New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead). Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft) Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft). Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs. Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
On Tuesday (6/12) North and Central California had 1-2 ft overhead chopped local north windswell. Southern California was getting thigh to waist high wrap around northwest short period windswell up north and heavily textured with a good bit of warbled running through hit. Down south southern hemi swell was dominant at up to shoulder high and textured making it a bit crumbly. Hawaii's North Shore was getting waist to chest high north windswell and reasonably clean. The East Shore was getting mixed waist high tradewind generated east windswell and northerly windswell with a light chop on it. The South Shore was getting southern hemi swell at waist high with perhaps a few chest high peaks and beautifully clean with light trades in effect.
The forecast for North and Central CA is for more moderate plus sized locally generated north windswell at 1-2 ft overhead Wednesday dropping to head high Thursday holding there Friday then down to chest high Saturday and Sunday. Waist high southern hemi swell expected Wednesday then fading out. Southern California is to see northwest local windswell at waist high plus Wednesday dropping to thigh high Thursday and Friday and knee high Saturday and Sunday. Southern hemi swell to be chest high Wednesday and fading out on Thursday if not gone. The North Shore of Oahu is to see thigh high north windswell fading fast early Wednesday, then flat. The East Shore to see east tradewind generated windswell at thigh to waist high Wednesday thru Friday pushing near chest high over the weekend. The South Shore to see southern hemi swell fading at about thigh high or so Wednesday then regenerating to thigh high on Thursday and holding Friday coming from the Tasman Sea and maybe up to waist high Saturday and Sunday.
Swell from a decent gale that tracked under New Zealand pushing east Thurs-Sat (6/5) with 36-38 ft seas has peaked along the US West Coast. Otherwise no real swell producing fetch is expected. A cutoff low is to build some well south of Tahiti on Friday (6/18) offering up perhaps a short lived duration of 30 ft seas aimed well north towards Hawaii and the US West coast perhaps arriving in the Islands on Wed (6/23) if all goes as planned. Beyond no swell producing weather system are forecast.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (6/15) the North Pacific jetstream was weak with winds below 100 kts and flowing mostly flat over the 50N latitude other than a small pinched off trough in the Western Gulf and another pushing over British Columbia. Neither was offering any fuel to support gale development at the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to continue flowing weakly just south of the Aleutians with no vigor or troughs of interest. Beyond 72 hours an upper level low is to build over the dateline on Sunday (6/20) just south of the Aleutians setting up a pretty good flow running on the 40N latitude with 110 kts winds and holding there through Tuesday. Limited support for low pressure development at the oceans surface there.
At the surface on Tuesday (6/15) strong high pressure at 1036 mbs was stationary 800 nmiles northwest of Cape Mendocino California generating the standard pressure gradient over north California waters producing north winds there at 30-35 kts resulting in the usual north windswell into Central CA with less into Southern CA. But since the high was so far to the east, it was having limited effect on trades over Hawaiian waters. This high was also ridging west to the dateline if not a bit beyond shunting any low pressure to the north and taking it through the Bering Sea, landlocked and of no use for swell production in the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to remain dominant, at 1036 mbs on Wednesday but retreating some from the US West coast with winds along Cape Mendocino fading from 30 to 25 kts and windswell starting to drop off a little, but still hanging in the 25 kt range into Friday (6/18). Trades to continue in the light range over Hawaii at 15 kts a nd offering no real windswell production capacity.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/15) high pressure at 1038 mbs was ridging into the coast producing the usual pressure gradient centered over Cape Mendocino with 30 kt northwest winds just off the coast up there and 20 kt north winds reaching down to Pt Conception. This was producing local windswell but also making for chopped conditions everywhere from nearly the Channel Islands northward. This pattern is to amplify some on Tuesday as the high edges closer to the coast, with winds up north to 35 kts and fetch continuing to push well over Central CA outer waters. The the gradient is to decay some and slip south by Wednesday with north winds at 20 kts reaching the coast all the way down to Pt Conception chopping things up and continuing into the weekend (6/19), then the gradient is to start rebuilding some over Cape Mendocino on Sunday (6/20) at 30 kts holding into mid-next week. Basically a chopped mess for North and Central CA though Southern CA is to remain protected throughout.
