On Sunday (8/26) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and reasonably clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were maybe thigh high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA thigh to maybe waist high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high with the very best spots occasionally getting a chest high set. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high on the sets. The East Shore was waist to maybe chest high.
North/Central California was continuing to get local northwest windswell, but down some from days previous. Southern California was getting a faint taste of some small background southern hemi swell at exposed breaks down south. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore but getting tiny southern hemi swell mixing with small easterly windswell on the South Shore. Small easterly windswell was hitting the East Shore. The North Pacific is something more than dead quiet, with low pressure activity trying to make a minor dent in the Gulf of Alaska and expected to continue through the week. Exposed breaks in North CA and the Pacific Northwest might almost see a dripping of swell by late week but it's all too far to the east to affect Hawaii. High pressure generated windswell is to be in the mix as well. In the South Pacific a real gale generated swell that is pushing towards HAwaii and California from off New Zealand, And another storm that was supposed to be much stronger has formed, but nowhere near it's expected strength. Still it should be enough to generate small swell for Hawaii and California for the Labor Day weekend. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (8/26) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate flow generally at 70-80 kts flowing over the Aleutians in the west and through the Central Gulf of Alaska in the east. No defined troughs of interest were indicated providing no support for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours the flow is to dip south in the Gulf on Monday (8/27) with winds to 110 kts producing a nice little trough there which should support low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to persist and deepen filling the Gulf into the weekend with much more energy starting to push off the Kuril Islands to the dateline by Sunday. It almost looks like the Fall season might start moving in.
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 weak low pressure at 1000 mbs was moving from the Bering Sea in to the northern Gulf of Alaska generating a small fetch of 20 kts winds aimed east at Canada. No swell being generated just yet. High pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 1100 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino, CA generating almost 25 kt northerly winds down the coast there and generating small to moderate size windswell pushing south into exposed breaks in California. This high was also producing 15-20 kt easterly winds targeting a spot 300 nmiles north of Hawaii, with maybe small bit's of windswell energy pushing down into the Islands, but not much. Over the next 72 hrs through Wednesday (8/29) the high pressure system is to push a little more to the east generating more 25 kt winds off Cape Mendocino into Tuesday (8/28) then fading, producing a little more windswell for Central CA through then. It is to also push more 15-20 kt easterly fetch north of Hawaii, providing minimal windswell potential oozing south into easterly shores of the Hawaiian Islands. But of more interest is the low in the Gulf of Alaska. It is to hold strength while slowly drifting east. High pressure is to start building over the dateline at 1024 mbs forming a mild gradient between it and the low and setting up a fetch of 25-30 kt northwest winds aimed well at Oregon down into Central CA through Wednesday (8/29). Seas to only 15 ft forecast though. Still, it's a step in the right direction.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
The models suggest some form of tropical development off Central America early this well pushing northwest, with a possible tropical storm 300 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas Friday (8/31) building while continuing a northwest track through the weekend, possibly placed well in the Southern CA swell window then. Odds very low though.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (8/26) high pressure off Cape Mendocino continued generating a pressure gradient along the coast there producing north winds at 25 kts and generating local windswell (see above). Fetch from that system had pulled away from the coast though leaving a light southerly eddy flow over Central CA waters. The fetch is to rebuild Mon/Tues and move just a bit closer to the coast likely squashing the eddy flow and bring a light northwest flow in it's wake from Pt Conception northward, but less than 15 kts. By Wednesday though the gradient is to fade out as low pressure gets a better foothold in the Gulf of Alaska, with a light northwest flow (10 kts) taking over California waters through Thursday. Then more high pressure and northwesterly winds pushing nearly onshore forecast Friday (8/31) and continuing through the weekend, with local chop expected over all Central CA waters. Southern CA to remain protected though through the period.
Sundays jetstream charts (8/26) for the South Pacific indicated both the north and southern branches of the jet had converged into one nondescript flow pushing west to east. There were no clearly defined troughs or ridges present. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (8/29) something that resembles a trough is expected to try and develop in the far Southeast Pacific with winds to 160 kts blowing up it's west side but blowing equally strong down it's east side too. Limited support for low pressure development suggested. A split flow is to start building over New Zealand. Beyond 72 hours the trough to quickly exit east while the split flow takes over, continuing through the end of the period with no troughs or ridges forecast. No support for surface level low pressure expected.
At the oceans surface today a stretched gale was elongated west to east over the Central Pacific and generating fetch (see details in Central Pacific Gale below). Over the next 72 hours a new low to fire up just east of New Zealand starting Tuesday AM (8/28) with pressure 980 mbs. a small fetch of 40 kts winds to be aimed north from 43S 180W towards Hawaii. In the evening it to build with pressure 968 mbs and winds 40-45 kts over a decent sized fetch area at 43S 175W aimed well towards Hawaii 20 degrees east of the 196 degree path and right at California up the 217 degree path. Wednesday AM (8/29) with to build to 50-55 kts at 44S 172W aimed just like before. Seas finally building to 32 ft over a tiny area at 42S 171W. In the evening fetch to be fading fast with winds 45 kts at 41S 160W aimed due east and not at Hawaii at all and 45 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti. Seas building to 39 ft @ 42S 165W (unshadowed to California). If this occurs some form of decent utility class swell should push into Hawaii and California.
