On Sunday (7/31) Northern CA surf was thigh high with waist high sets at the most. South facing breaks were waist high. Central California surf was rarely up to waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were lucky to reach the waist high mark. The LA area southward into Orange County was thigh to waist high with rarely bigger sets. Southward to San Diego waves were barely up to waist high and blown. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was thigh high.
Let's just cut to the chase: The southern hemi has been totally non-productive for the past week and there is virtually nothing on the charts in the US swell window for the next week. In essence this means no swell of interest from the South Pacific for the next 2 weeks. Windswell remains the best hope for the foreseeable future, with Hawaii likely to continue getting it from the east-northeast and North-Central California getting dribbles from the north. Interesting, but the North Pacific is not locked down in high pressure. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
At the jetstream level on Sunday (7/31) a weak trough remained in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska with a peak off the Oregon coast. It did not appear to have any storm generation potential, but was fairly interesting considering it was late July. A very mild ridge was present over the West Pacific (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to fade while pushing northeast into Vancouver Island on Monday (8/1) with a very very weak jet to follow (60 kt upper level winds) , though still indicative of a trough in the Gulf with more energy building over the dateline.
At the surface today high pressure has fully retreated from the Northeast Northeast Pacific and has taken up a position over the dateline at 1024 mbs. This is continuing a steady trade wind flow over the Hawaiian Islands and the generation of easterly windswell, but contributed to the demise of north winds off Cape Mendocino and the subsequent failure of north windswell along the North CA coast. Weak low pressure has cut into the space off California that was dominated by high pressure, but the low is very weak and not producing any winds of interest. A second low is over the Aleutians just east of the dateline generating 20 kt winds aimed well towards the US east coast, but too far away to have the resulting windswell survive the journey east. The tropics remain quiet (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the high is to generally hold it's ground over the dateline but making some effort to return eastward, but with little success. Fetch at 20 kts to continue pushing over Hawaii generating east windswell there. The low currently over the Aleutians is to sink southeast moving through the Central Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday (8/2) with westerly winds up to 25 kt aimed well at California, with some limited swell generation potential (but far from guaranteed). This low is to fade and spin out in the Northern Gulf by Wednesday (8/3). Yet another weaker low is forecast building over the dateline at the same time while high pressure is supposed to start building just north of Hawaii.
More model data here
California Offshore Forecast
Sunday mornings local charts (7/31) indicated that high pressure had retrograded well to the west positioned just north of Hawaii with only a few isobars reaching the California outer waters. A weak secondary high was in the Gulf of Alaska with a weak low tracking east sandwiched in between. The Cape Mendocino area was inactive with no fueling high pressure present to generate north winds or windswell. Windswell generation potential was minimal at best. High pressure is to make minor inroads on Monday and Tuesday (8/2) with local north winds forecast to 20 kts generating short period windchop north of Pt Conception. Of slightly more interest is low pressure (discussed in the North Pacific forecast) that could stir up some longer distance windswell in the Gulf for later in the week. Beyond that seasonal high pressure is to return to the Gulf of Alaska by the weekend generating north winds at 25 kts off Cape Mendocino with the commensurate north windswell possible.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Sunday (7/31) the jetstream charts still indicated a complete .cgiit jet in affect with the northern branch containing all the energy with winds 130 kts tracking zonally due east positioned south of Tahiti tracking into Chile. A mild trough (or dip in the jet) was present northeast of New Zealand, but was un remarkable. The southern branch remained sweeping east across the Antarctic Continent with a tiny trough approaching Chile. There was no support for surface level storm production (animation here). Over the next 72 hours things are to start changing some with the southern branch getting marginally more active. The trough off Chile a.cgiifying but moving well out of the US swell window. A second weaker trough is to set up under New Zealand. Neither looks to have much support for storm development though with all the real winds still isolated in the northern branch of the jet. The trough off New Zealand is to sink southeast and fade through Wednesday (8/3).
