New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead). Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft) Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft). Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs. Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
On Tuesday (10/6) North and Central California had small and fading local northwest windswell at waist to maybe chest high with good local conditions (i.e. glass) early. Limited southern hemi background swell at waist high was lurking underneath too. Southern California had thigh high northwest windswell up north with a little texture and a nice dose of southern hemi swell at waist to chest high down south with a light texture on it mid-day. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a nice little pulse of limited swell in the waist to chest high range with perhaps bigger sets on occasion to head high and glassy conditions. The East Shore had waist high east windswell and chopped. The South Shore had some very limited southern hemi background swell with waves thigh to maybe waist high and clean.
The forecast for North and Central CA is for no windswell or southern hemi swell to be left by Wednesday, then a small pulse of northwest windswell returns on Thursday pushing shoulder high, then fading through the end of the week and into the weekend. Maybe a little push of Gulf energy early next week, but size to still be small. Southern California is to see the southern hemi swell fading out on Wednesday, barely waist high, then dropping on Thursday with only a new hint of southern hemi background swell (waist high) and northwest windswell up north late. Both to be fading out on Friday with northing to follow. The North Shore of Hawaii is expected to see more of that small swell Wednesday (10/7) at chest to almost head high from a gale that was over the northern dateline region last week, holding into Thursday then heading down. The East Shore is see more east windswell at waist high or so Wednesday and Thursday, fading Friday and gone beyond that. The South Shore is to not see anything really rideable until Saturday, and then only thigh to waist high , fading out on Sunday with nothing to follow.
Longterm the Active Phase of the MJO is to continue slowly having more influence. First up is to be almost be a gale in the Western Gulf Thurs/Fri generating 18 ft seas, good for windswell for northwest shores of the Islands through the weekend into early next week. Saturday it's to continues to making progress east into the East Pacific but all energy getting deflected to the north by high pressure over the US West Coast. By the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Melor are to be pushing northeast and east over the dateline Sunday with 32 ft seas, but fading fast. Some long distance longer period small scale swell could result for Hawaii and the US West Coast. And then remnants of that system are to reorganize off North CA early next week if one is to believe the models. So there's some hope, but nothing extraordinary projected.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (10/6) the North Pacific jetstream was pushing hard off the Kuril Islands and ridding some at 190 kts before dropping into a developing trough just east of the dateline. East of there the jet split with most energy heading north into Alaska then turning hard east into interior Canada with a residual flow tracking over Hawaii and into Southern CA. A backdoor front was hanging over Central CA brining cooler than normal temps. Only limited support for low pressure development is suggested in the dateline trough. Over the next 72 hrs that trough is to get much better organized as the ridge fades off Japan and solid winds at push to it at 160 kts from Siberia the whole way to the dateline and east to a point 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii through Thursday (10/8). Good support for gale development indicated. Beyond 72 hours that through is to try and hold on though getting a bit pinched on Saturday whole more energy builds up behind it, finally falling into a new trough expected for the Eastern Gulf of Alaska on Monday/Tues with 150 kts winds targeting Northern CA and Oregon. Possible a secondary surface gale to result then[pushing onshore with winter like weather.
At the surface on Tuesday (10/6) high pressure at 1028 mbs held control of an area extending due north from Hawaii up to Alaska and east of that line into the US and Canadian West Coast. But west of there a broad area of low pressure was developing, extending from Kamchatka southeast to the dateline at 40N and over the length of the Aleutians. A gale low was embedded in that area on it's leading in the Western Gulf of Alaska but tracking due north with no fetch aimed anywhere but the Aleutians. Otherwise limited 20-25 kt northwest winds were blowing from South Kamchatka to the dateline and a little beyond, but not seas were being generated yet. Over the next 72 hours this same basic pattern is to hold with yet another gale low forming on the leading edge of this area of low pressure and tracking due north on Thursday with no effect though persistent northwest winds are to continue concentrated more on the dateline. 16 ft seas are forecast there (40N 178W) late Thursday. This to start resulting in 10 sec period windswell pushing southeast towards Hawaii and California.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (10/6) high pressure at 1030 mbs was off British Columbia and ridging into the Northern Canadian coast. A weak 20 kt northern flow was continuing just north of Cape Mendocino with light winds (10 kt or less) south of there. The north fetch is to push a little further south on Wednesday to just off Pt Reyes, but still pushed away from the coast resulting in reasonably favorable sea conditions then. On Thursday (10/8) the fetch is to start dying, shrinking more on Friday and then gone for the weekend. Near calm winds forecast from Pt Arena southward through Monday. Then a full on cold front is forecast forming off the coast in the evening with south winds pushing into Monterey Bay and a bit further south next Tuesday (10/13). That is a bit of a reach though.