On Tuesday (6/15) a split jetstream flow remained in control of the South Pacific with the southern branch of the jet mostly ridging solidly to the south and positioned just off the Antarctic coast over the width of the Pacific. A small steep almost pinched off trough was east of New Zealand pushing east and is to hold into maybe Thursday (6/17), though wind speeds are to be weak (less than 100 kts). This provides only low potential to support gale development. Beyond the jet is to undercut the fading remnants of that trough by late Friday (6/18) with a split stream back in full control and holding while ridging hard south to nearly Antarctica through mid-next week.
At the oceans surface real no fetch of interest was occurring in the Hawaiian or California swell windows. But low pressure was circulating east of New Zealand with a gale low south of New Zealand producing a fleeting fetch of 45 kt west winds. Over the next 72 hours this gale is to race east, then stall while drifting north setting up a large area of 35 kt south winds on Thursday getting amplified on Friday (6/18) as it taps the jetstream with supposedly south winds building to 45-50 kts at 55S 135W holding for 12 hours or so resulting in 30 ft seas Friday AM at 40S 155W (from the original fetch) and then another spot of 30 ft seas at 52S 135W from the stronger fetch in the evening. But all is to be gone by Saturday. Maybe some 16-17 sec period swell to result with luck.
Southwest Pacific Gale
On Thursday AM (6/3) a gale was tracking under Australia pushing into the extreme Southwest Pacific and starting to develop, carrying seas previously generated with it. 45 kt west winds were modeled at 56S 180W with seas of 32 ft at 58S 170E, but with limited if any energy radiating north. Thursday evening (6/3) more 45 kt west winds were modeled at 61S 175W aimed 40 degrees east of the 208 degree path to NCal and totally shadowed by Tahiti and 70 degrees east of the 193 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 36 ft at 59S 180W. On Friday AM 45 kt west winds were modeled at 60S 160W aimed 40 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California (totally shadowed) and 80 degrees east of the 184 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 35 ft at 57S 170W. 45 kt west winds lifted a little northeast in the evening at 55S 158W producing seas of 38 ft at 56S 167W pushing 40 degree east of the 203 degree path to California and almost east of the Tahitian swell shadow and pushing completely east of any route to Hawaii. On Saturday AM (6/5) this system raced east with the core becoming fragmented and none of the original fetch remaining. 36 ft seas from previous fetch were fading at 57S 152W all pushing pretty well due east with minimal energy tracking up the 196 degree path to California and effectively unshadowed by Tahiti. Some degree of limited mostly shadowed sideband swell is expected to radiate into California with background swell for Hawaii.
Southern CA: Swell down to 3 ft @ 15 secs on Wednesday (chest high faces). Swell Direction: 195-200 degrees
Northern CA: Swell down to 3 ft @ 15 secs on Wednesday (chest high faces). Swell Direction: 195 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 high pressure is to continue holding off North California at 1032 mbs on Saturday and inching closer back to the east and a bit to the south, impacting the CA coast better and starting to fire up the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient some with north winds 20 kts solid by evening and 25 kts Sunday pushing 30 kts on Monday (6/21). North windswell to be modestly on the increase through that time period. With the high drifting south more trades are to build some over the Hawaiian Islands to 20 kts on Monday (6/21) and holding. Weak low pressure is forecast building over the northern dateline region on Saturday (6/19) and circulating in-place there into Tues (6/23), but westerly fetch to never really exceed 20 kts, offering no real swell production capacity even though ti will be aimed well towards Hawaii. Too little too late.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (6/15) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) continued backing off from positive territory. The daily SOI was down at -1.97 and has been in slightly negative territory for 12 days. The 30 day average was down slightly to 5.26 with the 90 day up to 7.03. This continued looking like a weak Active Phase dip embedded in a broader La Nina pattern.
Wind anomalies as of Saturday (6/12) at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models suggested light east anomalies fading over the West Pacific and no longer reaching even to the dateline indicative of a fading attempt for the Inactive Phase of the MJO to get a foothold. By 6/24 those light east anomalies are to be all but gone, with a neutral pattern taking hold of the entire Pacific into early July (7/4).
