On Thursday (8/17) Northern CA surf was up to waist high with a light onshore winds adding some texture. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was thigh-waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County nearly flat with a rare thigh to waist high sets every now and then. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with a rare chest high set. The East Shore was thigh high.
California was as flat as it gets. Hawaii still had some tiny rideable surf on the South Shore but it was heading down. Fortunately a gale in the Central South Pacific has generated swell that is pushing north towards both Hawaii and California. And 2 more storms are to follow, but as reported before, most of the energy from them is to be aimed south towards Chile and Antarctica, rather than north towards Hawaii and CA. So no real hope here. Nothing brewing in the North Pacific either, though high pressure is to break down some in the far west. So make the most of whatever swell is coming. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (8/17) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days. A bit more energy is modeled than has been forecast previously, but all of it is to be tracking west to east directly over the Aleutian Islands with nothing dipping south into open waters of the North Pacific.
At the surface a double lobed high pressure system at 1028 covered the entirety of the Pacific, with once lode centered 700 nmiles west of Northern Oregon and the other over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians. A faint hint of gradient north winds were centered over Cape Mendocino at 20 kts, but even that was fading and drifting north, making it a non-player from a swell production standpoint. Hawaii had less than usual trades with most of the focus east of the Islands. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (8/20) the high is to weaken to 1024 mbs and drift north continuing the basically tranquil pattern over the North Pacific. Tropical low pressure is to try and drift north in the West Pacific to fill the void created by retreating high pressure there, but there's no signs of it developing in the next 72 hours. Trades to pick up over Hawaii Friday through Monday (8/21) to 15-20 kts perhaps generating the meagerest of easterly windswell.
Tropical Storm Hector has been upgrade to a hurricane positioned 1200 nmiles south of Pt Conception. Sustained winds are at 75 kts expected to reach 80 kts this evening and hold there through Friday continuing on a west-northwest course away from the US mainland at 11 kts. This put's the storm track near perpendicular to any great circle path to the US except for winds blowing north up the eastern quadrant of the storm. This mornings QuikSCAT satellite pass indicated the strongest winds were in the storms north and northeast quadrants, again blowing well west of any path to the US mainland. Maximum significant seas height is 20 ft. All this suggests no real swell is being generated aimed towards California, but we ran the numbers and hold a minimal hope for some 2-3 ft swell @ 12 secs (2.5-3.0 ft faces) arriving late Saturday morning for exposed breaks in Southern CA from 180 degrees, but confidence low. The potential for swell generation will only decrease from here on out as the storm moves further west of the California swell window. This one isn't forecast to survive the trip into Hawaii's swell window either, but is to track well northeast of the Islands and form a gradient with high pressure to it's north. The models currently suggest 25-30 kt northeast winds blowing well towards the Big Island Monday (8/21) reaching near 30 kts late that night, then rapidly fading. Perhaps some swell to result, but that's still a ways off.
Tropical Storm Wukong was pushing over the southern tip of Japan this morning with sustained winds 45 kts, expected to continue tracking northeast into South Korea and dissipating by Saturday.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
High pressure off the coast of Oregon at 1030 mbs is generating a weak fetch of 20 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino producing very small windswell. This pattern to fade as the high drifts further north and weakens through the weekend leaving a relatively calm pattern in it's wake. The high is to try and stage a comeback mid-next week with 25 kt north winds modeled over Cape Mendocino on Friday (8/25), but until then a generally light wind pattern to prevail.
The detailed 5 Day Wind Forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Thursday (8/17) the southern hemi jetstream continued is more productive ways with a broad trough filling the Central South Pacific. The southern branch of the jet was tracking north beyond New Zealand joining the northern branch and not splitting until reaching the far eastern Pacific. Winds at the joint-point were near 190 kts flowing west to east which typically supports storm development but drives the strongest winds in the storm towards Chile. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (8/20) that trough to expand eastward with a new trough building in the west pretty much opening up the entire South Pacific for surface level storm production. But the strongest winds to remain flowing over the top and down the eastern side, directing most energy towards Chile. Beyond 72 hours the southern branch to start separating and flowing over Antarctic Ice from under New Zealand starting Tuesday (8/22) and totally cutting off the favorable flow by Thursday.
At the surface today the remnants of Storm #6S were fading in the far Eastern Pacific with no swell producing fetch left. A pair of weak lows were starting to converge northeast of New Zealand, but no swell producing fetch was evidenced there either. Over the next 72 hours these low to develop into a rather strong storm with 45 kt winds aimed east on Friday building to 55 kts Saturday traveling further southeast and continuing on Sunday sinking further southeast to the edge of the California swell window. Up to 45 ft seas modeled but all heading southeast away from any northern hemisphere location. 25-30 kt south winds are to be aimed at Hawaii on Friday with 23-25 kts seas traveling north, residuals from a previous fetch under New Zealand, providing a little hope for there, but otherwise no energy to be traveling north from this system.
