Forecaster Blog: Hawaii Forecast Update

25 Nov 2014 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Forecaster Blog issued 6.00pm, Tuesday, 25 November 2014.

The Hawaiian leg is undoubtedly the pointy end of the ASP World Championship Tour – not just with respect to world title aspirations and requalification chances – but also for proving one’s mettle when the surf gets scary – and that it does on a regular basis through the northern hemisphere winter. The waiting period for the second tranche of the Hawaiian Triple Crown commenced on Monday 24 November and there’s also the Target Maui Pro at Honolua Bay on standby for the Women’s World Championship Tour – both of which run through to December 6 - so there’s plenty riding on what the North Pacific storm track has in store for Hawaii over the next 11 days.

With the Billabong Pipe Masters still about two weeks away it's still a little early to forecast with any reliability. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member Cotter.

With the Billabong Pipe Masters still about two weeks away it's still a little early to forecast with any reliability. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member Cotter.

OVERVIEW
Note: All time and date references are in Hawaiian time, which is roughly one day behind Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Monday morning revealed stormy, mid period NW swell ranging from 4 to 6ft plus across Oahu’s North Shore (on the Hawaiian Scale), with strong onshore northerly winds rendering wave quality very low and making for Lay Days all round. A building trend in NW swell sets in during Monday afternoon and builds to a peak of 6 to 8ft on Tuesday morning before gradually subsiding through the remainder of the week.

This episode is linked to a large, complex low pressure gyre that remained slow moving over the North Pacific over the past week; characterised by a series of frontal lows revolving east to west through parent system. The system supported a broad area of zonal (predominantly westerly) low-end gales well north of the Islands; an indirectly aligned fetch that only offers a refracted component of NW swell for Hawaii. Although the low rapidly weakened out during Sunday and Monday it will continue to supply Oahu’s North Shore with a slow declining NW swell into the back half of the week; initially hanging in around the 4 to 6ft mark early on Wednesday before levelling off in the 2 to 4ft range on Thursday and Friday.Over the same time frame local conditions gradually improve under the influence of a gradual ENE shift in tradewinds; initially still blowing strong, cross-onshore out of the NE on Tuesday before tending cross-shore out of the ENE from Wednesday onwards.

The outlook for the weekend has a new round of NNE swell reinforcing smaller leftover NW swell –but this looks like pretty small-scale stuff by Hawaiian standards. This episode arises from a compact storm system developing over the north-east Pacific, well north-northeast of Hawaii over the next two days, giving rise to northerly gales across its western flank (if that sounds a bit weird, don’t forget low pressure systems rotate anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere). A series of small, overlapping mid period NNE swells arrive out an acute directional band of 15 to 20 degrees – with a first pulse arriving Thursday / Friday backed up by a second, stronger pulse over the weekend. Still, this generally isn’t anticipated to push too far beyond 3 to 4ft on the Hawaiian Scale both on Saturday 29, Sunday 30 November and it should hang in at similar levels into Monday 1 December.

LONG RANGE
Beyond that we’re likey to see NNE and NW swells dissipating to lower levels into Tuesday 2 December; speculatively marking a pivot point low in wave energy preceding the arrival of a new WNW groundswell during Wednesday 3/ Thursday 4. This is linked to a new low pressure system forecast to develop off Japan on Thursday 27 November before tracking slow out across the northwest Pacific through Friday and the weekend. Still, by North Pacific standards this is shaping up as a relatively modest storm system; giving rise to a maximum seas and swell of 20 to 25ft over the weekend. Further, the strongest fetch area falls out of direct alignment of Hawaii and therefore it only holds potential for a small to mid range pulse of WNW swell. This will be revisited in next week’s update.

Tuesday's North Pacific MSLP chart looks a little subdued by Hawaiian standards, but it's not exactly going to go flat anytime soon. Source: NOAA.

Tuesday's North Pacific MSLP chart looks a little subdued by Hawaiian standards, but it's not exactly going to go flat anytime soon. Source: NOAA.

North Shore Oahu Forecast Summary (Note: All forecast surf heights are in the Hawaiian Scale. Expect wave faces one and a half to two times this size).

Tuesday 25
Short range NW swell 6 – 8ft+ exposed breaks early, easing during the afternoon. WIND: NE 10 to 15 knots.

Wednesday 26
NW swell. Sets to 4 – 6ft exposed breaks early, easing to 3 – 5ft during the afternoon. WIND: ENE 10 to 20 knots.

Thursday 27
Mix of NW swell and smaller NNE swell 2 – 4ft exposed breaks. WIND: ENE 15 to 20 knots.

Friday 28
Mix of NW and NNE swells 2 – 4ft exposed breaks. WIND: Early light and variable tending ENE to 15 to 20 knots.

Saturday 29
Mix of NNE swell and smaller-scale WNW swell. Sets to 3 - 4ft exposed breaks. WIND: Early light and variable tending ENE 10 to 20 knots.

Sunday 30
Mix of primary NNE swell and secondary NW swells. 2 – 4ft exposed breaks. WIND: ENE 10 to 15 knots.


 


Tags: North Shore surf forecast , Sunset Beach , Vans World Cup , Target Maui Pro (create Alert from these tags)

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