On Tuesday (8/21) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and pretty bouncy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high with a few bigger sets. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high with bigger sets at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high on rare sets at best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist high.
North/Central California was seeing the start of run of local northwest windswell, though a little on the raw side. Southern California was getting a mix of locally generated wrap-around windswell and southeasterly angled southern hemi swell originating off Chile. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore with the usual small easterly windswell on the East Shore. The South Shore was getting wrap-around easterly windswell. The North Pacific remained quiet other than the usual block of high pressure generating windswell for California and the eastern shores of Hawaii. But if more interest was the presence of actual low pressure just east of New Zealand, starting to generate 30 ft seas there aimed well to the northeast targeting primarily Hawaii with secondary hope for California. And of even more of a tease is a second strong storm forecast for this weekend traversing the entire South Pacific. Will believe it when it happens, but at least there's something on the charts to watch. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (8/21) for the North Pacific indicated a weak to moderate flow following the curve of the Aleutian Islands, but just south of it. No support for surface level low pressure development indicated. Over the next 72 hours a weak trough is to develop in the extreme northern Gulf of Alaska Friday and holding, but still weak and ineffective. Beyond 72 hours an almost semi real trough is forecast to build in the Gulf starting Monday building into Tuesday (8/28). Theoretical support for surface level low pressure development possible.
Note: We've made a major upgrade to our jetstream forecast models. They now includes topographic landmasses with the jet flowing over it. As before, wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. Take a look here:( NPac, SPac )
At the surface today high pressure at 1024 mbs remained centered 900 nmiles northeast of Hawaii generating 20 kts easterly trades pushing into and over the Hawaiian Islands and generating modest short period windswell. This high was also starting to ridge into the Cape Mendocino area of North CA producing 20 kt north winds there and also generating modest short period windswell down into the Central CA coast. Over the next 72 hrs through Friday (8/24) the high pressure system is to start tracking east while building to 1028 mbs, generating brisk 25-30 kt north winds along the North CA coast and building moderate plus sized northerly windswell for all of the Central CA coast, peaking Thursday (8/23). This movement of the high to shut down trades over the Hawaiian Islands though and eliminate any source of local windswell there.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (8/21) high pressure northeast of Hawaii was starting to ridge into Cape Mendocino generating local windswell (see above) but also generating northerly fetch nearshore, which was serving to slop things up nearshore. That to continue through mid-day Thursday (8/23) when the fetch is supposed to start pulling a little more to the north and away from the coast, with a calmer local wind scenario forecast from Pt Arena southward. Fetch to remain well to the north through the weekend on into next week with a light local wind flow forecast, if not setting up a mild eddy flow.
Tuesdays jetstream charts (8/21) for the South Pacific were starting to show signs of a change, with a mild trough pushing north almost up to the southeastern part of New Zealand but only at 90 kts, providing a weak area capable of supporting surface level low pressure development. A strong ridge continued over the Central Pacific pushing all the way down to Antarctica, then lifting a little just off southern Chile, but well outside the US swell window. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/24) the New Zealand trough is to hold if not build a little while drifting east, while the ridge over the Central Pacific builds too pushing well inland over Antarctica. So all focus for possible surface level gale development shifts to the Southwest Pacific. And by Friday a patch of 140 kts winds are to be pushing up into this tough, the first in a long time. Beyond 72 hours a persistent trough to set up over the Southwest Pacific moving to the Central Pacific though loosing a bit of steam along the way. Still, an actual recognizable trough is to be present through the weekend into early next week, a good sign if it really happens. And by early next week yet more energy is forecast pushing north from under New Zealand at 120 kts, further enhancing the the depth and breadth of the trough, with it nearly filling the South Pacific by Tuesday (8/28). This is almost, dare we say it, encouraging.
