On Sunday (11/13) Northern CA surf was 3-5 ft overhead and pretty ragged even early. South facing breaks were head high to 2 ft overhead. Central California surf was head high to 2 ft overhead. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to chest to head high at the best spots, though most were waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was shoulder high with rare head high sets. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was chest to head high. The East Shore was waist to chest high.
Solid swell continued hitting North and Central California from a storm last week in the Gulf of Alaska. Retrospectively we'll assign this one a number since it met the requirements (Swell #2). Hawaii also continued to see the effects of this system from earlier in it's life, with rideable surf on the North Shore slowly fading out. Late season southern hemi swell was also making for decent surf along the South Shore. But the focus for the coming days is going to be the North Shore of Oahu. A small but tightly would up storm (#3) is developing west of the dateline expect to track east and generate significant class swell focused on the Islands. And yet another one is suggested to follow. Winter to finally start on the North Shore. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays (11/13) analysis of the jetstream indicates solid energy pushing due east over Japan (35N) at 140 kts reaching almost to the dateline then veering sharply north before recurving east as high pressure aloft drives the jet through the heart of the Gulf of Alaska and into the Pacific northwest with winds 150 kts there. This pattern suggests that most potential for surface level storm development was west of the dateline. The pattern is to only become more pronounced over the coming week too with the jet continuing a very solid push straight east off Japan reaching to a point just north of Hawaii before veering hard north pushing into Alaska by Wednesday (11/16). Winds west of the dateline are consistently forecast at 140-160 kts with a solid trough digging out just northwest of Hawaii (at 30-35N 175W) by the weekend (11/20) with 160 kt winds feeding into it. If the forecast is right it's very favorable for storm development in the west to mid-Pacific.
Today at the surface the most interesting feature was a storm off the Southern Kuril Islands with pressure at 984 mbs (see West Pacific Storm below). Otherwise strong high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 600 nmiles off Central California driving the storm track to the north and producing brisk northerly winds along the California coast and moderate east-trade winds into the Hawaiian Islands. A weak 996 mb low was trying to build northwest of Hawaii and was generating some 30 kt fetch towards the Islands, but it is expected to rapidly track north over high pressure to it's east, with all fetch forming in the interaction of the high and the low aimed north towards Alaska. Perhaps some windwell to result for Hawaii from early in the systems life.
Over the next 72 hours the low north of Hawaii is to reach the northern Gulf on Monday (11/14), with additional fetch being generated in it's south and southeast quadrants focused primarily on the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. 40-45 kt winds and 26-27 ft seas to persist into Tuesday AM as this system pushes into Northern Canada. Again, the focus of this energy is to be from the Pacific Northwest and locations north of there.
Other than the 2 systems forecast above, yet another small low is to push off Japan on Tuesday (11/15) tracking fast to the east and not doing much with pressure 1000 mbs and winds generally below 30 kts. The jet is just moving too fast for it to get any traction or any time to develop.
See QuikCAST for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Note: We retrospectively labeled the Gulf gale/storm from late last week as Storm #2 because the buoys indicated it generated the requisite criteria swell (though most of it was shadowed from anywhere that could really make use of it).
Storm #3 - Dateline (updated Mon AM)
On Saturday AM (11/12) a small but very intense little storm developed just off the northern coast of Japan with pressure 980 mbs and winds confirmed at 60-70 kts late morning centered at 40N 159E . These winds were aimed well down the 306 degree great circle path to Hawaii with some energy aimed up the 299 degree path to North CA. The storm was tracking northeast. By nightfall pressure was 970 mbs with winds still confirmed at 55-65 kts centered at 40N 165E now aimed right down the 308 degree path to Hawaii with some energy aimed 30 degree south of the 297 degree path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 41N 157E.
On Sunday AM (11/13) the storm was drifting east with pressure 972 mbs and winds confirmed again at 55-70 kts over a small area in the storm south quadrant running 437 nms centered at 41N 166E aimed right up the 308 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees south of the 299 degree path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 39 ft centered at 40N 164E. By nightfall this system was starting to wind down with pressure up to 978 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-55 kts centered at 39N 167E aimed 10 degrees south of the 309 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degree south of the 295 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 37 ft centered at 42N 165E. The GFO satellite passed over this area at 4Z and indicated seas 43 ft at 40N 165E right on track with the wave model if not beating it.
On Monday AM (11/14) this system held at 980 mbs continuing on an eastward track with winds modeled at 45-50 kts centered at 39N 168E aimed right down the 311 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degree south of the 294 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 39N 167E. In the evening pressure is to be holding at 982 mbs with winds 45-50 kts centered at 38N 172E and fading. These winds to be aimed 15 degrees east of the 312 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degree south of the 292 degree path to NCal. Seas forecast at 35 ft centered at 38N 170E.
