New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Thursday (11/20) North/Central California was near flat with light onshore winds. Southern California was flat and socked in. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a new pulse of northwest swell in the chest to head high.cgius range. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore report was not available.
For Central California swell from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to arrive for Friday morning with waves double overhead but pretty raw with alot of bump in the water continuing on through the weekend. Southern CA to see a fraction of this swell late Friday up north, with most size expected overnight continuing into Saturday then fading into Sunday. The North Shore of Hawaii is to see fading northerly swell Friday with a reinforcing pulse expected in for Saturday into Sunday. The South Shore of Hawaii is flat with no change forecast. The East Shore to see a little east windswell Saturday building on Sunday to head high late. Of most interest is the gale that formed over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians Monday AM (11/17) dropped southeast then turning east Wednesday with 35 kts winds and 21-25 ft seas aimed a bit towards Hawaii initially then more towards the US West Coast later in it's life. Swell has already hit the Islands and is fading but with reinforcements now moving in. Swell is poised off the US for Friday (11/21). Long term the models, though unstable, have made a significant step upwards suggesting first a moderate gale in the Gulf mid next week with up to 36 ft seas and a super charged system on the dateline Wed/Thurs with up to 48 ft seas. Hardly believable, but a nice tease just the same with good support from the jetstream the main contributing factor. Watch the models.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (11/20) the North Pacific jetstream indicated the weak remnants of a trough hanging just off the Pacific Northwest coast getting ready to push onshore there and offering minimal support for gale development. Of more notice was a huge.cgiume of winds tracking northeast off Japan to the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutian Islands with winds at 170 kts, driving all energy pushing off Siberia into the bering Sea and offering no support for gale development. But a portion of that.cgiume was diving hard south after crossing the dateline almost reaching Hawaii, but did not look capable of support low pressure development either. Over the next 72 hours the strong northeast flow off Japan is forecast to slowly moderate and flatten out over the dateline starting Friday (11/21) perhaps setting up a small trough on it's leading edge pushing east into the Gulf of Alaska Saturday with winds to 170 kts perhaps feeding development of a steep trough there through Sunday offering some odds for gale development. Beyond 72 hours more solid energy is to be streaming off Japan Sun/Mon (11/24) at 170 kts pushing east and forming a bit of a trough pushing to the dateline Tuesday offering another opportunity for surface level gale development.And yet more energy is expected on Wednesday with winds to near 200 kts carving out a monster trough on the dateline Thursday offering great potential for storm development, assuming the models are correct.
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of pt Conception starting to ridge into Central CA generating some northerly winds there and making for lessening trades over the Hawaiian Islands. A gale that was tracking southeast through the Gulf of Alaska (see Gulf Gale below) was moving into the Pacific Northwest with secondary energy developing off the PAcific Northwest coast late expected to generate 40-45 kt southwest winds pushing into Vancouver Islands Friday (11/21) and produce 20 ft seas there, good for more limited 12 sec period energy pushing into the Pacific Northwest down into central CA thought the weekend. A second high pressure system was over the dateline driving Siberia energy up through the Bering Sea, totally landlocked relative to the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours a quick lived gale is to try and wrap up in the Eastern Gulf on Sunday (11/23) generating 35 kt northwest winds and dropping south into an almost cutoff trough 600 nmiles west of Pt Conception Monday generating more 35-40 kt north winds producing 20 ft seas tracking south between Hawaii and California affecting neither (or maybe a glancing blow for Eastern Shores of the Islands late Tuesday 11/25).
Of more interest is a fragmented but large gale that is to be filling the Bering Sea with western fetch dropping south over the dateline and generating a broad area of 20-22 ft seas Sunday into Monday (11/24) extending almost from the Kuril Islands to a bit east of the dateline. Background 13 sec period swell possible for Hawaii longterm. But what this is to do more is rough up the oceans surface, allowing any other system that follow to get good traction and better swell generating grip.
A gale that was landlocked in the Bering Sea started dropping south into the Western Gulf of Alaska Monday AM (11/17) with 35 kt northwest winds at 49N 170W aimed 30 degrees east of the 345 degree great circle path to Hawaii and 40 degrees south of the 304 degree path to Northern CA. 24 ft seas were modeled at 48N 170W. In the evening 35 kt winds continued falling southeast with 23 ft seas at 47N 165W aimed 35 degree east of the 347 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees south of the 300 degree path to NCal. Tuesday AM (11/18) winds were confirmed at 35 kts aimed more westerly at 43N 158W bypassing Hawaii but generating 24 ft seas at 45S 160W aimed 20 degrees south of the 296 degree path to NCal. That fetch built slightly at 30-35 kts in the evening with 25 ft seas holding at 43N 155W (292 degrees relative to NCal). Wednesday AM (11/19) 30 kt west winds faded some in the lows south quadrant at 40N 145W aimed directly at Central CA up the 285 degree path with seas at 23 ft at 40N 150W. In the evening the low faded some more with 30 kt west winds and 21 ft seas at 39N 140W (283 deg NCal). A final pulse of 19 ft seas were hanging on t Thursday AM (11/20) off Oregon at 40N 134W (292 degrees NCal).
