On Tuesday (8/9) Northern CA surf was knee high and gutless. South facing breaks were flat. Central California surf was flat. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA area southward into Orange County was near flat. Southward to San Diego waves were flat. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was (you guessed it) flat.
Hope for small southern hemi surf continues for California while the outlook remains poor for Hawaii and points west. A small fetch last week produced some seas in the Southeast Pacific pushing a small swell towards California (both North and South). A stronger storm is currently sitting in nearly the same location in the Southeast Pacific focused again on California with nothing aimed at Hawaii. After that the charts indicate flatness, with no swell producing fetch suggested. A gale is also forecast in the Gulf of Alaska on Thursday (8/11) with small potential for California and Hawaii, but the odds are low. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
At the jetstream level on Tuesday (8/9) a giant ridge was over the Gulf of Alaska pushing well up into north Alaska. South of it a cutoff upper low was centered in the middle of the Gulf with winds barely 90 kts. In the West Pacific another trough was present off Kamchatka with winds 110 kts. In all none of these looked particularly interesting, though the cutoff low in the Gulf was curious (animation here). Over the next 72 hours this low is to remain the most interesting feature as the ridge to it's north starts fading and the trough off Kamchatka moderates. By Thursday (8/11) the cutoff upper low is to have winds in the 110 kt range holding near stationary, then starting to fade by Friday (8/12).
At the surface today the high pressure that has been in control of the East Pacific for months was gone, and instead a weak surface low at 1016 mbs was circulating in the Central Gulf, supported aloft by the upper level low directly above it. It seems more than coincidental that formation of this low coincides so closely with the developing active phase of the MJO (see details below). No organized high pressure was present over the north Pacific. Another 1000 mb surface low was just east of Kamchatka. No swell producing fetch was associated with either low. Trade winds were significantly reduced over Hawaii, the first time such a slackening has occurred in months. North winds off Cape Mendocino CA had nearly died too, all attributable to the failure of the Northeast Pacific high (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the big story is to be the strengthening of the Gulf low. The models continue to suggest that by Thursday AM (8/11) pressure is to drop to 992 mbs with winds building briefly to 40-45 kts in the west quadrant aimed south (just east of Hawaii) and the east quadrant aimed towards Alaska. Some 35-40 kt winds are forecast to wrap around into the south quadrant in the late afternoon aimed at California. By evening winds are to be evening distributed at 30-35 kts in all quadrants and then fading 20-25 kts remaining by Friday AM (8/12). For the time of year this is to be a bit of an eye opener if it develops as forecast. But from a swell generation perspective, the winds are to not persist long enough to get much traction on the oceans surface, with windswell the best possible outcome pushing a bit east of Hawaii and maybe limping into North and Central CA late in the weekend.
More model data here
California Offshore Forecast
Tuesday mornings local charts (8/9) indicated that high pressure formally well established in the eastern Gulf of Alaska had basically collapsed, setting the stage for development of a low pressure regime. Weak north winds persisted off Cape Mendocino modeled at 20-25 kts, but covering only a tiny area and fading. The low is to develop starting late Wednesday through Thursday (8/11) as documented in the above (NPac Surface Forecast). On Friday (8/12) as the low fades high pressure is to get a better foothold along the Pacific Northwest coast with the usual Cape Mendocino based north winds building to 25-30 kts over a tiny area, but enough to start producing northwest windswell again. That fetch to hold through Saturday evening (8/13) with a moderate increase in windswell expected. By Tuesday (8/16) the normal summertime East Pacific high is expected to return at 1028 mbs with the commensurate increase in north winds and windswell expected as next week progresses.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Tuesday (8/9) the jetstream charts continued indicating a solid split of the jet across the Southwest Pacific, but they merged to the east near 120W courtesy of a trough pushing north there. A broad upper high pressure center was between the two branches centered east of New Zealand, no different than in days and weeks past. This pattern remains well entrenched with no end in sight. Of most interest was the trough in the east pushing north to about 45S and providing a small environment friendly to surface level storm development. Winds there were 120 kts at the apex of the trough, providing some fuel for surface low development (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough is to track east and out of the US swell window. The split pattern in the Southwestern Pacific is to push east to fill the void, reaching the Chilean coast on Friday (8/12), totally eliminating any potential for storm development at the surface.
At the surface strong high high pressure remained east of New Zealand at 1028 mbs, through not pushing as far south as in weeks past. A tiny 960 mb low was due south of it tracking east, but all fetch was over the Ross Ice Shelf. The remnants of a stronger system was positioned in the Southeast Pacific still generating swell producing fetch but on the decline (see details below - 2nd SE Pac Storm). No other swell sources were indicated (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a minor dent in high pressure aloft is to allow some activity at the surface. The low currently in the deep Southwest Pacific is to track east dropping to 948 mbs. 50-55 kt west winds are forecast by Thursday AM (8/11) tracking fast to the east aimed 70+ degree east of any great circle path to Southern CA, then out of the picture to the east and dissipated 24 hours later. These winds are to get a little traction though on oceans surface thanks to residual seas from the previous low, resulting in seas to 39 ft on the very edge of the Southern CA swell window late Thursday night. Maybe some hope for small utility swell if this system forms as forecast.
More model data here
Southeast Pacific Low
A 956 mb low developed in the far Southeastern Pacific well southwest of Chile on Sunday (7/31) and eventually strengthened with 40 kt winds blowing on Monday (8/1) centered near 58S 117-125W. 29 ft seas were modeled at 58S 120-115W for 12 hours starting late that night, providing some potential for small utility class swell mainly for Southern CA from 180 degrees or less. But by Tuesday AM (8/2) that fetch was fading fast as were it's associated seas.
