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 Sunday (7/27) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were maybe waist high on the sets and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh to waist high and clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh high and textured. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high and lightly textured early. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was knee high and clean. The East Shore was knee high.
North/Central California was getting minimal locally generated northwest windswell with some small southern hemi background swell underneath. Southern California was getting a mix of wrap-around northwest windswell though minimal with a bit more southern hemi background swell intermixed. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore was essentially flat. Trades were down with windswell all but gone on the East Shore.
For Central California even the minimal northwest windswell is to disappear and stay that way till Thursday when theoretical small windswell from the Gulf of Alaska arrives. Southern hemi background swell to hold into Monday then fade. Another very southern angled pulse is forecast for late Wednesday in Thursday, but only at the most exposed south facing breaks. By next weekend small very short period windslop is expected. In short, small and boring. Southern CA to see only the southern hemi swell with doubtful odds of any windswell wrapping in over the next week. But decent southern hemi swell expected Wednesday and Thursday at exposed south facing breaks. The South Shore of HAwaii to see a bare minimal pulse of Tasman Sea swell Tues/Wed, then going really flat with no swell expected beyond. Tradewind generated east windswell to provide some distraction for Mon-Wed too, though nothing extraordinary. Beyond the models are offering nothing of interest for either Hawaii or California over the next week, so make the most of what you can get. We're moving into the usual mid-summer flat spell. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
The North Pacific jetstream is in hibernation for the summer. No features of interest were indicated with the bulk of the limited energy tracking just barely south of the Aleutians and into the Northern Gulf of Alaska and no change forecast for the next 7 days. A small ineffective trough was running through the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday, expected to hold into Tuesday, but nothing of consequence.
At the surface today a broad moderate high pressure system at 1032 mbs remained parked 1000 nmiles north of Hawaii trying to ridge into Oregon but not really making it , and also ridging west to the dateline and serving just to block out most of the North Pacific. Interestingly a series of weak low pressure systems have been moving east off Japan and tracking over the top of this semi permanent high, over the dateline an through the Gulf of Alaska just barely moving south of the Aleutians. So the corridor is open, just nothing of any strength is working through it. Over the next 72 hours one such low pressure system is to move into the Gulf generating 25 kt west winds Monday, offering a chance at windswell for the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA mid-week. And trades to kick up a little Mon-Wed for the Islands as the high wobbles south a little enabling the Gulf low through, possibly generating slightly larger windswell for Eastern Shores. But in all thing to be pretty quiet.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (7/27) northerly winds at 15 kts were trying to work their way down the Central CA coast but were only serving to hack thing up there. High pressure north of Hawaii was trying to ridge into the coast, driving these northerly winds and expected to continue pretty much through the week with Sunday and Monday (7/28) being the weakest of it, held at bay by low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. Still none of these northerly winds to exceed 20 kts till next weekend, and serving only to generate texture and light chop nearshore down into Pt Conception. Southern CA to remain protected.
On Sunday AM (7/27) Tropical Depression Genevieve was located 1080 nmiles south-southwest of Southern CA tracking west at 10 kts with sustained winds 30 kts. Seas 12 ft. No swell generation potential indicated. A slow weakening is forecast as Genevieve continues on a western track and fades out mid-week.No swell generation potential for Hawaii or the US west coast expected.
Typhoon Fung-Wong was positioned just 64 nmiles from Taipei Taiwan with sustained winds 90 kts and building. Landfall expected there by this evening. No swell generation potential for Hawaii or the US west coast.
On Sunday (7/27) a split jetstream pattern remained in-control of the entire South Pacific with the southern branch running basically flat from west to east just over the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf offering no real support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast other than a small almost-trough scheduled for the Central Pacific starting Wednesday (7/30). Beyond 72 hrs that trough is to try and build in the Southeast Pacific on Thursday into Friday, but is to move out of even the California swell window and start heading south as a ridge builds right behind it, crashing into Antarctica late Friday offering no support for surface level low pressure development of consequence.
