On Thursday (2/2) Northern CA surf was 3 ft overhead up to double overhead at the better breaks but ripped by onshore wind and shrouded in fog. South facing breaks were 2-4 ft overhead and cleaner. Central California surf was 2-4 ft overhead and junky. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high with sets to maybe chest high at the best spot. The LA area southward to Orange County was waist high with best spots to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to nearly head high.The North Shore of Oahu was 15-18 ft (Hawaiian). The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was chest to head high.
A very active pattern is in play. Swell #12 hit Hawaii and is actually doing a bit better than forecast. Storm #13 is starting to form off California expected to produce swell for the weekend and Storm #14, the strongest of all by a mile is pushing towards the dateline with more storms to follow. At this point it's safe to say some form of very solid swell is expected for California and Hawaii over the coming days. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays (2/2) jetstream had one consolidated flow tracking from Japan east up to and over Oregon. Winds were up to 160 kts in one large pocket off Japan and 190 kts in a second pocket just off Oregon. A small trough was associated with the japan energy and a steep trough was just north of Hawaii. Both troughs were associated with surface level low pressure systems. Over the next 72 hours the Oregon trough is to become better organized but loose energy as it pushes east and inland Saturday (2/4) while the Japan pocket continues to grow in intensity with winds reaching 190 kts on Sunday pushing east over the dateline with the associated trough becoming less defined. Surface level storm development is likely to be well supported by this upper flow until Sunday when the jetstream splits again just north of Hawaii. The northern branch to continue east but the southern branch is to track south right over Hawaii down to the equator. Beyond 72 hours strong energy is to continue off Japan and over the dateline at speeds of up to 200 kts mid-next week then diving south right over Hawaii feeding into the southern branch of the jet while the northern branch tracks north into Canada, leaving the US West Coast high and dry. A solid trough to set up north of Hawaii. Will be interesting to see how this plays out but the potential for surface level storm development from Hawaii westward looks good.
At the surface today a high pressure at 1024 mbs was positioned off South California influencing weather back west to Hawaii and north to Northern California much like it has for the past several days. But a new weak low at 1008 mbs was just northeast of Hawaii and developing, expected to become Storm #13 (see details below). Of even more interest was strong Storm #14, tracking off the Kuril Islands on a eastward heading for the dateline and eventually the Western Gulf of Alaska. These are the two weather features of most interest for the next 72 hours.
As indicated before, what appears to be driving this spurt of storm activity is a solid pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation, causing a break in the La Nina conditions that have gripped the North Pacific so far this season. Anomalous winds blowing west to east are pushing out over the western equatorial Pacific off Asia with an apparent increase in cloud cover following the winds. Today's imagery even suggests a certified Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) might take shape. The Southern Oscillation Index remains in the neutral range after running strongly positive for the past 2 weeks. Latest forecasts suggest this active phase of the MJO to last through about 2/11, before shifting back to an inactive phase. No major change in La Nina is expected, but just enough of a break to enable some pent up energy to explode before the likely return to cold and less stormy conditions.
Dateline Storm #12 (Hawaii)
On Sunday (1/29) a 973 mb low was on the dateline dropping to 972 mbs in the evening. A tiny fetch of 45-50 kts winds persisted through the day at 43N 177E aimed initially at Hawaii up the 320 degree path then turned more towards California up the 298 degree path. Seas to 32 ft were over tiny area of no real consequence at 43N 177E by nightfall.
On Monday (1/30) the low expand it's fetch but lost velocity with pressure 972 mbs over the dateline. A broad area of 35-45 kt winds were modeled in it's south quadrant looking OK by nightfall at 40N 180W with seas building to 27 ft at 35N 178E bound best for Hawaii. The Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 27 ft. The fetch was aimed generally 30 degree east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii and 15-20 degrees south of the 290 degree path to North California. It looked reasonably, but certainly not great.