Storm #6S - Central Pacific Gale
The next candidate system formed just east of New Zealand on Monday AM (8/14) with pressure 964 mbs producing a tiny confirmed fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed due north from 55S 153W targeting locations near Hawaii. Slightly more fetch built late Monday into early Tuesday with 40 kt south winds continuing in the gales west quadrant aimed better at Hawaii from 52S 162W up the 180-185 degree path. But because the fetch is so small only 20 ft seas were modeled, increasing to 29 ft Tuesday AM centered at 55S 165W. This is good for some small 13-15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. By Tuesday night this system started tapping improving jetstream energy, with pressure dropping to 960 mbs and the west side of the storm becoming somewhat better organized, though winds were confirmed still only in the 40-45 kt range at 50S 156W aimed 35 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 200 degree path to California. 30 ft seas were modeled at 51S 160W, good for both Hawaii and California - just barely unshadowed by Tahiti.
By Wednesday AM (8/16) a broad fetch of 35-40 kt winds were set up in the gales northwest quadrant centered at 46S 147W aimed northeast and barely providing sideband energy to Hawaii up the 175 degree path and more directly at California up the 196 degree path totally unshadowed by Tahiti. Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 50S 155W. By evening the core of the low was a bit diffuse but 35-40 kt winds continued centered at 48S 143W outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 20 degrees east of the 195 degree path towards California. Seas built to 37 ft over a moderate area centered at 48S 148W and mainly a function of the continued stress over the oceans surface for an extended period of time and even that may be a little optimistic. this system was all but gone by Thursday AM with winds down to 30-40 kts centered roughly near 40S 135W with seas 32 ft at 45S 140W heading towards California up the 190 degree path. A quick decay forecast after that as a new storm starts building in west, stealing any remaining energy left behind. The Jason-1 satellite did not make any passes near the fetch area, so none of seas heights are confirmed, but they seem reasonable given the wind speeds and fetch duration.
This was not a well organized gale (not even a storm), or a strong wind producer. In fact, there was nothing that was remarkable about it other than it's to be 'something' as compared to nothing. In it's favor it held together reasonably well for 3 days and traveled reasonably well to the northeast towards California, but not moving as close as was forecast earlier. This will likely result in solid utility class swell/small significant class energy for the California. Hawaii to get some initial energy from this system too, but at it's peak this gale was a bit too far east relative to the Hawaiian swell window with fetch aimed east of there, only enabling solid utility class swell to push towards the Islands.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (8/21) near 11 PM with period at 20 secs and size tiny (1 ft @ 20 secs - 2 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Tuesday (8/22) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon and nearly peaking with swell up to 3.0 ft @ 17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces - best breaks to 6.5 ft). Swell to peak overnight with solid energy continuing into Wednesday (8/23) with swell 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (5 ft faces - best breaks 6.0-6.5 ft) early, heading down late. Still fun sized swell expected Thursday with swell 3.0-3.3 ft @ 14 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) trickling down late. Rideable 13 secs residuals to continue into Friday. Swell Direction: 179-184 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (8/23) near noon with period at 20 secs and size tiny and barely rideable late (1.0-1.5 ft @ 20 secs - 2-3 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Thursday (8/24) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon and nearly peaking with swell up to 3.0-3.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.5 ft faces - best breaks to 7 ft). Swell to peak overnight with solid energy still present early Friday (8/25) with swell 3.3-3.5 ft @ 16-17 (5.5-6.0 ft faces - top spots 7.5 ft) holding well through the morning then fading early afternoon. Swell to be on the downswing Saturday morning but still quite rideable with swell 3.0-3.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft with sets to 6 ft at the best breaks) heading down by afternoon. Swell still rideable but fading from 3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday morning (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 201-205 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (8/23) late afternoon with period at 20 secs and size tiny and not likely rideable (1 ft @ 20 secs - 1-2 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Thursday (8/24) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon with swell up to 3 ft @ 18 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces). Swell to peak early Friday (8/25) with swell 3.3-3.5 ft @ 17 (5.5-6.0 ft faces - top spots 7.5 ft) holding well through the morning into early afternoon. Swell to be on the downswing Saturday morning but still quite rideable with swell 3.0-3.5 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft with sets to 6 ft at the best breaks) heading down by afternoon. Swell still rideable but fading from 3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday morning (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 196-202 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 things to get a bit interesting purely from a meteorological perspective. High pressure is to break down over the dateline by Tuesday (8/22), with a tropical low taking advantage of the situation and building while tracking north up into the gap, straight up the dateline towards the Aleutians. Winds to reach 40 kts, but all aimed north through Thursday (8/24) with no swell producing fetch suggested aimed at either Hawaii and the US mainland. It's a start, but much more is needed. No other swell or windswell producing fetch was indicated.
Beyond 72 hours another storm is to try and develop, but latest data suggests it is to get totally sheared apart by strong upper level winds and whatever surface fetch does develop is to be aimed at Antarctica. The models suggest yet a third system building under New Zealand a week out, but that's far off and totally unlikely to form.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table