On Thursday (8/23) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft overhead with southerly eddy wind on it. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to almost waist high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to chest high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high, maybe a little more. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with a few bigger sets. The East Shore was waist high.
North/Central California was in the midst of a run of local northwest windswell, though a bit windy. Southern California was getting small locally generated wrap-around windswell. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore but receiving small southern hemi swell mixing with small easterly windswell on the South Shore. Small easterly windswell was hitting the East Shore. The North Pacific remains quiet for now other than the usual high pressure generating windswell for California and the eastern shores of Hawaii. But in the South Pacific a real gale has been pushing northeast off New Zealand and has generated 40-45 kts winds and up to 33 ft seas pushing towards both Hawaii and California. And of even more interest, another stronger system is forecast right behind it for the weekend. So there is actually hope that there could be rideable southern hemi swell for Hawaii starting early next week and pushing into CA by late week and continuing in both locales through Labor Day. Hard to believe, but we might actually get some surf. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (8/23) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate flow generally following the curve of the Aleutian Islands from west to east, with a hint of ridging to the north over it's length. No support for surface level low pressure development indicated. Over the next 72 hours the flow is to settle a little more to the south, just barely south of the Aleutians with a weak trough developing in the extreme northern Gulf of Alaska late Friday and holding. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to persist in the northern Gulf with some energy starting to build into it on Tuesday (8/28) holding through Thursday. Some very limited support for development of surface level low pressure.
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 1028 mbs was centered 1100 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino, CA generating 30 kt northerly winds down the coast there and generating moderate size windswell pushing south into exposed breaks in California. This high had tracked east from it's positioned of previous days and was no longer generating easterly trades of interest pushing over the Hawaiian Islands. Over the next 72 hrs through Sunday (8/26) the high pressure system is to retrograde to the west just a bit and weaken to 1024 mbs, with northerly winds over Cape mendocino dropping to the 25 kts range, and then near 20 kts late Sunday with windswell along the CA coast fading some with it. Still no significant increase in trades over the Hawaiian Islands though, with winds being 15 kts or less. Weal low pressure is to start pushing from the Bering Sea into the northern Gulf of Alaska with west winds over exposed waters 20-25 kts, but not enough to produce any windswell of interest except for the Canadian coast next week.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (8/23) high pressure off Cape Mendocino had generated a pressure gradient producing north winds at 25-30 kts and generating local windswell (see above). Fetch from that system was pulling away from the coast though with a southerly eddy flow taking over in Central CA. No significant change is forecast through the weekend with winds generally light (less than 10-15 kts) south of Pt Arena, but likely from the southwest. The gradient to be fading over the weekend, only to regenerate early next week but closer to the Central coast with northwesterly winds taking over from Pt Conception northward, but not strong (10 kts).
Thursdays jetstream charts (8/23) for the South Pacific indicated a trough pushing gently northeast from under New Zealand with winds 140 kts in it's core providing a weak area capable of supporting surface level low pressure development. A fairly strong ridge continued over the Southeastern Pacific pushing all the way down to Antarctica, suppressing low pressure development there. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (8/26) the New Zealand trough is to try and hold together while pushing east, but is to get undercut by backflow from the ridge in the east, limiting it's ability to provide much aid at the oceans surface. Still a little pocket between the southern branch of the jet and the Ross Ice Shelf is to persist, providing a modicum of support for surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours reinforcements for the trough over the Southwest Pacific to develop with a good flow pushing due north from under New Zealand by Wednesday (8/29) continuing into Thursday. But in all, the main flow is to be decidedly west to east. Limited support for surface level low pressure development.
At the oceans surface today a gale was nestled in the trough east of New Zealand (see New Zealand Gale below) with a second system starting to develop south of New Zealand (see Longterm Forecast). Over the next 72 hours the combination of there two systems are to persist, providing all swell generation potential.
New Zealand Gale
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.
On Tuesday AM (8/210) 40 kts winds were modeled pushing north up the southeastern coast of New Zealand at 49S 178W with 33 ft seas modeled at 50S 170E. No Jason-1 satellite passes occurred near this system. In the evening winds faded on the original fetch down below 35 kts while a new fetch started to build to 40 kts at 54S 171E aimed right up the 215 degree path to CA and 30 degrees east of the 198 degree path to Hawaii. Seas fading from 30 ft associated with the original fetch at 48S 178E. The Jason-1 satellite passed near this area and reported seas on the periphery of the fetch running about as modeled.
The new fetch took over on Wednesday AM (8/22) at 40-45 kts centered at 46S 176W generating 30 ft seas at 50S 175E. the Jason-1 satellite passed over the old fetch and found seas running about 3 ft smaller than what the WW3 wavemodel suggested. Not good. On Wednesday PM 35-40 kt winds were fading at 44S 171W aimed well up the 211 degree great circle path to California and the 191 degree path to Hawaii as this one pushed northeast. 29 ft seas fading at 45S 173W.
