New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Sunday (9/28) North/Central California was getting small background southern hemi swell in the waist to maybe chest high range. Southern California was getting the same southern hemi swell with waves waist to chest high. Hawaii's North Shore was flat with no swell occurring. The South Shore had no swell. Thigh high windswell was hitting the East Shore.
For Central California small background southern hemi swell was all that's expected for the next few days (through Wednesday) with light local winds and no northerly windswell. Southern CA to stay small but rideable at south facing summertime breaks with the same background southern hemi swell. The North Shore of Hawaii to remain quiet for the early part of the week, but come late Tuesday north swell for the Gulf of Alaska is to arrive making for rideable surf on the North Shore. The East Shore to get some of this north swell too. The South Shore of Hawaii to remain pretty quiet with only some tiny background swell on Thurs (10/2) in the 1.6 ft @ 16 secs range and dying before Friday.
A tiny gale has formed in the Western Gulf of Alaska Sunday (9/28) and is sinking south towards Hawaii with up to 19 ft seas forecast by this evening into Monday AM 900 nmiles north of the Islands. This to be the swell source for Tues/Wed. Small but fun just the same. This one to re energize Tuesday off Central CA generating 23 ft seas aimed from San Francisco south, then fade Wednesday. Swell arriving Thursday. Then a much stronger series of systems are forecast for the NOrtheastern Gulf late Thursday on Through the weekend with 25+ ft seas and north swell possibly pushing down the coast from Vancouver Island into Central CA, though likely a bit too north for all buy the most exposed SCal breaks. Of course this is just a projection by the models, and will likely not be as strong as forecast, but it's a good tease. Hey, at least it's time to wake up and start watching the models. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday (9/28) the North Pacific jetstream was ridging pretty strong over the dateline, actually pushing directly over the Aleutians with winds 160 kts, dipping into a steep trough in the Gulf of Alaska with 150 kt winds pushing south to 35N. This area was supporting gale development in the trough. Otherwise all activity was in the Bering Sea. Over the next 72 hours that trough to pinch off and form a nearly cutoff low off Central CA early Tuesday (9/30) while more energy builds over Japan pushing east with an elongated flow of 160 kts winds streaming east and sinking generally further south along the 45N latitude reaching to the Western Gulf by late Tuesday and starting to open the full North Pacific storm corridor some. Wednesday all that energy in the west is to start sinking southeast in the Gulf with a broad but gentle trough building there with up to 170 kt winds flowing into it and supporting gale formation at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hours that trough in the Gulf is to hang on through Sunday but with a bit of a ridge starting to build over California late, while the flow in the west falls apart. Good support for gale development in the Gulf through next weekend, then dying.
At the surface today broad low pressure at 996 mbs was in the Gulf of Alaska forming a weak pressure gradient with high pressure over the dateline and generating 30 kt north winds 1300 nmiles north of Hawaii and aimed south right at them. 17 ft seas were modeled at 47N 158W falling south. Another gale was positioned over Kamchatka generating 35 kt southwest winds aimed at the Aleutians Islands. Seas were up to 25 ft at 53N 167E aimed all towards the Aleutians and offering no swell potential for the US West Coast or Hawaii. Light winds were in control of the US West Coast and trades were suppressed over the Hawaiian Islands. Over the next 72 hours the gale in the Gulf is to drop south into Monday with winds still 30 kts and seas to 19 ft through Monday AM (9/29) then fade. Swell from this system to hit Hawaii Tuesday AM (9/30) reaching 6.6 ft @ 11 secs (9 ft faces) then continuing into Wednesday AM with size about the same but period down to 10 secs. Swell Direction 10-20 degrees.
This gale to re-energize Tuesday AM (9/30) 900 nmiles west of San Francisco with pressure at 992 mbs producing 35-40 kt northwest to west winds at 35N 141W for 18 hrs likely sending some swell towards the California coast for Thurs/Fri (10/3) from a very westerly direction with energy likely pushing down into SCal too. But by Wednesday the low is to lifting fast to the north with southerly fetch aimed at Vancouver Islands northward and no fetch left aimed at the US. But in effect this low is to be a primer for more energy following right behind.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (9/28) weak high pressure at 1018 mbs was off the California coast ridging into Washington but being held at bay by building low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. Winds were generally less than 10 kts along the coast. This sam pattern to hold through Wednesday with the low pressure moving even closer. Weak high pressure to try and get a nose into Southern CA on Wednesday evening generating 15 kt northwest winds from Pt Conception southward then up to 20 kts Thursday, fading back to 15 kts Friday over the Channel Islands. Otherwise calm winds north of there, though a cold front is to be pushing south to Cape Mendocino late Friday, stalling and dying. Calm winds into Sunday AM (10/5).
