On Tuesday (8/1) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high with a light to moderate westerly winds and semi bumpy conditions. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were about the same but cleaner. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe waist high pushing near chest high on the sets at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with maybe chest high sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high plus on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was 2-4 ft overhead with with occasionally bigger sets waves the best breaks, but with onshore winds. The East Shore buoy was down - no report.
Northern California was seeing a small mix of southern hemi background swell and locally generated northwest windswell while Southern CA was getting primarily the southern hemi swell with dribbles from the north. Hawaii was seeing solid southern hemi swell from Storm #4S, but onshore winds were making it nearly unrideable. This swell is pushing towards California though smaller and more decayed upon arrival. Another swell from Storm #5 that was under New Zealand last weekend is pushing northeast too, with most sized expected for Hawaii and more secondary energy pushing towards California. So rideable surf is in the water. Long term the models show a big decline in surf size, with the storm pattern down south having faded out, but not going totally dormant. More like a pause in the action while we wait for the jetstream to provide an opening for something to develop in. So take what's coming and hope for more. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (8/1) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days.
At the surface high pressure at 1024 was spread over the Northeast Pacific covering the area from the dateline into North CA and 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii. It was ridging east barely into North & Central CA providing a steady 15-20 kt northerly flow there but jogging north of Hawaii with no trade winds flow in effect. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/4) the high is to push east allowing the usual pressure gradient and associated northwest winds to starting building, focused more over Cape Mendocino CA and reaching 25-30 kts there Friday. Short period windswell expected to result tot he North and Central coasts. This movement of the high to regenerate easterly trades over the Hawaiian Islands not a moment too soon late Wednesday building to the solid 20 kts range by Friday.
Tropical Storm Fabio was positioned just outside the California swell window tracking east on the 15N latitude with sustained winds 45 kts. Minor strengthening forecast to 50 kts over the next 24 hours, then a decline to set in well before this system reaches the effective Hawaiian swell window. No swell generation potential forecast.
Tropical Storm Gilam was 300 nmiles south of Manzanillo Mexico tracking west-northwest with sustained winds 35 kts and forecast to build only minimally to the 45 kts range while passing south of the islands of Clarion and Socorro Thur/Fri. No swell generation potential forecast but a turn to the northwest is forecast beyond that. Will monitor.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
Wednesday to see a decrease in local northwest winds off North and Central CA as the high pressure gradient drifts north moving towards it's normal position over Cape Mendocino. It to become well entrenched there Thurs/Fri with north winds 25-30 kts, but affording a bit of buffer from the CA Coast south of Pt Reyes with a light southwest flow expected. Saturday into Sunday calm winds locally or light southwest forecast as high pressure to the northeast decays and tracks back to the west some. Lower pressure from the northeastern Gulf to drop down the coast early next week continuing rather placid winds conditions with no windswell generation potential forecast and locally generally light northwest winds in place.
The detailed 5 Day Wind Forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Tuesday (8/1) the southern hemi jetstream had mostly returned to it's old non-productive self. The northern branch was dominant flowing flat from mid-Australia east into Northern Child with winds generally light other than one pocket up to 155 kts in the northern reaches of the Southeast Pacific. The Southern branch was anemic with winds 70-80 kts and on it's old course flowing over Antarctic Ice except in the Southeast Pacific where it made a minor detour to the north touching the northern branch of the jet there (and generating the pocket of higher winds mentioned above) then U turning right back to the south crashing into the ice sheet over the Wedell Sea. In all an un-inspiring pattern. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to totally dissipate with the jet diving further south still, with the only exception being the faint signs of a trough developing under New Zealand, but nothing to hardly be worth mentioning. Early next week another trough to take a stab at developing in the same area, this time supposedly making better headway (under New Zealand) and with 160 kt winds pushing north to boot, making this something of interest (assuming it actually develops).
At the surface on Tuesday (8/1) a gutless 976 mb low pressure system was centered in the upper trough in the Southeast Pacific producing 25 kt southwest winds with no swell generation potential. Nothing else forecast till late Thursday (8/3) when a new low is modeled to develop southeast of New Zealand producing a tiny fetch of 40 kt winds at 50S 163W aimed northeast.That low to quickly build Friday (8/40 with pressure dropping to 960 mbs and winds 45-50 kts over a small area sinking to 57S 143W outside the Hawaiian swell window and targeting California 25 degrees east of the 190 degree path (unshadowed by Tahiti). Unfortunately this low to pancake out further south on Saturday with winds fading and taking aim due east before any real seas get generated. No swell generation potential forecast.
Storm #4S - Hawaii
On Sunday AM (7/23) a small low started to develop directly under New Zealand producing 50 kt winds at 54S 165E aimed northeast up the 201 degree path to Hawaii and the 216 degree path to California. By the evening winds continued at 50-55 kts centered near 55S 175E aimed northeast aimed like before. By Monday AM pressure was down to 960 mbs with winds fading some to 50 kts over a shrinking area centered at 56S 172E aimed well up the 195 degree path to Hawaii and the 212 degree path to California. By evening 36 ft seas were in place at 54S 175W tracking northeast with winds dropping from 45 kts over a broad area. 37 ft seas were modeled into Tuesday PM at 50S 170W on the 187 degree path to Hawaii and the 208 degree path to California but becoming shadowed by Tahiti, especially Southern CA, then fading out.
