Tagged: buoy 46232

Miriam’s Tropical Sensations

Hurricane Miriam – NHC Advisory 11 (September 24, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. PDT)

The latest expected track for Hurricane Miriam is very favorable for Southern California. As of 8:00 a.m. PDT Miriam has become a major hurricane of category 3 strength, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, and is currently moving NW at 12 mph. The official forecast expects Miriam to gradually turn northward and decrease in speed over the next few days, with possible further intensification over the next 12-24 hours.

While the storm is already located in the Southern California swell window, the northward (possibly northeast) turn would focus more swell energy towards Southern California, which is good news for spots that favor moderate-period, south to southeast swell. Keep an eye on the Point Loma forecast and real-time reports, particularly mid-week, which is when the swell’s initial impact is expected to arrive.

Hurricane Miriam – NHC Advisory 13 (September 24, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. PDT)

Update – NHC Advisory 13 as of 8:00 p.m. September 24, 2012:

Hurricane Miriam has started to weaken, with maximum sustained winds now in the 105 mph range (category 2). Additional, slow weakening is expected over the next 48 hours, with hurricane force winds extending outward up to 35 miles from the center. Microwave images indicate that the inner eyewall has collapsed, and the storm has taken on an asymmetric structure, likely due to southwesterly shear. Miriam is still expected to slow and turn north within 48-72 hours, at which time it should weaken below hurricane strength.

As a result of the latest observations, the official forecast has been slightly downgraded. Unfortunately, this means the surf forecast should be downgraded as well. It would have been nice to have major hurricane strength persist as the storm slowed and turned towards California, but it’s looking like Miriam will only make a modest, moderate-period SSE impact later this week.

Hurricane Miriam – NHC Advisory 15 (September 25, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. PDT)

Update – NHC Advisory 15 as of 8:00 p.m. September 25, 2012:

Hurricane Miriam remains a category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph. The forward speed of the hurricane has been slowing over the last 12-24 hours, and Miriam is currently moving west-northwest at 5 mph. A turn toward the northwest is expected later today, followed by a turn to the north-northwest on Wednesday. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles.

The decrease is tracking speed is favorable news in terms of swell production, as is the forecast path, however gradual weakening is expected to continue during the next 48 hours. A mixture of swell periods and directions are clearly visible in Wednesday’s San Clemente Basin forecast, with moderate WNW swell (4-5 feet at 12-13 seconds, 293°), moderate SSW swell (2 feet at 13 seconds, 203°), and moderate SSE swell from Miriam (2-3 feet at 12 seconds, 161°) all concurrently in the water.

Two things to note: (1) Buoy 46086 is located well offshore, and is exposed to much more swell energy than nearshore stations, so observations will be greater than those located closer to land. (2) Real-time primary swell reports over the next few days will likely be dominated by the longer-period WNW and SSW groundswells, but don’t be fooled, the SSE energy is still in the mix, it just isn’t expected to be dominant.

With all that energy in the ocean, expect some fun-sized combo-swell conditions on Wednesday and Thursday, but don’t expect to be sharing epic tales of Miriam with the kids twenty years from now. To truly make the most of the combo-swell conditions, you’ll need to find a spot with exposure to the WNW and SSE angles at moderate swell periods (think Dana Point and Oxnard), otherwise go with the SSE/SSW breaks.

Forecast Southern California/

Hurricane Emilia Enters Southern California Swell Window

Hurricane Emilia (2012)

Hurricane Emilia vs. Hurricane Eugene (2011)

Hurricane Emilia entered the Southern California swell window yesterday at Category 2 strength, but continued to intensify overnight, reaching Category 4 status with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. As of 8:00 a.m. PDT (NHC Advisory #12), Emilia is moving west-northwest (285°) at approximately 10 mph, with hurricane force winds extending outward up to 35 miles. Emilia is expected to gradually weaken beginning tonight, and continue weakening through Thursday, July 12th. The track model guidance predicts continued west-northwest movement, with a late westward turn, with only a slight change in speed.

The image above includes the best track data for Hurricane Eugene (2011), which entered the Southern California swell window on August 2, 2011 as a Category 2 hurricane and later intensified to Category 4. Looking at the historical wave observation data from the Point Loma station on Friday, August 5, 2011, reveals a steady pulse of South energy in the 3-5 foot at 13-15 seconds.

Primary Swell at Point Loma – Friday, August 5th, 2011

Although a northerly track is more favorable for Southern California surf production (the majority of a hurricane’s swell energy is focused along its path), Emilia is moving WNW at a slightly slower pace than Eugene did (10 mph vs. 14 mph), which gives the wind more time to transfer energy onto the sea surface. The latest forecast model for the Point Loma buoy shows a small, moderate-period SSE pulse arriving Thursday (July 12, 2012), with continued moderate south swell through the weekend (3 feet at 10 seconds). However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upgrade in the forecast, particularly for late Thursday into Friday, if Emilia maintains major hurricane strength and a relatively slow pace (10 mph or less).

