The National Data Buoy Center, the prime source for all buoy data for North America took a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina. The NDBC and their webservers are located at Stennis Space Center 15 miles inland from Bay St Louis Louisiana. The eye passed directly overhead. The base has been evacuated and no power or communications are available for that area and no damage assessment has been posted. NOAA is working on setting up a mirror website, but no estimate is available when such a site might be operational or whether our buoy software will be able to interface to it. We will post details as they become available.
On Thursday (9/1) Northern CA surf was chest high and junky. South facing breaks were waist to chest high. Central California surf was waist to nearly chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high at the best breaks with most being smaller. The LA area southward into Orange County was about waist high with chest high sets at the best breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest to head high. The East Shore was flat.
Hawaii's South Shore take top honors today with decent south swell building to the slightly overhead range originating from just south of New Zealand. Windswell continued in North California but was starting to fade. Southern hemi swell is looking to provide rideable surf for both California and Hawaii for many days to come. Nothing huge but neither is it to be flat. And windswell to continue through the weekend for the northern half of California. Further out a moderate storm is forecast in the mid-southern hemi by Sunday with another next Thursday. But as always, the models haven't been too good more than a day or two out, so there's little confidence in either of these systems developing. No activity forecast in the North either. So take what's at hand and be thankful for that. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (9/1) at the jetstream level the only feature of interest was a small and weak trough in the extreme northeastern Gulf of Alaska. It was incapable of supporting any surface level low development. A moderate ridge was over the dateline driving the jet into the Bering Sea and hampering any surface level development in the west (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the Gulf trough is to push inland on Saturday (9/4) while a little more energy builds in the west with winds to 130 kts, but all zonal and nothing to suggest any surface level storm development.
At the surface on Thursday a bland pattern persisted other than a large and strong tropical system in the far West Pacific (see Tropics section). High pressure at 1024 mbs was retreating to a point well north of Hawaii nearly over the Aleutians. The gradient north winds that were off Cape Mendocino were fading, with windswell expected to trend downward initially. 2 weak low pressure systems were riding over the high with one in the Bering Sea and the other dropping into the Gulf of Alaska, but both were unremarkable (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast with local gradient winds to be the best swell source for Hawaii and California. A broad fetch of 15-20 kt northeast winds is to build for Hawaii while a much smaller fetch of 20-25 kt north winds forecast off North California. Short period windswell likely for both locations.
More model data here
On Thursday (9/1) Super Typhoon Nabi was located 420 nmiles southwest of Iwo Jima with sustained winds 140 kts (160 mph) tracking northwest. Current forecast models suggest it is to track off the southern end of Japan with strength holding at current levels then into the Sea of Japan a week out. Stretching it out even further there is some suggesting that it is to recurve northeast after reaching the Southern Kurils, but that is highly speculative.
California Offshore Forecast
Thursday mornings local charts (9/1) indicated moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs positioned 1200 nmiles west of San Francisco ridging softly towards California while weak low pressure was inland, generating the usual summertime pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino and north winds confirmed there at 30 kts over a small area. These winds were generating local short period windswell. The gradient is to fade some and shift south through the weekend with some form of 20-25kts winds continuing off the coast of North and Central CA through the weekend into Monday (9/5). Because the fetch is to be so shallow and close to shore weak very short period windswell/windchop to be the likely result. After Monday windswell to be on the decline as high pressure backs away from the coast.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
Thursdays (9/1) jetstream charts remained unchanged. A big ridge continued pushing southeast of New Zealand and over the Ross Ice Shelf tracking east over Antarctica, totally shutting off the storm corridor there. The northern branch of the jet was flowing zonally (flat) west to east if not dipping south in the east and was not of interest (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the only point of interest is to be a supposed trough developing in the deep South Pacific south of Tahiti and tacking east. This one is to support some possible development at the surface.
At the surface today 2 weak low pressure systems were in control over the more northern regions, but winds were generally light and inconsistent. A strong 944 mb low was in the deep South Pacific, totally landlocked over the Ross Ice Shelf with the bulk of it's fetch aimed southeast to Antarctica proper (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a strong low at 948 mbs is to develop southeast of New Zealand early Saturday (9/3) with a broad area of 40-45 kt winds expected aimed generally east-northeast. But most fetch is to be over the Ross Ice Shelf. The fetch/storm is to fade out on Sunday. Maybe a quick dash of 32 ft seas to result right off the edge of the ice on Sunday (9/4) providing some potential for swell.
More model data here
New Zealand Utility Class Storm
On Tuesday PM (8/23) a 952 mb storm developed south of New Zealand with winds initially confirmed at 50-55 kts over a tiny area centered at 56S 162E aimed northeast towards both Hawaii and the US West Coast. Seas were building. On Wednesday AM (8/24) winds dropped to the 40-50 kts range over the same tiny area aimed almost due north, well at Hawaii. Sea building to 36 ft centered at 56S 165E. But by the evening that fetch faded to near zero and turned it's force more to the east. Seas faded to 30 ft centered at 55S 175E and were fading fast. This system was gone by Thursday AM.The swell has a long way to travel, was generated by a tiny fetch that was short lived. Limited utility class swell possible for Hawaii starting Wednesday (8/31) and California on Saturday (9/3), with Hawaii likely doing best due to it's closer proximity. See QuikCAST's for details.
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Thursdays (9/1) upper level models indicate that beyond 72 hours much more energy is to develop in the jet, with a trough of some magnitude forecast to start setting up over the dateline. Winds in it's west side forecast to 160 kts, possibly signaling the start of a swell producing system at the surface. Confidence low at this time though.
Beyond 72 hours at the surface a major shift is suggested about a week out. Next Thursday (9/8) high pressure is to shift well to the east and a series of low pressure systems are forecast to build in the West. A broad 992 mb low is to from over the dateline with 35 kt winds suggested aimed towards Hawaii and California. And yet a stronger system is forecast developing over the Southern Kuril Islands. This is all highly speculative and confidence in this particular outcome is very low, but it's a nice tease.
Thursdays upper level models (9/1) indicate that beyond 72 hours the southern branch is to become active for the first time in quite a while, with the small trough building in intensity slowly and steadily through Wednesday (9/7) with 150 kt winds pushing into the trough from the west. A large area supportive of storm development is possible at the surface centered near 150W..
At the surface beyond 72 hours out a complex storm is forecast to develop well south of Tahiti on Wednesday (9/7) with pressure 960 mbs and winds forecast at 50+ kts over a small area aimed north towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. Seas building to 38 ft. Confidence low in this outcome at this time though.
Details to follow...
Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him: http://www.pacificsurfgallery.com
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
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table