Wednesday, October 22, 2008

North Pacific Storm - The Aleutians get the shaft

Hey gang...naturally as we have been moving into winter I have been paying closer attention to the North Pacific. And while we haven't had any real swell from this part of the ocean it has sent us a couple of small bumps.

So I was looking at a few of the charts and satellites that I use as forecasting tools and saw a pretty intense storm developing around the Aleutians.

The bad news is that this storm is too far to the north and the core of the energy is outside the Southern California swell window so we won't see much more than a small pulse of NW energy at a few select spots.

It will however send a pretty solid blast of long-period WNW energy for Northern and Central California...so if you ever venture into the cold sharky waters north of Point Conception there will be some well overhead swell hitting later this weekend and into early next week.

Check out these images...the first are from the QuikSCAT...65-70 knots of wind in that big black blob over the Aleutians...man those guys there are bummed!



And here is a visual shot from the GOES satellite...gives you an idea of what the clouds in a storm like that look like.
From a surf standpoint...this WNW swell (290-310+) will hit Northern and Central California on the 25th but doesn't peak in Central California (SF through Central Cal) until early on the 26th. At this point I would expect well-overhead surf at most exposed breaks...and double+ overhead at the standouts (and this is being on the conservative side).

SoCal gets a much smaller version of this swell (295-300+ with most of the energy above 300-degrees...bummer). Top exposed areas in Ventura, the South Bay, and San Diego will see chest high+ sets...standout breaks possibly getting near shoulder-head high on inconsistent sets. Peaks on late on the 26 and into the 27th...mostly on the 27th in San Diego.

I will have more details in the SoCal forecast as we get closer.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometime can you please explain the too far north/edge of the swell window. Thanks for all your shizzle, hope your new baby is doing well, Coconutz!

deckmanx said...

Some info here

http://socalforecast.blogspot.com/2007/11/ocean-science-101-arm-chair-forecasting.html

Adam Wright said...

Coco

Here is another link that I put together on just the NPAC swell window.

http://socalforecast.blogspot.com/2008/10/ocean-science-101-socals-north-pacific.html

Basically a good rule of thumb in watching a storm in the NPAC is its position. If the core of the storm is above 40-north latitude then most of the swell will come in above the 300-degree swell angle which pretty much cuts off SoCal.

When I talk about a storm being on the edge of our swell window I generally mean that the core of the storm is right on the line between being out of the window but that there may be some trailing elements, or some extended weaker portions of the storm that are inside of our window and can still generate surf for SoCal. The problem is that the steeper the NW swell direction gets the fewer breaks in SoCal will be able to pick it up.

For Example a swell from 295-300 degrees @ 17-seconds will show in Ventura and San Diego and a couple of spots in the South Bay. As the swell gets more towards 300-degrees even those spots have a hard time picking it up...and if the swell period drops to say 10-12 seconds we can pretty much forget about it.

As the swell gets more westerly, dropping below 295, more and more spots start to become exposed...the more westerly the better and bigger it will get (this is based on the same size/period swell hitting from the different swell angles)...and once we get to a pure W swell we can see 100% of the total swell energy hit some areas.

Hopefully this makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Thanks!
Nutz!