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 Sunday (3/30) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and junky. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with sideshore junk running through it. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high with winds on it early. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high and onshore early. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high with maybe a waist high set and onshore. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and junky. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was maybe thigh high.
North/Central California was getting locally generated windswell coming from a very northerly direction with fading limited southern hemi swell underneath. Southern California was getting tiny northerly windswell mixed with equally small and fading southern hemi swell. Hawaii's North Shore was getting no swell of interest. The South Shore was getting no swell either. The East Shore was receiving the tiniest bit of easterly tradewind generated windswell.
For the future the California coast is to descend into flatness as the locally generated windswell starts dropping fast on Monday with nothing behind it. Looking for scraps there's a minor pulse of southern hemi swell forecast Thursday through Saturday which might be rideable, though noting more. And up north there's hope for a smidgeon of swell coming over the dateline for Saturday (4/5), but only waist to chest high and inconsistent. There is hope for a bit more swell coming from off Japan the week beyond if the models are correct in their prediction of a storm forming off the Orient early this week. But the lions share of that energy is likely to impact the North Shore of Oahu over the weekend (4/5). Background southern hemi swell to provide a tease for the South Shore Mon-Wed, but that's about it. Make the most of what you can get while we wait for the summer Southern Hemi storm pattern to kick into gear. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (3/30) for the North Pacific indicated a reasonably consolidated flow tracking off Japan riding steadily northeast to the dateline, then tracking east from there while loosing energy eventually meandering over the Pacific Northwest and California in no particular rush or organization. One pocket of winds were up to 140 kts pushing northeast on the dateline, but most everything else was in the 90 kt range. In general, there was no support for gale development other than the area near the dateline, and all that was pushing northerly and away from our forecast area. Over the next 72 hours things are to improve somewhat with a stronger flow pushing off Japan with winds there to 140 kts and well concentrated, offering improved odds for surface level gale development. But it's to be building into a large steep ridge on the dateline pushing north over the Aleutians, confining whatever is generated in the West to there. But another trough is to set up in the East opening up the Gulf of Alaska for some development with limited energy at 100 kts pushing into Southern CA by Wednesday (4/2). In all not too bad a pattern. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest the big ridge over the dateline is to push east while fading, not quite making it to the US West Coast by Friday (4/4) while a generally flat flow persists pushing off Japan and over the dateline, but with energy levels dropping to the 110-120 kt range. Another ridge is to be building over the dateline by the weekend with weak troughs in the east and west offering no real support for surface level gale development.
At the surface today a weak pressure pattern was in-play. High pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 600 nmiles north of Hawaii producing light to moderate trades there. A second high at 1028 mbs was off the Pacific Northwest generating northerly winds at 20 to near 25 kts over the Cape Mendocino region pushing south towards Pt Conception generating local windswell for exposed breaks there. A fading gale produced a tiny area of 40 kts winds west of the dateline late Saturday (3/29) generating 26 ft seas at 41N 169E aimed mostly towards the Aleutians and fading fast offering next to no potential for either Hawaii or California. Over the next 72 hours the only system of interest is to be a storm forecast building just barely off the coast of Central Japan on Monday (3/31) with pressure 964 mbs and winds to 55 kts aimed reasonably well towards Hawaii late, then slowly fading to 45-50 kts through the day Tuesday with up to 42 ft seas forecast at 37N 155E aimed at Hawaii down the 300 degree path but 2700 nmiles out. It's to fade to nothing through the day Wednesday (4/2) with seas dropping from 40 ft early at 37N 160E to 36 ft late at 38N 165E and dissipating from there. If this occurs as forecast some decent amount of well rideable longer period surf is possible for the Islands over the weekend (4/5) with much decayed energy pushing into exposed breaks in California the following week.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (3/30) high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of Oregon generating a pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino southward to Pt Conception and generating 20-25 kts winds and some degree of northerly windswell over the area. But by Monday that high is to be pushing inland fast while a weak low pressure cell builds centered 700 nmiles west of San Francisco. No real swell generating winds are forecast in association with this one, and it is to suppress the usual northerly winds this time of year. It is forecast to slowly drift southeast then east pushing over the Monterey Bay area sometime later Wednesday (4/2) generating 15 kt southerly winds and a decent batch of light rain before it's arrival during daylight hours of Wed on down into even Southern CA. Another weaker though similar low to build directly afterwards well off the coast and sit there into the weekend, again suppressing northerly winds, making for a near calm wind pattern into the weekend.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
On Tuesday (3/25) a 960 mb gale tracked east beyond New Zealand generating a tiny area of 45 kt winds aimed northeast towards Hawaii initially and then the US West coast. A persistent area of 30-32 ft seas tracked from 57S 162W Tuesday AM to 50S 138W early Wednesday (3/26). Some form of very limited summer time background swell is pushing towards Hawaii for Mon-Wed (4/2) with swell up to 2 ft @ 15 secs (3 ft faces) from 190 degrees and California Thurs-Sat (4/5) with swell to 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces with luck) from 200 degrees.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hrs another gale is forecast developing off the Kuril's next weekend with a persistent area of 35-40 kts winds forecast holding basically stationary there aimed well towards both Hawaii and California generating 25-26 ft seas, possibly good for some rideable swell. But that's along ways off. At the same time another gael is forecast in the extreme Northern Gulf of Alaska generating 35 kts winds aimed mostly at Central Canada while producing 25 ft seas, offering limited hope for swell mainly for the Pacific Northwest early the following week. No other weather systems of interest are indicated.
No swell development potential forecast with a split jetstream flow in play in the upper levels of the atmosphere and high pressure in control of South Pacific waters from under New Zealand to south of Tahiti.
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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Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will replenish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/hmb_dredge.html
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Grib File Switchover: The old grib1 format wave model datafiles that have been the mainstay of the National Weather service for years now are scheduled to be retired on 1/26. We switched over to the new grib2 files starting with the 00z run of Thurs 1/17. All appears to be running fine. There is no functional change to the content of the models, just that files we receive are now smaller due to improved compression of grib2. But this sets us up to start processing new higher resolution files and building new products in the months ahead. So in all it's a good maintenance level change.
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table