At the oceans surface two systems of minimal interest were in-flight. First a gale was developing on the eastern edge of the California swell window actually starting Saturday AM (7/26) with pressure 948 mbs but over Antarctic Ice generating winds of near 40 kts at 60S 130W aimed more east than north, mostly out of even the Southern CA swell window and more at Peru. This system built up to 45 kts winds at the same location Saturday evening with a broad area of 29 ft seas at 58S 128W. A second odd-ball low developed on the northern tip of New Zealand Friday evening (7/25) pushing a tiny area of 50 kt winds north for 12 hrs possibly targeting Hawaii. But the whole thing started moving to the southeast towards Antarctica over the next 36 hrs with 35 ft seas in play early Sunday AM at 36S 177W, but all aimed southeast towards southern Chile at best. Over the next 72 hrs starting Sunday AM (7/27) the system in the Southeast Pacific to have 45-50 kts winds forecast at 60S 122W aimed 45 degrees east of the 180 degree great circle path up to California generating 32 ft seas at 55S 122W pushing mostly towards Peru. In the evening all fetch is to be east of the Southern Ca swell window and fading. 37 ft seas are forecast at 55S 115W, essentially out of the California swell window. Limited odds of some form of background very southerly angled swell pushing up in to California, best in Southern CA, with luck a week later.
Of marginally more interest is that weird system off northern New Zealand. It's to hold together and track east with 35 kt winds eventually wrapping into it's west quadrant aimed somewhat northeast by Monday AM (7/28) generating 30 ft seas near 38S 165W and still tracking east, setting up more 32 ft seas at 36S 160W in the evening and again 32 ft seas Tuesday AM at 34S 154W before dying in the evening with 30 ft seas at 31S 147W. Possible solid sideband swell for Tahiti on Wednesday (7/30) and some of that radiating north towards Central America in the days beyond, but doubtful anything to reach HAwaii or the US mainland.
Tasman Sea Storm
A a 980 mb storm formed in the Tasman Sea on Monday (7/22) generating a short lived fetch of 55 kt winds aimed north targeting Fiji well with 37 ft seas from 40S 158E Mon PM pushing to 38S 165E Tues AM (1400 nmiles from Fiji), then crashed into New Zealand late in the evening. Large swell for Fiji possible with weak filtered remnants eventually pushing into Hawaii. Expect swell arrival on Tuesday AM (7/29) at 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft faces) dropping to 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs for Wednesday (2.0-2.5 ft faces). Swell Direction:215 degrees
Southeast Pacific Gale
On Monday PM (7/21) a 972 mb gale was in the far Southeastern Pacific generating a small area of 35-40 kt south winds at 48S 120W and supposedly producing 30 ft seas at 51S 123W by Tuesday AM (7/22). The Jason-1 satellite passed over the northwestern edge of this area reporting seas at 26 ft, in line with the WW3 WAM, so it is not completely unreasonably to suspect up to 30 ft seas might exist. On Tuesday evening those winds pushed northeast holding at 35 kts at 42S 113W still generating 30 ft seas at 44S 118W. Even Wednesday AM these winds persisted at 35 kts at 41S 105W, well outside the California swell window and targeting South America better. Seas to 30 ft were still at 40S 110W. This system faded after that. Most of this energy was aimed at Chile and Peru, though it is not unlikely that some form of swell could push up into Southern California from 5100 nmiles away starting Wednesday (7/30) from 180 degrees.
Possible swell starting in Southern CA on Wed (7/30) with swell 3 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft faces - maybe 5 ft at top SCal spots). Swell down to 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4 ft faces) on Thurs (7/31) and fading. Swell Direction : 180 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 hours the big Pacific high pressure system is to break down starting Thursday with a positively placid wind pattern setting up. There's only a hint of new high pressure at 1024 mbs building off Central CA late next weekend, generating maybe 20 kt winds off Central CA, but even that is of no real interest.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Sunday (7/27) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was in the inactive phase but moving towards the active phase. The SOI index which has been positive since 7/16 started moving negative on 7/23 and is still there, currently at -9.05. The 30 day average was 3.62 and the 90 day average was 0.48 essentially neutral. A weak area of easterly trades were moving east into Central America both at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up), but this pattern is to slowly decay through the end of the month with westerly winds building over the Indian OCean and forecast to push into the equatorial Pacific perhaps starting the end of the week signaling the start of the Active Phase of the MJO. But this episode is forecast to be weak.
Beyond 72 hrs virtually no swell producing low pressure systems of interest are forecast. Flatness expected.
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table