On Thursday (9/14) Northern CA surf was head high with slightly larger sets coming from the north but hacked. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to waist high. Central California surf was chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were about thigh high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was flat.
Lumpy windswell in Northern CA with tiny southern hemi background swell down south. Hawaii wasn't seeing any action with both the North and South Shores flat. The southern hemisphere has produced 2 storms that have pushed swell north towards both Hawaii and California with arrival expected over the coming days. A quiet pattern is starting to settle in there while to the north a gale developed recently just north of Hawaii and 2 more are forecast for the Gulf of Alaska over the weekend into next week. But no big defining winter storm is on the charts yet. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (9/14) indicated a decent flow pushing just south of the Aleutians but nothing really supportive of surface level gale development. By late Friday a moderate trough is forecast to set up in the Gulf with near 140 kt winds flowing under it pushing east eventually into Canada early next week and looking promising. Another to try and follow from the dateline Monday but quickly get pinched off while a big ridge builds in the Gulf mid-next week shutting things down.
At the surface today weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was over the dateline with another at 1024 mbs in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska. This one was generating gradient north winds pushing down the Pacific Northwest coast up to 30 kts over Cape Mendocino generating moderate windswell pushing into exposed breaks in North CA. Low pressure from a gale that was north of Hawaii was pushing north into the Bering Sea and out of the picture. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/17) a weak low to set up over the Aleutians in the Gulf of Alaska tracking east generating 30-35 kts west winds and 27 ft seas aimed best towards Oregon/Washington through likely spreading energy up into Vancouver Islands and south in to North CA with period 13-14 secs early next week. A second low to set up just east of the dateline on Sunday (9/17) tracking east with pressure 976 mbs and winds 45-50 kts aimed well at breaks from Pt Conception northward into Vancouver Island. Seas modeled to near 30 ft Monday aimed best at the more northern end of the target range with small 15-16 sec period swell possible there mid-week.
Also on Tuesday (9/12) a low built northwest of Hawaii supported by an upper trough higher in the atmosphere. Surface pressure was 988 mbs late with 30 kts winds confirmed but all aimed either north towards Alaska or south but west of Hawaii. This low held it's pressure but lifted north with winds 40 kts and seas 25 ft pushing towards Alaska and 20 ft seas tracking south mostly missing the Islands through late Wednesday, then fading fast while pushing over the Aleutians. Some small 4 ft @ 11 sideband swell to reach the Islands Friday (9/15) into Saturday providing 4-5 ft faces from 325 degrees. This low to be north of the Aleutians and out of the picture by Friday.
Typhoon Shanshan was positioned just of Taiwan on Thursday (9/14) with winds 100 kts drifting northwest. Not much movement has occurred over the past 48 hours. Latest models suggest a track turning north with winds up to 115 kts Friday, then starting to accelerate off to the north moving into the Sea of Japan. this system to start dissipating there early next week. No swell generation potential for Hawaii or the US mainland.
Tropical Storm Lane was tucked up along the Mexican coast with winds 50 kts heading north-northwest. Models suggest a path directly over Baja with slight strengthening hitting Cabo first on late Monday (9/18) with winds 85 kts then pushing north over land from there and fading. At no time in it's life is swell to move into the California swell window.
El Nino Note: The Climate Prediction Center has officially declared that El Nino Conditions are present in the Central equatorial Pacific and that they are likely to continue through the Winter into Spring of 2007. This is not any real surprise as we've been monitoring this situation for months (see El Nino Forecast using links above). But this is not to be a strong El Nino event, and if anything is expected to remain in the 'bare minimum' category, which is good. Maybe we can string a couple of winters out of it and get some solid momentum going.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
High pressure at 1022 mbs combined with lower pressure inland to continue brisk north winds pushing down the coast to Pt Conception into early Sunday with unfavorable local conditions. Reinforcements to arrive Monday with the high rebuilding to 1030 mbs and north winds continuing through more focused north of Pt Reyes centered on Cape Mendocino. Local conditions improving some with ragged windswell on the upswing and holding through Friday (9/22).
On Thursday (9/14) a split jetstream pattern remained in effect with the northern branch flowing flat west-to-east from north of New Zealand into Chile with the only winds of interest at 170 kts over a small area south of Tahiti. This was the point where a small portion of the southern branch pushed north and almost merged with the northern branch, but not quite. But the bulk of the southern branch was flowing flat west to east pushing mostly over Antarctic Ice with no support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/17) a bit of a trough is to try and develop Saturday under New Zealand but winds are to be light but building some by Sunday possibly helping development there, ut it's to be very short lived. Beyond 72 hours a new ridge is to push rapidly east from under New Zealand over Antarctic Ice eliminating any hope for surface level gale development.
