On Saturday (10/22) Northern CA surf was flat and foggy, making a clean slate for what's to come. South facing breaks were waist high and clean. Central California surf was thigh high an socked in. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe thigh high at the best breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to waist high. Southward to San Diego waves were up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was head high and getting ready to come up. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was up to waist high.
In general surf is flat at all locations, but not for long. Things to change dramatically through the night Saturday along the North California and Hawaiian coasts as Swell #1 arrives, the first significant class storm of the 2005/2006 season. This to be the prime focus for the coming days and is expected to generate large surf for both California and Hawaii. A far more moderate pattern to follow, but not completely out. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday (10/22) the jetstream was ridging north over the Aleutians at the dateline with winds 150 kts then dipping strongly south in the Gulf of Alaska but loosing much velocity. The ridge in the west is to become even more pronounced by Monday while another steep trough sets up in the Gulf with winds flowing into it at 180 kts. It appears that some form of surf low should develop there. That trough to slowly erode by Wednesday (10/26) but not completely fade with some form of dip in the jet to persist in the Gulf through next weekend. A ridge to continue over the dateline with no storm development forecast in that region.
Today at the surface strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was sitting just north of Hawaii generating 25 kt northeast winds blowing right up to the Hawaiian Islands but not encroaching them just yet. Otherwise a neutral pressure pattern was holding off California and low pressure persisted in the Gulf of Alaska with 35-40 kt northwest winds there, remnants of Storm #1. This was continuing to generate windswell pushing southeast into the Pacific Northwest. Variants on the pattern to continue through Tuesday (10/25).
On Wednesday (10/19) a low in the Bering Sea started to respond to the dip in the jetstream and sank southeast towards the Gulf of Alaska with another low from Siberia tracking quick east, join it along with a little low pushing north from Hawaii. All converged in the evening sputtering to life as one consolidated large complex storm in the Gulf with pressure 984 mbs. Strong high pressure was building west of it at 1028 mbs setting up a broad and steady fetch of 35-40 kt winds confirmed centered near 47N 167W aimed mid-way between Hawaii and California. Seas were on the increase.
On Thursday (10/20) additional energy dropped southeast from the Bering Sea into the Gulf driving pressure down to 968 mbs while high pressure to the west built to 1032 mbs moving closer to the storm, generating a strong gradient with 55-60 kt winds confirmed in the lows southwest sector centered near 49N 158W and aimed 35 degrees south of the 308 degree path to Northern CA (311 SCal) and 45 degrees east of the 359 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were an inconsequential 23 ft and quickly on the increase. By night fall pressure was down to 960 mbs with up to hurricane force winds confirmed over the exact the same area centered at 49N 157W aimed just like in the morning (55-60 kts with a few barbs to 65 kts). The fetch was not large but was steady covering the exact same 661 nmiles long fetch as in the morning. Winds were therefore getting good traction on the oceans surface. Seas were modeled at 41 ft centered at 48N 155W and on the increase with the MPC suggesting seas to 45 ft, though ar first blush that seems a little high. But the Jason-1 satellite made a pass right over the core of the fetch and reported seas at 40 ft at 06Z centered at 44N 155W before the altimeter stopped providing data due presumably to rain contamination. So the 45 ft height is probably closer to real.
By early Friday morning (10/21) the storm was fading with pressure up to 966 mbs and winds down, confirmed at 45-50 kts centered at 48N 150W aimed 10 degrees south of the 306 degree path to North CA (308 SCal) and 50 degrees east of the 7 degree path to Hawaii. Seas maxing at 44 ft centered at 47N 153W on the 302 degree track to NCal with MCP suggesting 48 ft. Given the earlier Jason reading we're going with the MPC data. A quick decline starting Friday night with pressure up to 974 mbs and winds down to 40 kts centered at 52N 145W. High pressure that was off the storms west side was diving south towards Hawaii while seas from previous days fetch decayed to 37 ft at 45N 148W pushing straight down the channel mid-way between Hawaii and California. MPC indicated seas 39 ft at 45N 150W.
Swell hit buoy 46036 off Southern Canada at 5 PM PDT Friday evening with period at 17 secs and seas quickly ramping up to 24 ft @ 17 secs by 8 PM.
Swell also hit buoy 46006 at 7 PM Friday with period at 17 secs ramping up with seas 21.6 ft @ 17 secs and pure swell 16.2 ft @ 19.2 secs by 9 PM. This is just a few hours back from our expectations. Size ramped up through the night peaking near 4 AM with seas 24-27 ft @ 20 secs and pure swell 18.5-20.0 ft @ 19-20 secs and holding through at least 8 AM. This is exactly as expected. Most impressive.