Point Loma, CA – 5-Day Forecast as of 11 p.m. on July 9, 2012

I’d recommend keeping an eye on the Point Loma 5-day forecast over the next few days to see how things shape up. Given how dismal this summer has been so far in California, it’s definitely something to get excited about. Just how excited depends on what Emilia does in the next 24-48 hours.

Forecast Southern California/

Southern California – Surf Forecast as of Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The forecast is looking very good for the next five days, with a combination of long-period swells expected from both the south and the west-northwest.

Currently, moderate SSW leftovers in the 2 feet at 13 second range are lingering throughout the region, but a new WNW swell is already making its way down the coast, with more northerly stations reporting a solid 12 feet at 14-15 seconds. Looking at the forecast for the Harvest station (above), you can see that the new WNW swell should peak at that location by early Thursday morning (12 feet at 13 seconds, 293°).

As that WNW pulse fades into the weekend, an even bigger swell arrives right on its heels, with swell conditions currently expected to reach a substantial 21 feet at 14 seconds (299°). If swell heights do top 20 feet at the station on Sunday, it will be the first time it’s done so in over a year. The bad news is that strong NNW winds (29 knots, 30+ mph) are also forecast and will likely provide victory at sea conditions for the most exposed breaks.

However, there is also a solid south swell forecast to peak on Saturday, with 17+ second long-period forerunners expected as early as Thursday. Conditions are looking really fun for Friday afternoon, with light winds and a building ground swell. Swell conditions peak at the Point Loma South station (above) on Saturday in the 4 feet at 17 second range (198°), but west to northwest winds increase throughout the weekend, so the best bet is to get it early.

Best Bet: Spots that like long-period southwest swell (4 feet at 17 seconds, 195-198°) on late Friday or early Saturday.

Wildcard: Spots that favor combo-swell conditions (long-period southwest and west-northwest) on Sunday, but find some shelter from the NNW winds or it’s a bust.

Forecast Southern California/

Hilary Update: Thursday’s Swell Slightly Upgraded

As of 8:00 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 (NHC Advisory #28): Hurricane Hilary has begun its northwestward turn, with an initial motion estimate of 310° at 7 mph. As expected, the hurricane has also begun to weaken with maximum sustained winds now in the 110 mph range (Category 2). Rapid weakening is likely after 24 hours, as Hilary encounters cooler sea surface temperatures and increasing southwesterly shear.

The latest Point Loma Wavewatch forecast has been slightly upgraded, with the south swell now expected to peak Thursday evening at 4.3 feet at 12 seconds (179°). The slight Sunday reinforcement from the previous model run has vanished, likely the result of Hilary’s rapid weakening.

Wednesday will see combo-swell conditions, with WNW, SSW, and SSE components all within the 2-3 feet at 12-15 second range in the water at once. The WNW and S swells linger into Thursday, with the prior fading slowly throughout the day as the south swell builds towards its evening peak.

Both swells decline rather quickly on Friday, with biggest conditions early. By Saturday there won’t be much left except some short-period south (2.3 feet at 9 seconds 179°).

Keep an eye on the models over the next 24-hours, as there has been a steady upward trend during the last few days. The SSE swell from Hilary should begin to show in the real-time reports by Wednesday afternoon, so keep an eye on @buoy46232 tomorrow to see how the observed conditions stack up against the forecast.


Hurricane Hilary Surf Forecast Update

As of 8:00 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 (NHC Advisory #26): Hurricane Hilary continues to maintain Category 3 strength, with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles, with Hilary presently moving west (270°) at 10 mph. The hurricane is expected to turn west-northwest later today, then turn north on Wednesday.

The Point Loma Wavewatch forecast has been upgraded slightly, with Hilary now expected to produce south swell conditions peaking near 4 feet at 12 seconds (179°) by Thursday evening. Thursday will provide moderate-period combo swell conditions, as a WNW swell component of nearly equal size (3 feet at 13 seconds, 289°) is forecast to peak in the morning.

In addition to an upgrade in Thursday’s size, a slight south reinforcement is now forecast for Sunday, with swell conditions of 3 feet at 10 seconds (169°) expected. This second pulse could also see an upgrade if Hilary maintains her strength a bit longer than expected, especially if the hurricane swings north as forecast and tracks towards Southern California.

Real-time observations from the Point Loma buoy (@buoy46232) may begin to show signs of Hilary by Wednesday evening (3 feet at 13 seconds, SSE 166°), but a rising WNW swell might obscure it until Thursday morning. A moderate-period SSW swell will also be in the water on Wednesday, so the reported swell direction may fluctuate amongst all three components throughout the day, given their similar heights and swell periods.

We recommend keeping an eye on stations that are shielded from the WNW swell, such as the Camp Pendleton Nearshore buoy (@buoy46242), as they are more sensitive to the southerly swell components. These stations are expected to report a mixture of SSW and SSE swell on Wednesday, with surf from Hilary beginning to dominate by mid-day Thursday.