On Sunday (9/28) Typhoon Jangmi was inland over northern Taiwan with winds 85 kts and fading. It is expected to start curving north and then northeast, tracking south of Japan Wednesday AM with 50 kts winds and accelerating to the east, getting caught in the jetstream with remnants of it's energy supporting gael development in the Gulf of Alaska next weekend.
On Sunday (9/28) a .cgiit and muddled jetstream pattern continued over the South Pacific, with a weak trough in the Southeast PAcific with 120 kt winds flowing through it's apex, but not offering much support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours a new ridge is to start pushing south over the Central Pacific late Monday likely shutting down any potential that exists there. Beyond 72 hours a generalize ridge is to continue pushing south over much of the South Pacific into next weekend and beyond, pretty much shutting things down at the oceans surface.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was present aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast with a decidedly southward push to any winds moving east across the South Pacific. No swell producing fetch forecast.
On Thursday (9/25) a weak gale was centered east of new Zealand generating 45 kts winds and 32 ft seas at 49N 162W tracking due east. It held but over an even smaller area in the evening with 45 kts winds left and 32 ft seas at 48S 152W aimed a little more to the north. Some degree of 45 kts winds continued Friday aimed almost due north with 30 ft seas at 46S 140W in the AM and then 33 ft at 45S 130W in the evening, gone by Saturday. Some degree of decent utility class swell could push into California (unshadowed too) starting early Sat (10/4) with swell 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) late in the day dropping to 15 secs on Sunday.
A strong storm started building under New Zealand starting Thursday evening (9/25) with pressure 936 mbs and winds to 55 kts at 58S 158E aimed due east or 30 degrees east of the 215 degree path to CA and 45 degrees east of the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas from previous fetch to be 32 ft at 55S 165E.
Friday AM (9/26) winds held in the 55-60 kt range at 57S 172E generating seas to 46 ft at 57S 172E moving into the Tahitian swell shadow for CA (213 degrees). In the evening barely 50 kts winds were modeled at 59S 173W aimed due east with 44 ft seas at 59S 175W, still shadowed by Tahiti to CA, but just barely and aimed due east, or 40+ degrees the 206 degree great circle track to CA. Seas pushing almost perpendicular to the great circle paths to Hawaii (90 degrees).
Saturday AM (9/27) 35 kt winds forecast fading fast aimed east with 39 ft seas at 59S 165W with only minor obstruction from outlying Tahitian Islands suggested relative to CA (204 degrees). Winds fading out totally in the evening with 32 ft seas from previous fetch modeled at 58S 154W and unshadowed aimed 45 degrees east of the 202 degree great circle path to CA. The Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 31.9 ft at 4 PM Saturday at 58.5S 150.7W, on track with the models.
Hawaii to get some longer period sideband energy but most energy to be aimed well east of this target. California to have a lesser version of Hawaii's problem co.cgied with the usual Tahitian swell shadow during the peak of the storm.
Long period early arrivers to start hitting Californiaon Sunday (10/5) with swell 1.6 ft @ 20 secs (3.5 ft faces) and inconsistent. Swell Direction: 204 degrees.
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 a new low pressure system is to try and set up in the Gulf of Alaska late Wednesday (10/1) at 990 mbs deepening Thursday AM to 980 mbs with 35-40 kt west to northwest winds expected at 42N 145W 1000 nmiles west of San Francisco and sending swell energy down the 292 degree great circle path. By evening winds to build to near 50 kts at 47N 142W while the low tracks northeast pushing swell down the 308 degree great circle path.Seas 20 ft and on the increase fast. This low to hold into Friday AM (10/3) with a solid fetch of 45-50 kts winds at 49N 140W aimed down the 319 degree path, the very edge of the NCal swell window. Seas forecast at 26 ft in the morning on into the evening on the edge of the NCal swell window . A rapid decline expected thereafter.
But more low pressure energy is forecast to be moving in right behind with 50+ kt winds forecast in the same area (49N 135W) by late Saturday (10/4) with seas to near 28 ft, but mostly outside the swell window for all except Oregon and Washington. Broad low pressure to be filling the entire Eastern Gulf of Alaska by that time, with strong high pressure over the dateline. Suspect thing to calm down after that.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Sunday (9/28) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) continued moving into the core of the Active phase. The Daily SOI index had finally fallen to 1.43 (actually slightly negative a few days earlier). The 30 day average was falling to 13.96 and the 90 day average was even at 7.70. This is no longer even neutral, but is more symptomatic of La Nina. This active phase of the MJO is pushing these indices down. Winds anomalies at at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up), were from the west over the Philippines to the dateline and extending almost to a point south of the US West Coast. It's to hold there while slowly fading with limited anomalies through 10/7-12 in the equatorial Eastern Pacific. Historically this to be a fairly weak pulse of the Active Phase and is to offer only weak support for fueling the development of North Pacific storms through the middle of October. The Inactive phase is to build behind, but at this time it looks to be very weak too (a good thing).
No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.
Details to follow...
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table