New Swell Classification Guidelines
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.
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On Thursday (12/6) Northern CA surf was 1-3 ft overhead with reasonably clean conditions, but still some warble in the water. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were 1-3 ft overhead with light wind. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was double overhead with mixed up conditions. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was head high with sets to 3 ft overhead at top spots and clean. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest to head high and reasonably clean. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were head high to 3 ft overhead and fading. The North Shore of Oahu was triple plus overhead and raw. The South Shore had locally generated windswell in the chest high range. The East Shore has surf to 10 ft .
North/Central California was settling down into very modest surf conditions with the last little dribbles from Swell #9 slipping in. Southern California was still getting fun sized energy from Swell #9, but this is the last day of that. Hawaii's North Shore was getting hammered by large raw locally generated proto-swell coming from a gale just north of the Islands. Wrap around energy was working it's way into the East Shore and brisk south winds were generating junky windswell along the South Shore. In terms of large swell, none is in the forecast with even the local swell hitting Hawaii expected to be fading fast by Friday AM. New swell from the dateline to arrive for Sunday the large intermediate class range, but that's all. Reasonably large local windswell is the best bet for California for the weekend, fading out by Sunday. The only ting of interest is a gale forecast for the dateline starting Monday (12/10) pushing into the Northern Gulf late Thursday generating 29-32 ft seas through it's life and offering some hope for both Hawaii and California. But that's a ways off with no guarantees. Good weekend to take care of some Christmas shopping. Support your local surf shops! See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (12/6) for the North Pacific are looking eerily reminiscent of last years pattern. A solid consolidated flow of 170 kt winds were pushing flat off Japan reaching just over the dateline, then splitting three ways with one branch pushing northeast to Alaska, another east over Central CA and the third splintering off to the southeast towards Central America. The best hope for low pressure development was near the dateline. Over the next 72 hours no real change is forecast other than some of the energy pooled up off Japan is to be drifting east but getting split three ways and having no impact on surface level storm development potential. Beyond 72 hours the split flow pattern is to push east with an almost consolidated yet in place over the North Pacific mid-next week with a modest trough over the dateline and a ridge pushing into the Gulf of Alaska. Some support for surface level gael development along that area. But by Thursday (12/13) the jet is to begin splitting again just west of the dateline, likely shutting any surface level potential down.
At the surface today a broad weak pool of low pressure was off the Kamchatka Peninsula easing into the Bering Sea almost to Alaska, but was landlocked by the Aleutians Islands offering no hope. A 1004 mb low remained locked due north of Hawaii generating 30-35 kt north winds aimed best at Kauai and has been the source of large raw local swell currently impacting the Islands. High pressure at 1032 mbs was in the Gulf of Alaska with a secondary lobe joined to it midway between Hawaii and Southern CA. Very weak low pressure at 1012 mbs was over Northern CA sinking south. Over the next 72 hours low pressure north of Hawaii is to hold tight there through Friday while weakening with raw local well fading. It's to lift rapidly north Saturday (12/8) and out of the picture with it's swell generation capacity all but gone.
Local low pressure is to remain off Cape Mendocino late Thursday (12/6) generating 25-30 kts north winds there fueled mainly by the lows interaction with a 1032 mbs high building in the center of the Gulf of Alaska (not good long term). The low to push inland over Central CA through the day Friday with 30-35 kt north winds quickly taking control of the entire CA coast (include Southern CA) generating windswell seas to 17 ft and lot's of local chop. It's to hold into Saturday while pushing south then fading Sunday as the high starts ridging into the Pacific Northwest with an offshore flow taking over. Windswell is to be the only result.
Also on Tuesday (12/4) a gale was off the Kuril's tracking east-northeast and pushed north of the Aleutians Wednesday near the dateline and generating 24 hours of 50-55 kts winds over a small area near 170E-180W on the 50N latitude generating a tiny area of 39 ft seas aimed best at NCal down the 207-308 degree path. Small longer period swell for Hawaii on Sunday (12/9) and California on Sunday and Monday (12/10) possible (see QuikCAST's for details)
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (12/6) weak low pressure was pushing southeast over Central California with strong high pressure at 1032 mbs poised to build in right behind. By Friday a full on northerly windfest is forecast over the entire state even pushing into Southern CA and holding through Saturday. The high is to start ridging into the Pacific Northwest on Sunday with offshore developing everywhere and local junky windswell generated by this systems fading. Light offshore wind is forecast holding through at least Thursday on next week (12/13). Great conditions for surfing irrespective of the presence of swell.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch is occurring and none is forecast for 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 a decent but small low pressure system is to be approaching the dateline Monday (12/10) from Japan and building, with 45 kt winds in it's southwest quadrant targeting Hawaii and California. A decent fetch of 45-50 kt west winds are forecast in it's south quadrant late Monday as it passes over the dateline lifting gently northeast, with 40-45 kt winds expected Tuesday and Wednesday then holding at 35-40 kts in the Northern Gulf on Thursday. 32 ft seas forecast Tues AM at 43N 175W aimed a bit east of Hawaii and well at California up the 292 degree path and holding Wednesday pushing to 50N 160W aimed again at NCal up the 307 degree path. 27-29 ft seas forecast in the Gulf Thursday. Some reasonably hope for small to moderate swell for Hawaii starting Thursday (12/13) and California for the weekend.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast. The season is over.
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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Sharkwater: There's a new feature film called Sharkwater that is hitting theaters November 2nd. Sharkwater is an award winning documentary (22 international film awards including the UN and Cannes) that broke box office records in Canada, opening to bigger numbers than any documentary in history save Fahrenheit 911 and Supersize Me. It is a conservation film that demonstrates that the biggest influence on the air we breathe, and global warming is life in the oceans – except life in the oceans is being wiped out. Shark populations have dropped 90% in the last 30 years alone, and the oceans continue to be destroyed because nobody knows that it's happening Learn more here: http://www.sharkwater.com
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Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table