Friday, August 22, 2008

Extended Range Forecast – Where is the f-ing surf!?!

A few of you have been asking if there is any significant swell heading our way, which is a pretty legit question considering that our swell has really backed off compared to what we had earlier in the summer.

So I decided to throw together a quick look at the extended range forecast.

Here goes…this is a graphical representation of what I have been looking at.

Actually it isn’t quite that bleak…I am seeing some signs of life on the very end of the forecast model but nothing that is going to break our small-swell-spell anytime in the next several days. Really the storm activity occurring all over the Pacific has been right on the bubble of turning up the wave heights but nothing has really broken loose the way it needs to. That being said I am seeing enough positive signs in all of our swell producing regions that I think we are going to have something (possibly several somethings) brew up in the next 5-7 days, which could have us back into fun surfboard riding by early September.

Here is how the regions are sort of breaking down right now.

The North Pacific – There is a definite increase in activity in the NPAC storm track…in particular the area just under the Aleutian Islands and the higher latitudes in the Gulf of Alaska have actually seen a couple of decent sized lows (at least for summer) spin through. Unfortunately these storms haven’t been super strong and haven’t dropped far enough south to put a bigger amount of fetch into our swell window.

This is what we have been seeing in the NPAC…

And this is what we want it to look like…

The Good News is that these first storms have a tendency to erode away at the strong NE high pressure…as the gap widens, and we see more energy from the WPAC tropical bleed into the higher latitudes, the storms become more intense and can dip further into our swell window. After seeing these latest storms roll through it appears that the NE High doesn’t have a great grip over the Gulf of Alaska, which in turn means we should have an earlier start for the NW swell season as we move into early fall.

The South Pacific – The SPAC never really shut all the way off but it did get a little beat up by high-pressure over the mid- and lower-latitudes. One big ridge of high-pressure sort of set up shop right in the middle of our prime S-SW swell window, which sort of shunted all of the storm action around, setting up a mostly zonal west-east flow rather than the south-north movement we need to send bigger swell our way. What ended up happening is that storms would move out from under New Zealand, setting up some small SW swell for us as they did, but then the high-pressure would push them back toward Antarctica before they really got going. Eventually they would spin off the high but they would be too far east to send us much more than a cursory S-SE pulse (basically just enough swell to keep us from going flat).

The Good News is that the high-pressure that has been causing so many problems is starting to move out and we should see the SPAC swell window open back up…in fact we should see some more SPAC storms move into the window with swell-generating fetch over the next 3-5 days.

The EPAC Tropics – After a quick start to the tropical season it has sort of died down over the last few weeks. This has been mostly in response to the stronger NE high-pressure, strong winds aloft, and some water temp issues.

The Good News…the winds aloft are starting to improve. The downtime between tropical systems have let the water-temps in our tropical swell window stabilize, and the NE high is starting to reconfigure a bit which should allow for more favorable conditions to develop. It even looks like we may see a new tropical system (maybe even a depression) form over the next few days.

What this all means (in English please)
Basically it means we are going to have to wait a few more days…even as much as a week or more for our next significant swell (unless of course the tropics really pull their crap together).

If you are really jonesing for waves, and have a little extra coin, there is a halfway decent head high+ SW swell that will move into Southern Mainland Mexico and Central America on the 26th…peaking overnight into the 27th before dropping slowly off. It isn’t much but it will be better and more powerful than anything we see around here.

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