Swell Generation Potential
36 hours of 50+ kt fetch with a peak near 65 kts and 24 hours of 40-45+ ft seas have been confirmed from this one targeted well at California but with directional spreading pushing solid size south towards Hawaii too. Long periods in the 22-25 sec range are to front-load this swell with large significant class size just aft of the leading edge as this one pushes southeast focused right down the midline between Hawaii and California with significant class size hitting both locations, though the biggest energy to likely miss both. This one is almost too close to all locations at 1236-1633 nmiles from NCal, 1571-1971 SCal and 1534-1635 nmiles from Hawaii eliminating any real swell decay but perhaps adding just a hint of mid-period lurp, though not much. On real interest is to total lack of any swell off California, with buoy 46059 (yes, it's back online) reporting seas on only 4 ft and swell less than 2 ft. You can't ask for a cleaner canvas to paint this swell on. Hawaii will have real problems though with a wind front pushing south over the Islands right as the swell arrives.
Surf Forecast (No real change from Thursday PM's projection)
North CA (San Francisco): Expect the swell arrival window opening late Saturday (10/22) afternoon with period at 25 secs and size tiny but building steadily. Swell peaking 2 hours before sunrise Sunday (10/23) with swell 10.7-12.5 ft @ 20 secs (21-25 ft faces) with solid 17-20 sec energy at 10.5-12.3 ft following through the day til 4 PM (18-23 ft faces). Solid but diminishing 9.5 ft @ 14-15 sec energy expected by sunrise Monday (13-15 ft faces) and fading through the day. Swell Direction: 301-308 degrees
South CA (Dana Point): Expect the swell arrival window opening late Saturday (10/22) evening with period at 25 secs and size tiny but building steadily. Swell peaking near noon Sunday (10/23) at 3.3-4.0 ft @ 20-22 secs (7.0-8.5 ft faces at north facing breaks) with solid and equal energy following through the afternoon into the late night at 20 secs. Larger size at best breaks in San Diego. Solid but diminishing swell at 3.3-4.0 ft @ 15-16 sec energy expected by sunrise Monday (5-6 ft faces - bigger south) and fading through the day as period drops to 14 secs. Swell Direction: 305-312 degrees
Hawaii (North Shore of Oahu): Expect the swell arrival window opening Saturday (10/22) at sunset with period at 23 secs and size tiny but building steadily. Swell peaking near 5 AM Sunday (10/23) with swell 7.7-9.2 ft @ 20 secs (15-18 ft faces) with solid 17-20 sec energy following through the day til sunset (14-17 ft). Solid but diminishing 6.5-7.6 ft @ 14 sec energy expected by sunrise Monday (9.0-10.5 ft faces) and fading through the day to the 13 sec range by sunset. Swell Direction: 357-007 degrees Note: Given that most swell energy is tracking east of the Islands, confidence is a little less certain, and these estimates might be a bit on the high side. Strong high pressure generating brisk northeast winds expected as the swell arrives.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (10/22) high pressure at 1018 mbs was positioned midway between San Francisco and Hawaii providing protection from the gale pattern in the Gulf of Alaska. This was resulting in near neutral conditions along and well off the coast with no potential for windswell generation. A brief surge of high pressure is forecast to push in on Monday (10/24) generating some northerly winds at 10-15 kts through the day, but a new gathering low in the Gulf to make short work of that, returning a neutral pattern by the evening. No change forecast as a series of low's push closer and closer to the coast through the week, but not quite punching a hole through the protective high.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
A series of weak lows are passing from west to east through the far Southern Pacific generating 22 ft seas with the potential to push some limited background swell north towards Hawaii. Otherwise no swell of interest indicated.
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 weak low pressure is to hold it's ground in the Northern Gulf of Alaska through Saturday (10/29) generating some form of northwest winds in the 25-30 kt range aimed at the PAcific Northwest and the northern half of California. Also a gale low is forecast to push east off Kamchatka late Tuesday (10/25) but fading as it tracks northeast into the Bering Sea with limited 35 kt west winds forecast just south of the Aleutians. Some small hope for Hawaii at best.
At the surface beyond 72 hours the models continue to suggest a series of weak lows to push east under New Zealand providing 35 kt west winds in pockets producing 24 ft seas. One to produce up to 30 ft seas on Wednesday (10/26) but as in the past the projections erode with each run of the models. So at this time we continue to expect background swell to result for Hawaii, but that's it.
Details to follow...
'Down the Line' @ The Rio: Powerlines Productions/Towsurfer.com presents 'Down the Line' playing at the Rio in Santa Cruz Friday Oct. 21st. Showtimes 7:pm & 9:pm Local cameramen Eric W. Nelson and Curt Myers have reached a new level of surf-stoke with their latest movie, Down the Line, an inside look at the epic surf that rocked Hawaii, Mavericks and Ghost Tree and other locations last winter. Also included is the most recent footage of the 9/11 Teahupoo session. 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