New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
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 (6/17) Northern CA surf was head high weak and warbled but almost clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high and clean early. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was up to chest high and pretty clean early. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high pushing chest high on the sets at exposed breaks and blown by mid-day. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest to head high with occasionally slightly bigger sets and pretty clean. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high and a little overhead and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest high and sideshore mid-day. The East Shore was waist to chest high.
North/Central California was seeing and mix of locally generated northwest windswell with a pair of limited southern hemi swells underneath. One was fading and coming from under New Zealand while the second was building and coming from off the east coast of New Zealand. southern California was seeing the same swell sources, but with the southern hemi swells more dominants and the local swell providing something to break up the long southern hemi lines. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore was getting the last decent pulse of southern hemi swell originating from a gale that was off the east coast of New Zealand. The East Shore was getting trade wind generated windswell.
For Central California, northwest windswell to slowly trickle down through the end of the workweek fading to nothing by late Friday. Southern hemi swell currently in the water is to hold decently through Thursday, then start fading out. One more small pulse of southern hemi swell is expected to arrive for Friday/Saturday, then the whole thing goes into hibernation. Local windswell to be the only swell source starting late Sunday peaking Mon/Tues (6/24). Southern CA to see the same pattern with the southern hemi swell being the dominant swell source. No windswell expected there by late Thursday with declining southern hemi swell as well. But the Fri/Sat southern hemi pulse might come in larger than most are expecting (though still only in the fun sized range). In the Islands local east windswell to fade out to small levels with period dropping out by Wed (6/18) with no real rebound forecast, though not completely flat either. Southern hemi swell for the South Shore to be noticeably dropping on Wednesday and heading down from there with only a small sideband pulse for Thurs/Friday, then fading out completely. The short story is get what you can now because the South Pacific is going dormant. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Pacific jetstream is in hibernation for the summer. No features of interest are indicated.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 1200 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii ridging into Oregon weakly generating a very modest pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino producing northerly winds at 25 kts there and limited period local windswell pushing into the Central and South CA coasts. Limited trades were being generated off the south side of this same high making for even shorter period and smaller windswell pushing into the East SHores of the Hawaiian Islands. Over the next 72 hours high pressure and north winds off Oregon are to fade out by mid-Thursday as weak low pressure develops in the Gulf of Alaska perhaps generating a tiny fetch of 30 kt north winds in it's west quadrant on Friday (6/20) producing up to 17 ft seas mid-day pushing south and mostly bypassing the CA coast. High pressure at 1028 mbs to remain north of Hawaii though keeping a modest 15 kt easterly flow in play over Hawaii and continuing to generate minimal short period windslop along east facing shores.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/17) the eastern edge of a broader area of high pressure north of Hawaii was ridging into Oregon at 1028 mbs continuing to fuel a ill-defined pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino down to Pt Conception with north winds in the 25 kt range. Much of the fetch was nearly impacting the coast making for rather poor local conditions in that area and producing some short period windswell auguring into Central CA. The gradient is to hold to some degree through Wednesday with the same conditions for that area, then start fading Thursday as low pressure takes a brief hold of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska. Local winds to improve and fall below the 15 kt range Fri/Sat (6/21). By by late Saturday as the low moves inland over British Columbia high pressure is to return to the California coast with north winds on the increase yet again, at 15 kts early and heading up from there. Chop in control. 20-25 kt north winds forecast Monday over all of North and Central CA pushing near the 30 kt range Tuesday (6/24) generating more local chop and short period windswell. Southern CA to remain protected from most of this until Sunday evening with some degree of winds in place till late Monday. Tuesday the fetch is to start retreating for SCal.
No tropical systems of interest were occurring.
On Tuesday (6/17) a split jetstream pattern was flowing over the the entire South Pacific with a slight northward push in the southern branch just east of the dateline with 170 kt winds pulsing there, almost generating a trough. East of there the whole flow gradually pushed to the southeast tracking towards and under southern South America. The southern branch of the jet was displaced pretty well to the south. Only the faintest hint of potential for development was occurring on the dateline in the southern branch in association with the mini-trough there. Over the next 72 hours the split flow is to continue with the dateline trough quickly dissipating and offering no real odds to help any low pressure develop at the oceans surface. Even worse, a ridge is to start building under New Zealand by Friday (6/20) further hampering surface level gale development potential. Beyond 72 hrs the southern branch of the jet is to remain displaced well to the south with no troughs of interest forecast. If anything a very vigorous ridge is to build over the central Pacific Mon/Tues (6/24) pushing hard into Antarctica further minimizing odds for surface level low pressure development.
