The latest National Hurricane Center public advisory on Hurricane Eugene was issued this morning at 8:00 a.m. PDT. At that time, Eugene was located about 615 miles South of the Southern tip of Baja, California, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane.
Eugene is expected to continue strengthening during the next 24 hours, possibly becoming a major hurricane during that time. The storm has been defying the forecast models and is not slowing down, presently moving to the WNW at 15 mph. Because of this faster pace, Eugene is now expected to cross into the 160° swell window sometime this afternoon, ahead of the previous forecast.
In addition, Hurricane Eugene has also been upgraded slightly in strength. The 24-hour forecast (5:00 a.m. PDT on Aug 3, 2011) calls for maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, which would put Eugene on the border of a Category 3 storm (sustained winds of 111-130 mph) after it crosses into the Southern California swell window.
As a result of the upgraded wind forecasts, the latest Dana Point Wavewatch III model runs are showing an increase in both swell height and swell period for this weekend. Eugene is now expected to produce 14-second swell periods, which means the swell is traveling faster, and will now arrive a bit earlier than previously forecast. (1) Initial signs of Eugene are now expected to appear on Friday, with swell heights increasing throughout the day. (3) The South swell generated by Hurricane Eugene is now forecast to peak on Saturday, with swell conditions of 4 feet at 12 seconds (171°-177°).
The South from Hurricane Eugene isn’t the only swell in the water however, (2) 20-second SSW forerunners from a South Pacific pulse are forecast to arrive on Saturday, with swell heights building through the weekend into early next week. (4) This mixture of swell energy will produce combo-swell conditions for Sunday, as Eugene’s South influence fades and the SSW component continues to fill-in.
It will be interesting to see what Eugene does over the next 48 hours, particularly once it passes into the Southern California swell window. The ideal situation would be Eugene strengthening and slowing once it crosses the 160° mark, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Keep an eye on the Point Loma and Dana Point forecasts, as they’ll likely be continuously changing as things develop.