By Tuesday (1/31) the low became elongated stringing into the Gulf of Alaska to almost the Pacific Northwest coast with a long fetch of 30-35 kts winds aimed northeast. Winds still continued in association with the original low at 35-40 kts at 39N 170W with seas to 30 ft at 38N 173W. This fetch was aimed all to the east towards California up the 290 degree path but sideband energy was likely spreading south towards Hawaii. By nightfall the storm per se is to be gone with residual 27 ft seas forecast at 38N 165W and rapidly fading.
This was not much of a storm, in fact it never reach storm strength (50 kts). But it's close proximity to the Hawaiian Islands and moderate 27-30 ft seas are probably enough to send solid energy south towards the North Shore likely generating significant class surf there. Much less size to reach California, decayed from the long journey east.
Hawaii: Expect Swell #12 arrival Thursday (2/2) at 2 AM building to 9.4 ft @ 15-16 secs at sunrise (14-15 ft faces) and holding through the day. Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees
Potential Storm #13 (California)
On Thursday PM (2/2) a 994 mb low is to start winding up just northeast of Hawaii tracking fast to the northeast with 55 kt winds at 35N 148W building in it's south quadrant aimed east-northeast towards the mainland up the 270 degree path to NCal (280 SCal).
By Friday AM (2/3) pressure to drop to 980 mbs with 55-60 kt winds in the storms south quadrant at 37N 145W aimed at NCal up the 275 degree path (SCal 287 degrees). Seas modeled at 27 ft at 36N 143W. In the evening pressure to drop to 964 mbs with 55-60 kts winds in the storms south quadrant 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino at 42N 135W aimed right at NCal down the 295 degree path and at SCal down the 301 degree path but tracking fast northeast, getting little traction on the oceans surface. 36 ft seas forecast at 41N 133W.
By Saturday AM (2/4) this system to be moving inland over Vancouver Island with 55-60 kt winds still occurring over open waters at 45N 130W outside the California swell window but aimed well at Oregon, with 45-50 kt winds impacting the coast there. A most solid local storm indeed. 32 ft seas to be lingering at 42N 133W tracking east towards locations from San Francisco northward with 38 ft seas tracking towards the Pacific Northwest.
This continues to be forecast as an intense but short lived system in close proximity to the California coast. It's fast forward speed is somewhat problematic, but will likely be offset by it's rather intense wind speeds. If this plays out as modeled at rather large and very ugly, lumpy and warbled swell will push into the California coast, perhaps with less size but better quality inside of the Channel Islands.
We're going to provide a full forecast now for planning purposes, but subject to variation if the storm deviates from it's projected path. And please note, it is very difficult to forecast exact arrival times and swells heights when the storm is nearly right on top of you, so allow a little leeway for this eventuality. In reality, it will be more like a huge windswell north of Pt Conception.
North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival Saturday early (2/4) with swell up to 15.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (21-24 ft faces) by afternoon from 280-290 degrees. Swell raw warbled and ungroomed. Sunday swell still 14 ft @ 14 secs early (17-19 ft) with better conditions.
South CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival late Saturday afternoon (2/4) with swell up to 5.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (7.5-8.0 ft faces) at exposed breaks in San Diego and Santa Barbara but mostly 3.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (5-6 ft faces) at other exposed breaks. Swell peaking through the early morning hours of Sunday but still decent at sunrise with swell at best exposed breaks in San Diego at 10 ft @ 14-15 secs (12-14 ft faces) and 7.6 ft @ 14-15 secs and most spots (8-10 ft faces). Size fading fast through the morning though. Swell Direction: 287-301 degrees
Strong Storm #14 (Hawaii and California)
On Wednesday PM (2/1) a 976 mb low was winding up just off Northern Japan with 60-70 kt winds confirmed it's south quadrant at 40N 160E aimed east-southeast right up the 306 degree great circle path to Hawaii but 40 degrees south of the 299 degree path to California.
On Thursday AM (2/2) pressure was down to 964 mbs with a solid fetch of hurricane force winds at 65-70 kts confirmed in it's south quadrant at 42N 168E aimed due east or 20 degrees south of the 297 degree path to North CA and 15 degrees east of the 314 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled at 39 ft at 42N 159E. In the evening the storm to track east with pressure 964 mbs and winds still 60 kts at 43N 170E aimed 15 degrees south of the 297 degree path to North CA and 25 degree east of the 317 degree path to Hawaii. 47 ft seas forecast at 43N 167E.
