New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Monday (10/27) North/Central California was getting leftover northwest well energy from Storm #1 with clean but foggy conditions. Southern California was seeing limited energy from this swell mainly in San Diego County, but on the downswing. Hawaii's North Shore was getting a little resurgence in northwest swell with buoy reading coming up a bit, and somewhat unexpected. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore has a little wrap around energy from the northwest, but mostly less than thigh high.
For Central California the last fading residuals of Swell #1 to be fading out on Tues and Wed, with size moving into the really small range and then going near flat for Halloween on into Saturday. But the models hint at something better beyond. Southern CA to be in the same boat, only smaller, with swell fading out and no southern hemi energy on the charts to take up the slack. The North Shore of Hawaii is to be doing a bit better with northerly windswell expected Tues-Thurs then swinging northeast and fading. The South Shore of Hawaii is expected to see a little impulse southern hemi swell late Tuesday holding into Wednesday, but that is likely wishful thinking. The East Shore to start seeing some northerly windswell by Wednesday continuing into Thursday, then fading fast. Long term the model keep hinting at some sort of gale forming just off the Central CA coast on Friday (10/31) dropping well to the south and even putting energy well into the Southern CA window, before fading while lifting north. Seas modeled anywhere from 21-28 ft depending on which model run one looks at. But either way it's still to be within 600-900 nmiles of the coast, shutting Hawaii out of the action and likely making for very raw conditions in Central CA. This might be a SCal event. But even at that it's very early and betting on any outcome is fool hearty at this early date. But be forewarned, rain could result for the entire state Friday into Saturday. If you want to know the long term projection for the winter, take a look at the El Nino forecast. More details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Monday (10/27) the North Pacific jetstream had a strong ridge pushing north from Japan arching to the dateline pushing to the Aleutians but not quite north of them, then dove south again setting up a steep trough in the Central Gulf, then tracking hard north again up into north Canada. Even that one trough offered little in the way of support for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to persist and the ridge on the dateline is to moderate, resulting in the broadening of the Gulf trough by Wednesday with 150 kt winds flowing south into it and offering better odds for surface level development. Beyond 72 hrs that trough is to continue, with a second infusion of 140 kt winds spilling south into it Fri/Sat (11/1) offering more odds for surface level cyclogenesis (low pressure), with the whole mess moving onshore over extreme Northern CA early Sunday. By then the whole jetstream is to start sagging south with most all of it down at 40N across the width of the Pacific, with 2 troughs starting to form, one on the dateline and the second off Ncal by Tuesday (11/4). Decent odds for low pressure development or better.
At the surface today strong high pressure at 1036 mbs was locked over the dateline easing east and generating a fetch of 25 kt north winds on it's eastern flank positioned just 500 nmiles north of Hawaii and targeting the Islands well. Otherwise no other swell source was indicated. Over the next 72 hours that high is to hold if not sink a bit further southeast, pushing 25 kt north to northeast winds closer to Hawaii, then pushing right over the state late Wednesday. Windswell from this system expected at 6.6 ft @ 10-11 secs late Tuesday (8-9 ft faces) pushing 7 ft @ 10 secs on Wednesday (8-9 ft faces again) then turning northeasterly on Thursday at 7.6 ft @ 8 secs (7-8 ft faces) coming from 35 degrees.
Late on Wednesday (10/27) low pressure is forecast to start building off the eastern flank of that high pressure that's to linger northwest of Hawaii. By Thursday AM (10/30) pressure is to be 996 mbs with near 40 kt northwest to west winds forecast in it's southwest sector and 21 ft seas aimed south of even Southern CA at 37N 138W with additional fetch wrapping into the south quadrant in the evening. On Friday AM (10/31) additional much stronger low pressure is to feed into the original low with pressure dropping to 982 mbs and winds ramping up to 45 kts moving into the south quadrant at 38N 145, or due west of San Francisco, aimed at Central CA (285 degree path) holding into the evening. By evening 28 ft seas are forecast at 37N 142W pushing east and southeast (280 NCal - 289 SCal). On Saturday AM (11/1) the gale to be lifting northeast with 35-40 kts northwest winds aimed right at Central CA at 40N 137W with 26 ft seas at 38N 135W, then fading in the evening with 23 ft seas at 40N 132W. This low to continue lifting north and slowly shrinking through Monday, but producing less swell potential if anything.
Possible larger raw swell for Sunday and Monday (11/3) for Central and South CA with a more southwesterly swell pushing up into North CA and the Pacific Northwest if the models are right.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday (10/27) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 400 nmiles west of Southern CA creating a weak northerly flow (10 kts) down the coast. More of the same is forecast Tuesday - Wednesday with maybe up to 15 kt north winds off of Pt Conception, but generally light winds. Those winds to decay on Thursday and be r.cgiaced with a light southerly flow as low pressure builds just off the coast, the start of a real change in the weather pattern for CA. And by late in the day the first cold front of the season to hit the coast with south winds down to Pt Conception. By Friday more of the same is forecast with rain in the outlook as a stronger system winds up and the associated front and 20 kt south winds hits on Saturday again down to nearly Pt Conception with rain to San Diego County. Sunday winds to go slack and drying out while the low lifts into the Gulf, but another front forecast late Monday, but only affect down to the SF Bay Area.
On Monday (10/27) no tropical activity of interest was occurring.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change is 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 a bit of a calm spell is forecast, other than a weak fleeting secondary low wrapping up almost over the Oregon coast on Mon/Tues (11/4). Then things are starting to look far more active with a new gale building just east of the dateline ana strong storm wrapping up over Northern Japan on Monday (10/3). It's unknown whether any of this will occur, but it looks promising.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (10/23) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was in the Inactive phase. The Daily SOI index was steady at 21.4. The 30 day average was steady at 14.0 and the 90 day average was inching up at 11.25. This is symptomatic of a weak La Nina. Winds anomalies at at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated a broad area of abnormal west winds extending from the Philippines east over the dateline and into Central America, pretty much filling the Tropical Pacific. This was symptomatic of the inactive phase of the MJO. This to slowly fade out through Nov 6th, offering no enhancement for surface level low pressure development. All the while the Active Phase of the MJO is to be building in the Indian Ocean, then starting to seep east into the equatorial North Pacific the first week in November, but be weak upon arrival there. For now the Inactive Phase to slightly suppress storm development in the Northern Pacific.
No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.
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
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Pictures from Swell #1 - The first real significant class swell of the season produced a bit of action at Mavericks. See pictures here http://www.mavsurfer.com
Big Surf Up North - the First swell of the Fall 2008/2009 season brought a few large raw waves to the North CA Coast. Check out the details here: http://www.towsurfer.com/default.asp
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table