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.
On Tuesday (1/29) Northern CA surf was head high to a few feet overhead and poorly organized with chop on top. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high and pretty blown. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high to 2 ft overhead and chopped. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to chest high at the better breaks and windy. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high or a little more with moderate texture. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks waist to chest high and not too junky. The North Shore of Oahu was up to 2-4 ft overhead and reasonably clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was head high to 1 ft overhead and windy.
North/Central California was getting northerly unorganized locally generated windswell. Southern California was getting northerly windswell wrapping around from Pt Conception. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some swell originating off Japan mixed with local windswell, but not looking too inspiring. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell but messy. The South Shore was seasonally flat. An interesting pattern is forecast for the coming week, assuming the models are correct. A series of strong gales with a few intermixed storms are to generally track from the dateline northeast up into the Northern Gulf, then dropping southeast pushing into the Pacific Northwest. The net result is to be much swell energy pushing towards the US West Coast, though mostly bypassing Hawaii due to the swell vector on the dateline systems pushing well to the northeast. At the same time weather associated with these systems is to be pushing down the Pacific coast, providing periods of rain and wind followed by a calm spot before the next one moves in. So it will be a cat and mouse game between the swell and the weather. At least there will be swell. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (1/29) for the North Pacific continued depicting a fully split jetstream with the split point now back west of the dateline near 170E. Winds were up a little pushing 170 kts over Japan, with the northern branch tracking northeast from the split point but remaining south of the Aleutians moving up into the Gulf of Alaska, then dropping southeast and inland into the Pacific Northwest. The southern branch passed just south of Hawaii then east into Baja, somewhat joining the northern flow there. The area just off Kamchatka held limited potential for gale development as did a gap just off the Canadian Coast. Over the next 72 hours the same overall pattern is to hold with winds in the northern branch occasionally reaching 150 kts, offering a bit more energy to support gale development focused mainly on the northern Gulf region. Beyond 72 hours the situation is to remain more of less the same, but the split is to become a little more energetic by the weekend (2/2) with the northern branch again rising up into Alaska and shutting the Gulf down for a spell, then dropping back south again by Tuesday (2/5) with the split point moving east to near 170W. The movement of the split point and the oscillation of the jet up and down relative to Alaska will likely have an influence on the size and strength of high pressure situated between the split flows in the Eastern Gulf.
At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned 750 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging north towards Alaska but not making it, and south over the Hawaiian Islands, generating brisk trades from the east-northeast there. It was not reaching the US West Coast. Low pressure at 988 mbs was just off the North Canada coast sinking southeast and generating a pressure gradient with the high to the west producing 45 kt northwest winds on the very edge of the NCal swell window and focused better on the Pacific Northwest. Seas were 29 ft expected to build to 30 ft by evening at 49N 137W barely squeaking swell into the 319 degree path relative to NCal. Swell from this system expected to reach down into North California late Wednesday near sunset peaking at 9 ft @ 15 secs (13 ft faces at exposed breaks) at sunrise Thursday (1/31) from 320 degrees.
On Thursday (1/24) a low off Japan built with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt winds and 29 ft seas developing at 36N 153E in it's southwest quadrant aimed a bit south of any great circle path to Hawaii. That fetch hung-on Friday off Japan with winds holding in the 40 kt range aimed better at the Islands, but making zero forward progress eastward and instead drifting north. Up to 37 ft seas were modeled mid-day at 38N 162E. 35 kt winds faded on Saturday off the Kuril Islands as the low drifted well north into the Bering Sea and becoming landlocked, with seas in the 30-36 ft range but aimed pretty well north of any route to Hawaii, but decently towards the US West coast, then gone on Sunday. Good potential for long period advanced class swell to start trickling into Hawaii late Monday (1/28) peaking at 7 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) early Tuesday (1/29) from 305 degrees. Maybe even some well decayed inconsistent energy to push into the US West Coast late on Wed (1/30) peaking Thursday (1/31) at 4.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (7-8 ft faces) from 300 degrees.
Storm #15 (updated Wednesday
On Tuesday AM (1/29) a new storm built in the Gulf of Alaska originating from
a low that had previously passed over the dateline. Pressure was 988 mbs with
50 to near 60 kt winds confirmed over a tiny area at 48N 168W aimed due east
or right up the 303 degree path to NCal (308 SCal) and totally bypassing Hawaii.
Seas were on the increase. By evening 60 kts winds were confirmed solid over
a small area at 50N 159W aimed due east or right at North CA up the 308 degree
path and 1700 nmiles out. 30 ft seas were modeled at 49N 165W.
kt winds were confirmed Wednesday AM (1/30) at 49N 150W aimed
due east or 10 degrees east if the 308 degree path to NCal (313
SCal). 38 ft seas were modeled at 50N 158W. By evening a moderate
area of 45-50 kt winds are still forecast at 47N 145W sinking
southeast and aimed down the 303 degree path to NCal. Up to 39
ft seas are forecast at 48N 147W.
AM (1/31) a small area of residual 40-45 kts wind are forecast
at 45N 135W aimed like before with seas fading from 39 ft back
at 46N 140W. Winds to be fading out late with seas from previous
fetch fading from 32 ft at 44N 133W..
is to be a nice little compact system but holding together well
for about 60 hours with all energy focused well at North CA with
peripheral energy expected as far south at Pt Conception and
northward up into Washington. Virtual fetch is expected to come
into play too adding consistency and size in the 17 sec period
band. Possible large significant class swell from a north angle
forecast for the North CA coast and areas north
and south of there, but well shadowed in the vicinity if the
Farallon Islands. Swell arrival expected mid-Friday holding into
Saturday (2/2). No energy expected to reach the Hawaiian Islands
from this one.
CA: Expect swell arrival at mid AM Friday (2/1) with period
20-22 secs and size ramping up very fast. Swell to start peaking
between mid to late afternoon with pure swell 11-12 ft @ 17-18
secs (19-22 ft faces) with imbedded longer period energy. Swell
in shadowed areas (behind the Farallon Islands and Cordell
Bank) to only be 7-8 ft at 17-18 secs (12-14 ft faces). Peak
consistency to hit just before sunset attributable to virtual
fetch in the 17 sec band. Swell Direction: 305-310 degrees
Possible Dateline Storm
Another storm is to be developing just west of the dateline Wednesday AM (1/30) with 50-55 kt winds forecast at 40N 165E aimed right at Hawaii up the 310 degree path. In the evening winds to build to 55 kts at 43N 175E aimed 20 degree east of the 319 degree path to Hawaii and almost right up the 297 degree path to North CA (302 SCal). A small area of 30 ft seas forecast at 42N 173E. This system to be holding while tracking north just west of the dateline Thursday AM (1/31) with 50 kts winds at 47N 175E aimed due east or 40 degrees east of the 322 degree path to Hawaii but right up the 302 degree path to North CA (307 SCal). Seas building to 33 ft at 45N 175E. This one to be gone by evening. 35 ft seas to be fading from 50N 180W and moving into the Aleutians. If this comes to pass some form of small longer period swell could be expected arriving along north facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands late Saturday (2/2) holding into early Sunday from 315 degrees or so. Maybe a little bit of swell for NCal Monday AM (2/4) from 302-307 degrees. Nothing expected for SCal.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast