On Tuesday (2/6) Northern CA surf was shoulder high and soft but clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist pushing chest high. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat to thigh high even at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist pushing chest high on the sets at the best spots. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was on the increase with surf starting in the 3 ft overhead range reaching near triple overhead mid-day. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was waist high.
North California was small and on the way down with this past weekends swell now a distant memory and a onshore and wet weather pattern setting up just off the coast. Southern California was all but flat with no real hope in the next few days. Hawaii was getting the leading edge of Swell #14 with more of the same lurking offshore. A change in the weather pattern is getting better established with the jet taking a more flat west to east route driving a series of moderate storms (really gales) from off the Kuril's toward the east, but fading at the dateline. The first of these (Storm #14) has already produced swell which is hitting Hawaii and en route to the US West Coast. A second one is right behind (Storm #15) expected to produce similar results. At the same time an unsettled weather system was building off California, expected to generate a little fetch later this week pushing a bit more energy towards California along with lot's of rain and unfavorable winds. Over the long term the models suggest a stronger storm building west of the dateline early next week targeting Hawaii and California while a second little one develops in the Gulf targeting California. Nothing particularly outstanding is indicated, but neither is it to be flat. Hawaii looks like it will be protected by high pressure while getting swell and California to be getting a decayed version of that same swell energy while dodging weather systems. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (2/6) depicted a moderate cohesive flow of wind energy at 140 kts pushing off southern Japan tracking due east over the dateline and north of Hawaii on the 30N latitude, then weakly split a bit east of there with the southern branch pushing south into mainland Mexico while the very weak northern brach limped into North California. This is the first time in a long time that california and the Pacific Northwest has seen the north side of the jet. The best bet for surface level gale development was over the dateline up to a point north of Hawaii. Over the next 72 hours no significant change is forecast with winds in the core of the jet near the dateline fluctuating in the 140-160 kt range while a stream of weak energy periodically pulls north of the main flow north of Hawaii and up into Alaska, but only sporadically. By Thursday (2/8) a much more solid flow of energy to be tracking up into the US mainland near Cape Mendocino. The dateline and the southern Gulf of Alaska to be the best areas for surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours much the same pattern to continue, but with stronger energy pushing off Japan to 190 kts next Monday (1/12) with a weak trough north of it enhancing surface level storm development potential there. There's some signs that the jet will try to split east of there only to merge back together before pushing into California, but that to start repairing itself 24 hours later. This bears watching in that a redevelopment of the split pattern would not be good. This persistent split appears to be the big differentiator as compared to last year.
At the surface today the remnants of Storm #15 (details below) were fading out on the dateline while rotating under a broad semi-permanent low over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutian Islands. Weal low pressure at 1004 mbs was trying to build into the southern Gulf of Alaska off Northern CA and Oregon while a tiny ridge of high pressure at 1020 mbs was trying to hold on over South and Central CA ridging west out to Hawaii, providing the thinnest margin of protection there. Other than what was left of Storm #15, no swell producing fetch was forecast. Over the next 72 hours the remnants of Storm #15 to continue east and try and reorganize a bit starting late Wednesday (2/7) with pressure dropping to 988 mbs positioned 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii generating a tiny area of 45-50 kt winds at 40N 160W aimed 35 degrees south of the 287 degree path to North CA (292 SCal). That to hold into Thursday AM while tracking southeast with seas building to 29 ft at 38N 155W. By nightfall 40-45 kt winds still expected at 35N 153W aimed 40 degrees south of the 275 degree path to North CA (280 SCal). Seas forecast up to 32 ft at the same location. This one to be nearly gone by Friday AM with 30 ft seas lingering at 32N 148W and fading fast. Possible small swell at 16 secs for California on Sunday (2/11) [consult QuikCAST's for swell details].
Storm #14 (Hawaii)
A new gale pushed off the Northern Kuril Islands Friday evening (2/2) with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts at 40N 165E aimed 35 degrees south of the 295 degree path to California but right down the 310 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building.
By Saturday AM (2/3) winds were confirmed holding at 40-45 kts at 40N 170E again aimed best at Hawaii down the 312 degree path. Seas modeled up to 27 ft at 41N 162E. Beyond 72 hours by Saturday evening winds dropping to the 35-40 kt range at 38N 180W as this system hit the dateline aimed almost right at Hawaii down the 317 degree path and 35 degrees south of the 290 route into California. Seas were up to 30 ft at 38N 175E.
A little more 40 kt winds were confirmed Sunday AM (2/4) as the core of the low lifted north to the intersection of the the Aleutians and the dateline with targeting Hawaii from 40N 180W just 20 degrees east of the 320 degree great circle path. Seas again modeled to 31 ft at 38N 180W. Residuals seas were modeled at 29 ft @ 38N 175W Sunday evening and fading fast with no swell producing wind left.
This was by no means an impressive system, though it was fairly large in girth. Winds never reached storm status (50 kts) and it was short lived with only 36 hours of effective fetch. Still that was enough to produce sufficient seas to qualify as a significant class storm mainly due to Hawaii's relatively close proximity to the fetch, limiting swell decay. California to only see small to moderate utility class well from this.
Hawaii: Expect minimal significant class swell hitting the Hawaiian Islands Tuesday peaking late in the day with pure swell near 12 ft @ 15 secs from 310-320 degrees. Swell fading on Wednesday.
California: Expect utility class energy from this on to hit North CA late Thursday (2/8) with swell up to 5.8 ft @ 16 secs late (8-9 ft faces) from 280-290 degrees. Lesser energy to push into Southern CA on Friday (2/9).
Storm #15 (Hawaii)
Another stronger system pushed off North Japan on Sunday (2/4) with pressure 980 mbs generating confirmed winds of 50-55 kts over a small area at 41N 154E again targeting Hawaii down the 307 degree path if not aimed a hair south of there, with nothing aimed at Calfiornia.Seas building to 29 ft at 40N 155E.
This one continued falling southeast with pressure 984 mbs Monday AM (2/5) generating 40-45 kt northwest winds at 33N 170E aimed exclusively at Hawaii down the 298 degree path while 40-45 degrees off the 287 degree route to California. Seas building to 32 ft at 36N 163E. 40-45 kt northwest winds continued in the evening at 30N 175E aimed well down the 305 degree path to Hawaii. 32 ft seas modeled sinking southeast at 33N 171E.
The core of the storm passed over the dateline Tuesday AM (2/6) with a small area of only 35 kt winds continuing at 33N 170W aimed right at Hawaii down the 331 degree great circle path. Seas 30 ft at 30N 180W. By evening this one to be nearly gone with the core low pressure tracking north towards the Bering Sea and only a small area of 30-35 kt winds remaining at 33N 165W aimed a bit east of the Islands down the 312 degree path. 25 ft seas modeled at 29N 175W, moving close to the Islands.
This one is to be a bit better organized than it's predecessor, providing 48 hours of effective fetch and some of that into the real storm force category, though most in strong gale status. Still, its to be tracking right towards the Islands and moving relatively close, providing good potential for significant class surf arriving Thursday (2/8). California conversely is to be well off the main swell vector through the storms life, and quite distant from the seas this system generates. Utility class potential the best hope.
Hawaii: Expect significant class swell hitting the Hawaiian Islands Thursday AM (2/8) peaking midday with pure swell near 13 ft @ 15 secs (16-18 ft faces) from 305-310 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (2/6) low pressure at 1000 mbs was positioned about 700 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino with south winds ahead of the low already impacting the coast there. High pressure at 1028 mbs was dangling southwest from San Francisco out towards Hawaii providing a thin margin of protection for the Central CA coast, but that to be short lived. By Wednesday the weak front from this system to push into the Central CA coast ushering in south wind, but only in the 15 kt range with a good amount of rain mixed in while the core of the low pushes north towards the Gulf of Alaska. But another low is to be developing north of Hawaii, the remnants of Storm #15. By Thursday a piece of that system to be pushing into the coast with more robust 25-30 kt south winds mainly affecting from Monterey Bay northward but rain down into Pt Conception. A bit of a break expected Friday and then the core of the low is to push up the coast Saturday (2/10) bringing more south wind at 20 kts and rain affecting down towards Pt Conception lingering into Sunday. Again a break Monday (2/12) then a whole series of new small surface lows are to be stacked from the dateline into the Gulf and falling into California. Looks like a wet and windy pattern to persist.
At the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.
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 a bit of a break in the action forecast until Sunday (2/11) when a moderate size 968 mbs storm develops just due east of Northern Japan with 55-60 kts winds in it's south quadrant aimed east. This one to continue on an east to northeast track Monday with a decent sized fetch of 50-55 kts west winds expected in it's south quadrant approaching the dateline. Seas building to 39 ft late at 40N 170E. Unfortunately this one to begin a rapid decline on Tuesday with winds dropping from 45 kts through over a fairly decent area as it moves up to the dateline. 36 ft seas forecast through the day in the vicinity of 41N 173E or 3000 nmiles from California though much closer to the Islands. A quick analysis of this one suggests the fetch to be aimed well towards Hawaii but too far to the south to get maximum energy pushing up any great circle path to California. Good potential for significant class swell for the Islands if this develops as forecast with longer period utility swell pushing into exposed breaks in California.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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you like surf comics take a look at this little gem. A new
comic weekly with a nice archive. See it here: http://www.beachnutscomic.com/
High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.
El Nino Forecast Updated: El Nino is making it's mark on the Pacific Ocean, though yet to have a major impact on the atmosphere above. Read when the storm machine might fire up, and what evidence is stacking up in favor of El Nino here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml
New Precipitation Models: Over the holidays we focused on expanding our coverage of precipitation models, and now provide high resolution coverage of all US coastal locations. You can now tell whether it will be raining when the surf is pumping, or better yet, know whether it will be snowing in the higher elevations (West Coast). Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html
Weather Model Problem: The past few days the 12Z run of the GFS model has been corrupted when posted on government servers, resulting in our graphic output looking like psychedelic gibberish. This is not a Stormsurf problem and we are switching over to backup servers that are operating normally to capture the data. We have reported the problem to NOAA. This problem has been confirmed by other server users as well. We apologize for the inconvenience. Update: The problem has been fixed. Service has returned to normal as of 11/25/06.
Jason-1 Satellite Problem: On Oct 31 the Jason-1 satellite automatically went into safe-hold mode. This is triggered when sensors on the satellite detect an anomaly that suggests the satellite is in danger. It goes into a type of hibernation to protect it's sensitive instruments. JPL has been working on the issue and was able to restore the satellite to normal operations at 8:30 PM on Friday 11/17. No new data is available yet, but as soon as it is we'll be publishing it over the wave models images as usual here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html
Note: The first bit of fresh data was posted on 11/29/06 and we're processing it right now.
New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here: http://www.insidemavericks.com/
Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management plan has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/jointplan/involved.html
Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml
Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the implications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html
New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: Nine months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height plus the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table