The Inactive Phase of the MJO remains in-control of the Eastern Pacific, expected to suppress development there through 10/10 or so. But a more favorable pattern Active Phase pattern is already starting to influence the West:
Typhoon Melor was positioned just 300 nmiles south of Southern Japan tracking north-northeast at 14 kts with sustained winds 90 kts. Melor is expected to start turning to the northeast on Wednesday, but not soon enough, impacting Japan in the afternoon pushing over the middle of the nation and exiting off north Japan on Thursday AM. Winds to be down to 35 kts at that time. Melor is to accelerate off to the northeast bound for the dateline while turning extratropical. If this plays out as forecast, the projections by the GFS model and Wave Model are likely on the high side. Still, there exists some degree of potential for swell development in the Hawaiian and US swell windows. This system bears monitoring.
Tropical Storm Parma was inland over the Northern Philippines with sustained winds 35 kts and holding. It is expected to eventually move west into the South China Sea on Friday (10/9) slowly dissipating. No doubt much heavy rain is soaking already saturated ground and hillsides there. We hope residents there are taking all available precautions. Regardless, no swell producing fetch is forecast in the North Pacific.
With the building Active Phase, we believe the odds for yet more tropical development in the West Pacific is good over then next 3 weeks, with some perhaps having the potential to curve north and northeast while turning extratropical.
At the surface on Saturday (10/3) high pressure at 1024 mbs was in control of the northern reaches of the Central South Pacific pushing to the south to about 53S but not as bad as earlier. A persistent zonal flow (west to east) was occurring south of the high pushing most surface winds due east. Over the next 72 hours no real change is forecast, with high pressure continuing to be the major influence. A gale low is forecast on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window Tuesday evening into Wednesday AM (10/7) producing 45 kt winds and seas to 32 ft at 55S 125W Wednesday AM, but all energy is to be pushing east. Maybe some sideband impulse classs well to reach up into Southern CA with luck a week later, but most size is bound for Chile.
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 this broad pool of low pressure is to organize a little more with a fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds setting up on the intersection of the dateline and just south of the Aleutians late Thursday into and through Friday (10/9). But of a little more interest is yet another low, actually this time a storm, forecast forming on he leading edge of the low pool with 55 kt west winds Friday AM at 44N 155W but quickly lifting north winds all fetch moving into it's east quadrant aimed north. More swell for Alaska and maybe sideband swell pushing towards the Pacific Northwest. Also the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Melor are to be racing east-northeast from off Japan. They are not expected to make it far enough east to tap into the dateline gale, and will have to stand on their own. Regardless, the remnants of Melor are to speeding east starting Friday evening generating at decent fetch of 40-45 kt west winds and a small area of 36 ft seas, pushing towards the dateline on Saturday (10/10) with find dropping to 40 kts and seas 35 ft dropping to 32 ft about as it reaches the dateline late Saturday. Some degree of small longer period swell is likely pushing towards Hawaii and California. But even that assessment might be on the high side with the manual forecast for Melor have it tracking over the center of Japan, and likely shearing much strength from it. It is doubtful the automated model are capturing this fine a level of detail. This system is to dissipate as it passes over the dateline with seas down to 20 ft Monday (10/12) as it moves into the Central Gulf of Alaska, dissipating more. But a sudden reform is projected just off Cape Mendocino CA on Tuesday as Melor hooks up with additional subtropical energy streaming off Japan resulting in 26 ft seas there. That's quite a reach for the models, but something to monitor just the same. No other swell producing fetch is forecast behind these systems.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (10/6) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving out of the Inactive Phase into the Active Phase. The ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) index was retreating from positive territory, but not completely. The Daily SOI index was at 1.87. The 30 day average was down to 2.98 and the 90 average was down to 0.06, dead neutral. The SOI index is likely heading down for the days ahead driven by the Active Phase of the MJO.