Hurricane Hilary: Small SSE Swell For Now, But…

As of 8:00 a.m. PDT on Friday, September 23, 2011 (NHC Advisory #10): Hurricane Hilary remains a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. Hilary is currently moving west (275°) at 9 mph, and is expected to continue in that direction during the next 48 hours.

During the next two days, Hilary is forecast to remain a major hurricane as she continues to track over very warm waters. The hurricane is expected to enter the Southern California swell window on Monday at Category 2 strength, at which point the forecast models diverge, with some predicting a recurvature towards Mexico, and others a continued WNW track. The official forecast splits the difference, but may be adjusted to the north (or even northeast) later today.

At this point, the majority of swell generated by Hilary is being pushed west into the Pacific, however some 12-second south-southeast swell (165°) is visible in the Point Loma forecast for next Wednesday and Thursday. Nothing substantial at this time, with swell heights currently topping out at 2 feet.

However, if Hilary turns north once she enters the swell window, there is potential for additional size depending on Hilary’s movement and intensity. Cooler sea surface temperatures in the region mean a weakening trend is expected, but a northerly track would allow Hilary to pump her remaining energy into the water at a favorable angle, meaning swell heights would be larger than currently forecast.

We’ll have to wait until Sunday or Monday to see what Hilary does, but the swell arrival time is looking like late Wednesday into Thursday.


S. CA – Large SSW Swell Peaks Thurs/Fri

The Tahitian mega-swell is making its way across the Pacific at the moment, with 25-second SSW (201°) forerunners expected to reach the Point Loma buoy by Wednesday. Wave heights will continue to rise through Thursday as the swell fills, with solid 20-17 second swell periods expected through Friday.

Given the tremendous amount of energy this swell is packing, the forecast remains favorable throughout the entire holiday weekend, with conditions of 3 feet at 15 seconds persisting through Monday. Expect the swell to peak late Thursday into Friday, with primary swell conditions forecast to reach 4 feet at 18 seconds.

Looking back into the Spring, the Point Loma buoy reported conditions of 7 feet at 17 seconds on May 19th, 2011, and on June 1st the station reported primary swell conditions of 5 feet at 17 seconds. Based on the forecast, it looks like this week’s surf will likely fall between both in size, although we’ll have to wait for the real-time data to be sure.

Keep an eye on the Point Loma buoy (@buoy46232) starting Wednesday as the long-period forerunners begin to fill-in, and get ready for a solid 5 days of surf!


Greg Weakens, Downgraded to Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Greg Advisory #12

As of 8:00 a.m. PDT on Friday, August 19, 2011 (NHC Advisory #12): Hurricane Greg has been downgraded to a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Greg is currently moving West (275°) at 9 mph and is forecast to rapidly weaken over cooler waters in the next few days.

Point Loma Detailed Surf Forecast

Nothing substantial is expected over the next 7-days, but the latest Point Loma forecast is showing a pulse of moderate-period South energy from Greg beginning Sunday. The swell wave height is expected to peak Sunday evening (2.8 feet at 10.1 seconds 174°), with similar conditions lingering through Monday.

A long-period SSW (206°) component is forecast to fill-in on Monday as well, with energy topping out around 2 feet at 15 seconds. A similar, slightly-smaller Southwest pulse is forecast for Thursday, with swell heights of 1.5-2 feet at 15 seconds expected.

Swell Wave Period & Direction - Fri, Aug 26, 2011 (12z)

Down in the South Pacific, the long-range forecast is showing some promise, with favorable conditions expected next Friday (August 26, 2011). If the models hold up, this would produce some ground swell around the end of the month into early September. Keep your fingers crossed.


S. CA – New South Swell Peaks Wednesday

Southern California Surf Forecast as of Monday, August 15, 2011: The current SSW swell continues to decline into tomorrow. Long-period Southerly (176-180°) forerunners are expected to build through Tuesday, with wave heights peaking on the Point Loma buoy at 3 feet at 15 seconds (180°) by mid-day Wednesday.

Looking at the detailed swell component chart, the Point Loma station should begin reporting 17-second forerunners early Tuesday morning, as the increasing South swell overtakes the fading South-Southwest as the primary swell.

The model is showing a slight spike in wave height on Tuesday afternoon, as well as mid-morning on Wednesday. They are likely a blip in the model; a result of the SSW component being combined with the South, instead of distinguished as a separate wave field. The variation is only 0.5 feet though, so it shouldn’t result in any substantial deviation from the anticipated wave heights.

After the swell peaks on Wednesday, look for wave heights to decline through Friday, with increasing short-period WNW wind swell building on Friday into Saturday.

Unfortunately the long-range outlook is pretty bad at the moment, with the South Pacific opting for a late-Summer nap (Tuesday, August 23, 2011 – Swell Period & Direction chart above. Zzzzz….). On the bright side, it will be a great opportunity to make-up for that camping trip with your girlfriend / daughter’s soccer match / visit with your in-laws you bailed in order to score a taste of Hurricane Eugene.