At the surface today a gale was under New Zealand with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts but only coving a small area and aimed all due east, well beyond any path heading north to Hawaii and way too far away to have any impact on California. It to be gone on Friday but not before producing 6 hours of 37 ft seas under New Zealand, then rapidly fading. A second gale to follow right behind on Saturday but it to move over the southern tip of New Zealand breaking the fetch up. 38 ft seas to push under the southern Tasman Sea, but are to fade before ever pushing into exposed waters of the South Pacific.
Otherwise no other swell sources expected over the next 72 hours.
New Zealand Gale
On Friday night (9/9) a storm had set up under New Zealand with pressure 956 mbs and generating confirmed winds of 50-55 kts over a small area at 54S 171E aimed east-northeast or 15 degrees east of the 216 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 210 degree path to Hawaii and mostly shadowed by New Zealand. Seas were building from 32 ft at 57S 168E. These winds decayed to the 40-45 kts range Saturday AM centered near 51S 174W aimed 30 degree east of the 211 degree path to CA and almost shadowed by Tahiti and 60 degrees east of the 192 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 39 ft @ 54S 173E. In the evening 40-45 kts winds continued over a moderate area at 54S 171W shadowed from California by Tahiti through aimed well up the 207 degree path to CA and 55 degrees east of the 188 degree path to Hawaii with seas fading to 35 ft in response to the lessening winds at 55S 175W. 35 ft winds and 35 ft seas forecast holding through Sunday morning at 53S 168W, then fading out by evening.
This was not an outstanding fetch, but neither insignificant either, especially considering the time of year. Just the same it was a very long ways from California though aimed reasonably well at the state before becoming shadowed by Tahiti. Though closer to Hawaii, most fetch was aimed well east of any great circle path to the state. Best bets are for small swell arriving in California late Sunday (9/17) building through Monday peaking Tuesday (9/19) with swell maybe 2.3-2.6 ft @ 16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Hawaii to see swell starting Friday afternoon with period near 20 secs peaking late Saturday with swell to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces) holding into Sunday with swell 3.3 ft @ 16 secs (5.0 ft faces).
Another New Zealand Gale
A gale developed in an upper level trough under New Zealand on Sunday AM (9/10) with fetch aimed reasonably well to the northeast with winds confirmed at 40-50 kts near 56S 168E building to 45-55 kts by evening at 52S 180W well up the 213 path to CA and 35 degrees east of the 194 degree path to HI. The Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 32-35 ft late evening (06Z), consistent with the wave model. This storm dropped to 956 mbs Monday AM with 50-60 kt west-southwest winds confirmed at 52S 167W aimed 25 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and partially shadowed by Tahiti and 45-50 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 35 ft @ 51S 175W. The storm started collapsing Monday evening with a small area of 45-50 kt winds left at 50S 157W aimed almost to the southeast or 90 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and 40 degree east of the 203 degree path to California, emerging from the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas 40 ft at 50S 165W. By Tuesday AM (9/12) all fetch was aimed southeast towards Antarctica with 39 ft seas mainly from previous days fetch centered at 50S 155W and fading.
This storm tracked reasonably well to expectations, but again most energy was aimed east away from Hawaii through better towards California, but a long ways away. Limited utility class swell is likely for Hawaii starting Monday (9/18) intermixing with swell already in the water from the previous storm. Less energy for California mid-week.
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 the models suggest a broad and strong high pressure system to set up off California late Monday (9/18) into Tuesday with pressure 1028 mbs setting up the usual pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino with 30 kt north winds suggested there into at least the end of the workweek. Moderate local windswell to be the result. A by product of the high is to be increased trades over the Hawaiian Islands, with tropical low pressure moving in also possibly setting up a easterly gradient and some rideable swell by mid-next week.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing storms or gales forecast.
Details to follow...
Oregon Shark Attack - Here's a first hand account and pictures (somewhat graphic) of a recent shark attack in Oregon. Tom (the victim) is recovering well. We wish him and his family the best of luck - Oregon Shark Attack
El Nino Forecast Updated: After a long hiatus since our last update (we've been heads-down building new wave models - coming soon) , we've finally dug in and did the analysis of what's going on over the Equatorial Pacific. Things are looking up some, so take a glance and get into all the details: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml
2006 Wave of Compassion: The 2006 Wave of Compassion is a sweepstakes style fundraiser for SurfAid International; a non-profit humanitarian aid organization on a mission to improve the health of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. This October, one grand-prize winner and guest will go on an all expense paid surf/cultural boat trip to the Mentawai Islands and North Sumatra. The Wave of Compassion trip is a chance to raise awareness and funds. Through the support of Surfline, Indies Trader Marine Adventures, FUEL TV, Reef, Jedidiah, Cobian, Anarchy Eyewear, Wave Riding Vehicles, Kandui Resort, Saraina Koat Mentawai, and a many other supporters, Wave of Compassion's ultimate goal is to raise $250,000 for SurfAid International. If you're interested, you have have until September 1st to enter. There's a suggested donation of $10 - but donating more increases the odds of winning the grand prize, or other prizes. Learn more at the Wave of Compassion website: http://www.waveofcompassion.org/
New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here
Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table