Moderate 13-14 sec period swell is expected for both Hawaii and California.
Swell pushed into Hawaii before sunrise Thursday (11/20) with swell peaking at 4.0 ft @ 14 secs at sunrise (6 ft faces) holding through the day with period down to 13 secs by sunset. Tiny 11 sec residuals expected on Friday. Swell Direction: 340-345 degrees
North CA: Swell to be pushing into the coast on Friday starting before sunrise (11/21) with a mix of northwest and west energies. The northwest component to be 5-6 ft @ 14 secs (7-8 ft faces) and the westerly component at 7-8 ft @ 14 secs (10 ft faces). Swell Direction: 300 & 285-292 degrees.
Limited westerly energy (290-297 degrees) to push into Southern CA near sunset Friday and peak overnight with residuals left for Saturday AM (11/22) near 3.4 ft @ 14 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces), bigger the further south one goes.
Secondary Hawaiian Pulse
A secondary gale relative to the one documented above formed north of Hawaii on Wed/Thurs (11/20) with limited energy aimed south generating a short-lived fetch of 35 kt northwest winds and 19 ft seas Wed PM/Thurs AM at 36N 170W perhaps making windswell for the North Shore on Saturday (11/22) at 4.5 ft @ 11 secs (5 -6 ft faces) from 325 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/20) high pressure at 1028 mbs was offshore and starting to ridge into Southern Oregon with the usual pressure gradient building off it's south side producing 20 kt north winds near Pt Conception and 15 kt north winds expected up to Pt Arena by sunset. The gradient is to continue through Friday with winds at 15-20 kts, a bit off the coast , and less nearshore, but still enough to generate a defined lump in the ocean for all of Central CA. The gradient is to linger into Saturday too now, though not so close to the coast, offering a hint of somewhat cleaner conditions, then finally dying on Sunday with winds turning offshore. Scal to be mostly unaffected by this event. Building low pressure well off the coast and sinking south to set up southerly winds for Monday and Tuesday even into Southern Ca (though southeast from Monterey Bay northward) possibly extending into Wednesday of next week (11/26). Big high pressure and north winds to be building off the coast behind that.
No tropical activity of interest was occurring.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast.
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 secondary low pressure from the Mon-Wed system (documented above) to race east forming a fetch of 35-40 kt southwest winds auguring into British Columbia on Friday (11/21) offering 20 ft seas and sideband energy down into the Pacific Northwest and exposed breaks in North CA late Saturday into Sunday (11/23) at 6 ft @ 11 secs (6.5 ft faces) from 305 degrees.
Longterm the models have notched significantly upwards. First up is a short lived gale in the northwestern Gulf of Alaska Monday (11/24) with 35 kt west winds generating a short lived area of 26 ft seas at 52N 157W with possible modest utility class swell arriving on Thanksgiving Day in Central CA. Another to follow right behind on Tues/Wed (11/25) generating 50 kt northwest winds and 37 ft seas at 49N 152W Tues PM offering 18+ sec period swell Friday PM (11/28). and of most interest is a monster storm forecast for the dateline Wed/Thurs (11/27) generating 60-65 kt winds and 48 ft seas aimed well at both Hawaii and California. A nice tease if this all happens, but we have zero confidence in the models at this early date.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (11/20) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was trying to move into the Active Phase. The Daily SOI index (not updated since Thurs 11/13) was way up to 27.55, erasing any previous gains into negative territory. The 30 day average was holding at 13.98 and the 90 day average was up a tick to 14.05, the highest in the past 30 days. This remains symptomatic of a weak La Nina. Winds anomalies (as of Thurs 11/20) at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated east winds trying to hang on over the Eastern equatorial Pacific (from the dateline into Central America) but fading in strength and areal coverage. The leading edge of the Active Phase of the MJO was still trying to push east over the Philippines but making zero headway. This active phase is expected to continue into the fourth week in November (11/29), but dissipating all the while and completely gone by December 4. The Active Phase is to slightly enhance storm development in the Northern Pacific over the coming week or so, but not much of that is expected given this weak strength projection for the Active Phase (above).
No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.
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