On Sunday (11/19) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high and reasonably clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was chest high with bigger sets. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe thigh high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was 3 ft overhead with bigger sets at top spots. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was head high.
Better swell was hitting Hawaii's Northern Shores, and this was just the start of what is likely to become and improving trend. North California was still doing well, down a bit from the 8 ft sets of Saturday. But the south end of the state continued languishing in nothingness, suffering from too little swell from too north an angle. Somewhat bigger surf is forecast for Hawaii Monday then trickling down building but expected to come up again with more period the day after Thanksgiving then slowly fade into the weekend. One more bout of north angled Gulf swell is forecast for California starting Wednesday peaking on Thanksgiving, then heading down on Friday. The whole focus to shift west with the jetstream reorganizing and supposedly consolidating, turning off the flow of Gulf energy for a while but turning on the tap over the dateline, favoring Hawaii. Nothing real solid is on the charts yet, but a series of gales are forecast to push off Japan tracking for the dateline region over the coming week. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (11/19) remained essentially unchanged from previous days with a big split in the flow of energy pushing over the North Pacific developing just off Japan, with the northern branch pushing directly north into the Bering Sea then recurving south and merging with the main flow which was flowing generally flat across the Pacific with only a slight dip over the dateline. The two streams merged in the Central Gulf of Alaska forming a weak trough there then vigorously pushing northeast into British Columbia at 150 kts. This was the only area capable for supporting low pressure development at the surface. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (11/22) much the same pattern is forecast initially, then the split is to disconnect from the main flow in the west and start fading while a generally flat and weak flow continues over the bulk of the North Pacific. The only exception to be the area of Japan where 150 kt winds are to develop. No clear area for surface low pressure development is suggested, though the area off Japan to be the mostly likely if any. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest the energy that was off Japan is to push east and take residence up over the dateline with a mild trough developing there and winds holding consistent in the 140 kts range. Remaining energy lingering north of the Bering Sea is to track south over the Gulf pushing into the Pacific Northwest, but not real indicative of surface level low pressure development. This suggest the dateline to become the prime area for surface level gale development.
At the surface today low pressure remained in the northern Gulf of Alaska at 984 mbs but generating no swell producing winds while high pressure at 1032 mbs right to the west of it blocking the Aleutian storm corridor. Of most interest was a new low starting to develop off the Kuril Islands. This was the first real low in this region for weeks and was showing promise. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf low is to surge one more (and possibly last) time. Monday into Tuesday northwest winds are to sweep southward from the far eastern Aleutians through the Gulf aimed towards California and the Pacific Northwest at 35 kts then fading from 30 kts early Wednesday. Sea are modeled building to 25-27 ft Monday at 51N 152W sweeping southeast to 41N 135W pushing right down the 300-308 degree paths to North CA and 307-312 degree paths to SCal. This is a bit more westerly than may of the previous lows, improving the odds for some energy to trickle into Southern CA. Rough data suggest swell pushing into North CA Wednesday morning and on the increase to 9-10 ft @ 13 secs late (10-12 ft faces) peaking early Thanksgiving at 10 ft @ 13 secs (13 ft faces) then fading from 7.6 ft @ 12 secs early Friday (8-9 ft faces). Swell to push down into Central and Southern CA in roughly the same sequence starting late Wednesday (SCal) with swell peaking in Central CA on Thanksgiving at 9 ft @ 13 secs (11 ft faces) and only the most exposed north facing breaks in South CA at 4 ft @ 12-13 secs (4-5 ft faces).
Low pressure off the Kuril's is offering hope for Hawaii too. It's not expected to make any eastward progress on Sunday (11/19) but is forecast to build to 992 mbs with winds 45-50 kts in the lows western quadrant at 43N 163E aimed 30 degrees south of the 312 degree path to Hawaii. Sea on the increase. Then Monday the low is to hold position but with the fetch moving a bit more towards the lows southern quadrant putting 40-45 kts winds at 40N 172E aimed right down the 312 degree path to Hawaii. Seas are forecast up to barely 30 ft at 40N 165E early pushing to 39N 170E by nightfall and holding at 30 ft. This system to quickly fade out Tuesday with seas fading from 27 ft. Assuming this is right small swell to be pushing into the Hawaiian Islands late Thanksgiving day at 5 ft @ 15-16 secs (7-8 ft faces) pushing up and peaking on Friday with swell 6.6 ft @ 14-15 secs early Friday (9 ft faces) from 312 degrees. Smaller but still quite rideable surf to follow for 2 days.
Also swell is already in the water pushing south towards Hawaii from a surge of low pressure that developed in the northwestern Gulf of Alaska Friday (11/17) interacting with high pressure over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians that generated 35 kt north winds that were sinking south into Saturday (11/18).20 ft seas were indicated late Friday building to 23 ft Saturday all pushing straight south directly towards Hawaii. This system faded late Saturday. Swell to start hitting the North Shore Monday (11/20) peaking late at 8.9 ft @ 12 secs (10-11 ft faces) from 00 degrees.
Tropical Storm Sergio on Sunday remained drifting off Mainland Mexico west of Acapulco with winds 35 kts. The core of the storm was totally exposed and cloud free. This system to slowly drift west and dire over the next 72 hours if not sooner. No swell generation potential here.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (11/19) weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was barely holding off the South California coast providing a near neutral pressure pattern nearshore and near calm local winds. No change is forecast through Tuesday (11/21) as another low builds and pushes south through the Gulf of Alaska. Perhaps the faintest hint of a southeasterly flow to reach Northern CA from Half Moon Bay Wednesday morning, then a new strong high at 1032 mbs with start pushing in from the west driving a stronger northern flow Thurs/Friday at 15 kts even early and junky conditions taking over down into Central CA. Thins to settle back down by next Saturday though.
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 the reinvigorated jetstream is to start having an impact at the surface in the dateline region. The exact details are rather sketchy at this time but a series of two low pressure systems are to form off Japan pushing east. The first is expected Thursday/Friday (11/24) producing 35-40 kts west winds and 25 ft seas pushing up to the dateline on the 38N degree latitude likely pushing swell towards Hawaii at 305-310 degrees for early next week (11/27). A second bigger low is forecast for the same area next weekend with pressure 980 mbs generating 35-40 kt winds over a broader area and producing 25-27 ft seas aimed towards Hawaii down the 315-320 degree path and possibly even California up the 300 degree path. This actually looks like the start of a normal winter storm pattern.
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