first signs of this swell were hitting buoy 46005 well off Washington Thursday afternoon. Decent 13-14 sec swell energy is expected to reach the North CA coast late Friday peaking Saturday before sunrise with swell 6 ft @ 13-14 secs (8 ft faces) from 310-315 degrees. Smaller energy to filter in to Central CA Sat AM at 4.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (6 ft faces) with next to nothing (2 ft @ 13 secs - 2.0-2.5 ft faces) wrapping into exposed breaks in Southern CA late in the day.
Over the next 72 hours another minor surge is forecast driving some 20 ft seas south towards Hawaii on Saturday (11/18) possibly setting up northerly windswell for the Islands Sunday through Tuesday (11/21) peaking at 7.5 ft @ 12-13 secs late Monday (9 ft faces) from 360 degrees.
Also swell from a previous burst of energy from the Gulf was starting to hit buoy 46002 off Oregon at 6 PM Wednesday (11/15) with swell 12-13 ft @ 13 secs, expected to reach North California at sunset Thursday (11/16) with swell 7-8 ft @ 12-13 secs (9 ft faces) moderating to 7 ft @ 11 secs Friday (8 ft faces) with lesser energy tricking into Central CA (see QuikCAST's for details).
Hurricane Sergio formed 360 nmiles south of Manzanillo Mexico on Tuesday 911/14) with sustained winds 50 kts drifting due north. This was very late in the season and totally due to the pool-up of unusually warm waters there driven by El Nino. This system slowly intensified and reached hurricane strength late Wednesday and has since held while essentially circling in the same position. A slow drift to the north is expected through the weekend with strength fading. At no time has it pushed into the Southern California swell window and no deviation from that status is expected through it's life. no energy to push towards Hawaii either.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/16) weak high pressure at 1018 mbs was holding off the South California coast providing minimal buffer from the stormy pattern off the Pacific Northwest fueled by semi-permanent low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. A slight reinforcement of the high is forecast Friday continuing a rather calm pattern from Pt Arena southward, but the Gulf low to be energizing over the weekend making a play for more southern regions. Fortunately more high pressure forecast to come to the rescue Tuesday continuing the placid pattern over the California coast into Thursday, with a north winds only becoming an issue directly over Pt Conception in and around the Wed/Thurs timeframe.
At the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.
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 poor jetstream flow aloft to continue the high pressure regime over the West Pacific, with high pressure and no swell producing fetch indicated. To the east low pressure to remain locked over the Gulf of Alaska. The high to push a little east Monday forming a weak gradient with the low there and generating 35 kt northeast winds aimed best at California, with seas forecast to 27 ft and 25 ft through Wednesday pushing into the Pacific northwest with possible larger swell sweeping south into California. This to hold well into the Thanksgiving weekend. Nothing indicated directing energy towards Hawaii through.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management plan has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/jointplan/involved.html
Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml
Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the implications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table