Wind anomalies at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models indicated a weak area of easterly anomalies in control of the Eastern equatorial Pacific from about the dateline east into and over Central America. This area is expected to slowly subside loosing coverage through 10/15, effectively gone after that. The models also indicate that western anomalies associated with a building Active Phase of the MJO remained present in the Indian Ocean extending from Eastern Africa over the width of the Indian Ocean and starting to push into the far Western Pacific, but down from the vigor projected a few days before. The Active Phase is expected to make slow steady progress into the West Pacific but now not forecast to even make it to the dateline, holding north of New Guinea through 10/15 then fading into 10/20 turning dead neutral after that. This is typical of the models, to downplay the length of the episode, only to readjust and extend it's reign mid-way through it's lifecycle. Regardless mid-to-late October still looks like a good window for support of North Pacific Storm development, especially the West Pacific tropics.
Sea Surface Temp anomaly data (10/1) indicates only subtle change over the past month, with a solid area of warmer than normal water extending over the equator from the dateline east and building into Central/South America with temps holding at 2.0-3.0 deg C above normal in the east with perhaps a pocket to 3+ deg. This is suggestive of a moderate El Nino. The expanse of the warmer waters has actually built north of the equator, solidifying it's grip up the coast of Mexico and Baja up into Southern CA, and now into the Central California coast and extending west almost to Hawaii. Effectively there is a broad wide triangle of warmer than normal water extending from San Francisco southwest just under Hawaii and on to the intersection of the equator and the dateline, then tracking southeast on to Northern Peru. This is not historically anything exceptional, but clearly a moderate El Nino just the same. The warm pool is holding if not subtly building in areal coverage, though not building in intensity. Cooler than normal waters (-1.5 deg C) were fading off Africa, but not gone.
Below the surface on the equator things continue to look positive. A steady flow of warmer than normal subsurface water continues tracking from the West Pacific (150 m below the surface) under the dateline and breaking the surface near Central America as it has for months now. The Kelvin Wave we had been tracking over the past months has finally reached Central America with the core moving into the coast. Residual 2 degree above water temps were holding at 110W, but most energy had moved off the charts. This Kelvin Wave was the result of a Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) in the West Pacific that occurred on 7/25-8/2. We expect to see surface water temperatures jump up in early Oct off Central America, feeding the developing warm water pool there and fueling El Nino as this Kelvin wave impacts the coast. The good news is that another core of 2 deg warm water that first appeared under the dateline on 9/17 moving east to 175W by 9/22 and 172W on 9/24, has now has built to 3 degrees above normal (9/29) and still holding as of 10/6. This is a new Kelvin Wave, one we've been looking for and is associated with a persistent weak westerly surface wind flow that had been in-place west of the dateline from 9/8-9/17. It is embedded in a continuous stream of 1+ degree warmer than normal water extending from 155E under the dateline and into the existing warm pool off Ecuador. This one is expected to reach the coast of Ecuador late December, about at the peak of whatever El Nino will be in place for this winter. So all looks good for maintaining the existing warm pool for a while if not building it. But for more than a weak El Nino to form, we need more warm water over the long haul.
On 10/1 a solid patch of westward winds were depicted in-control of the West Pacific with strong west anomalies extending to almost the dateline. This had been in-play since 9/27 and is associated with tropical systems Parma and Melor. This is good news. A full on Westerly Wind Burst was in effect. As of 10/3 fully blowing west winds were subsiding, though westerly anomalies were still present almost reaching to the dateline. And by 10/6 just light west winds were in effect west of the dateline. But of more interest were the anomalies from climatological norms, with western anomloes blowing solidly west of the dateline and now weak westerly anomalies moving into the the region east of the dateline to a point south of Hawaii. this is the first such event for this El Nino. For weeks now (since 9/8) a moderate westerly anomaly has been in-play from the west up to the dateline. These westerly anomalies started with Typhoon Dujuan and continued with Choi-Wan gently feeding the subsurface warm water flow. And now with Parma and Melor, that flow has been enhanced. At a minimum it suggests reinforcements for the newly developing Kelvin Wave (see above) and that in turn is reinforcing the Kelvin Wave impacting Central America. Not too bad. But with this new patch of westward blowing winds perhaps yet a third Kelvin Wave could be in the making. With this new incarnation of the Active Phase of the MJO taking control, it seems even more likely. Will be interesting to see if this building westerly anomaly holds for the next 2 weeks (into 10/12 or so).
