On Tuesday (12/6) Northern CA surf was near-dead-flat with waves knee high and clean. South facing breaks were flat. Central California surf was up to waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to thigh high at the best breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were flat. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to 2 ft overhead. The South Shore was up to waist high. The East Shore was waist high.
Hawaii remained the best spot today and in-fact, the only location with rideable waves. A nice pulse hit there Monday afternoon from a small storm that was northwest of the Islands early last weekend, but that has passed. Sideband energy from it is now pushing towards California, pushing over the outer buoys, but not too much expected. A big storm was forecast for the dateline the middle of this week, but that forecast is now much more tempered. A series of storms to follow, but those too are now modeled with less than desirable intensity. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays (12/6) jetstream was roaring strong off Japan and pushing east up to and just over the dateline centered on the 35N latitude. Winds were up to 180 kts in it's core, pushing flat (zonally) east. The standard split was occurring starting just east of the dateline with with the northern branch tracking through the Gulf of Alaska and down the Canadian/US west coast while the southern branch pushed over Hawaii and into Northern Baja, joining the northern branch over Nevada. Though the split is problematic, the greater issue is the lack of any trough or undulation in the jet, preventing and good circulation from developing at the surface. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to continue pushing east with winds reaching up to 190-200 kts late Wednesday then fading into Friday down to 150 kts just east of the dateline while the leading edge makes it to a point just north of Hawaii and stalls. Still no defined troughs forecast, providing difficult for surface level storm formation. Beyond 72 hours starting Saturday(12/10) a general decay of the strong pattern to continue though no big change in the flows configuration forecast. Then at the 162 hr point (Tuesday 12/13) more energy is forecast building in with winds back up to 190 kts west of the dateline pushing over the dateline, but dead flat west to east. So half the equation is to be favorable (lot's of energy) but the other half not (no troughs/dips in the jet). This appears to be the personality of the jet for this winter (and our curse).
Today at the surface a broad and dominant 964 mb low was centered over the dateline and south of the Aleutians, what was to be a large swell producing storm. Unfortunately it didn't live up to it's billing. See details below. It was tracking east but with no high pressure systems near it to generate any form a gradient to invigorate it's winds. Weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was off California pushing up into the eastern Gulf of Alaska. In all, not to active. Over the next 72 hours on Thursday (12/8) a tiny low is to form on the southern periphery of the remnants of today's low. By evening it's to be due north of Hawaii with pressure 974 mbs and winds building to 60 kts over a tiny area in it's south quadrant aimed due east at 42N 160W right up the 292 degree path to NCal (295 SCal). On Friday AM it's to be lifting fast to the northeast with winds 45-50 kts centered in it's south quadrant at 47N 153W aimed reasonably well down the 302 degree path to NCal (306 SCal) but mostly at the Pacific Northwest. Seas from the previous days fetch to be 32 ft centered at 43N 153W. By nightfall Vancouver Island is to be the target, and the storm itself is to be fading fast. Seas 32 ft at 49N 145W and fading. Based on past experience, this forecast is likely highly optimistic.
A new storm pushed off Japan very early Monday (12/5) with pressure 980 mbs and winds modeled at 40-45 kts over a moderate area aimed east (no QuikSCAT imagery available). By evening pressure was down to 972 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts over a moderate area centered at 37N 168E. They were aimed well down the 305 degree great circle path to Hawaii and also right up the 294 degree path to North CA (297 SCal). Seas modeled at 30 ft centered at 35N 157E. On Tuesday AM the low made it to the dateline with winds modeled at 40-45 kts over a moderate area aimed due east at 38N 175E aimed 10 degrees east of the 312 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 292 degree path to North CA (295 SCal). Seas modeled at 32 ft centered at 37N 167E. By evening pressure is to hold at 964 mbs as the low jogs a little east. A fading area of 40-45 kts winds forecast at 38N 180W aimed about like before favoring California more this time. 30 ft seas forecast at 37N 178E. The low is to fading out on Wednesday AM with residual 29-30 ft seas forecast at 37N 175W, then gone.
This system was most unimpressive by any standards, but especially considering the hype the models brought to it a few days earlier. It was a very long ways from California and will result in only utility class energy, much decayed over the long journey east with the most size fading towards the back end of the period spectrum. This means Hawaii, by virtue of it's relative proximity to the storm center will be better positioned to get some size, but not certified significant class energy, though right on the cusp. Current data suggest swell arrival there Friday (12/9) at sunrise with swell quickly pushing up to 7.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (10-12 ft faces) holding through the day then fading. Swell Direction: 305-312 degrees
See QuikCAST for details.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (12/6) high pressure was in control of the outer waters at 1024 mbs filling the space between Hawaii and the US mainland. All eastward bound storm activity was being shunted north into Alaska with generally calm waters off the California coast. No real change forecast through the weekend and into early next week until Tuesday (12/13) when one low is to start making good inroads into this area pushing up to the coast late in the day with more energy stacked up behind it. But for now, calms local waters and no windswell is the expectation.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
A small low producing 21 ft seas aimed northeast occurred Saturday (12/3) due south of Hawaii providing the potential for faint background swell for Hawaii a week out. Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.
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 series of lows are to be in play following one another across the North Pacific. The first is scheduled for the dateline on Sunday (12/11) with 40-50 kt winds aimed southeast towards California and just east of Hawaii by Monday (12/12). 29 ft seas forecast through the day Monday aimed well at California with maybe sideband energy pushing south to Hawaii.
Another very large but diffuse system to be pushing off the Kuril Islands Monday too (12/12) with 40-45 kt fetch aimed well at Hawaii from the far side of the dateline. This one in and of itself may not be much of a swell producer but might help to prime the pump for the days ahead. But any prognostication that far into the future is pure folly given the models track record as of late. So for now the outlook remains somewhat active, but with no guarantees.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Details to follow...
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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