On Thursday (10/13) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high and clean. South facing breaks were waist to chest high. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high at the best breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was 3-4 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist high.
Fall has officially arrived with solid utility class swell hitting Oahu's North Shore. Nothing spectacular but there were waves pushing near double overhead on the bigger peaks. North California continued with small Gulf swell with Southern CA near flat. That to change though as the Hawaiian swell pushes east, rising steadily through the day Friday mainly north of Pt Conception. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. A series of two solid storms are forecast to develop in the Gulf of Alaska on Friday into Saturday expected to push larger swell energy towards the California coast for the weekend and beyond. Hawaii to possibly get a little piece of one of these, but most energy is to be generated once the storms are east of the Islands. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (10/13) the jetstream was looking most solid with a nice trough holding in the Gulf of Alaska with 170 kt winds feeding into it providing ample opportunity for surface level storm development. This pattern to weaken over the weekend but not fade completely while a broad ridge develops in the West Pacific driving the storm track through the Bering Sea, then dipping south feeding into the weak trough in the Gulf. Fortunately by early next week the ridge to fade in the west and we should return to a more favorable pattern.
Today at the surface weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was holding north of Hawaii while a new slow was starting to circulate over the dateline driving east-northeast. This to be the focus of most interest for the coming days (see New Dateline Storm below). A second small low is forecast to wind up off the Oregon coast by the evening too (see Oregon Storm below), making for two solid swell producing system in play simultaneously on Friday. And swell is already in the waters hitting Hawaii and heading for California from a system that pushed over the dateline on Monday (see Dateline Storm below). An active pattern is in-play for the next 72 hours.
On Sunday AM (10/9) a new low started pushing off the southern Kamchatka Peninsula with pressure 972 mbs with confirmed west winds 50 kts pushing down the 308 degree path to California and the 324 degree path to Hawaii, aimed at a point mid-way between the two locations. By the evening the storm tracked east directly over the Aleutians with pressure holding and a reasonably broad area of 45-50 kt west winds confirmed centered at 49N 173E aimed due east or east of the 325 degree path to Hawaii and right down the 308 degree path to California. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 50N 170E. Not much change occurred on Monday AM (10/10) as the storm pushed over the dateline with 40-50 kt winds holding at 47N 178W aimed due east cutting across the 331 degree path to Hawaii but aimed right up the 306 degree path to California. Seas were modeled up to 37 ft centered at 48N 175W. By nightfall things really were winding down with winds 30-35kts over an elongated area centered at 45N 171W aimed right at California down the 300-305 degree path but pretty much at a 80 degree angle to any path into Hawaii, ending their fetch. Seas dropped to 33 ft centered at 47N 177W. Residual 25-30 kt fetch continued into Tuesday AM (10/11) but at that velocity it was not sufficient to generate additional decent swell energy. This system was dead. No decent Jason-1 or GFO satellite passes occurred to confirm sea heights, but the wavewatch model projections appear right on track.
In all this was a nice well-behaved little storm. Nothing remarkable about it other than it was the strongest one of the early Fall season. It was positioned too far away from California (2418-2897 nmiles) resulting in a bit of swell decay and the fetch was aimed too east to favor Hawaii (1777-2272 nmiles). This to result in near-equal sized swell pushing into both locations with solid winter utility class size in the a 17 sec period range expected.
Expect swell arrival on Oahu's North Shore in the very early hours of Thursday (10/13) with period at 18 secs and coming up fast. Swell to peak near 10 AM HST with swell 6.5-7.1 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) holding through the day. Period dropping to 14 secs overnight with sizeable 6 ft @ 13-14 sec residuals continuing at sunrise Friday (10/14) and fading steadily from there (7.5-8.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 324-331
North CA: Expect swell arrival Friday (10/14) morning at 3 AM with tiny energy building. Swell to peak near 3 PM with swell 6.8-7.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (10-12 ft faces). Decent energy to continue overnight with period settling down to 14 secs by 8 AM Saturday (10/15) and swell 6 ft @ 14 secs (7.5-8.5 ft faces), fading to 13 sec near sunset. Another decent warmup swell but a notch more energetic than the previous ones. Swell Direction: 302-308 degrees
New Dateline Storm
On Thursday AM (10/13) a modest low of tropical origin was pushing towards the dateline and beginning to rapidly deepen with pressure 984 mbs. Winds of 40 kts were confirmed over a small area centered near 39N 177E aimed somewhat towards hawaii. The gale was lifting east-northeast. By night fall 40-45 kts winds are forecast in it's south quadrant centered at 42N 175W aimed east and building. By Friday AM (10/14) the storm is to have pressure 964 mbs with 55-60 kt winds positioned in it's south and west quadrants centered at 45N 172W and aimed at Hawaii down the 337 degree great circle path and at California right down the 297 degree path. Seas 27 ft and building fast. The storm is to continue on a northeast track. By nightfall pressure to hold at 964 mbs with 50-55 kt winds continuing mostly in it's south quadrant centered at 46N 165W aimed at California down the 299 degree path with lesser energy from the storms west quadrant aimed at Hawaii down the 347 degree path. Seas forecast at 37 ft over a tiny area centered at 46N 164W. By Saturday AM (10/15) a quick decline to set in with residual 40-45 kt winds aimed mostly at targets north of California with nothing at Hawaii. Winds aimed 25 degree north of California down the 299 degree path. Seas from previous days fetch to be 35 ft centered at 47N 158W. This system to be gone by nightfall with residual 30 ft seas forecast at 50N 151W.