This system was not impressive by any means from a historical perspective. But given the complete lack of any real storm activity, this was a good step in the right direction. But Jason-1 data, though spotty tended to suggest that it was not as strong as the wave models would have one believe, meaning the resulting swell might be a little less than hoped for. regardless, some form of rideable 16-17 sec utility class swell to result. Swell to be best for the Islands given their close proximity to the swells source (4073-4974 nmiles) though most energy was aimed east of the Islands. Swell to be smaller for CA given the longer travel distance (5583-6712 nmiles) even though it was aimed almost directly toward them.
Hawaii: Expect first early signs of this swell hitting late Monday afternoon (8/27) with pure swell 1.3 ft @ 18-19 secs (2 ft faces) and inconsistent. Swell building into Tuesday (8/28) with swell up to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs late (4 ft faces - best break to near 6 ft). Swell continuing up with reinforcing energy moving in Wednesday (8/29). Swell to 3.0-3.3 ft @ 15 secs (5 ft faces - best breaks to 6 ft). Swell hanging on Thursday (8/30) at 3 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft faces), heading down late. Swell Direction: 191-201 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday afternoon (8/30) at 1.3 ft @ 18 sec late (2 ft faces) and very inconsistent. Swell building Friday (8/31) to 2.5 ft @ 17 sec by sunrise (4 ft faces - best break to 5 ft). Swell holding solid Saturday AM at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces - best break occasionally 5 ft) but still inconsistent. Swell fading Sunday at 2.4 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft faces), and dropping. Swell Direction: 218-222 degrees.
Northern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday afternoon (8/30) at 1.3 ft @ 18 sec late (2 ft faces) and very inconsistent. Swell building Friday (8/31) to 2.5 ft @ 17 sec by 9 AM (4 ft faces - best break to 5 ft). Swell holding solid Saturday AM at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces - best break occasionally 5 ft) but still inconsistent. Swell fading Sunday at 2.4 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft faces), and dropping. Swell Direction: 215-219 degrees.
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 start pushing east again setting up a pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino by Monday (8/27) with north winds to 25 kts through Tuesday and generating a little more windswell focused on Central CA. But that to fade thereafter as weak low pressure persists in the northern Gulf of Alaska while pushing east, produce 20-25 kt northwest winds aimed at the Pacific Northwest through Wednesday, then fading out Thursday (8/30).
Beyond 72 hours the models continue to look a little bit favorable.
A new stronger low pressure system was starting to build from 964 mbs Thursday AM (8/23) under New Zealand. A moderate sized fetch of 40-45 kts winds was modeled at 55S 175E aimed 30 degrees east of the 211 degree path to CA and 45 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. The wind/swell vector was a problem already. The gale to build in coverage the evening to 956 mbs with 40-45 kts winds at 52S 172W aimed again almost due east or 30 degrees east of the 209 degree path to California (and shadowed by Tahiti) and 65 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. 30 ft seas forecast at 56S 178E.
The fetch to hold solid Friday AM (8/24) at near 45 kts at 50S 158W aimed again 30 degrees east of the 202 degree path to California but unshadowed by Tahiti and 90 degree east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 36 ft at 54S 168W. The fetch to continue east in the evening with a small solid area of 50-55 kts winds building at 55S 150W aimed 30 degree east of the 196 degree path to California and outside the Hawaiian swell window. 40 ft seas forecast at 51S 158W (shadowed by Tahiti for CA).
A rapid fade of the first fetch forecast Saturday AM (8/25) with winds down to 40-45 kts at 55S 135W well outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 40 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California. 40 ft seas forecast at 52S 145W. But a new fetch of 40-45 kts winds forecast behind at 52S 165W aimed due east or 35 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 80 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii and starting to generate new seas. In the evening these winds to move to 52S 145W again aimed east or aimed 40 degrees east of the 191 degree path tot CA and outside the HI swell window. Seas from the original fetch forecast to 38 ft at 53S 133W aimed due east with secondary seas at 30 ft at 51S 165W.
On Sunday (8/26) the primary fetch to be gone and the secondary fetch to continue east but aimed almost southeast towards southern Chile and likely of no use to even California. At this time Hawaii looks likely to get utility class sideband swell from this one and California possibly a bit more maybe pushing into the minimal significant class range, but the wind direction relative to the great circle paths to either Hawaii or California looks highly problematic.
In the days beyond starting Tuesday (8/28) a fast moving storm track aligned west to east is to persist, limiting the amount of energy (if any) that will push north. Hawaii to be more affected by this than California, but neither is expected to get much if this plays our as forecast. A series of 3 fast moving gales are forecast, but only 1 to get any traction generating maybe 35 ft seas mid-next week but all in the southeast Pacific.
Details to follow...
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New CDIP Buoys Online: We've updated our buoy system to pick up new CDIP buoys put in service recently. One is the Monterey Canyon (inside Monterey Bay). Check it out here: Buoy 156. Also there are more new CDIP buoys activated in NCal, SCal, Pacific Northwest, and Florida.
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