On Friday AM (2/3) the storm to be on the dateline with pressure 964 mbs. Winds 55-60 kts at 43N 179E aimed right right up the 297 degree path to NCal and 40 degrees east of the 326 degree path to Hawaii. 52 ft seas forecast at 42N 175E. In the evening the storm is to move in to the western Gulf of Alaska with pressure 968 mbs and winds down to 50 kts at 42N 170W aimed 45 degrees east of the 336 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees south of the 297 degree path to NCal. 49 ft seas forecast at 41N 175W.
On Saturday AM (2/4) the storm is to be fading fast with pressure 968 ms and the core nearly in the Bering Sea. Residual 40-45 kt winds forecast at 48N 162W aimed at NCal up the 305 degree path. 42 ft seas from previous days fetch forecast at 40N 165W. This storm to be gone by nightfall with residual 34 ft seas fading at 40N 158W.
So far this system is holding amazingly well to the forecast track established 3 days earlier. So far it is most impressive with a total forecast consisting of 24 hours of hurricane force winds and 60 hours of fetch in excess of 50 kts aimed well at California with the strongest fetch better at Hawaii. Seas of 50 ft are rare and to get them for 36 hours (49+ ft) even better. It is to be reasonably close to Hawaii (1443-2472 nmiles) but the closer fetch is to be not aimed well at the Islands. California is to be 1967-3439 nmiles away allowing much more decay, but the fetch is to be aimed directly at paths to the West Coast. in the end a very long period reasonably large and groomed significant class swell seems likely for both Hawaii and California, but that could change before this storm max's out. Monitor closely.
Hawaii: Rough data based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data suggest swell arrival Sunday 5 AM HST (2/5) with period at 23 secs, heading up steadily during the day. Swell to peak near 3 PM holding through 9 PM with pure swell 9.5-10.5 ft @ 18-19 secs with sets to 12 ft @ 18-19 secs (17-20 ft Hawaiian with sets to 22 ft at standout breaks). Solid size but less overall energy Monday. Swell Direction: 310-326 degrees
North California: Rough data based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data suggest swell arrival Monday early morning (2/6) with period at 25 secs and size tiny, inching up during the day. Swell to peak from 11 PM into 7 AM Tuesday with pure swell 9.6-10.6 ft @ 18-20 secs (17-21 ft faces). Swell Direction: 290-297 degrees
South California: Rough data based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data suggest swell arrival Monday noon (2/6) with period at 25 secs and size hardly noticeable, inching up during the day. Swell to peak from starting at sunrise Tuesday through 11 PM with pure swell 5.7-6.5 ft @ 18-20 secs (10-13 ft faces) at best breaks in San Diego and 3.7-4.6 ft @ 18-20 secs (6.7-9.0 ft faces) at most breaks. Swell Direction: 295-304 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (2/2) the models continue to suggest protective high pressure to remain in control, giving up only a little ground late Friday (2/3) then expanding as the jetstream splits off the coast into early next week. A weak front to pass over San Francisco late Saturday (Saturday 1/4) then strong high pressure building in behind setting up a Cape Mendocino like north wind gradient with brisk north winds over exposed waters south through Pt Conception Sunday, fading Monday. Light winds to follow.
The detailed 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 yet another storm storm is forecast to follow in Storm #14's footsteps though on a slightly more northern route. 45 ft seas forecast from this on next Thursday tracking over the dateline fading in the western Gulf of Alaska. Nothing else after that though.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Details to follow...
MV Indies Trader Returns to Sumatra
Indies Trader Marine Adventures is proud to announce that after seven incredibly successful years circumnavigating the globe on Quiksilver's "Crossing" expedition - the MV Indies Trader is returning to its roots in Sumatra.
More info here
El Nino Forecast Updated: The Stormsurf El Nino forecast was updated on 12/30/05. Check out all the latest details concerning El Nino and it's impact on the winter surf season. Details here
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