At the oceans surface a gale was south of 5280 nmiles due south of Southern California and all it's fetch was aimed southeast into Antarctica, offering no odds for swell development. No other systems of interest were indicated. Over the next 72 hours a series of weak gales are to track fast west to east with any fetch aligned towards southern South America, offering no odds for swell development for North America.
Third New Zealand Storm
On Thursday AM (6/5) a 944 mb storm passed under New Zealand with a broad area of 45-50 kt west to southwest winds at 55S 170E generating 36 ft seas at 56S 156E pushing east. The Jason-1 satellite passed over this area at 18Z with seas confirmed at 40.2 ft @ 57S 164E. By evening 45-50 kts winds persisted at 55S 178E with 41 ft seas pushing into exposed waters at 55S 170E targeting areas east of there with limited energy likely seeping north towards Hawaii. Fetch faded fast on Friday AM (6/6) with 36 ft seas holding at 55S 180W tracking due east, but anything generated east of there was shadowed from California by Tahiti. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the southern reaches of the fetch at 18Z and reported seas of 32 ft with peak reading to 38 ft at 55-56S 179W, consistent with the wave model. No winds were present in the evening with residual seas of 35 ft seas modeled at 52S 170W.
Sideband energy for Hawaii possible from this system with limited background energy for the US West Coast.
California: . Swell down to 2.3-2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) Wednesday (6/18). Swell Direction: 215 degree SCal, 210 degrees NCal.
4th New Zealand System
One more in the series of swell producing systems developed Saturday evening (6/7) directly under the southern tip of New Zealand with 45-50 kt southwest winds blowing up into the Hawaiian and California swell window from 52S 165E (right on the westmost 201 degree great circle path for Hawaii and the 218 degree path for CA. Seas were building. These winds were modeled down to 40-45 kts Sunday AM (6/8) aimed directly at Hawaii. A small area of 32 ft seas were near 49S 173W aimed best at Hawaii. Winds faltered Sunday evening with seas 30 ft at 45N 180W, then rebuild to 45 kts over a small area Monday AM (6/9) at 40S 170W again aimed right at Hawaii up the 191 degree path and somewhat up the 215 degree path to California. Seas were barely 30 ft at 41S 176W. More 45-50 kts winds build around the lows western quadrant Monday evening at 48S 165W with 31 ft seas still attributable to the original fetch at 40S 170W then fetch. By Tuesday AM all wind and seas were gone.
Swell likely for Hawaii a week out with only very limited swell potential for California 9 days out (starting 6/18).
California: Expect swell arrival at sunset Tuesday (6/17) with period at 18 secs. Swell building and intermingling with swell from the third storm (above) during the day Wednesday (6/18). Swell reaching 2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Swell continuing at 2 ft @ 15 secs (3 ft faces) on Thursday (6/19), with 2 ft remnants at 14 secs on Friday (2.5-3.0 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 214 degrees (NCal); 218 degrees (SCal)
The hints of one more fetch started to organize under New Zealand Tuesday AM (6/10) and wound up in the evening producing a small area of 45-50 kt southwest winds at 58S 175W, and 50 kt southwest winds confirmed at 54S 165W Wednesday AM (6/11) with a tiny area of 28 ft seas at 58S 169W. The fetch lifted northeast through the day with 45-50 kt winds at 50S 155W and seas 30 ft modeled at 50S 160W in the evening. Of most interest, the Jason-1 satellite passed directly over this fetch at 16Z and confirmed a solid area of seas at 38.4 ft with one peak reading to 40.4 ft at at 55S 165W, right on the 203 degree path to NCal/205 SCal and just barely on the edge of the Tahitian swell shadow. This is not too bad. Fetch faded fast thereafter with 30 ft seas still hanging on at 46S 150W Thursday AM (6/12) then fading out.
This system offers the hint of something resembling swell for California, but much less for the Islands because fetch was not aimed well in their direction. Though there was only one reading from the Jason-1 satellite, it was a favorable one. The trick on this one is to figure how much of that reading will translate into swell. Current estimates suggest swell up to 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft faces) could result for South and North CA. But with only one reading that estimate is likely high. Just the same, this is one to watch for in that it could provide a bit more size than most forecast services are going to expect.
Some form of minimal sideband swell pushing into Hawaii (4560 nmiles) peaking late Wednesday (6/18) with swell 1.3 ft @ 17 secs (2.0-2.5 ft faces). Swell fading from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft faces) Thurs AM. Swell Direction 184 degrees.
