Big Picture

BIG PICTURE From Tuesday 1/24/17


The Jet is again, gorgeous, long, low and consolidated off Japan and ends up nosing to our 160west longitude with winds over 200mph. Thus, plenty BIG surf in the forecast as this large upper air current helps created Lows and steer them. This has been the set up for nearly 2 weeks. A strong High to our ENE has kept trades ramped, too.

#1 recently, we’ve been on the decline from a 15-18’ NW which hit peaked last Thursday 1/19 with some spots getting real good. After that we had a cold front whip up wind warnings and a large NNE swell which peaked at 8’ easy for isolated reefs. This NNE and the aforementioned NW have been declining but the combo has kept things going even solid 4’ at e.g. Laniakea on Monday the 23rd.

#2 A Big NW veering NNW is nearing and will pop the NW buoy (275 miles NW) Tuesday 8am to 4’ 20 sec. with surf hitting 10’ 18 sec in the afternoon. This will equate to about 10-15’ waves cracking outer reefs and getting Waimea going later in the day. Source: a Low tracked ENE with a broad, partially captured fetch (280-310) from last Friday into Monday. The storm also occluded (stalled and spread its wings) Sunday as a very large gyre and fetch. Some seas hit 40’. Because of these factors the episode will crank awhile peaking Wednesday from a more NW-NNW (up to 330) at 12-18’. Thursday will still have a few 12’ plus sets and by Friday eve when things settle a new fatty appears.

#3 A smaller low on the dateline Wednesday the 25th tracks East within the zonal Jet nosing to about 1000 miles off. This doesn’t allow much ‘decay’ time thus a peak of about 10-15’ surf at 15 sec should be fully arrived first half of Saturday the 28th. Surf will start up to 5-7’ late Friday.

#4 The long range sees a SE tracking Low with a following or captured fetch on our side of the dateline by Saturday 28th, Seas reach over 30’. Right now WW3 predicts 16’ 15’ Sunday night (near 25’ surf). That’s not shy. Then it only drops to 16’ 14 sec Monday morning the 30th. Surf could be over 20’. The Low weakens rapidly Sunday but the seas were already built and just 600 miles to the NNW. Even if this is running hot we’ll still see very BIG storm surf due to NNE winds assoc. with the nearby system. It’ll be way down by Tuesday to 8-10’ maybe 12’

#5 we have a small 5’ N coming Wed. Feb 1st and a moderate+ NW of 7’ on Thursday the 2nd.


The Jet down under has decent energy but is not flowing our way. Thus, the zonal Lows are not expected to bring much more than 2’ in the coming weeks.

Recently, it’s been more about the West wraps than the 2’ trace SSW’s.
#1 some tiny 1’ swell at 15 sec have touched the Lanai buoy but this means no more than the occas. 2’ set for top reefs.
#2 A longer period SSW may come end of the month and reach chest high around Friday the 3rd of Feb. It’s low confidence.

Trade Swell

#1 Trade Wind and NNE swell is still kicking up to adv. levels of 5’ Monday the 23rd. This will fade to 4’ Tuesday and to 3’ by later this week say Thursday as upstream winds weaken and periods lower to 8 sec.
#2 Next ramp up is this Monday-Wednesday 1/30-2/1 as strong NE are expected with the BIG NNW to NNE event which will totally override the wind waves. Spots like Makapu’u could hit 10’ with wind swell hitting 4’.

The Tropics

So far they’re nothing forecasted on Hawaii for the next week or so.

Surf Advisory and Warning Criteria
Location/shoreline Advisory Warning
North-Facing Shores- 15 Feet faces (8' Local) 25 Feet faces (15' local)
West-Facing Shores - 12 Feet (7' local) 20 Feet (12' local)
West-Facing- Big Is. - 8 Feet (4'+ local) 12 Feet (7' local)
East-Facing Shores- 8 Feet (4+ local) 15 Feet (8’ local)

Tropical Storm - winds 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
Category 1 - winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
Category 2 - winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
Category 3 - winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
Category 4 - winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
Category 5 - winds 156 mph and up (135+ kt)

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