Expect swell arrival in Southern CA on Wednesday AM (8/10) with swell up to 2 ft @ 16 secs by sunset (2.5-3.0 ft faces - maybe 4 ft at best breaks). Swell holding into Thursday (8/11) at 2.3 ft @ 15-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) then heading down on Friday. Swell Direction: 180-185 degrees
Limited energy of similar size pushing into select exposed south facing breaks in Northern CA 12 hours later.
2nd SE Pacific Storm
On Monday (8/8) a 960 mb low develop off Southern Chile with a gradient in-place between it and much higher pressure back towards New Zealand. A broad fetch of 40-45 kt south to southwest winds was confirmed in the morning along the border of these two systems near 55S 129W aimed well at California into Central America. Seas were modeled at 27 ft centered at 52S 129W (pretty weak). Winds built to 40-50 kts in the evening centered at 50S 129W, essentially over the same area as in the morning. Seas held but were covering a larger area.
On Tuesday AM (8/9) the low held but winds were on the wane and slowly migrating east, confirmed at 40 kts near 48S 126W and fading fast. Seas built (mostly from previous days fetch) to 30 ft near 47S 126W. Residual 29 ft seas forecast at 44S 123W Tuesday evening (8/9) and fading out.
In all this was a very weak system with only 36 hours of functional winds and seas reaching barely 30 ft for 12 hours. At least it was in the California swell window with winds aimed generally right up the 180-190 degree great circle paths towards the state and locations east of there (Central America). The fetch was positioned fairly well to the north too, helping to reduce swell decay as it migrated away from the swell source.
A short bit of utility class swell with period in the 14-17 secs range is expected for North and South California, arriving first in the south on Tuesday AM (8/16) with period at 17 secs and size peaking on Wednesday (8/17) near 3.2 ft @ 16 secs (5 ft faces with set at best breaks to 6 ft). Swell to reach the north Tuesday evening peaking 24 hours later with similar size, but only at the most exposed south facing breaks.
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Tuesdays upper level models (8/9) indicate that beyond 72 hours the cutoff low is to start tapping the main jetstream energy, eroding the huge ridge over Alaska and dragging the the jet across the northern Gulf of Alaska. A small low is suggesting remaining in the Gulf well into next week while another upper low pushes off Kamchatka. Neither is to be even slightly impressive, but it's alot better than a huge ridge.
Beyond 72 hours at the surface another weak low is to push into the Gulf of Alaska by Sunday (8/14) with pressure 996 mbs, then lifting north to nearly Alaska early the following week. Winds to remain light in the 20 kt range aimed somewhat at Hawaii and California, but mostly confined to the eastern quadrant aimed north towards Alaska. Early next week high pressure is to start rebounding off the Pacific Northwest while yet another weak low is forecast to start developing near the dateline.
On Tuesday (7/27) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) dropped to -14 and has held in that range steadily through Thursday 8/4 with a -16 value posted. Then it started giving up a ground through Monday (8/8) with a values at 0 posted. But today it headed downward again, at -13. A negative SOI is conducive to the development of El Nino and is evidence that the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was occurring. A reversal of tradewinds over the Pacific equator typically accompanies such events. The first signs of such a breakdown developed west of the dateline starting Thursday (8/4). By Saturday (8/6) west wind were clearly evidenced to 160E and building eastward reaching 170E by Tuesday (8/9). Forecast models suggest this about as much as we can expect from this MJO pulse, but that the westerly winds should continue perhaps till the 18th. Though it is too late in the year for a full blown El Nino to start forming, a series of active MJO's can help to improve the chances for winter season storms and are a catalyst for development of strong tropical systems in the West Pacific (look for them to turn extratropical and curve northeast in the fall). There's also indirect evidence they enhance the North Pacific jetstream and improve the potential for winter storm development in the Gulf of Alaska, which currently appears to be happening. This active phase of the MJO is also responsible for the heavy rains and flooding in India a few week back.
Tuesdays upper level models (8/9) indicated that beyond 72 hours no big changes are forecast with a split pattern and high pressure situated in between the two branches remaining the dominant weather feature. A mild trough is forecast developing in the far Southeast Pacific on Saturday (8/12), but it is to remain mostly south over the Antarctic Ice. Another similar tough is forecast developing in the west near the dateline on Sunday (8/14) but it is to not get any real footing, with no support for surface level storm formation expected.
At the surface beyond 72 hours out high pressure that was in the West Pacific is to track east and build into the East Pacific at 1032 mbs, reducing any chance for storm production there. A small 980 mb low is forecast just east of New Zealand by Monday (8/15) though tracking east with winds forecast to 40 kts aimed due north towards Hawaii. 25 ft seas developing. This system is to be gone by late Tuesday. Maybe Hawaii finally has a shot.
Details to follow...
Proposed Senate Bill To Restrict Free Weather Data Giving it only to Private Companies for re-sell to the Public. If you view the free info from buoys, wind, and weather currently provided on this and other sites, prepare to see it end if this bill gets passed. Read more here.
Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm
Stormsurf Weather Models Updated Again: Yes, we've been at it again this weekend getting another batch of weather models running. Global coverage is now provided for jetstream forecasts and surface pressure and winds. Zoomed in data is also available for such locations as the Mentawai Islands to Western Australia corridor, Tahiti, South America, Europe and Norwegian Sea. So now you can get local wind forecasts for these and more locations with one click. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table