We believe that El Nino is nearly gone, though remnants will linger in the upper atmosphere for a while. Regardless, we'll fall back into some form of a light La Nina Pattern (where the Inactive Phase takes control) for later 2010 into 2011. Of other interest will be whether the Iceland Volcano will spew enough high level fine particle dust and aerosols into the atmosphere to produce a reflective effect, dropping surface temperature and pushing us into a multi-year La Nina. This is a very real concern.
Sea Surface Temp anomaly data (6/10) indicates that cooler than normal waters have now developed over a thin strip on the equator from South America drifting west to the dateline now and covering the important equatorial area of the better than half the Pacific Ocean. This is a dramatic turn for the worse and only seems to have gotten stronger over the past week. A massive buildup of warmer than normal waters continues in the Atlantic almost bleeding into the far Eastern Pacific, of concern to hurricane forecasters there. We'll see if upper level winds support development of hurricane activity or whether residual upper level shear from El Nino will chop the tops of developing systems. Suspect shear will be gone by the heart of hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Below the surface on the equator no Kevin Wave activity was present and if anything colder than normal water was building strong over the dateline and pushing east (sort of like a cold Kelvin Wave). This pocket was -4 degs below normal. Not good.
Over the entire Equatorial Pacific trades were blowing all the way to almost the Philippines, but only in the normal range. Perhaps a slight push to the west was occurring, but nothing extraordinary. This looks like the normal Springtime transition typical for this time of the year but is likely to change towards an increased easterly flow as Fall approaches symptomatic of La Nina.
El Nino is effectively gone and slowly losing it's grip on the global atmospheric weather pattern. Still some lingering impact is to continue into the Summer of 2010 enhancing the storm track in the South Pacific some. A slow transition to a normal if not slight cooler than normal state (La Nina) is expected through Nov 2010, and the signs continue to point to a La Nina pattern for the long term future.
See more details in the new El Nino update.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no swell producing fetch 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
Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here:
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
The Mavericks: Everest of the Seas Exhibition has unveiled its latest gallery featuring some of the most heart-stopping images from the epic El Niño-fueled Big Wave Season. This year's lineup includes not only a culmination of images from Award-winning photographers Doug Acton, Frank Quirarte, Seth Migdail, Ed Grant and Art Gimbel but a multimedia slide show and a video recap of the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest, one of the greatest days in surfing history.
Thanks to an El Nino weather pattern, this has been one of the most dramatic big-wave surf seasons on record, said Doug Acton, Mavericks Veteran Lensmen.
Now Eric Nelson and Curt Myers of Powerlines Productions have come on board to bring the gallery images to life by presenting both water and cliff-angle video of the Mavericks contest, won by South Africa's Chris Bertish in the biggest waves ever ridden in a paddle-surf contest.
The Mavericks crew will transform the Longboard Vineyards tasting room into a virtual caldron of 50-foot drops, glory rides and heinous wipeouts. As you stand under the colorful Tibetan Prayer flags, tasting some of Longboard Vineyards' libations, you'll be hard-pressed not to become immersed in the real-life drama, energy and stoke that surrounds the surfers and photographers every time they head out to the lineup.
Longtime big-wave surfer Mark (Doc) Renneker put it best when he said, “Every time you leave the shore, you head out into the wildnerness.”
“We're coming off one of the most phenomenal big-wave seasons to date," said Quirarte, the longtime Mavericks lifeguard and master lensman. “This season we witnessed so many great rides by so many different surfers from so many different countries. Mavericks is still the No. 1 all-around spot in the world for big-wave surfing.”
Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be on hand at the reception to unveil the latest release in his Mavericks Signature Series, the Ken “Skindog” Collins Syrah.
Veteran waterman Ken “Skindog” Collins (Santa Cruz, CA) is hands down one of the most recognized and respected big wave surfers today. With his recent trip to the podium at the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest or his epic twenty-foot Puerto Escondido barrel that earned him top honors at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Collins has traveled the world mentoring up and coming crop of big wave chargers -- and has himself pioneered and ridden the biggest waves on the planet.
“I can't think of a better person to honor with our next Mavericks label than Kenny Collins,” said Shakked. “A true icon of the sport.”__
Oded Shakked, along with the featured photographers, videographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting room in beautiful Healdsburg California for the Saturday night reception on May 22nd The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm.