By Tuesday AM (11/15) this system to be nearly gone with pressure 990 mbs and winds 40-45 kts at 38N 177E with seas 35 ft centered at 38N 174E aimed 30 degrees east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii and 15 degrees south of the 290 degree path to NCal. This storm is to be gone by nightfall with residual seas 30 ft at 38N 178W and fading fast.
By Sunday AM the bulk of the strongest winds had already passed with the largest seas recorded and fading. Only lesser winds (and lesser period energy) are forecast to follow, but the models have upgraded the strength and duration of the follow-on phase with seas 30-35 ft forecast for 48+ hrs. This is good. This storm was most impressive in terms of it's ramp-up from nothing to a full hurricane force storm in 12 hours, holding there for 24 hrs and then ramping down but steady for an additional 72 hrs for a total life of 96 hours. Respectable. Though not covering a large area, solid seas have already been produced pushing well down the great circle paths towards Hawaii. And the fetch was relatively close to Hawaii (1830-1545 nmiles), minimizing decay and likely setting up a significant class swell for the Islands, thereby providing the rational for giving this storm a number.
But these seas were aimed mostly well south of any route to California. And the long travel distance (3031-3600 nmiles) and associated swell decay will dampen the energy pushing to the US West Coast. The extended life span of the storm may drive a little more lesser period energy towards North and Central California but nothing of real interest. And the route into Southern California is even more problematic, which will reduce the eventual swell size there even more.
Hawaii: Rough data for planning purposes suggests swell arrival on Oahu starting Wednesday (11/16) at 1 AM HST with period at 21 secs and size building, maxing near sunset at 7-8 ft @ 18 secs (12-13 ft faces). Solid size to continue overnight and into Thursday AM (11/17) with swell 7-8 ft @ 15-16 secs (10-12 ft faces) and slowly trickling down through the day, though far from out. 14 sec energy to continue on Friday fading through the day. Swell Direction: 309-315 degrees
North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival starting Thursday (11/17) at 2 AM with period at 22 secs and size tiny but building. Swell up to 3 ft @ 19-20 secs by sunset (5-6 ft faces) though his estimate might be on the high side. Swell continuing on Friday morning (11/18) with swell 4.5-5.0 ft @ 17-18 secs and holding through the day (7.5-9.0 ft faces). Still decent energy expected on Saturday (11/19) with swell 5-6 ft @ 15-16 secs (8-9 ft faces). 13-14 sec residuals expected on Sunday. Swell Direction: 290-299 degrees
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (11/13) high pressure was the operative word. At 1028 mbs a solid core of high pressure was anchored just 600 nm off Big Sur with no signs of movement. It was generating brisk north winds over the outer waters producing short period windchop intermixing with some real swell from the Gulf of Alaska. By late Monday the high is to start pushing inland over Washington turning the gradient from north to northeast through fetch is to hold over Cape Mendocino producing more windswell pushing down the coast. But by Tuesday (11/15) the high is to re-organize off Cape Mendocino at 1028 mbs but tilted such that it only produces light offshore winds over most of California and providing protection from a series of gales forecast pushing rapidly northeast into the Gulf of Alaska. Placid conditions forecast through the weekend.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Sunday (11/13) no swell producing fetch of interest was present in the South Pacific with none expected of the next 72 hours.
Another Hawaiian Pulse
On Monday (11/7) another pulse of energy pushed under New Zealand (11/7) with pressure 972 mbs and winds 35-40 kts generating 23 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii. This low continued through Wednesday (11/9) at the same strength then faded. Another batch of small utility class swell is pushing north towards Hawaii expected to arrive on Tuesday (11/15).
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 models suggest another small but strong storm forming over the dateline on Saturday (11/19) well south at 37N. It is to build with 55-60 kt winds over a tiny area late Sunday aimed well at Hawaii (and in close proximity) but aimed a bit too far south to be great for California. Still some swell will likely track east. In general, this is not a bad pattern for both Hawaii and California if it comes to pass.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of any sort is projected.
Details to follow...
Sharks, Sharks and more Sharks: Want to know all the details of every shark encounter over the past few months in California? You can read all about it in the fascinating chronology produced be the Shark Research Committee. There's alot more going on in our waters than you could ever have imagined (or ever wanted to know). http://www.sharkresearchcommittee.com/pacific_coast_shark_news.htm
Stormsurf Weather Model Update: Over the weekend (10/30) we moved new new code into production that should dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of our weather models. We've had problems with them not keeping in-sync with the wave models. Hopefully that problem is now resolved though we're still dependent on NOAA data servers just like everyone else. What this fix does do is provide the infrastructure now to rapidly expand our offering of weather models, enabling more detailed global coverage. We will be working on that as time permits.
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