This one was 5962 nmiles from California and 10 days out from the core hitting the coast. Swell arrival expected early Fri AM (6/20) with period 19 secs and peaking in SCal late afternoon at up to 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft faces) though that is likely too high an estimate. 2 ft @ 17 secs more likely (3.5 ft faces). Swell to peak at the same size in Central CA early Saturday AM (6/21) well before sunrise at 2 ft @ 17 secs fading from 14-15 secs on Sunday. Swell Direction: 205 degrees SCal/203 NCal
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 no large scale swell producing weather systems are forecast. High pressure is to rebuild from north of Hawaii towards the coast by late Sunday (6/22) with 20-25 kt north winds raking the Central CA coast by Monday AM continuing through Tuesday (6/24). Winds off the south side of this high to exceed 15 kts connecting from California the whole way to the Hawaiian Islands late Sunday on into the early part of next week, likely generating more and larger short period windswell along East Shores. No other swell source indicated.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Tuesday (6/17) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving from the inactive phase to the active phase. The inactive phase is know to enhance the production of storms in the Northern Hemisphere over a roughly 20 day time span during the winter months there and is also complicit with the formation of El Nino (which also enhances storms in the NPac during the winter) when multiple strong active phases occur in rapid succession during late spring into summer and Fall. A single MJO cycle lasts typically 40 days going from inactive to active then turn back to inactive. Today the last bit of stronger than normal 850 mb east winds were tracking over Central America and nearly out of the Pacific headed for the Atlantic while a broad area of reversed 850 mb winds (blowing from the west) were pushing over the Philippines and Northern Australia moving towards the Dateline and central equatorial Pacific. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) which measures the pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin Australia was very positive June 2-10 at +15 to +35, indicative of the inactive phase of the MJO. That changed on June 11 and has been hovering in the slightly negative range (-2 to -8 ), consistent with the inactive phase of the MJO. A +2 reading occurred today. Overall the 30 day average has been consistently slightly negative since May 21 hovering in the -1 to -4 range. This is a nice change compared to the record La Nina which controlled the winter of 2007/2008 peaking with a monthly average of +22 in Feb 2008. This current prolonged recent exposure of negative SOI values has nearly wiped out La Nina and is keeping us watching the possibility for formation of El Nino in Fall on 2008. Though not likely from a historical perspective, it is interesting to watch just the same. The influence of the MJO on the Southern hemi storm track is not well correlated. Regardless, this current active phase of the MJO is to peak near June 21 over the dateline, then fade while pushing east towards Central America, limping over that area near 7/1.
Beyond 72 hrs high pressure to take control of the Central South Pacific. A broad but generally unorganized 960 mb storm is forecast stalled under the southern tip of New Zealand Mon/Tues (6/24) offering 45-55 kt south winds and 36 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii. But odds very low of this occurring this far into the future.
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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STORMSURF Local Wave Models Upgraded - We significantly upgraded the local waves models on Sunday (6/8). All now utilize our newly developed high-resolution 3D shaded relief topography for mapping landmasses. Coastlines are now accurate down to the individual pixel providing near photographic realism. Mountains and hills are all shaded and accurate to within the same single pixel specification. Cities are overlaid as before, but now we've added major highways and rivers too (for many locations). Some good examples of this new technology can be viewed here:
- View the reefs north of Tahiti and notice their contribution to the 'Swell Shadow' relative to California - Tahiti
- Notice the detail of the coast in and around Vancouver Islands and Washington State - Pacific Northwest
- See the details of inland waterways of the US Northeast Coast - Virginia
- Details of the Mentawai Island and Nias
And all the local models can be found either on our homepage or from the wavemodel page (bottom half of the page).
Surfrider's General Meeting: The San Mateo County Chapter is holding a General Public Meeting on June 12th at the Montara Lighthouse. Meet the SMC Chapter leaders and other like-minded activists, and learn more about how you can get involved in our current activities and campaigns. Then listen to an interesting talk by Mark Hylkema, a State archaeologist with 28 years' experience in California archeology and Native American culture. Mark has interacted with many different tribal communities, particularly in central and northern California. In 1994, he discovered a crescent of stone during an excavation in a cypress forest at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The 5700-year-old rock is believed to have been used by early Native Americans and is the oldest artifact discovered in San Mateo County.
Doors open at 7, meeting begins at 7:30. The Lighthouse is at 16th Street and Highway 1 in Montara. Parking is limited, so please carpool if possible and park in the upper lot (nearest to Hwy 1). For more information, visit surfridersmc.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Time Zone Converter - Finally! 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.
Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o5lj9CUpCc
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
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/
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
Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here: http://www.bluewatergoldrush.com
Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com
Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists. http://www.waveridersgallery.net/
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