As of 8:00 a.m. PDT on Thursday, August 4, 2011 (Advisory #18): After a brief stint yesterday as a Category 4, Hurricane Eugene has eased back down to a Category 3, and continues to weaken as it moves over colder waters. Eugene currently has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph with stronger gusts and is moving WNW at 14 mph.
As a result of Eugene’s West-Northwest track, the majority of the swell energy being generated by the Hurricane is focused along that bearing. The Wavewatch swell period chart above (Friday, 5 p.m. PDT) illustrates this, with the longer-period energy traveling in the WNW direction, away from California. While Eugene is set to deliver surf to Southern California beginning Friday, it is primarily sideband energy that we are expecting.
At its latest position (16.8 N, 118.9 W), Hurricane Eugene is located approximately 940 nautical miles South (185°) of the Point Loma buoy. Looking at the detailed wave chart above, Eugene is forecast to produce swell conditions of 5 feet at 13 seconds (170°) by Friday afternoon.
The moderate 13-second swell period is a result of the speed, proximity, and direction of the storm, which maintained a WNW track of roughly 14 mph while in the Southern California swell window. Ultimately this was too fast and too West to earn Eugene a place in hurricane swell lore, but he’s no dud either.
Keep an eye on the real-time swell reports from the Point Loma buoy later tonight, as Eugene should begin to appear sometime around 10 p.m. You’ll know he’s knocking when the swell direction shifts from Southwest to South-Southeast.