On Saturday (12/3) Northern CA surf was head high and nearly unrideable with all the short period junk in the water. South facing breaks were waist high and gutless. Central California surf was waist to chest high and marginally clean. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were basically flat with a few thigh high sets at the better breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was also up to thigh high but mostly flat. Southward to San Diego waves were flat to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was head high to 1 ft overhead.
Hawaii was the call today, as it has been all week. Swell was still hitting there with much more setting up out back. California was seeing small windswell, biggest north of Pt Conception but not much. The big story is the supposed series of storms forecast for the dateline region over the next week, with the pattern pushing towards the Gulf of Alaska late next week. This is likely to provide Hawaii a series of large and solid swells from the initial part of this storm series with energy them focusing on California next weekend. It's still way too early to know with any certainty how this is all going to play out since it's just based on the models, but the trend is reasonably encouraging. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Saturdays (12/3) jetstream analysis is tracking fairly close to expectations set earlier in the week. Namely that the jet is strengthening and starting to consolidate while pushing east. Today a broad area of moderate winds at 160 kts were pushing straight east off Japan centered on the 33N latitude and fading at the 165E longitude, before reaching the dateline. The pronounced split in the jet that has been so evident the past week or more continues starting at the dateline with the northern branch tracking through the Gulf of Alaska and down the US west coast while the southern branch pushed over Hawaii and into Northern Baja, joining the northern branch there. For now the problem continues to be the split, shearing most energy north towards the Bering Sea and leaving only unorganized surface level moisture to drift east over Hawaii and California. But over the next 72 hours that is to change as the renewed energy in the jet pushes up to and over the dateline reaching a point north of Hawaii by late Monday (12/5). Beyond 72 hours starting Tuesday (12/6) the jet is to continue surging east reaching the coast of British Columbia by early Thursday with no sign of any split to be found. And a week out (next Saturday) the jet is to be solid the whole way from Japan to Vancouver Island with pockets of energy at 150 kts, the largest being just west of the dateline. If this occurs, it is assumed some semi-real storm energy will track along and just north of the jet into the North Pacific, though there are no signs of any significant troughs developing supporting large scale storm development. Hawaii and California are to be south of the jet ensuring relatively clear skies and decent conditions, at least for a little while.
Today at the surface high pressure that has been anchored over the Aleutians and totally blocking the storm corridor from Siberia to the Gulf is on the move, positioned just off the California coast at 1028 mbs. The other notable feature was a storm centered northwest of Hawaii and just east of the dateline. This system actually started developing Friday evening (12/2) with pressure 982 mbs and winds confirmed at 40-50 kts over a small area centered at 37N 172W aimed right at Hawaii down the 320 degree path. Seas were building. On Saturday AM pressure was 978 mbs with winds confirmed again at 40 to near 50 kts over a tiny area centered near 37N 168W aimed well at Hawaii down the 328 degree great circle path but well south of any path to California. Seas were modeled at 29 ft Saturday AM at 36N 1717W in close proximity to Hawaii and expected at 30 ft by evening at 35N 165W. It's to be all but gone by Sunday AM though as the storm fades out fast. Sizeable swell for the Islands expected hitting in the early hours of Monday Am (12/5) with swell peaking at 8.4 ft @ 14 secs near sunrise (10-12 ft faces) from 320-328 degrees.
Another small low is forecast pushing off Japan on Sunday (12/4) with pressure 984 mbs and tracking east-northeast to the dateline through Monday. Winds forecast at 40-45 kts over a small area aimed due east, about 30 degree east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 294 degree path towards California. Seas are only forecast at 25 ft though and dying by late Monday as a much stronger system sets up behind it. This ought to be good for a little 14 secs swell for both Hawaii and North/Central California with very little energy pushing into Southern CA.
A much stronger system is on the charts starting Monday (12/5) pushing off Japan. See Long term outlook for details.
See QuikCAST for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (12/3) the strong high that has been clogging the Aleutian Storm Corridor for over a week had moved and taken up shop 600 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino, driving a moderate northerly flow along the coast. It is expected to push onshore Sunday with some of it lingering just off the coast providing a protective bubble from any systems trying to push into our area from the west while providing a light wind pattern locally. That's not to say that some degree of intermittent frontal garbage might push over our area, but it's to be of very limited strength and duration. The first front to limp over North CA late Tuesday with another possibly late Thursday, with no others on the charts. In short, a return to pristine conditions forecast.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
A small low producing 21 ft seas aimed northeast occurred Saturday (12/3) due south of Hawaii providing the potential for faint background swell for Hawaii a week out. Another similar pulse is forecast for Monday (12/5) Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast 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 high a broad low is forecast to develop just off Japan on Monday (12/5) with pressure dropping to 964 mbs and winds building to 55-60+ kts over a small area centered at 37N 155E aimed east, supported by the improved jetstream flow aloft. Seas building to 42 ft late near 38N 161E.
The low is to track east nearly reaching the dateline Tuesday AM (12/6) with winds still 50-55 kts over a small area in it's south quadrant centered at 40N 171E aimed 10 degrees south of the 294 degree great circle path to North CA (299 SCal) and 25 degrees east of the 312 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 43 ft centered at 40N 169E. By evening winds are to hold if not increase some in areal coverage at 55 kts solid centered at 41N 177E aimed basically like before with seas building to 48 ft centered at 40N 177E. Impressive.
The storm is to cross the dateline on Wednesday AM (12/7) with winds fading to 45-50 kts centered at 40N 177W aimed right up the 292 degree track to North CA (295 SCal) but 40 degrees east of the 319 degree path to HAwaii. Seas from previous days fetch still on the rise, reaching 49 ft centered at 41N 177W. Most impressive In the evening the storm is to start on the dateline with a broad area of 40-45 kts fetch continuing to take aim east with residual seas at 44 ft pushing east from 40N 172W.
On Thursday AM (12/8) the broad 40-45 kts fetch is to continue just east of the dateline centered at 39N 172W aimed due east or right up the 290 degree path to NCal (295 SCal) and 45 degrees east of the 325 degree track to Hawaii. Seas regenerating some at 39 ft centered at 39N 173W. In the evening this thing is to finally wind down with winds 35-40 kts over a broad area aimed east and fading. Seas 37 ft centered at 40N 169W pushing due east and fading.
This system to be gone on Friday (12/9) with large swell pushing primarily east.
This all looks great on the charts, but we've been down this road many times before where the charts looks great 3 days out only to have the whole thing collapse before anything even forms. At this time the trend looks great but it holds no water until something actually forms. Hawaii and California should be on close alert with swell expected to start impacting the Islands at sunset Thursday (12/8) and reaching North CA Friday (12/9) and Southern CA in the late afternoon of Friday. A large significant class long period swell is expected for all locations if this plays out as forecast (highly doubtful).
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table