Thanks to a slip in storm activity, in both Hemispheres of the Pacific, the surf for the weekend looks on the small/slow side. There are a couple of exceptions to that though…Northern/Central California is going to see a sizeable pulse of WNW-NW windswell…with wave heights reaching well-overhead at the top exposed spots. The E facing shores out in Hawaii will also see a bump thanks to tradewind swell that is becoming more intense and more focused over the next couple of days.
Further out, storm activity is definitely improving…the South Pacific has some solid high-latitude systems grinding off the coast of Antarctica setting up swell for Hawaii, the South Pacific Islands, and eventually the West Coast, from San Francisco on down through Costa Rica. The E Pacific tropics are also getting in on the act…2 new tropical systems formed up mid-week and it looks like more tropical disturbances will have a chance to form over the weekend and into early next week.
The North Pacific has a little bit of activity swirling around here at the end of the week. The primary swell generators are the funky wind areas that are setting up around the NE Pacific High-Pressure. The ridge of pressure is still parked right in the mid-latitudes underneath the Gulf of Alaska…and this, like I mentioned last week, kills off any sort of medium-long period W-WNW swell…it does however, leave a gap on the edges of the high-pressure that let some semi-intense winds blow over parts of the North Pacific. The result is the larger, steady windswell that has been hitting the West Coast and the bigger tradeswell that has been hitting/plaguing the windward sides of the Hawaiian Islands.
Finally down in the tropics we are seeing some new activity brewing up…we had 2 tropical depressions form early this week…TD-2e and TD-3e, who eventually became Tropical Storm Blas.
Right now TS Blas is still pretty close to the mainland Mexico coastlines so any waves that he can generate will rattle around that little subregion from Southern Mex out to Cabo. I expect TS Blas to track off to the W eventually breaking down as he enters cooler water and some funky upper-level winds that will help to shear him apart.
The short-term forecast for the South Pacific is pretty much the same as the update that I posted on Tuesday. The region is now very active, but because of its distance (to almost everywhere) it will take several days or more for that swell to travel to our regions. I decided to leave up the crickets chart from earlier this week…it seems fitting for this weekend’s outlook…and it took me a while to cut out the crickets in photoshop so I want to squeeze a little more life out of it.
By Friday and on into the Weekend we can expect a mix of small background pulses of SW swell…even Central America will be dropping into the shoulder-head high range as the last of the energy trails off.
This slowdown in swell is going to last from late this week till about the 24-25th of June… which in my humble opinion… blows.
Looking out into long-range charts (a happier place) there is a nice sized system forming over New Zealand that is going to move out into the open waters of the South Pacific and send out swell for Hawaii, Tahiti, the West Coast, and all along Mexico and Central America as well.
This low forms over the next 4 days…moving over New Zealand and pulling in a bunch of extra-tropical energy as it moves under the South Pacific Islands.
So I was just looking at the Satellite data from this storm now that it has really begun to form and I have some pretty good news…the 35-40 knots was very undercalled by the wind/weather model (which is fairly typical when you drop in some more energy laden extra-tropical moisture. Anyways…so instead of the chart above…we are looking at something like this…
An extra 10-15 knots in the core of the storm makes a big difference in the swell…generally when storms break that 50 knot barrier swells seem to hold onto more size, sets are more consistent, and the life of the swell (in terms of consecutive surf days) generally gets longer. That being said…I don’t think I am going to add much size to the current forecast…but overall I expect the swell to feel a bit more “meaty” when it does arrive.
Eventually these winds set up some solid 30’+ seas and kick out the series of new swells. I drew lines for SoCal on this chart…but you can see the yellow/orange/red arrows aimed all over the Pacific.
While this storm isn’t the strongest we have had this year it looks ok/good for creating surf. I like a couple of aspects in this system…the first being the storm’s track. It moves very South-to-North as it tracks easterly (I guess we could call that NE) with a high-pressure wedging in behind the main areas of fetch. This helps to speed up winds and forces the storm to move the more favorable directions, which gives these winds more time over an active sea-state (basically this means that the storm rides on top of the swell it has already created…just adding more energy in the process). The second big thing that I like is that the swell generating part we are looking at isn’t the “first” part of the storm…there is another front that rushes through before this portion of the storm forms…this first front develops the seas and gets all of the sloppy wind torn mess moving the right direction…allowing the second front to capitalize on its momentum. Finally, I like the positioning of this storm…it is just far enough east that I think the core of the system is going to be in an unshadowed part of the swell window both for Hawaii and California…granted a lot depends on the next few days…but this would help more size and consistency move north of the equator, rather than getting absorbed by the South Pacific Islands.
The swell from this system will be arriving in a series of overlapping pulses that will start to show as early as the 25-26th…but will peak on the 27-29th of June. The first part of the swell will be in the chest high range with some shoulder high sets at the standout breaks…while the second pulse will be more chest-shoulder high for the average spots and head high, possibly head high+ at the standouts.
That is it for now…check back on Monday for the next forecast update…and have a great Father’s day on Sunday. I expect to see you guys out in the water with me!
TransWorld SURF Forecaster