All sorts of swell on tap for the Pacific this week…NPAC, tropical EPAC, and Southern Hemi energy…we will get to cherry-pick our favorite combo later this week and over the upcoming weekend. We also have our first Hurricane of the 2010 season…Hurricane Celia…and it looks like she is already a wave maker for the exposed areas of the EPAC tropics (Mainland Mexico and parts of Baja Sur), with the potential to be a waver-maker for Southern California as well.
Despite the fact that we are now officially in summer the NPAC continues to scrounge up enough energy to put together some WNW-NW swell for the Pacific NW and Northern/Central California. This swell activity isn’t quite in the SoCal swell window, but the storm will help to enhance the local windswell moving along the coast which will eventually filter down into Southern California.
This isn’t a great swell overall, but considering that it is happening in June (which is when we usually just ignore the North Pacific), it will be good enough to get some overhead surf into the well-exposed spots. In my book, an out of season swell is always a good thing, even if the swell quality isn’t ideal.
For this storm we can expect a bump up in short-period energy across the Pacific NW and Nor/Cen California starting on Tuesday…and then some medium period NW swell (300-320) that arrives right its heels later on Wednesday, eventually peaking early on Thursday morning. I know that the arrival of the short-period swell first seems a bit counter intuitive, but the storm front actually outruns the swell it builds in the Gulf of Alaska and arrives in the Pacific NW about a day before the medium period moves into the beaches…so the region will get the stormy winds (and windswell they build) first, and the medium period energy second. Anyway…this swell looks good for shoulder-overhead surf for most NW facing spots while the top breaks, that can focus the windswell along with the medium period stuff, will see consistent head high surf with sets going a couple of feet+ overhead at times.
Further out the NPAC storm track chills out a bit…there will still be some background energy from the high latitudes but nothing that looks particularly organized or big at this point.
East Pacific Tropics
The tropics are blowing up all of a sudden. We went from almost no activity 10 days ago to a steady stream of tropical activity in which we had three tropical depressions, one of which became Tropical Storm Blas, and the other became Hurricane Celia.
Tropical Storm Blas managed to intensify into what I would call a “strong” tropical storm…not quite hitting hurricane strength, but still managed to post up some sustained 45-knot winds with some gusts nearing 55-knots. In the process of tracking through the East Pacific Tropics he managed to kick out swell for Northern Mainland Mexico and Baja Sur (mostly around Cabo). Over the last couple of days he pushed further west…eventually moving into the swell window for the Pacific Side of Baja Sur and Southern California. At this point it looks like he held together long enough to send some tropical SE swell energy (155-165) up toward SoCal…this will be arriving late on Tuesday with the peak showing Wednesday and into Thursday. I am not expecting a whole lot of size from this one, but the swell that does make it into SoCal will help to fill in some of the inconsistency of the small Southern Hemi swells that are showing in SoCal this week.
Hurricane Celia is the third named storm of the 2010 EPAC tropical season, and thanks to improving tropical conditions, like less upper level wind, it looks like she is going to have some real teeth. Currently Celia is a category-1 hurricane but it looks like she will reach cat-2 status by Tuesday…and possibly into the cat-3 “major” hurricane (93+ knots) range later this week. Celia is already setting up new swell for Mainland Mex and Baja Sur (again mostly Cabo and the East Cape until she tracks further west)…and her forecast track is taking her out to the WNW at 7-9 knots which is a nice pace for swell production. At this point I expect consistent head high to overhead+ surf for the exposed spots in Mexico and Baja with sets going a few feet overhead at the standouts…possibly bigger if she intensifies faster.
By Thursday Hurricane Celia should reach Southern California’s SE swell window…forecasts have her maintaining her strength and storm-track, which will let her generate swell for SoCal. It will still take the swell a couple of days to travel up from the tropics…so the initial energy should arrive in SoCal on Saturday the 26th…with the peak of the swell likely hitting on Sunday the 27th and into Monday the 28th. The swell will be pretty SE at first, hitting only a few select areas, but it should turn more S-SSE as the storm moves to a better position. Surfwise it looks good for shoulder high surf at the average spots with the potential for head high+ sets at the standout SE breaks. Obviously a lot depends on how Celia behaves…so keep an eye on the forecasts and bulletins from the National Hurricane Center…and check my forecasts for the latest details on her swell-making potential.
Further out in the tropics (I did say it was on fire) there is another big-ass patch of thunderstorms that are becoming more and more organized, even showing the first signs of convection (the “spin” that we see in hurricanes…basically the process that drives hurricane formation and helps them create the eye wall). The big brains at the NHC are calling for a 60% chance that this will become a named tropical storm…personally it looks like it has already reached depression strength…and it is just a matter of time before it becomes our 4th named storm of the season.
The South Pacific
We are starting to move out of the “swell gap” that we had over the last few days (well at least the one we had in Hawaii and along the West Coast…Central America never really backed down that much). Over the next couple of days the Southern Hemi energy will remain fairly small…but both size and consistency will be improving as we near the end of the week.
The next decent sized S-SW will be moving into our region as we head into the weekend. Hawaii is already on the rise thanks to the initial pulse this storm sent out…nothing major…but enough to get some more rideable waves showing on the South Shores. This same pulse will move into the West Coast on Friday (June 25th). The larger shot of SW swell hits Hawaii on the 25-27th while the West Coast sees it hit late on the 26th…and then peaks on the 27-28th.
Size wise, Hawaii looks pretty good…the storm aimed some fetch with 40-55 knot winds in its direction for a couple of days, which will end up being a solid head high to several feet overhead at the well exposed spots.
The West Coast (from Northern Cal on down through SoCal) will see the first pulse push waves into the shoulder high range at the better spots…maybe a touch bigger at the standouts. The second shot of swell will be more in the shoulder-head high range at the better SW breaks while the standouts see some inconsistent head high sets. Waves might be a bit inconsistent at first but as the swell shifts more southerly later in the weekend it will fill in a bit more.
Expect this swell to hang on for a couple of days after it peaks…likely holding the West Coast, and Hawaii in some sort of rideable waves all the way up through the end of June before dropping completely out.
Further out we have another sizeable storm brewing up between Tahiti and Chile, but at some pretty high-latitudes. The storm looks a little zonal, but trailing elements will have some decent fetch set up for Central America, Mainland Mexico, and Southern California to a lesser degree. If this storm pulls together…the exposed regions will see another swell moving in around July 3-5th.
That is it for now…check back on Friday for more details on Celia (and probably TD-5e).
TransWorld SURF Forecaster