On Tuesday (10/4) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high with clean conditions. South facing breaks were up to waist high. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to barely waist high and that mostly at the best breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high with chest high sets at the best spots. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist high.
The Gulf of Alaska is starting to stir with more on the charts. And the last real swell of the Summer Season is pushing it's way north towards Hawaii after making a good showing in Tahiti. This to result in good South Shore surf for Hawaii over the next few days and a combination of both North and South swells for California over the weekend. A bit of a break until early next week when a larger storm is forecast to push of the Kuril Islands tracking towards the dateline. If the models are right a nice string of moderate northwest swells are in the works, and just in time. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (10/4) a decent upper level flow was in-place with pockets of wind forecast up to 160 kts through the week. This flow to continue supporting development of a series of gales at the surface. Today two high pressure systems at 1024 mbs were in play, one tucked in the east and the other in the west and positioned a bit further south that normal as a low pressure regime was building over the Aleutians from Siberia to Canada. It looks like Fall is here. A brisk north surface flow was blowing down the California coast at 25 kts centered off Pt Conception then turning west over the Hawaiian Islands in the 15-20 kt range. Short period windswell was the result. The first in a series of lows developed over the dateline on Sunday (10/2) with pressure 992 mbs and a tiny area of 40-45 kt winds aimed south just west of Hawaii but rapidly swinging into the south quadrant. The low pushed into the Gulf of Alaska on Monday (10/3) with winds confirmed at 35-40 kts and 19 ft seas aimed well at California and the Pacific Northwest. The low continued east on Tuesday, fading off the Central Canadian coast with winds 30 kts and seas barely up to 21 ft. In all the fetch area was in the tiny-to-small range with only a moderate bit of swell generation potential expected mainly for California and points north. Swell arrival scheduled late Thursday building into Friday with swell 7 ft @ 12 secs (7-8 ft faces) in North CA.
Over the next 72 hours the main focus is to turn to a new low that that pushed of the Kamchatka Peninsula on Monday (10/3) then tracked into the Bering Sea on Tuesday (10/4). Some degree of 30 kt winds remained south of the Aleutians tracking east with seas building to 20 ft. This is somewhat less than what was expected based on earlier runs of the models. Things to start getting interesting early Wednesday (10/5) as the core of the low starts pushing south over the Aleutians and into the Gulf of Alaska with pressure 980 mbs. Winds forecast building to 45-50 kts centered at 50N 160W aimed right at North CA down the 308 degree path. Seas building to 30 ft pushing to within 1500 nmiles of the California coast and closer to the Pacific Northwest. This system to fade out on Thursday (10/6) as the low pushes into North Canada. Decent swell energy expected for the US West Coast late Saturday into Sunday (10/9) from North CA northward if this system develops as forecast. Only sideband energy pushing south into Hawaii with most energy passing east of the Islands.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (10/4) high pressure at 1024 mbs was tucked up against the California coast generating brisk north winds over much of the shore confirmed at 30 kts and centered near Pt Conception. In the coming days the low is forecast to retreat west but low pressure is to build inland, resulting in a continuation of gradient north winds along the coast. This to result in some degree of 20-25 kts winds hugging the coast through Sunday (10/9) likely generating rather short period windswell intermixing with the series of northwest swells pushing down from the Gulf. No major relief in sight even beyond that timeframe, though the models do suggest short intervals where the fetch is to pull away from the coast over the coming days. Best bet is to time those in coordination with arriving swell, looking for the sweet spots.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
No swell producing tropical systems forecast.
Things have really settled down with the passage of Storm #6 (see below). A large ridge was building in the upper levels of the atmosphere pushing south over the Ross Ice Shelf shearing anything storm system that might try and develop. In response to that ridge strong high pressure at 1024 mbs was building east of New Zealand and expected to ridge south to the Ross Ice Shelf. No swell generation potential forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
On Wednesday AM (9/28) a solid low developed southeast of New Zealand with pressure 958 mbs producing a broad fetch confirmed at 40-45 kt winds centered at 48S 174W aimed northeast. In the evening the system was building with winds confirmed at 40-50 kts over a broad area roughly centered at 54S 160W aimed north and northeast towards Hawaii, Tahiti and California. Seas built to 30 ft centered near 48S 172W. No good Jason-1 satellite passes occurred to verify sea height info.
