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 Thursday (11/6) North/Central California was getting chest to shoulder high windswell originating from the Gulf. Southern California was getting the same northwesterly windswell at waist high plus with lightly textured conditions. Hawaii's North Shore was getting new swell from the dateline at 3 ft overhead with clean conditions. The South Shore was thigh to waist high. The East Shore had knee high east windswell.
For Central California northwesterly modest period windswell from the Gulf to continue pushing in through Saturday then possible larger and rawer north angled swell to arrive for Sunday from a gale forecast off British Columbia. Southern CA to see a fraction of the windswell at breaks with good northern exposure, and maybe a sliver of that north swell later on Sunday at exposed breaks up north. The North Shore of Hawaii to continue getting swell from a gale that passed over the dateline Mon/Tues (11/4) with 35-40 kt west winds and 25-26 ft seas. Another pulse is expected by Sunday (11/9) too. The South Shore of Hawaii is to remain essentially flat until Sunday when some southern hemi background swell is expected to show. The East Shore to see some easterly windswell starting Friday and building over the weekend and holding in the rideable range well into next week. Longterm the charts suggest that first a gale is to spin up off British Columbia Fri/Sat (11/8) generating 35-45 kt northwest winds and seas starting at 20 ft pushing to near 30 ft and driving raw swell into the Pacific Northwest southward into Central CA Sun/Mon (11/10). Also another gale was trying to get organized on the dateline Thursday (11/6) with 22-25 ft seas forecast through Friday then building eastward into the Gulf by Saturday (11/8) with seas to 20 ft. This to offer modest potential for Hawaii by Sunday (11/9) and lesser energy into the Pacific Northwest and exposed breaks in California by Tuesday (11/11). And by early next week a slightly stronger system is forecast on the dateline with seas to 35 ft. So it looks like there should be some surf activity for the next week to 10 days. 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 plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (11/6) the North Pacific jetstream continued flowing basically flat from Japan over the dateline and north of Hawaii, then veering northeast into British Columbia. Winds were 130 kts over Japan and again on the dateline. No troughs of interest were indicated. Over the next 72 hours the pocket of energy over the dateline is to push east and build, forming a small but steep trough Saturday off Oregon with 170 kts winds feeding into it briefly providing some decent support for surface level gale development before moving onshore over NCal on Sunday. At the same time a solid pocket of 170-180 kts wines is to start building over and moving east of Japan, offering some hope for the future. Beyond 72 hrs it is this area that is to be productive, expanding is coverage and almost extending from Japan to north of Hawaii with near 190 kt winds and a decent trough forming on the dateline Monday (11/10) the pushing east and slowly fading through Wednesday providing decent support for surface level gale development. Nothing of interest is forecast for the next few days beyond that.
At the surface today weak low pressure was filling the Gulf of Alaska on west to the dateline. Moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 400 nmiles west of Pt Conception riding into the San Francisco Bay Area generating a north flow over the Pt Conception area. Low pressure over the dateline was somewhat organized providing some swell generation potential (see 2nd Dateline Gale below). Over the next 72 hours the dateline gael to fade out and push east. But the remnants of the first Dateline Gale are to try and reorganize in the Gulf Friday-Saturday (11/8). On Friday AM pressure to fall to 992 mbs generating 35 kt west winds early near 42N 145W producing 17 ft seas and building in the evening to 40 kts at 44N 138W generating 21 ft seas at 43N 140W (900 miles from NCal). Saturday AM (11/8) the gale to build while lifting northeast with 45 kt northwest winds at 46N 138W and 25 ft seas at 43N 134W (600 nmiles from NCal) and then fading in the evening with 35 kt west and 27 ft seas at 43N 131W 550 nmiles out from NCal. This system to be almost in direct contact with the Pacific Northwest Coast on Saturday in to Sunday making a mess of thing up there. But raw very north angled swell is possible pushing into North and Central CA for Sunday (11/9) with swell 9-10 ft @ 14-16 secs from 305-310 degrees (shadowed in the SF Bay Area). Lesser energy expected fading through Monday. Only a tiny portion of this to wrap into exposed breaks in SCal with luck.
