On Tuesday (11/21) Northern CA surf was chest high and clean but weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high. Central California surf was chest to head high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat even at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were essentially flat. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-4 ft overhead. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was chest to head high.
Hawaii takes top honors for surf today with decent surf on the North Shore. California was near flat south of Point Conception, but there was some rideable weak swell north of there. Hawaii to continue on a favorable trend for a while with a nice pulse of longer period energy moving in for Thanksgiving, then heading down as the West Pacific falls into a funk, but not completely flat. California to get a bit of sizeable windswell over the next day or so mostly on the north end of the state, then heading down with weak windswell the only thing charted thereafter. The jetstream is changing, but not offering any real improvement, just 'rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic'. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (11/21) remained unchanged from previous days with a big split in the flow of energy pushing over the North Pacific developing just off Japan, with the northern branch pushing directly north into 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. But the amount of energy pushing north from Japan is down significantly, hinting that the split pattern may be moderating. The two streams merged in the Central Gulf of Alaska forming a weak trough there with 130 kts winds pushing east into Oregon and Washington. This was the only area capable for supporting low pressure development at the surface. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (11/24) a major change is forecast with the split fading out and a consolidated flow pushing off Japan at up to 140 kts but rising gradually to the northeast just shy of the Aleutians pushing to the Western Gulf of Alaska. A split to continue east of there, with the north branch flowing through the Gulf of Alaska while very weak offshoot pushes south over Hawaii then east into Baja. Presumably high pressure at the surface to be between the two flows. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest more of the same with the dominants flow rising to the Aleutians then tracking east over them into Central Canada while a weak flow tries to separate off to the south starting just off Japan heading east over Hawaii and into Baja. This is better than the pattern for the past few weeks in that all energy is now flowing over the North Pacific, but not helpful for any real storm development at the surface in that there are no troughs or significant energy forecast.
At the surface today weak low pressure remained in the northern Gulf of Alaska at 992 mbs (see Gulf Gale below) and the remnants of a storm circulated west of the dateline (see Hawaiian Storm below). Otherwise a patch of high pressure was positioned in between these two systems roughly 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii. Over the next 72 hours low pressure that has been near-permanent in the Gulf of Alaska is to push slowly east into Canada possibly signaling and end to a very wet spell for the Pacific Northwest. Generalized low pressure is to continue off the Kamchatka Peninsula through the period generating mostly fragmented areas of 30-35 kt westerly winds and 20-25 ft seas, providing some hope for small energy for Hawaii but nothing that even ranks in the moderate utility class range. High pressure at 1028 mbs is looking to become better entrenched off Central California late in the week nestled in the split pattern setting up in the jet aloft.
On Monday (11/20) the semi-permanent Gulf low started to surge one more time and likely the last for a while. Northwest winds were sweeping southeast from the far eastern Aleutians through the Gulf aimed towards California and the Pacific Northwest. These winds were confirmed at 35 kts Monday AM and pushing 40 kts over buoy 46066 where 25 ft seas @ 13 secs and swell of 19-21 ft @ 13 secs were reported. These winds continued sweeping towards the NCal coast Monday PM holding in the 30-35 kt range Tuesday and not moving much, then expected to finally fade out early Wednesday. Seas were modeled at 23 ft Monday AM at 51N 153W sweeping southeast to 41N 132W pushing right down the 305-310 degree paths to North CA and 307-312 degree paths to SCal. Seas were 21 ft Tuesday AM at 44N 141W expected to 23 ft in the evening and early Wednesday. This fetch is a bit more westerly than the previous lows, improving the odds for some energy to trickle into Southern CA, though sea heights are lower than the 25-27 ft projected earlier. So in all this looks mostly like windswell will be the result (with period in the 11-12 sec range with some energy pushing 13 secs).
Rough data suggest swell pushing into North CA Wednesday morning and on the increase to 8 ft @ 12 secs late (9 ft faces) peaking early Thanksgiving at 9 ft @ 12-13 secs (10-11 ft faces) then fading from 6 ft @ 11 secs early Friday (7 ft faces). Swell to push down into Central and Southern CA in roughly the same sequence starting late Wednesday (SCal) with swell peaking in Central CA on Thanksgiving at 8 ft @ 12-13 secs (9-10 ft faces) and only at the most exposed north facing breaks in South CA at 3.7 ft @ 12 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces). In all cases swell to be warbled, sloppy and unrefined.
Low pressure off the Kuril's developed as expected for Hawaii. On Sunday (11/19) it did not make any eastward progress but built to 992 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts in the lows western quadrant at 43N 163E aimed 30 degrees south of the 312 degree path to Hawaii. Seas on the increase. In the evening winds continued at 45-50 kts at 40N 166E aimed 20 degrees south of the 310 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building. Then Monday AM the low continued holding position but the fetch moved a bit more towards the lows southern quadrant putting 40 kts winds confirmed over a decreasing area at 39N 172E aimed right down the 310 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 30 ft at 40N 164E early pushing to 38N 170E by nightfall and holding at 29 ft. This system quickly faded out Tuesday AM with winds barely 30 kts and residual seas fading from 23 ft at 37N 176E.
Small swell to be pushing into the Hawaiian Islands late Thanksgiving day at 5 ft @ 15-16 secs (7 ft faces) pushing up and peaking early Friday just after sunrise with swell 5.6 ft @ 14 secs (7.5-8.0 ft faces) from 310-312 degrees. Swell fading some late in the day. Smaller but still rideable residual energy to follow sat/Sun.
No tropical systems capable of generating swell are being monitored at this time.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (11/21) high pressure at 1028 mbs was north of Hawaii barely ridging towards South California providing the thinnest margin of protection from what is likely to be the last Gulf low for a while. No change forecast till Thursday when the low dissipates and the high pressure system starts pushing east, making an impact late in the day in the form of north wind from San Francisco southward to Pt Conception. This pattern to hold through Friday (11/24) then back off a little as a small wave of low pressure tries to push into North & Central CA Saturday, only to have high pressure and north winds return again on Sunday (11/26) after it's passage and holding into Monday. Calmer after that (maybe for a little bit).
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 only real low pressure system is to be over the Bering Sea holding there for a while with weak 25 kt west winds from it blowing over exposed waters south of the Aleutians, generating 20 ft seas, but not anything more nor enough to produce swell for Hawaii or California. A second high pressure center to push off Japan migrating to the dateline Tuesday of next week (11/28) pretty much clogging the Aleutian Storm Corridor (which has yet to open for business so far this season). So for now there no clear sign of the start of any real swell producing storm pattern. Most unusual for the time of year.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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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