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 (4/15) Northern CA surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and whitecapped early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high and windy. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high or more and blown top bits. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high but pretty textured. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high and pretty bumpy. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and almost chopped. The North Shore of Oahu was head high or more on the sets. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was double overhead.
North/Central California was getting a mix of local windswell and residual swell from Gulf of Alaska with chop on top. Southern California was getting limited northerly windswell and Gulf swell intermixed. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting background dateline energy mixed with a more dominant local northeast windswell. The East Shore was sizeable with locally generated north windswell in control. The South Shore was getting minimal wrap around easterly windswell.
For the future the California coast to continue seeing varying degrees of locally generated northwest windswell, fading through the week then rebuilding for the weekend but with lot's of locally generated chop on top. Southern CA to see limited bits of this same windswell during the week, with the faintest tease of southern hemi swell over the weekend becoming slight more noticeable next week, but not much else. The North Shore of Oahu might get another day of northeast windswell (Wednesday), then fading with only a faint bit of background swell coming from the dateline for Thursday on through the weekend. The windswell to be favoring the East Shore through Wednesday, then fading slowly through the rest of the week. Of most interest is a gale that tracked under New Zealand on Monday (4/7) generating 18 hours of 35 ft seas targeting Hawaii's South Shore pretty well, providing some potential by late Tuesday (4/15). A much stronger one developed Thursday/Friday (4/11), good for more size on the South Shore by Thursday (4/17) providing good potential into the early weekend, but not doing much for California. Nothing else of interest is on the charts so make the most of what you got. It could be flat. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/15) for the North Pacific indicated a weak flow of 100 kt winds pushing east generally over the Aleutian Islands ridging solidly over the Gulf of Alaska, suggesting stronger high pressure at the oceans surface. No support for gale development anywhere. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast other than a cutoff low developing north of Hawaii in the upper levels. Beyond 72 hours that low is to get absorbed by jetstream, forming something that almost looks like a trough over the Western Gulf of Alaska Saturday and Sunday (4/20) but quickly getting pinched off, offering little in the way of support for surface level low pressure development. After that the flow to again get parked over the Aleutians, pretty much eliminating any chance for surface level low pressure development.
At the surface today high pressure was in control, with one at 1036 mbs parked in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska ridging into the Pacific Northwest and generating brisk north winds down the California coast while a smaller but stronger high at 1044 mbs was building over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians. This combined pattern was generating brisk trades at 20-25 kts just north of the Hawaiian Islands, and generating tradewind swell there.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to become consolidated in the Gulf at 1044 mbs ridging into the Pacific Northwest by late Thursday (4/17) starting to generate a building fetch of 25-30 kt north winds sweeping down the US West Coast and producing increasing local windswell by Friday. Of some interest is a cutoff low expected to build at the oceans surface under the upper level low forecast 900 nmiles north of Hawaii, possibly pushing a short blast of 35 kt winds southward early Friday, offering a faint hope for some windswell to result along north facing shores, but that's just a guess at this early date.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/15) the meat of a solid high pressure system in the Gulf was pushing into the state with brisk northerly winds over exposed waters of North and Central CA (though Southern CA was pretty well protected) with Point Conception being the focal point. The fetch is to start building northward to Pt Arena and Cape Mendocino through the day Wednesday perhaps offering a bit of a break from the wind nearshore. But then Thursday (4/17) the gradient is to re-establish itself over Cape Mendocino with 25-30 kt north winds expected there and windswell on the increase. The mother-lode of high pressure to take over late Friday at 1044 mbs with 35 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino dropping south to San Francisco into early Saturday (4/19) generating sizeable windswell by summer standards, but also likely making from very messy conditions everywhere but in protected spots of Southern CA, and even there to be more messy on Sunday. Lighter winds and less windswell, but not real relief expected through at least the middle of the following week.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
No swell producing fetch is occurring nor forecast to occur for the next 72 hours.
Short-Lived New Zealand Gale
A gale developed under New Zealand early Monday (4/7) at 980 mbs with 45 kt winds pushing northeast generating a small but solid area of 35 ft seas at 59S 165E in the morning (actually confirmed at 39 ft by the Jason-1 satellite) and over a fading area in the evening at 56S 175E (again confirmed but down to 33 ft), targeting Hawaii best (due to it's close proximity). The fetch was gone by Tuesday AM (4/8) with 29 ft seas fading at 53S 178W and dissipating from there. Some odds for swell pushing into Hawaii's Southern Shores Tuesday (4/15) at 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft faces) from 195-200 degrees fading from 2 ft @ 15 secs Wednesday (3 ft faces).
Solid New Zealand Storm
Another system developed under New Zealand Wednesday evening (4/9) with pressure 970 mbs and generating 50-55 kt confirmed winds aimed a bit to the north at 58S 171E. The models indicated seas at 25 ft but the Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 31.5 ft at 59S 171E. On Thursday AM (4/10) winds were confirmed at 60 kts at 56S 174W aimed right up the 207 degree path to California but shadowed by Tahiti and 30 degrees east of the 189 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled building from 32 ft at 59S 175E, but we know it was higher than that. Wind faded a bit in the evening while seas caught up, building to 38 ft at 57S 173W. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the outer edges of the fetch confirming sea at 38 ft. Wind faded from 45 kts Friday AM with seas up to 41 ft early at 53S 165W (outer edges confirmed at 37.4 ft), then dropped from 37 ft in the evening at 50S 162W. Confirmed 29 ft residual seas were at 46S 158W Saturday morning (4/12) and fading.
A decent shot of southern hemi swell is traveling north towards the Islands, expected to arrive Thursday (4/17) pushing 3 ft @ 18 secs (5.5 ft faces) late then peaking early Friday at 3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.5 ft faces with better consistency but less shoaling potential). Swell fading from 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs Saturday (5 ft). Swell Direction: 185-190 degrees
California to remain shadowed by Tahiti for the entirety of the storm. First pulse of energy expected late Sunday (4/20) maybe reaching 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) at exposed breaks on Monday (4/21).
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 the short lived cutoff low north of Hawaii is to evaporate after 24 hours with only seasonal trades are to follow over the Islands, though high pressure is to rule supreme east of the centered in the Gulf of Alaska. The pressure gradient is to get pretty tight off both Cape Mendocino and Vancouver Island, resulting in 30-35 kt northwest winds there Friday into early Saturday (4/19) making for perhaps larger local windswell for exposed breaks. Winds to continue in the 25 kt range Sunday, then settling down with windswell on the decline. High pressure to still hold sway, just less concentrated limiting windswell along the California coast with only 15 kt trades forecast over the Islands, and no windswell generation potential.
No swell producing winds are forecast.
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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Surfrider General Meeting Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7:00 pm Montara Lighthouse All are welcome! Special guest speaker Larry Miller will present a history of the Mono Lake Committee's successful campaign to preserve the lake, and will also share tales of aquatic research.
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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