At the surface moderate high pressure persisted east of New Zealand at 1028 mbs, ridging south to almost the Ross Ice Shelf and hampering storm development there. A 956 mb low was present in the far Southeastern Pacific well southwest of Chile, but only 30 kt winds were associated with it. No swell generation potential there. Otherwise calm conditions prevailed (animation here). Over the next 72 hours continued unsettled weather is to persist off Chile outside the US swell window, but even at that little hope for any real swell generation is suggested. A small cutoff low is still forecast developing south of Tahiti on Tuesday (8/2), but it is to be very weak. The big controlling weather systems are to be high pressure, one in the Tasman Sea at 1028 mbs and the ever-present high east of new Zealand continuing, building to 1032 mbs.
More model data here
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Sundays upper level models (7/31) indicate that beyond 72 hours a weak trough is to build out near the dateline south of the Aleutians holding through Friday (8/5) while a mild ridge builds in the Gulf of Alaska. No suggestion of any surface storm production. An even stronger trough is forecast over the dateline by Sunday (8/7) with 130 kt winds expected.
At the surface high pressure at 1028 mbs is to build into the Northeast Pacific by the weekend while a weak low over the dateline tries to develop but fails, tracking north over the eastern Aleutians. Yet another broad low is forecast to set up over the dateline, supported by the jetstream aloft with pressure down to 994 mbs. No real swell generation winds forecast through. It's way too early to even consider that. East windswell continuing in Hawaii with some signs of the Cape Mendocino gradient (and north winds) starting to show on the charts by the weekend. Possible small windswell for North and Central CA.
On Thursday (7/27) The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) dropped to -14 and has held in that range through today - Sunday 7/31). A negative SOI is conducive to the development of El Nino. One would want to see a corresponding reversal of tradewinds over the Pacific equator, but they were about neutral. Forecast models suggest this is just the first leading edge of the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a cyclic weather pattern that helps to jump start El Nino. Though it is too late in the year for a full blown El Nino to start forming, a series of active MJO's can help to improve the chances for winter storms and are a catalyst for development of strong tropical systems in the West Pacific (look for them to turn extratropical and curve northeast in the fall). Reversed trades winds and a negative SOI are expected to develop in the West Pacific and continue through nearly the end of August. There's also suggestions that this latest active phase of the MJO is responsible for the heavy rains and flooding last week in India.
Sundays upper level models (7/31) indicated that beyond 72 hours the two branches of the jet are to start moving closer to each other as the big upper high that has separated them starts to retract. This is good news. But not much is expected from the southern branch, the main fuel source for summer storms in the South Pacific. The trough developing under New Zealand is to quickly fade with a new ridge building there by the weekend, shutting down the storm engine again. A weak trough is to persist in the east, but weak is the operative word.
At the surface the high pressure to continue at 1032 mbs east of New Zealand but not covering as much territory to the north. This is expected to facilitate development of the new cut-off low sinking south of Tahiti and taking up a position just north of the high. This low is to max on Thursday (8/4) with pressure 996 mbs and winds to 40-45 kts over a small core aimed best at New Zealand with little to no winds in the storm west and north quadrants, cutting out any swell generation potential for Hawaii and the US mainland. Through the weekend this low is to track east and build off Chile possibly sending swell north towards the most exposed breaks of Southern CA, but that is a long shot. Equally as speculative is a new storm forecast building in the mid-deep South Pacific late next weekend with 50-55 kt winds aimed well at California. A possible break? That remains to be seen.
Details to follow...
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
Stormsurf Weather Models Updated Again: Yes, we've been at it again this weekend getting another batch of weather models running. Global coverage is now provided for jetstream forecasts and surface pressure and winds. Zoomed in data is also available for such locations as the Mentawai Islands to Western Australia corridor, Tahiti, South America, Europe and Norwegian Sea. So now you can get local wind forecasts for these and more locations with one click. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table