On Thursday (9/27) Northern CA surf was chest high and clean though socked in. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh to waist high on the bigger sets. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high with a rare bigger set on occasion. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to thigh high only at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to maybe chest high at the best breaks. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were also waist to chest high on the sets at the best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist to chest high.
North/Central California was pretty small with only local windswell combining with rare leftover southern hemi remnants. Southern California surf was all but faded out with rare southern hemi leftovers sneaking though combined with a little windswell. Hawaii was the standout with swell from the North Pacific arriving providing something in the fun sized range on the North Shore while local tradewind generated windswell was limping through on the East Shore. The South Shore was flat. The Southern Hemisphere remains quiet with no swell in the water pushing north and none forecast for the next week. The North Pacific has already pushed one little pulse south focused mainly on Hawaii with a new system trying to develop near the dateline and forecast to push up some wind and swell aimed more to the east this time, towards California and the Pacific Northwest. That gale to peak out Fri/Sat with another more moderate gale forecast to follow early next week. So it looks like swell is on the way mainly for the mainland, though Hawaii should pick up some sideband energy. But no big clearly defined winter-type swell is on the charts yet, though we're slowly working our way in that direction assuming the Madden Julian Oscillation doesn't drop out from under us and shut things down. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (9/27) for the North Pacific indicated a bit of a trough trying to organize just west of the dateline and south of the Aleutians though winds were only in the 120 kt range. A bit of a ridge was arching north into the Bering Sea over the Eastern Aleutians shutting the flow down there. Limited support for low pressure development in the vicinity of the trough. Over the next 72 hours that trough to push east-northeast rising to the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians Friday and becoming landlocked in the Bering Sea, then dropping southeast into the northern Gulf of Alaska with up to 160 kt wind pushing down it's western quadrant aimed well at the US mainland. Some support for surface level gale development into late Sunday. Beyond 72 hours the flow is to flatten out though retaining decent energy with winds at 140 kts, Then another small trough to try and get a foothold in the Northern Gulf on Mon-Wed (10/3) eventually seeping inland into Canada. Limited support for surface level low pressure development in this trough, but limited to the extreme Northern Gulf. Beyond the jet is to weaken off Kamchatka and split with no support for surface level low pressure indicated.
Jetstream Models: We've upgraded our jetstream forecast models to includes topographic land with the jet flowing over it. Wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. See it here:( NPac, SPac )
At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii providing a moderate flow of easterly trades over the Islands but too far west of California to have any influence. Of most interest was a broad low pressure system moving over the dateline generating up to 45 kts westerly winds (see details below). Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/30) this low to remain the only swell producing system of interest. A second low to push quickly northeast off the Kamchatka Peninsula on Saturday (9/29) tracking into the Bering Sea Sunday generating a limited fetch of 30-35 kt west winds, but all mostly landlocked.
North Pacific Gale
On Tuesday (9/25) a tiny window opening in the upper flow allowed a low pressure system pushing east off Japan to start developing. On Wednesday (9/26) pressure dropped to 980 mbs with the core of the low just off Kamchatka. A short lived fetch of 45 kt winds developed in it's south quadrant at 44N 155-160E with seas to barely 25 ft aimed well at Hawaii down the 313 degree great circle path, then lifting northeast late with seas fading. A little pulse of swell likely pushing towards Hawaii.
On Thursday (9/27) the low was lifting into the Bering Sea pushing over the dateline with a very limited fetch of 40 kt winds hanging just south of the Aleutians at 50N 178E aimed due east towards California up the 306 degree great circle path and the Pacific Northwest too. Seas building to 25 ft at 50N 180W late.
On Friday AM (9/28) the low is to slide into the Northern Gulf with a decently defined fetch of 35-40 kt west winds pushing east near 51N 165W with seas holding at 25 ft at 51N 175W. In the evening the low to be declining with 30-35 kts winds trying to hang on at 50N 160W with 25 ft seas at 50N 165W aimed towards Central CA down the 306 degree great circle path.
By Saturday AM (9/29) the low is to be fading with fetch aimed more to the southeast but fading from 30-35 kts with seas fading from 23 ft at 49N 155W. In the evening 30 kt winds to continue with 23 ft seas at 48N 148W aimed down the 308 degree path to Central CA.
This one to be gone by Sunday AM (9/30).
At this time this system is holding reasonably well to projection from the models made even 72 hours ago, which is a feather in the cap of the models. Not bad from a modeling perspective. Assuming all plays out as forecast possible larger swell could push into the Pacific Northwest and California early next week (late Mon/Tues - 10/2) with size the biggest of the season so far, into the Winter time utility class range. Only background swell expected for Hawaii starting late Monday. But it's too early to make any firm projections.
No tropical system of interest were being monitored.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (9/27) high pressure at 1032 mbs was 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii but too far away from California to have any impact. A light northwesterly wind flow was in effect. This high to try and surge a little east late Friday interacting with low pressure pushing down the California coast from Canada into Saturday generating 20-25 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino and making for rather messy conditions locally. But by Sunday that's to be gone as low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska takes over. Light winds expected Sunday (9/30) with a front getting close to the San Francisco area late, but fading before pushing inland. Light winds Monday the high pressure and northerly winds to build in behind starting Tuesday (10/2) cranking at 25 kts focused near Pt Conception through at least Thursday (10/4). A real mess is expected over all Central CA waters.
Thursdays jetstream charts (9/27) for the South Pacific indicated a split flow over the Western Pacific then merging over the Central Pacific with the northern branch pushing hard south forcing the entire flow that way over the Southeast Pacific. The net result was a trend for all energy heading southeast away from our forecast area. Over the next 72 hours the split flow is to build and push east, further suppressing the potential for surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours the split pattern to continue and all shifting generally to the south, eliminating any chance for surface level storm development.
At the oceans surface today no winds of interest or significant weather systems capable of generating swell were in-play. A gale was in the far Southeast Pacific, but it's fetch was aimed southeast towards Antarctica. Over the next 72 hours that gale to slowly push east into Chile with a dead calm pattern in play behind it. No swell generation potential indicated.
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 the second low to track through the Bering Sea dropping into the Northern Gulf Monday (10/1) generating 30-35 kt westerly fetch aimed towards the Pacific Northwest and Canada into Tuesday. 23 ft seas forecast aimed like the fetch focused on the Pacific Northwest and points north but likely pushing sideband fetch towards exposed breaks in CA down the 315 degree great circle path. More northwest swell for the Pacific Northwest on down into California possible, but don't bet on it.
After that a calm, high pressure dominated pattern to take over, suggesting the current activity might be related to the peak of the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (see below).
Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) - On Thursday (9/27) the active phase of the MJO was still trying to make some headway into the North Pacific, pushing east over the Philippines but not making it much further east. The active phase is linked to increased gale/storm development in the vicinity north of where it is present during Fall/Winter months. The MJO travels along the equator from west to east. It was actually starting to have an impact on the Southern Oscillation Index with latest daily values down to -16 and the 30 day average at -3.0). No wind anomalies are reported either with trades well in-control. The models suggest the MJO has made it as far east as it's going to (160E), expected to hold into early next week then dissipate. Therefore only very limited support for enhancing storm development patterns expected in the Gulf of Alaska and dateline regions through the weekend, then fading.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no generation of swell producing fetch. Summer is taking control of the South Pacific.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table