A cutoff low formed west of the dateline Monday (11/3) with pressure 984 mbs generating 40 kt west to northwest winds, then pushing to and over the dateline Tuesday with west winds fading from 30-35 kts. Seas reached 26 ft Monday AM at 39N 172E fading from 25 ft in the evening at 39N 178E and 23 ft seas Tuesday AM at 39N 178W. Limited swell is pushing towards Hawaii and arrived as expected Thursday (11/6) with swell 4.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (8-9 ft faces) fading Friday from 5.0 ft @ 13 secs (8 ft faces) from 315 degrees. Lesser energy for exposed breaks along the US West Coast (NCal) Sunday (11/9) at 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.5 ft faces) from 292+ degrees.
2nd Dateline Gale
A low that pushed east from Kamchatka got better organized over the dateline Wednesday (11/5) with a fetch of 40 kt northwest winds generating 20 ft seas at 44N 175E late. On Thursday AM (11/6) 40 kt northwest winds held in the same area with a small area of 23 ft seas modeled at 46N 175E aimed well towards Hawaii, then sinking southeast in the evening with 25 ft seas forecast over a tiny spot at 45N 177E. This fetch to sink further southeast Friday AM (11/7) but fade with winds 30 kts and seas estimated to 23 ft at 43N 178W, then heading more east in the evening with 19 ft seas at 40N 175W. Most of this fetch to be aimed at Hawaii though some energy undoubtedly will track due east towards California up the 292-300 degree paths, though most winds to be aimed 30 degree south of those tracks. Limited energy from this system is expected to push into Hawaii starting late Sunday (11/9) with swell 4.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (7 ft faces) from 320 degrees continuing early Monday at 4.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (7 ft faces).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/6) high pressure at 1026 mbs was centered 400 nmiles west of Pt Conception ridging east into San Francisco, creating a light wind pattern there but north winds at 15 kts near pt Conception. The same basic pattern is expected Friday and Saturday while a gale builds and pushes into the Pacific Northwest, holding more high pressure at bay. But by late Saturday there is to be less constraint on the high and it is to push into the coast driving a steady 15+ kt northerly flow over Central Ca and up to 25 kts over the Channel Islands. Monday things to settle down with a light winds regime in control continuing into early Tuesday, when a front from another low up north is to push southward to the SF Bay Area, but no further. Maybe some light south winds in San Francisco. Back to light winds Wed/Thurs, though that pesky north winds gradient might reappear off Pt Conception.
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.
Of note: A small gale pushed under New Zealand Sunday (11/2) generating 32 ft seas at 58S 178E pushing near 35 ft in the evening at 55S 175W, then fading from 32 ft Monday AM at the same location. Some hope for small background swell pushing into the South Shore of Hawaii starting Sunday (11/9) with swell to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) continuing at 2.3 ft @ 15 secs Monday (3.0-3.5 ft faces) and fading from there. Swell Direction: 192-198 degrees.
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 the remnants of the 2nd Dateline Gale to try and reorganize in the Gulf Sunday and Monday (11/10) generating 35-40 kt west winds near 42N 170W moving to 45N 150W producing 20 ft seas Sunday evening (11/9) at 44N 160W and again Monday morning at 45N 150W. Some degree of utility swell with 13 sec period should push towards the West Coast. by Wednesday (11/12).
Also a new broader gale is supposed to try and build off Kamchatka Sunday (11/9) pushing east generating 40 kt west winds Monday (11/10) west of the dateline targeting Hawaii well and continuing over the dateline Tuesday while fading. 30-35 ft seas forecast Monday pushing over the dateline late and fading to 29 ft late Tuesday in the far Western Gulf of Alaska. This on offers good potential for longer period swell for Hawaii on Thursday (11/13) and the Us West Coast by the weekend, assuming it even forms.
Things to calm down after that.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Thursday (11/6) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving to the Active Phase. The Daily SOI index jumped to 22.14. The 30 day average was up to at 15.55 and the 90 day average was holding at 12.98. This is symptomatic of a weak La Nina (regardless of what NOAA indicates). Winds anomalies at at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated neutral winds over the balance of the equatorial Pacific. But the leading edge of the Active Phase of the MJO was starting to push east over the Philippines seeping east into the equatorial North Pacific and expected to continue into the second week in November, but dissipating all the while. The Active Phase is to slightly enhance storm development in the Northern Pacific over the coming week or so , bit not much given this anemic forecast.
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table