On Saturday (9/29) Northern CA surf was head high and reasonably clean early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high with luck. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was up to waist high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat even at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high only at the best breaks. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were also maybe thigh high with a rare waist high set at the best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was wait to maybe chest high. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest high plus.
North/Central California was small and weak with local windswell making a showing. Southern California surf was basically flat with no swell of interest in the water. Hawaii was on the downswing with dateline swell fading out on the North Shore. There was still some small to moderate tradewind generated windswell on the East Shore. The South Shore was flat. The Southern Hemisphere is done working for the season, or so it appears with no systems of interest occurring and none forecast. The North Pacific is where all the action is with one gale fading out after putting some swell in the water heading towards the mainland and another on the charts for Mon/Tues in the far eastern Gulf of Alaska. A beyond that the charts are looking reasonably optimistic with a few more projected making the full trek from off Japan into the Gulf, though still somewhat small and weak. At least there's hope. Looks like Fall is progressing. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Saturdays jetstream charts (9/29) for the North Pacific indicated a strong ridge pushing off the Kuril Islands up into the Bering Sea over the dateline then falling south into the Gulf of Alaska with 140-170 kts winds over it's width. A small trough was set up in the Gulf undulating down to Northern California. The Gulf was the only area though capable of supporting surface level low pressure development a the trough was most pronounced there. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf trough is to push east into Canada Monday and fading while the ridge over the dateline moderates and flattens out while pushing east as well. A new trough is to result in the Gulf by early Tuesday with 150 kt winds flowing under it providing more support for surface level low pressure development, and amplifying Wednesday with up to 170 kt winds pushing into it. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest some form of trough to persist in the far eastern Gulf in Thursday (10/4) then pushing into Canada with a weak flow following behind. A semi split flow is possible over the Kuril by late week (10/5) which would not be ideal, but it's still a bit early to know how this will play out.
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 1026 mbs was over the dateline ridging north to the Aleutians and driving the surface flow generally up into the Bering Sea. Low pressure was in the Gulf of Alaska (see North Pacific Gale below) and fading while another low at 980 mbs was pushing off the Kamchatka Peninsula, with no winds of interest yet. The high pressure system was helping to fuel a northerly flow over Central California coastal waters at 20 kts and pushing trades a bit over the Hawaiian Islands at 15-20 kts, making for short period windswell in both locales. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (10/2) the Kamchatka low is to take a northern path through the the Bering Sea the start oozing into the northern Gulf of Alaska Monday (10/1) generating 30 kt west-northwest winds there pushing to 35 kts late. Sea building to 21 ft at 52N 155W late. Winds to hold in the 30-35 kt range through Tuesday aimed a little more to the south with seas building to 23 ft at 52N 140-145W with residual heights in the 18-20 ft range sinking southeast Wednesday. Some form of moderate northerly swell is expected for the PAcific Northwest on down into Central CA with period in the 13-14 sec range if this materializes. But the fetch to be all too far east to have any impact on Hawaii.
North Pacific Gale
On Tuesday (9/25) a tiny window opened 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 built to 25 ft at 50N 178W late.
On Friday AM (9/28) the low slid into the Northwestern Gulf with a decently defined fetch of 35-40 kt west winds pushing east near 51N 165W with seas holding at 25 ft at 50N 175W. The Jason-1 satellite passed right over the core of the fetch and confirmed seas at 25 ft. In the evening the low was declining with 30-35 kts winds confirmed 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. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the leading edge of this area late and confirmed seas at 23 ft, right on track with what the models suggested for this area.
By Saturday AM (9/29) the low was fading with fetch aimed more to the southeast but fading from 30-35 kts with seas fading from 23 ft at 48N 157W. In the evening 30 kt winds to continue with 21 ft seas at 48N 148W aimed down the 308 degree path to Central CA.
This one to be gone by Sunday AM (9/30).
The models actually did am amazing job of projecting this system well ahead of even a hint of it forming (like 72 hours plus in advance). Good job!. But make no mistake, this was just a tiny weak little system, barely even a gale from a normal winter storm perspective. Still we'll take anything we can get. A little bit of decent swell is expected to push into the Pacific Northwest and California early next week (late Mon/Tues - 10/2) with size just a shade bigger than the last one, minimal Winter time utility class range. Only background swell expected for Hawaii starting late Monday.
North California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (10/1) about 3 PM with period 16 secs and size tiny if even noticeable. Size coming up starting to peak near 11 PM as period drops to 14 secs. Swell 5.5-5.5 ft @ 14-15 secs holding into sunrise Tuesday (10/2) (7.4-7.7 ft faces) then heading down. Period dropping to 13 secs about noon with copious windswell building on top. Swell Direction: 304-308 degrees
South California: Some little bit of of this swell to arrive starting about 3 AM Tuesday with size tiny and period 16 secs and not even noticeable. Swell peaking about noon to 5 PM with swell 2.1-2.3 ft @ 14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft faces) maybe pushing 3-4 ft @ 14 secs at best exposed breaks (4.5-5.5 ft faces) from 308-310 degrees. Period dropping to 13 secs after sunset.
A tropical depression was 480 nmiles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas tracking northwest, expected to build to minimal tropical storm status in the next 24 hours, but not intensify any more. No swell generation potential relative to California or Hawaii.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (9/29) high pressure at 1028 mbs hat retrograded to almost the dateline, but a thin sliver of it was trying to push east into Central California interacting with lower pressure inland generating 20-25 kt north winds off San Francisco and trying to generating short period windswell. That to be short lived though as low pressure from the Gulf of Alaska builds south Sunday, with light winds forecast to be in control. A front is to be getting close to the San Francisco area late, but fading off Cape Mendocino before pushing inland. Light winds forecast Monday AM, then high pressure and northerly winds to start building over the Central CA coast late Monday into Tuesday (10/2) cranking at 20-25 kts focused near Pt Conception through at least Thursday (10/4). A little break Friday (10/5) then more high pressure induced northerly winds Saturday (10/6).
Saturdays jetstream charts (9/29) for the South Pacific indicated a split flow over the Southwestern Pacific merging over the Southeastern Pacific with the northern branch pushing steadily southward forcing the entire flow that way towards extreme Southern Chile. No support for surface low pressure capable of generating swell relative to our forecast area. Over the next 72 hours the split flow is to build while pushing east, further suppressing the potential for surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours the split pattern to continue pushing further south and weakening, continuing to suppress any chance for surface level gale development.
At the oceans surface today no winds of interest or significant weather systems capable of generating swell were in-play. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast, with winds below 35 kts.
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 that the dateline blocking high pressure pattern to break down and push southeast while fading providing a bit of an opening for the West Pacific to become more active and allowing some flow to the east south of the Aleutians. By Friday (10/5) one low is to be in the Western Gulf with 45 kt winds building in it's southern quadrant aimed best at California with sideband energy towards Hawaii and seas building to 29 ft. A second low to be building off the Kuril Islands with 45 kt winds building in it's southwest quadrant targeting Hawaii with seas building to 27 ft. And yet a third system, a typhoon is to be east of Taiwan heading north also generating seas of interest. It looks like a good setup on the charts, but at this early date it is nothing more than an illusion. A nice one at that though.
Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) - On Saturday (9/29) the active phase of the MJO was all but over and fading away. Nothing of it is to be left by late next week. And if anything La Nina is looking stronger than it has at any point so far this season. Will monitor to see what if any the demise of this active phase of the MJO will have on swell generation potential.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no generation of swell producing fetch. The South Pacific is asleep.
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