Data for the storm was reconstructed from a variety of non-Stormsurf sources (due to our server outage) so confidence is not as high as usual. Still this system appeared to be a moderate winter-time southern hemi storm well positioned to push solid energy towards Hawaii and in relatively close proximity to the Islands 4572 nmiles and well inside their swell window which should result in a significant class swell with period in the 17-20 sec range. California was much further away (6100 nmiles) and partially shadowed by Tahiti towards the end of the storm, resulting in smaller more decayed but still decent sized utility class swell in the 17-20 sec range.
Hawaii: Solid size but lessening energy expected on Wednesday (8/2) with swell dropping from 4.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (7 ft faces with sets to 9 ft). Still solid 14 secs energy expected Thursday (8/3) with swell 3.9 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) fading slowly through the day. Swell Direction: 190-195 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival Wednesday (8/2) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces and inconsistent). By Thursday (8/3) swell to be peaking at 3.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (6 ft faces with sets to 7 ft at best breaks) holding through the day. Friday swell to continue at 3.9 ft @ 15 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) dropping to 3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5) then down from there while new swell builds in. Swell Direction 210 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on historical experience, so plan accordingly.
North California: Expect swell arrival Wednesday (8/2) with swell building to 2.6 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces and inconsistent). By Thursday (8/3) swell to be peaking at 3.9 ft @ 16 secs (6 ft faces with sets to 7.5 ft at best breaks) holding through the day. Friday to continue the trend with swell 3.9 ft @ 15 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces) dropping to 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5). Swell Direction 210-215 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on historical experience, so plan accordingly.
Storm #5S - Hawaii
A secondary kink in the isobars from the fading remnants of Storm #3S (above) developed southeast of New Zealand on Friday (7/28) regenerating confirmed 40-45 kt southwest winds near 52S 166W. These winds were aimed 20 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii (not bad) and right up the 205 degree path to California but totally shadowed by Tahiti. They were getting good traction on the already well-agitated ocean surface generating 30 ft seas Friday AM at 53S 170W best suited for Hawaii. In the evening the system tracked slowly east with winds confirmed at the same speed repositioned at 47S 162W and aimed 40 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii but well at California up the 205 degree path but still totally shadowed by Tahiti. 32 ft seas were modeled at 50S 165W. A closed 968 mb low was in-place Saturday AM but the bulk of the winds had faded, down to 35 kts roughly centered at 44S 147W aimed northeast targeting California up the 197 degree path and unshadowed but east of the Hawaii swell window. 35 ft seas were modeled at 45S 157W emerging into the clear for California (203 degree path). But the Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and only reported seas of 29-31 ft there, with a similarly weak report 6 hours later. Seas were modeled fading to 30 ft at 43S 148W in the evening though all fetch of interest had dissipated.
On Sunday (7/30) a small core of 40-45 kts winds were modeled to redevelop at 52S 145W aimed right up the 195 degree path to California (unobstructed) continuing in the the evening. A tiny area of 30 ft seas to result at 50S 140W building to 32 ft in the evening. This system to effectively fizzle out over the day Monday with lingering 32 ft seas modeled at 45S 135W (189 degree path to California).
This storm poses two problems, neither helpful to whatever swell might arrive in California. First off the Tahitian swell shadow will certainly take a good wack off any size this one produces during it's early life when it was strongest. Secondly the Jason-1 satellite reading suggest the model well overstated sea heights, another negative factor. Conversely Hawaii was free and clear of any obstruction so whatever this storm produces will reach the South Shore unimpeded. Since no satellite passes occurred early in the storms life, we're forced to go with the WW-3 estimates, but there is much uncertainty as to their accuracy for Hawaii, which means the resulting surf forecast could be on the high side. Be forewarned. All that said, we're projecting a small significant class swell push into Hawaii with moderate utility class energy for California.
Hawaii: Expect small energy starting to arrive Thursday afternoon (8/3) with swell 2 ft @ 18 secs (3-4 ft faces) but hidden by remnants of Swell #4S. Swell to start peaking at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) late Friday (8/4) then possibly 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5). A steady decline forecast by Sunday (8/6) with swell 3.6 ft @ 13 secs early (4.0-4.5 ft faces) and heading down. Swell Direction: 185 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on confirmed sea height readings from the Jason-1 satellite.
South California: Expect swell arrival Sunday (8/6) with swell building to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces and inconsistent). Swell continuing Monday (8/7) at 3 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) dropping to 3 ft @ 14-15 secs Tuesday (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction 200-205 degrees Note: Plan on something less than what is forecast due to inconsistencies between confirmed Jason-1 satellite sea height data and what was depicted by the WW3 wavemodel.
North California: Expect swell arrival Sunday (8/6) with swell building to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces and inconsistent). Swell peaking Monday (8/7) with swell 3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) fading from 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5 ft faces) Tuesday (8/6). Swell Direction 200-205 degrees Note: Plan on something less than what is forecast due to inconsistencies between confirmed Jason-1 satellite sea height data and what was depicted by the WW3 wavemodel.
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 high pressure to remain entrenched in the Eastern Pacific, but retrograding back to the west late Saturday (8/5) allowing the California Cape Mendocino gradient to fade but supporting the continuation of moderate trades along east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands at 20 kts well into next week. Moderate sized short period windswell to be the result. But there are no indications of any swell producing gale activity forecast pushing off Kamchatka nor the development of extratropical cyclones pushing off Japan and redirecting to the northeast, something we start looking for in the next few weeks. Kinda quiet.
Beyond 72 hours a series of low are to push under New Zealand tracking northeast, but without any support from the upper levels of the atmosphere, no development is forecast. Patches of 35 kt winds are expected for a day here and there, but nothing that would produce swell to survive a 5000 nmiles journey north. No swell generation potential forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table