At the surface starting Monday AM (8/20) low pressure at 968 mbs started building south of the Tasman Sea pushing east towards the Southwest Pacific. Winds were confirmed at 50 kts over a small area centered at 52S 160E aimed towards California up the 220 degree path but still shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. By evening it was at 45 kts at 52S 170E aimed towards CA up the 217 degree path and just in the Hawaiian swell window at 201 degrees. Seas were up to 32 ft at 53S 160E. Today (Tues AM) 35-40 kts winds were modeled pushing up the southeastern coast of New Zealand at 49S 175E with 33 ft seas modeled at 50S 170E. No Jason-1 satellite passes occurred near this system. Looks like some form of 16-17 sec period swell energy is pushing towards Hawaii and secondarily towards California.
Over the next 72 hours this fetch is to push a little further northeast while fading from 35-40 kts with seas fading from 30 ft at 48S 178E. And yet more 40 kts fetch to be building right behind. That fetch to take over on Wednesday AM (8/22) at 40-45 kts centered at 46S 178W generating 32 ft seas at 48S 177E. 40 kts winds to be fading as this one pushes northeast Wednesday PM with 30 ft seas fading at 45S 175W. This to be aimed well up the 215 degree great circle path to California and the 193 degree path to Hawaii. If all this comes to pass some form of decent size 17 sec utility class swell to push into Hawaii on Tuesday (8/28) and California Friday (8/31). Swell to be best for the Islands given their close proximity.
A much stronger system to start building under New Zealand Thursday (8/23). See the longterm forecast for details.
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 fade a bit Friday (8/24) off the North California coast reducing north winds off Cape Mendocino to 25 kts and causing a decrease in windswell size there, but not out. More of the same expected Saturday then the high to resurge with north winds returning to the 25-30 kts range Sunday into early Monday (8/27). Also some form of weak low pressure to develop Monday in the northern Gulf of Alaska continuing Tuesday with limited 20 kts winds aimed southeast. But this likely to not be enough to generate any noticeable windswell along the Oregon and California coast, given that a more local windswell source is to be in control. Still, any low pressure in the Gulf is a good thing.
Beyond 72 hours the models have gotten much more favorable, with a strong low pressure system starting to build from 960 mbs Thursday AM (8/23). A moderate sized fetch of 45 kts winds forecast, building quickly in the evening to 948 mbs with 55-60 kts winds at 59S 171E aimed well up the 210 degree path to California and 30 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. 37 ft seas forecast at 59S 170E. The fetch to hold dead solid Friday AM (8/24) at 57S 178W aimed well up the 208 degree path to California but becoming shadowed by Tahiti and 45 degree east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 46 ft at 56S 180W. The fetch to continue northeast in the evening with a very solid area of 50-55 kts winds at 52S 162W aimed 20 degree east of the 203 degree path to California and unshadowed and 45 degrees east of the 192 degree path to Hawaii. 49 ft seas forecast at 53S 169W (shadowed by Tahiti for CA). A rapid fade forecast Saturday AM (8/25) with winds down to 45 kts at 50S 150W outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 35 degrees east of the 198 degree path to California. 47 ft seas forecast at 50S 155W and moving out of the Tahitian swell show relative to CA and outside of the swell window for Hawaii. New fetch to build behind for Saturday into Sunday (8/26) providing more duration to the initial swell that should already be pushing northeast at that time.
And yet a new gale is forecast developing under New Zealand (Tuesday 8/28) with 40 kts fetch aimed well to the northeast at Hawaii and California.
Details to follow...
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Jason-1 Satellite Data On-line and Improved!: Our Jason-1 satellite data was upgraded yet again Wednesday PM (6/6) and is now operating better than ever. We've added a feature that averages the data every 15 measurements on the local views and every 50 measurements on the global view (1 measurement every 3 nautical miles) and overlays the results onto the wave model chart. Both the single highest measurement on the chart and the highest 15 measurement average are posted at the bottom of each chart. This seems to work real well and compensates for the very spiky nature of the raw data coming off the satellite. So we now have an effective way to verify the accuracy (or lack of) the wave model output. See the data here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table