By Thursday AM (9/29) the system maxed out from a pressure perspective down to 936 mbs with some degree of 45-50 kt winds confirmed centered at 47S 168W aimed northeast with seas modeled at 32 ft centered at 47S 170W. These winds were aimed towards California up the problematic 205-209 degree path, and well up the 185-187 degree path to Hawaii. In the evening winds continued at 40-45 kts centered at 46S 168W. Seas mostly from previous days fetch were modeled at at 37 ft centered at 46S 165W, again with the Society Islands providing shadowing problems for California.
A quick decay settled in Friday AM (9/30) as the storms core split in two with the southern core holding stationary while the northern core rotated around it tracking towards Antarctica. This directed the remaining wind energy towards Antarctica. Still some 40 kts winds persisted in the storms northwest quadrant aimed like before centered near 44S 156W but mostly out of the Hawaiian Swell window. Seas modeled at 35 ft centered at 43S 159W and fading fast. By the evening the systems is to rapidly decay with no additional fetch of seas being generated. Animation
This was not a great system, with winds really fragmented and not getting a good hold on the oceans surface for any great length of time in any one area. And top winds were only 50 kts, and that over a limited area and time. You really have to see the QuikSCAT imagery to see the problem. Still, the best winds were consistently imbedded in a good area of 30+ kt southerly winds with a good sized footprint. It is believed that some decent swell is radiating north, through no good Jason-1 satellite passes have occurred to confirm this. Hawaii and Tahiti to get the lions share of the swell. The issue with California is that Tahiti and the Society Islands are sitting right in the middle of the swell window, having some degree of shadowing affect on the resulting swell, especially true for the Northern half of the state. This to be no issue for Hawaii though. But overall, this was just a standard significant class storm.
Expect swell arrival in Hawaii starting early Wednesday morning (10/5) with swell period at 18 secs and coming up. Rideable size in place at sunset with swell 3.5 ft @ 17 secs (6 ft faces). The peak of the swell to hit Thursday (10/6) near 2 AM and hold through noon. Swell size 3.7-4.5 ft @ 16 secs (6.0-7.5 ft faces). Swell decent on Friday (10/7) but fading as period drops to 14 secs. Swell 4 ft @ 14 secs (5-6 ft faces). Swell Direction: 181-187 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival starting Friday (10/7) at 2 AM with period at 19-20 secs but size tiny if even noticeable. Maybe something to ride by sunset with swell 2.6 ft @ 18 sec (4-5 ft faces). Swell to be peaking Saturday (10/8) from 3 AM to 3 PM with swell 2.9-3.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.8-5.8 ft faces). This estimate does NOT include the negative effects of the Tahitian swell shadow. Decent 15 sec energy to continue into Sunday (10/9) with swell 2.9-3.3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.5 ft faces). Residual 14 secs energy fading out from early Monday morning (10/10). Swell Direction 203-209
North California: Expect swell arrival starting Friday (10/7) at 6 AM with period at 19-20 secs but size tiny if even noticeable. Maybe something to ride by sunset with swell 2.4 ft @ 18 sec (4 ft faces). Swell to be peaking Saturday (10/8) from 10 AM to 10 PM with swell 2.7-3.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5-5.5 ft faces). This estimate does NOT include the negative effects of the Tahitian swell shadow. Decent 15-16 sec energy to continue into Sunday (10/9) with swell 2.5-3.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.8-4.5 ft faces). Residual 14 secs energy fading out starting at sunrise Monday morning (10/10). Swell Direction 202-207
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours another small low is forecast over the dateline and just north of the Aleutians Thursday into Friday (10/7) at 988 mbs. Limited 40 kts fetch and 22 ft seas suggested, but too far away from the US mainland to be of much use and aimed too far east to do much for Hawaii. A calm spell to follow before the models jump well into the long-range window where a more active pattern is suggested.
Next up is to 976 mb low forecast pushing off Kamchatka on Sunday (10/9) with 45 kts winds aimed east again, a bit north of HAwaii and south of California. It's to track east and fade into early next week and it gets stretched while trying to merge with existing low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. Still 30 ft seas are expected as this system passes over the dateline. It's way too early to have any confidence in this outcome though.
At the surface beyond 72 hours high pressure is to retain control through the weekend with no real break expected until early next week. Even then a weak surface pattern to persist with no swell producing weather systems forecast. Best hope is just east of New Zealand, but nothing of real interest indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table