This is to be a reasonably strong but compact storm. As a result the fetch area is not to be very large, having a somewhat limiting factor on it's swell generation potential. If all this play out at forecast a large utility class swell could result for California since the bulk of the fetch is to be aimed right down their great circle paths. Hawaii to potentially get some rideable swell too, but the fetch is to be pushing sideways through their swell, not getting good purchase on the oceans surface thereby limiting their ability to generate seas pushing south. Small utility class swell is more likely for the Islands.
While the storm above is doing it's thing yet another more local storm is forecast off Oregon starting late Thursday evening (10/13). Pressure forecast initially at 1004 mbs with 25-30 kt winds wrapping around the gales southwest sector aimed right at North CA. By Friday AM (10/14) pressure dropping fast to 988 mbs with 45-50 kt winds in it's west quadrant centered at 46N 138W aimed right at NCal down the 310 degree path. Seas building to 23 ft centered at 42N 135W. By nightfall the core of the low is to be approaching Vancouver Island with a solid 45-50 kt fetch in control of it's southwest sector centered at 44N 132W aimed right at NCal down the 317 degree path. Seas 29 ft centered at 43N 132W. By Saturday AM (10/15) this system is to be pushing inland over Washington with no fetch remaining over exposed waters. Residual 25 ft seas to still be pushing towards NCal on the very edge of the swell window. If this system develops as forecast a very north angled large but lumpy, uneven and raw swell would push down into North CA. Limited energy to push down into Central California and all energy likely passing Southern California with no impact on shore. Given it's closeness to the coast we'll provide some rough planning figures because there will be little reaction time.
North CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday at 1 AM (10/16) with period a jumble of 13-15 secs and size on the increase fast. Swell to peak between 3 and 8 AM with swell 10-11 ft @ 14 secs (14-15 ft faces) then fading steadily through the day. Swell Direction 310-317 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/13) high pressure at 1024 mbs was just north of Hawaii ridging almost to San Francisco but showing definite signs of retreating as low pressure was building fast off the Oregon coast. Light winds forecast in to early Saturday afternoon then the north wind machine is to kick up as high pressure quickly rebounds as the Oregon low moves inland. A tight gradient to develop between the remnants of the low dropping south inland and the high offshore resulting in 25-30 kt north winds from late Saturday afternoon through Sunday into Southern CA but becoming more focused near Cape Mendocino by late Sunday and pulling away from the coast. The inference is that light winds to settle in nearshore perhaps as early as 11 AM Sunday. Calm winds to persist thereafter well through the working part of next week.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
No swell generating fetch of interest forecast.
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 yet another low is forecast for the Central Gulf late Monday (10/17). It's to be well northeast of Hawaii centered west of Washington lifting slowly northeast with 40-45 kt winds aimed right at North CA and the Pacific Northwest through the day Tuesday (10/18) pushing inland over Central Canada on Wednesday. 23 ft seas forecast from this one.
Further west a moderate low is forecast to be tracking through the Bering Sea heading east while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs blocks the Aleutian Storm Corridor. The models suggest the low is to drop into the Gulf of Alaska Thursday (10/20) and rapidly intensify. Will monitor but that seems a bit optimistic.
At the surface beyond 72 hours the models suggest a rather nice storm developing well south of Tahiti next Wednesday (10/19) with 37-39 ft seas aimed north towards California. Hawaii to be in the swell window too, but just barely. Odds of this actually developing are very low. No other swell producing systems of interest forecast. Monitoring on an exception basis only now.
Details to follow...
Down the Line: Powerlines Production movie guru's Curt Myers and Eric W. Nelson unleash their latest creation which explores the big wave conditions in Hawaii, California and Chile last year. Includes footage from Peahi, the Mavericks Surf Contest and Ghost Trees. See it Oct 21st at 7 and 9 PM in Santa Cruz. More details here: http://www.powerlinesproductions.com
New Stormsurf Wave & Weather Models have been Released: After a year of development we're released our newest installment of Regional and Local wave models. Read more here.
Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him: http://www.pacificsurfgallery.com
Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table