“Everest of the Seas” was launched in the summer of 2009, with the idea of bringing together the most memorable photos from Mavericks' best sessions. It drew large crowds and an enthusiastic response in its debut at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, then moved on to successful runs at San Francisco's world-class SFMOMA Museum and Gallery, The Fillmore, The Half Moon Bay Big Wave Surfing Festival and Longboard Vineyards.
Stormsurf Hi-Res Coastal Precipitation Models Upgraded Though a bit late in the season, on 3/20 we implemented the same basic technology used in our new snow/ski models into the coastal hi-res precipitation models. So now you can not only determined whether rain is forecast for your area, but also snow. And not just light, medium or heavy snow like most sites, but the exact snowfall amount (in inches) for each 3 hr frame of the animation. Here's a sample, but now this approach is used in all our precipitation models. http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nwcoast_precip
Stormsurf Precip Models Upgraded! On 2/20 we upgraded some of the broader precipitation models driven by the hi-def GFS model to include snow fall. The algorithm used is similar to the recently released snow models for the Southwest US in that the areas where snow is expected are identified and the exact amount of snow forecast over a 3 hr window is explicitly color coded. For East and West Coast US interests the following links provide good examples:
West Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nepac_precip
East Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=watla_precip
Stormsurf Weather Models have all been upgraded! Over the New Years break we installed all new and upgraded weather models. Also new are experimental snow models for the Southwest US. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html
Read about Eric Nelson and Curt Myers, the makers of Ride-On and other Big Wave Surf Movies here: http://coastviewsmag.com/powerlines-productions-filming-the-art-of-big-wave-surfing
Ride On! Powerlines new big wave epic is now available on DVD. Get the entire big wave story of the 2008-2009 season here: http://www.mavz.com/
||Casa Noble Tequila If you are looking for an exquisite experience in fine tequila tasting, one we highly recommend, try Case Noble. Consistently rated the best tequila when compared to any other. Available at BevMo (in California). Read more here: http://www.casanoble.com/
Interview With Stormsurf: The crew at SurfScience.com worked with Stormsurf on a feature about why surfers should be able to read wave charts themselves. They are firm believers that a little learning can go a long way to help your surfing. This is a great article to help convince your friends that they can benefit from being able to read the data themsleves rather than just relying on the forecasts of others. See the full thing here: Create Your Own Surf Forecast with Stormsurf
North California Surf Report Works Again: After an extended downtime we finally got the North California Surf Report working again. Thanks for your patience. See it here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/report/ncal.html
Shark Video: Our friend Curt Myers of Powerlines productions shot this footage of 2 great whites munching on a whale carcass off Devils Slide (south of San Francisco) on Thursday. Kind of interesting to watch. Check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I4rZYEZMWQ (Fixed link)
Wave Model Upgrade Status Report: At this point we believe the installation of the new wave models is complete, with no problems being reported, the server stabilizing and the much requested return of the old style hemispheric Surf Height models now operational (again) and running side-by-side along the new ones. We thank you for your patience and input as we went though this process. Your feedback helps guide our efforts and ultimately results in a better product for everyone. Now we're off to start providing better menus to some wave model products most of you probably haven't uncovered yet (site specific graph and text forecasts), updateing the wave model FAQs and then upgrading the Weather Models.
New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.
Stormsurf Wave Models Updated: On Friday (2/6) we installed the latest upgrade to our wavemodels. A year in the works, this upgrade essentially is a total re-write of every wave model product we produce. They now take advantage of the new Version 3 of the Wavewatch wavemodel. This version runs at a much higher resolution, specifically 0.0 X 0.5 degrees for the global grib with local products at 0.1667 X 0.1667 degrees, and it uses the hi-res GFS model for wind speeds. And of even more interest, the model now identifies primary swell and windwave variables. As such we now have new model images which displays this data. Also we've included out special 3D topographic land masks into all models. In all it makes for a radical step forward in wave model technology. We'll be upgrading minor components (FAQ, new menu pages etc) for a few weeks to come, but all the basics are available for your use now. Check it out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
Story About Stormsurf: The folks at SurfPulse (and specifically author Mike Wallace) have written up a really nice article about Stormsurf, complete with some good pics. Learn about how we came to be and a little of where we are going. Check it out here: http://www.surfpulse.com/2009/01/visceral-surf-forecasting-with-mark-sponsler/
Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it: http://vimeo.com/2319455
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here: http://www.darrowchiropractic.com/
Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table