On Thursday (11/9) Northern CA surf was 1-3 ft overhead with northwest wind on it fairly early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were shoulder high. Central California surf was shoulder to head high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest high with head high peaks at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County had surf chest to head high on the sets at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were about chest high with bigger peaks at the best spots. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist high.
Hawaii's Northern Shores were getting little swell from a gale that was in the Gulf, but it's heading down. Nothing much coming out of the southern hemi. California was on the downside of the same swell coming out of the Gulf of Alaska, with rather poor conditions north of Pt Conception. Another small gale is starting to develop in the far eastern Gulf of Alaska expected to produce more energy targeting primarily the Pacific Northwest but with perhaps a bit more energy trickling south into the Golden State. Hawaii to be totally outside the influence of this system though. The good news about this one is it's to be more than a one day event, with energy expected to continue pushing south through the weekend. And yet another but weaker one to follow mid-next week and continue late into the week, setting up possibly another pulse for late next week. In all something rideable for California, but not much for Hawaii . The West Pacific is still in a funk with high pressure in control and no change forecast. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (11/9) indicated a moderate flow pushing flat off Japan at 120 kts but quickly decaying as it reached the dateline mainly due to a big split over Siberia stealing it's energy and shuttling it north of the Bering Sea. That split dove south and rejoined the main flow well north of Hawaii forming a nice trough in the Gulf of Alaska with winds to 140 kts flowing straight towards the Pacific Northwest. This area looked reasonably favorable to support surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (11/12) this area to be the most interesting with the trough building a bit pushing right over Cape Mendocino CA on Saturday with winds well off the coast to 160 helping to fuel surface level low pressure development. At the same time over the dateline a new trough is to be developing over the dateline with 150 kt winds, and getting a bit steeper into Sunday, suggesting support for surface level development there too but the split pattern back over Siberia to continue, likely limiting development in the Pacific. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to moderate as it pushes north of Hawaii on Tuesday (11/14) while a strong ridge builds to the east pushing into the US West Coast at the same time with winds 190 kts then diving south over the center of the US mainland. The big split to persist tracking north of the Bering Sea. By Wednesday things to settle down with a weak to moderate flow pushing flat across the PAcific with the split point tracking further east, right over the Central Pacific severely limiting surface level low pressure development.
At the surface today high pressure system at 1032 mbs has situated 900 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA extending from Hawaii northeast into Oregon, but not for long. Another 1028 mb high was off the Kuril Islands with rather placid conditions in effect there. The only system of interest was a building storm in the eastern Gulf of Alaska [see Another Gulf Storm below). Over the next 72 hours another gale is forecast to start developing late Saturday (11/11) north of Hawaii with very short lived and limited 40-45 kt winds and 23 ft seas forecast aimed south a bit west of the Islands while the jet rips most of it's energy away helping to fuel another low 600 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino. By Sunday west winds in this lows south quadrant to reach 40-45 kts before tracking directly into the coast of South Oregon late but seas only getting to 22 ft due to it's short life.
Another Gulf Storm - Fri PM Update
On Thursday AM (11/9) another low developed in the Northern Gulf with pressure 980 mbs and winds confirmed at 45-50 kts positioned at 47N 142W aimed right down the 308 degree great circle path to San Francisco. Seas 20 ft and building. By evening pressure dropped to 968 mbs with winds holding at 50 kts but covering a larger area terminating at 50N 143W aimed right down the 315 degree path to North CA with seas up to 27 ft at the same location. The storm stalled and lift lightly north by Friday AM (11/10) with 40-50 kt winds fading at 51N 142W aimed well at NCal down the 318 degree path, on the very edge of the swell window relative to San Francisco effectively out of the swell window for locations south of there. Seas were modeled at 29 ft at the same locale. The core of the low was starting to fade after that though a broad secondary fetch of 35 kt northwest winds remains forecast covering much of the Gulf aimed well at California and the Pacific Northwest from 48N 145W generating seas at 25 ft through the day Saturday pushing shorter period energy south towards the entire US West Coast.
The swell started hitting buoy 46005 well off the Washington coast at 7 AM with seas 20 ft and swell up to 15-17 ft @ 13 secs holding there through noon, then down to the 11-12 ft range at 13 secs in the afternoon. Swell started hitting buoy 46002 off Oregon about 1 PM right on track.
This storm to be not much different from those that have preceded it, but maybe pushing a bit more energy on a slightly less north direction towards the California coast. Still, wind speed to be moderate and seas barely reaching the 30 ft mark, and that for only a few hours. This one will likely be good for more very north angled swell pushing south into North California mid-Saturday AM with swell peaking near 4 PM at 8.4 ft @ 13-14 secs (10-11 ft faces) from 310-315 degrees then into Central CA later in the afternoon peaking near 10 PM at 6 ft @ 13-14 secs (7-8 ft faces). Whatever energy can wrap into exposed north facing breaks of South CA expected to arrive early Sunday (11/12) at 2.8 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft faces with best spots to 6 ft).
No named tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/9) high pressure at 1024 mbs was trying to hold on centered off Pt Conception and forming a bit of a gradient along the coast driving a brisk northerly flow over onshore waters. By Friday that to be coming to a close with winds lightening up as stronger low pressure takes over the Gulf of Alaska pushing a front down the coast of Oregon. Saturday that front to actually build forming a small low passing right over San Francisco with rain and wind the expected result pushing into Central CA late. A light flow and clearing expected Sunday as a lighter wind pattern takes hold following well into next week.
On Thursday (11/9) at the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.
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 to develop Tuesday (11/14) 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii tracking northeast generating 45 kt west winds pushing towards and into the Pacific Northwest early Thursday. 32 ft seas possible Wednesday providing potential for more swell pushing into North CA late Thursday with more 30-35 kts winds pushing southeast from the Gulf possibly setting up more swell for the weekend. But otherwise nothing suggested further west over the dateline nor off Japan.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml
Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the implications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table