The belief at this time is this developing El Nino is past the critical juncture, and will survive in some fashion with effects continuing in the atmosphere until at least the Spring of next year. All data suggests this will not be a strong El Nino, more likely a weak to moderate one. NOAA's most recent update today forecasts the same outcome. A solid accumulation of warm water in the equatorial East Pacific is evidence in-favor of continued development. As long as there continues to be WWB's, then warm water will be migrating east, and the warm water pattern will hold if not build, and the atmosphere above it will respond in kind to the change (towards El Nino). At this point there is no evidence to suggest this El Nino will stall or dissipate. The only remaining question is whether it will hold, or grow. And current data indicates that the warm pool will hold if not slowly build.
The next milestone we're looking for is development of the next Active Phase of the MJO, which is occurring now (10/3). The models indicate it is moderate in strength and should hold for a few weeks. Also water temps need to hold if not build (as is happening now). A final confirmation should be possible in the next week, but our thoughts are that El Nino might gain a little more strength, but not much, with a 2-3 degree water temp anomaly in the tropical East Pacific the likely outcome. Coverage is pretty solid for this event, but the lack of really high water temp anomalies will likely limit it's strength. Strong El Ninos bring lot's of bad weather to the US West Coast, along with the potential for storm and swell enhancement. A moderate El Nino provides storm and swell enhancement, a gentle but steady push/momentum in-favor of storm development rather than the manic frenzy of a strong El Nino, but without all the weather associated with a strong event. So in many ways a moderate El Nino is more favorable from a surf perspective. As of right now things remain better than anything the Pacific has seen in the past 12 years regarding anomalous sea surface temperatures, besting anything since the big El Nino of 1997. That is very good news. But the lack of anomalous water temps exceeding 3 degrees and an unremarkable SOI suggests a modest El Nino at best. Still, it should be enough to provide storm enhancement, and a better than average winter surf season for the North Pacific, and still likely better than anything in the past 10 years. Better yet, if it's not too strong (as this event appears to be) perhaps it will not degrade into La Nina the year after (which typically happens after stronger El Ninos), but hold in some mild El Nino like state for several years in a row. This would be an even better outcome.
See more details in the new El Nino update.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a gale low is to quickly build under New Zealand on Saturday (10/10) pushing east-northeast with up to 45 kt winds resulting in a solid sized area of 36 ft seas at 55S 180W in the evening fading fast on Sunday. It seems a bit of a reach to actually expect this result, and even if it does occur most fetch is to the aimed east not at Hawaii or the US West Coast. But it remains something to monitor. Nothing else to follow with a new high pressure center starting to build east of New Zealand in the days beyond.
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
Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here:
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
Missing Person in Indonesia - Update: We have received reply that the surfer we were hoping to locate and presumed missing in Padang has been located and is safe. Thanks for your attention to this situation.
Mavericks - Everest of the Sea & Longboard Vineyards: Come late October Sonoma County will not only welcome a new crop of world class wines, but the award winning photography of some of Action Sports best lensmen. “ Mavericks – Everest of the Seas” comes alive again just in time to set the stage for another epic Big Wave Season. Mix two of Northern California's finest institutions – big wave surfing and the wine country – and you have what promises to be an amazing weekend at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting Room in Healdsburg
October 23 – 25.
Relive heroic battles between man and wave as seen through the eyes of the cutting-edge photojournalists who risk life and limb to document the wave's intense man-against-the-sea drama and obsessive lifestyle of Maverick's elite riders. Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be unveiling his latest release, The Peter Mel/Mavericks Cabernet Sauvignon. This signature wine will be blended by not only Shakked but guest vintner, Peter Mel. Mel, one of the most respected names in Big Wave Surfing is known as perhaps the most skillful surfer ever to ride Mavericks. The famed spot off the Half Moon Bay. In October of 1998 he was whipped into to what is now considered the biggest wave ever ridden… Mel along with the featured photographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand for the Friday night reception. The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm.
