On Thursday (10/6) Northern CA surf was chest to shoulder high with clean conditions. South facing breaks were flat. 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 at the best breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was basically flat though waist high waves could be had at the very best breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high with bigger sets. The South Shore was 1-3 ft overhead. The East Shore was chest to head high.
The last real swell of the Summer Season is maxing along Hawaii's South Shore with waves well overhead. This one takes top honors today. This same swell to be pushing towards California providing fun surf over the weekend. But perhaps of more interest is the product from a series of two gales in the Gulf of Alaska. The first swell has hit the outer California buoy pushing towards the North Coast with larger energy expected right behind that, again setting up a weekend arrival. No lack of swell that's for sure. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (10/6) a solid early season upper level flow remained in control with one pocket of wind energy at 170 kts pushing over the dateline. More energy expected to follow with a generally supportive flow continuing for the next 7 days, suggesting a moderately active storm pattern at the surface. Today high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered north of Hawaii generating the usual north flow along the California coast at 15-20 kts and east winds over the Hawaiian Islands at the same speed. This was generating generally short period windswell. The high was centered far enough south so that a decent open area was present in the Gulf of Alaska. Of interest was the series of two lows that passed over the Aleutians and into the Gulf earlier this week, generating swell that is in the water and pushing towards the North American West Coast (see details below). On Thursday the remnants of that last low were rapidly fading in the Gulf with 30 kt west winds present.
Over the next 72 hours the storm track is to remain active, to the point where we're not going to detail all the action because it's not all relevant. A small low is forecast to develop in the eastern Gulf on Friday (10/7) tracking east into Vancouver Island on Saturday with pressure 1004 mbs and winds in the 40-45 kt range over a tiny area aimed well down the northern great circle track to North CA and points northward. Seas forecast to 20 ft Saturday AM centered at 48N 135W on the northern most California swell window boundary. Something likely to result. Of far more interest is to forecast development of a broad low over Kamchatka early Sunday (10/9) (see long term forecast for details). Otherwise persistent 25-30 kt northwest fetch expected through the weekend over the bulk of the Gulf aimed southeast likely producing some degree of 9 sec period windswell.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
First Small Pulse
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. The resulting swell hit buoy 46006 Wednesday (10/5) with seas 11-12 ft and swell 8.5 ft @ 14 secs, heading down by 5 AM Thursday. 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 in North CA scheduled late Thursday evening building into early Friday peaking just before sunrise with swell 4.5-5.0 ft @ 14 secs (6-7 ft faces) in North CA. Swell fading slowly through the day.
Second Larger Pulse
On Monday (10/3) the second low in the series pushed off the Kamchatka Peninsula tracking 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 was somewhat less than what was expected based on earlier runs of the models. Things started getting interesting early Wednesday (10/5) as the core of the low started pushing south over the Central Aleutians and into the Gulf of Alaska with pressure 980 mbs. Winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts centered at 50N 160W-170W aimed right at North CA down the 307-308 degree path and South CA down the 310-311 degree path. Seas were confirmed 27 ft early building to 30 ft (per the WW3 wave model) and up to 33 ft per the Jason-1 satellite centered at 50N 165W (in the AM) and 50N 158W (in the PM). Winds were fading out late Wednesday into early Thursday (10/6) with winds down to 30-35 kts and seas fading to 25 ft centered at 50N 151W.
Decent swell energy expected for North CA starting Saturday (10/9) 9 AM with 17 sec energy building through the day. Swell to reach 6-7 ft @ 15-16 secs by sunset (9-10 ft faces) fading some overnight. Decent swell to continue Sunday AM (10/9) at 6 ft @ 13 secs (7-8 ft faces) fading from there. Swell Direction: 307-308 degrees
Some swell to push into Southern CA, with most energy hitting Sunday AM at 2.0-2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) mainly at exposed north facing breaks in San Diego and intermixing with southern hemi swell expected to be arriving at the same time. Swell Direction 310-311 degrees
Only sideband energy pushing south into Hawaii with most energy passing east of the Islands.
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/6) high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered north of Hawaii ridging well to the east to California continuing a steady northerly flow over the outer waters. Low pressure is to build inland on Friday and hold through Saturday causing a bit of a pressure gradient to develop between the competing systems, increasing the speed of north winds along the coast to the 20-25 kt range, strongest early Saturday. Winds to fade on Sunday and remain light through the end of the following workweek.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
No swell producing tropical systems forecast.
The storm pattern has faded in the southern Hemi. A large ridge was 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 east of New Zealand ridging 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.
Hawaii Swell still to be 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 a broad 976 mb low forecast pushing off Kamchatka on Sunday (10/9) with 45-50 kts winds aimed east again, at targets a bit north of Hawaii and south of California. It's to track east to the dateline through the day with the core of the low right over the Aleutians and fetch in the lows south quadrant getting good traction over exposed North Pacific waters located just south of the island chain. Seas building to 35 ft. The low to push east into the Western Gulf of Alaska on Monday (10/10) with winds fading some in the 40-45 kts range and seas starting at 37 ft heading down from there. residual 35-40 kts fetch to push into the Gulf on Tuesday (10/11) with seas fading from 27 ft. It's way too early to have any confidence in this outcome though it looks nice on paper and suggests a solid push into a Fall pattern is in play.
At the surface beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems forecast. The season is over an this section will be discontinued shortly.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table