At first glance it sort of looks like the Pacific’s storm activity has backed down from what we were seeing last week…high-pressure is re-establishing itself across the North Pacific, Hurricane Celia has dropped back to a tropical depression, and Hurricane Darby has dissipated into a remnant low pressure…but the Pacific hasn’t really cooled off…it has just concentrated its power down in the South Pacific. Over the weekend a very intense storm formed up right in the middle of the SE Pacific and while it won’t send swell “everywhere” it is going to kick out a large lump of S swell to Central America, Mainland Mexico, and California. So we got that going for us…which is nice.
The NPAC is pretty much shut down for the next week or so. High-pressure is controlling most of the mid-latitudes with some pretty good inroads into the upper and lower latitudes as well. This is the fairly typical spring/summer pattern…a big ridge of high-pressure with just some small gaps around the edges that let windswell slip through.
At this point it looks like the only swell we are going to see from this region is going to be some overhead E trade swell for Hawaii, some overhead NW windswell for the Pacific NW – Northern/Central California, and some smaller NW-WNW windswell for Southern California.
East Pacific Tropics
The EPAC tropics are suddenly pretty quiet…it looks like the two hurricanes we had last week (Celia and Darby) disrupted the atmospheric and ocean environment enough that it derailed storm formation.
At this point both of the tropical systems have fallen apart. Celia has weakened to a tropical depression…and will likely become a remnant low in the next 24-30 hours.
Darby has already weakened into a remnant low…and it looks like she is going to swing back into Mainland Mexico, dropping a bunch of rain across the region, possibly affecting El Salvador as well.
No other storms are forecast to form in the tropics for the next few days.
The South Pacific
The SPAC is where it has been at lately…we had a decent sized S-SW swell that hit the West Coast and Central America over the weekend driving in some shoulder-head high surf for the average spots up along the California coast and some overhead-well overhead sized waves for the more exposed areas of Mainland Mexico. This swell held into Monday but is on the way down as we move to the middle of the week.
Fortunately the South Pacific managed to throw together a bunch of small areas of fetch all over the mid-upper latitudes after the bigger storm moved through, which will be pushing in a mix of SW, S, and SE swells as we move through the end of this week. Like most swells from the South Pacific…these will hit with the biggest size along the standouts in Mainland Mex, but it will still manage to pull together some playful waves for the well exposed California locations as well…tapering off to much smaller sizes as it peters out up in the Pacific NW.
By next weekend things get a lot bigger…in the last forecast I pointed out this lovely storm that was starting to brew up in the SE Pacific.
This storm went from “forecast” to reality over the weekend and the weather/wave models actually did an ok job when they were forecasting this one last week although they did undercall the intensity a bit.
This storm pulled in a nice chunk of extra-tropical moisture right as it moved into firing position…this warm/moist airmass was loaded with a lot of energy (in the form of heat) and when it got dropped into the colder frontal storm moving off of Antarctica it blew up…taking what would have been a decent storm with 30-35+ knots of wind and ratcheting them up to 45-50+ knots, which is a hell of a lot more wind. Check out what the WINDsat satellites recorded…
And it wasn’t that these strong winds only occurred in one little portion of the storm…it actually stretched them out over an area of fetch nearly a thousand miles long and seven to eight hundred miles wide.
This much wind, piled on top of a bunch of already frothy seas (from the initial portions of this storm) built nearly 40’+ wave heights in the core of this storm and pushed some significant heights (10’+ or better) a few thousand miles from the main area of fetch, all of which is a very good sign that a large swell was built.
Based on what the satellites are saying this new S swell (180-200) will be moving into Central America later this week, coming up fast on Friday (July 2) and peaking over Saturday and Sunday (July 3-4). Sizewise the exposed areas will see solid well-overhead surf with sets nearing double-overhead at the better S-facing breaks. The standout deepwater spots, like Puerto Escondido and a few select others, will have consistent double-overhead sets with some bigger waves pushing the 15’+ face range at times. It is worth noting that the Galapagos Islands to cast a bit of a swell shadow on some of Central America…expect some smaller, but still healthy, sizes through Costa Rica and parts of Nicaragua.
This swell does push up into Baja Sur about 12-20 hours after its arrival in Central America…coming up fast mostly on the Saturday (July 3), peaking by the afternoon and then holding through Sunday and Monday before dropping off.
Southern California will be a few hours behind that…with the S swell (170-195) arriving with long-period energy in the 20-22 second range throughout the day on July 3 but peaking on Sunday and Monday (July 4-5). While it won’t be as big as Central America and Mainland Mexico, it will have enough energy to push in shoulder-head high surf for most of the average S facing breaks and sets going 2-3’ feet overhead at the standout S facing beaches. This swell does hit over the holiday weekend…, which is a bit of a bummer crowdwise,…but the surf from this one will stick around for a few days after the peak of the swell so we should be able to get plenty of surf without all the extra bodies in the water.
Further out in the South Pacific I’m not seeing any super organized systems (yet) but there is a lot of new activity forming up around New Zealand (both above and below) that will be moving into the South Pacific over the next few days. If this stuff follows the track of the last storm we should be looking at another round of S-SW swell heading into the exposed regions a little before mid-July. We will have to keep an eye on it as we head into next weekend.
That is it for now…it is definitely nice to have some swell in the water and heading our way (with less tropical storms to worry about). Check back for the next update on Friday.
TransWorld SURF Forecaster