Longboard Vineyard has always had a soft spot for surfers. It's a place where you can hangout at a redwood-surfboard bar, or sample one
of its award winning wines while kicking back on a comfortable sofa watching surf movies. For this harvest weekend event Shakked has
enlisted “Mavericks: Everest of the Seas,” the heralded collection of Mavericks surf photography from Frank Quirarte, Doug Acton, Seth
Migdail and Ed Grant.
“Everest of the Seas” first made its debut recently at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, drawing large crowds and an
enthusiastic response. It just finished a one-month highly successful run at San Francisco's world class Museum and Gallery, SFMOMA.“Everyone who sees the exhibit is just blown away,” said Grant, the curator of the Coastal Arts League Gallery. “Both surfers and non-surfers can't help but get caught up in the energy and stoke that surrounds Maverick's, the surfers and photographers who put it on the
line every time they go out there.”
The event also represents a high point in the career of Oded Shakked, who was born in Israel and grew up near a beach just north of Tel
Aviv. Immersed in surfing from the start, he made several trips around Europe's Atlantic coast while discovering, to his delight, that “it
was easier, cheaper and safer to drink good red wine than bottled water.” His twin loves of surfing and wine brought him to California,
where he studied winemaking at UC Davis and became enamored with the people, climate and rich soil of Sonoma County. He founded Longboard Vineyards with the motto “Wine, waves and soul,” making it a highly unique fixture in wine country.
The October 23-25 weekend will also feature the sale of surfboards and memorabilia, along with Acton's acclaimed book, “Inside Maverick's.”
Admission is free. Opening reception sponsored by Maverick Events and Longboard Vineyards
The Kelly Slater Project - A fundraiser is scheduled for Aug 29th at the Cocoa Beach Country Club to help raise funds for both the Kelly Slater Project and the Central Florida Animal Reserve. A Casino night is planned including a silent auction and raffle. Sponsors are also needed. Learn more about these projects at : http://www.thekellyslaterproject.com/
Rebuild Jeff Clark: Jeff Clark the first pioneer of Mavericks, recently underwent hip resurfacing surgery due to severe pain from deterioration of his hip. Needless to say the procedure is very expensive and his insurance only covers tiny portion of the bill. If you're interested in learning about the procedure or would like to donate to help Jeff out, please take a look here: http://www.rebuildjeffclark.blogspot.com/
North California Surf Report Works Again: After an extended downtime we finally got the North California Surf Report working again. Thanks for your patience. See it here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/report/ncal.html
Shark Video: Our friend Curt Myers of Powerlines productions shot this footage of 2 great whites munching on a whale carcass off Devils Slide (south of San Francisco) on Thursday. Kind of interesting to watch. Check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I4rZYEZMWQ (Fixed link)
Wave Model Upgrade Status Report: At this point we believe the installation of the new wave models is complete, with no problems being reported, the server stabilizing and the much requested return of the old style hemispheric Surf Height models now operational (again) and running side-by-side along the new ones. We thank you for your patience and input as we went though this process. Your feedback helps guide our efforts and ultimately results in a better product for everyone. Now we're off to start providing better menus to some wave model products most of you probably haven't uncovered yet (site specific graph and text forecasts), updateing the wave model FAQs and then upgrading the Weather Models.
New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.
Stormsurf Wave Models Updated: On Friday (2/6) we installed the latest upgrade to our wavemodels. A year in the works, this upgrade essentially is a total re-write of every wave model product we produce. They now take advantage of the new Version 3 of the Wavewatch wavemodel. This version runs at a much higher resolution, specifically 0.0 X 0.5 degrees for the global grib with local products at 0.1667 X 0.1667 degrees, and it uses the hi-res GFS model for wind speeds. And of even more interest, the model now identifies primary swell and windwave variables. As such we now have new model images which displays this data. Also we've included out special 3D topographic land masks into all models. In all it makes for a radical step forward in wave model technology. We'll be upgrading minor components (FAQ, new menu pages etc) for a few weeks to come, but all the basics are available for your use now. Check it out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
Story About Stormsurf: The folks at SurfPulse (and specifically author Mike Wallace) have written up a really nice article about Stormsurf, complete with some good pics. Learn about how we came to be and a little of where we are going. Check it out here: http://www.surfpulse.com/2009/01/visceral-surf-forecasting-with-mark-sponsler/
Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it: http://vimeo.com/2319455
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here: http://www.darrowchiropractic.com/
Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table