On Saturday (12/10) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and clean. South facing breaks were waist to chest high. Central California surf was maybe up to waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were lucky to reach waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to waist high at the better spots. Southward to San Diego waves were up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was thigh high.
Fun sized surf continued pushing into Hawaii and was also pushing through the outer buoys of California on track for a late Saturday/early Sunday arrival. A slow decline expected for California with better chances for more size in Hawaii through next week with the Islands being closer to the swell source, reducing swell decay. The pattern for the upcoming week to remain about the same as it has with 2 systems on the charts neither of which is to be outstanding, and the issue of confidence in the models remains. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Saturdays (12/10) jetstream solid streaming off Japan and pushing east just over the dateline to a point just northwest of Hawaii centered on the 33N latitude. Winds were down some more to 150 kts in it's core, pushing flat (zonally) east. The usual split was occurring just east of Hawaii with the northern branch tracking through the Gulf of Alaska and into the Central Canada while the southern branch pushed just east of Hawaii and into Central Baja. This split remains a bit of a problem directing all local storm energy up into Alaska. Hawaii was on the west side of the split now and was in better shape to be near the core storm track. But the big issue remains the lack of any trough or dips in the jet which typically cause surface level storm formation. We are currently at the end of a jetstream cycle and over the next 72 hours the jet is to start regenerating with strong 190 kt winds building off Japan and the split point moving back to the dateline before stronger energy builds and pushes it back east. So by Tuesday (12/13) things are to be calming down in the east but starting to energize in the west. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to start really making inroads to the east with 200 kt wind forecast by late Thursday (12/16) and a weak ridge starting to set up over the dateline with the energy spilling southeast towards Hawaii. By next weekend a bit of a broad trough is forecast setting up northeast of Hawaii and of the US west coast with 200 kt winds spilling into it. This actually almost looks like a favorable configuration for surface level storms development, but it's all just modeled data and stretched well into the future, so confidence is low, but it's a start.
Today at the surface a weak 1000 mb low was over the dateline with another pushing off Japan behind it. Weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was off the Pacific Northwest coast and in general things looked mostly inactive. By Sunday (12/11) the weak low now north-northwest of the Islands is to start winding up with pressure dropping to 992 mbs and winds building to 40-45 kts (gale force) in it's southwest sector aimed mid-way between California and Hawaii pushing seas up to 25 ft .It's to track east but start loosing strength and concentration with winds down to 35-40 kts by Monday AM, fading out through the day. Seas dropping to 23 ft ft by Tuesday Am and downwards from there. If this plays out as forecast some fun sized 13 sec swell could push south into Hawaii on Tuesday (12/13) holding into Wednesday and reaching California by Thursday (12/15) holding into Friday. A bit overhead but not much more.
Storm #3 (Hawaii)
A new storm pushed off Japan very early Monday (12/5) with pressure 980 mbs and winds modeled at 40-45 kts over a moderate area aimed east (no QuikSCAT imagery available). By evening pressure was down to 972 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts over a moderate area centered at 37N 168E. They were aimed well down the 305 degree great circle path to Hawaii and also right up the 294 degree path to North CA (297 SCal). Seas modeled at 30 ft centered at 35N 157E.
On Tuesday AM the low made it to the dateline with winds 40-45 kts over a moderate area aimed due east at 38N 175E aimed 10 degrees east of the 312 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 292 degree path to North CA (295 SCal). Seas were modeled at 32 ft centered at 37N 167E. By evening pressure held at 964 mbs as the low jogged a little east. A fading area of 40-45 kts winds were confirmed at 40N 180W aimed about like before favoring California more this time. 30 ft seas were modeled at 37N 178E.
The low faded on Wednesday AM with residual 35-40 kts fetch centered at 38N 170W with 31 ft seas forecast at 38N 177W. Residual 30 ft seas held through the evening at 38N 170W, then gone.
This system was unimpressive by any standards, but especially considering the hype the models brought to it a few days earlier. It's one redeeming factor was it produced 30 ft seas that lasted 60 hours, a near milestone this year. This swell is now hitting the outer Hawaii buoy (51001) on Thursday (12/8) at 3 PM with seas 11.5 ft @ 19 secs and pure swell 9.2 ft @ 17.2 secs.
Still it was a very long ways from North California (2220-3763 nmiles) and will result in only utility class energy, much decayed over the long journey east with the most size fading towards the back end of the period spectrum. Swell expected to hit North CA Sunday 4 AM (12/11) with period 17 secs peaking mid-afternoon with swell 5.5-6.0 ft @ 16 secs (8.5-9.5 ft faces) dropping to 14 secs near midnight. Swell Direction: 286-292 degrees
Southern California: Swell expected at 4.0-4.4 ft @ 16-17 secs late Sunday afternoon (12/11) (6.5-7.0 ft faces at better breaks) and up to 5 ft @ 16-17 secs in San Diego (8 ft faces). Swell to peak overnight with energy fading to 14 secs by sunrise Monday and heading down from there. Swell Direction: 292-297 degrees
See QuikCAST for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (12/10) high pressure remained in control of the outer waters at 1024 mbs filling the space between Hawaii and the US mainland. All eastward bound storm activity was being shunted north into Alaska with generally calm waters off the California coast. No real change forecast through Tuesday (12/13) but then a series of storms are forecast to develop just north of Hawaii pushing strong to the east aided by a building upper level flow. By Friday AM (12/16) high pressure is to be gone and the local storm door is to open, with strong south winds, rain and lot's of windchop mixed with real swell pushing into the coast probably through next weekend.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
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 the second low currently pushing off Japan is to start getting it's act together by Tuesday (12/13) with pressure dropping to 980 mbs and winds building to 55-60 kts over a tiny area aimed east. These winds to hold through Wednesday AM as it pushes over the dateline with seas to 37 ft over a small area aimed primarily east. But by the evening it's to really fall apart with winds down to 35-40 kts as it becomes absorbed in a much larger system starting to develop just north of Hawaii. This is to be the systems to watch supported by a strong jetstream flow aloft. By Friday (12/16) the redeveloping system to start producing 45-50 kt winds over a decent area just northwest of Hawaii aimed just east of the Islands swirling right towards California. A rather huge pool of low pressure and equally as large fetch of 35-40 kts winds is forecast stretching from the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians southeast to (and over) Hawaii then turning northeast pushing into California and the Pacific Northwest. 30-33 ft seas to be imbedded in this area setting up ragged raw stormurf and stormy weather for both locations. Enjoy whatever nice weather you have now because winter might finally be coming.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Details to follow...
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Stormsurf Weather Model Update: Over the weekend (10/30) we moved new new code into production that should dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of our weather models. We've had problems with them not keeping in-sync with the wave models. Hopefully that problem is now resolved though we're still dependent on NOAA data servers just like everyone else. What this fix does do is provide the infrastructure now to rapidly expand our offering of weather models, enabling more detailed global coverage. We will be working on that as time permits.
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Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table