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 breaks 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 breaks 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 breaks 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.
Central Pacific Gale
A new low pressure system started 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. Seas were building but the wind/swell vector was a problem already. The gale built in coverage during the evening to 960 mbs with 45 kts winds at 52S 170W 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 were modeled at 56S 178E. The jason-1 satellite passed over the backside of the fetch and reported seas of 30 ft where the model indicated 29 ft, right on track.
The fetch held solid Friday AM (8/24) at near 40-45 kts at 50S 160W 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 built to 32 ft at 52S 168W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the edge of the fetch and reported 28 ft seas where the model suggested 30 ft. The fetch continued east in the evening with a small area of 40 kts winds at 50S 150W aimed 30 degree east of the 196 degree path to California and outside the Hawaiian swell window. 36 ft seas were modeled at 50S 158W (shadowed by Tahiti for CA).
A rapid fade of the first fetch occurred Saturday AM (8/25) with winds down to 35-40 kts at 55S 135W well outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 60 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California. 30 ft seas hung near 50S 146W per the model but the Jason-1 satellite passed right over the core of the fetch and reported seas only to 29 ft and likely less at 55S 147W. But a new fetch of 45 kts winds developed behind at 52S 170W aimed due east or 60 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 90 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii and starting to generate new seas. In the evening these winds moved to 52S 150W again aimed east or aimed 35 degrees east of the 197 degree path to CA (unshadowed) and outside the HI swell window. Seas from the original fetch were gone with seas from the secondary fetch at 30 ft at 50S 165W.
On Sunday (8/26) the primary fetch to be gone and a secondary fetch of 50-55 kts winds to be centered at 56S 140W aimed northeast or 35 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas 30 ft at 50S 150W. In the evening that fetch to be sinking southeast and the fetch to continue at 45-50 kts but aimed due east at 59S 130W or 80 degrees east of the 182 degree path to California. It was over. Seas 32 ft @ 55S 150W.
Hawaii looks likely to get small utility class sideband swell from this one due to it's close proximity (4319-4836 nmiles) and California possibly a bit more, but not much (5227-6283 nmiles). The big problem with this one was that the fetch passed from west to east quickly and didn't get good traction on the oceans surface, and even when it did, the fetch was aimed almost due and not well up any great circle path to Hawaii or California. So for the most part it will be sideband swell for either location.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Fri (8/31) 7 AM with period 17 secs and size tiny but coming up. Swell to start peaking late afternoon at 2.5-2.8 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks pushing 6 ft on the sets). Swell holding into Saturday AM (9/1) with swell 2.5-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) fading to 14 secs at sunset. A secondary pulse of 17 sec energy is possible starting mid-Saturday with swell up to 2.4 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft faces), fading to 2.4 ft @ 15 secs by Sunday AM (9/2) (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and holding there for a day as period drops to 14 secs, then fading out. Swell Direction 180-190 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday sunrise (9/2) with period 17 secs and size small but building. Swell to peak right before sunrise into first light Monday morning (9/3) with swell 2.7 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - 5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Period dropping to 15 secs Monday afternoon. Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs at sunrise Tuesday (9/4) (3.5-4.0 ft faces). A secondary pulse of energy to arrive Monday afternoon too with period near 17 secs peaking first light Tuesday with swell 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - 5 ft faces best breaks) fading to 15 sec late. Period down to 14 secs Wednesday (9/5) with swell 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 200-210 on the first pulse and 198-208 on the second.
Northern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday (9/2) about 2 PM with swell 2 ft @ 17 secs (3 ft faces) and size small but building. Swell to peak at sunrise Monday morning (9/3) with swell 2.7 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - 5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Period dropping to 15 secs Monday late afternoon. Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs late morning Tuesday (9/4) (3.5-4.0 ft faces). A secondary pulse of energy to arrive Monday sunset too with period near 17 secs peaking mid-morning Tuesday with swell 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - 5 ft faces best breaks). Period down to 15 secs Wednesday (9/5) AM with swell 2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and fading with period at 14 secs at sunset. Swell Direction: 195-210 on the first pulse and 195-206 on the second.
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 another weak low is to set up in the Gulf on Friday (8/31) but weaker than the first. But by Saturday a stronger low is to set up in the southern Bering Sea over the dateline almost trying to drop into the North Pacific. Winds forecast at near 40 kts (in the Bering Sea) with 30-35 kts west winds sweeping south of the Aleutians and holding into Sunday. If anything the low is to grow in size by Sunday while a second tiny low tries to organize off British Columbia. All this is likely a very optimistic view of the North Pacific dished up by the models and we don't believe it, but it's the first sign of anything occurring up there in a long time, so this gives us hope.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest two fast moving and short-lived weather systems forming east of New Zealand. But all are to last no more than 36 hours and have the majority of their fetch aligned west to east, not pushing any energy well to the north thanks to an uncooperative jetstream flow aloft. Very limited chance for swell generation.
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