Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Maria sends epic swell. Otherwise, 75, and fair.

We are starting to see some of the Hurricane Marie swell arrive along the central coast this morning.  This part of the swell was generated when the storm was way east of us, along the Mexican coastline, so most of it is basically headed out to see.  But due to the twist, and turns of the coastline and sea bottom surface, along with wave dynamics, so of the points around here are puling in the large mid period swell.  But it is SoCal that is getting the show right now, with the Wedge breaking in the twenty foot plus range on the big sets.  What a great few days of waves we have had, with a few more lined up.  Not a bad finish to August, which is typically one of our smallest and least consistent months of the year.  And today we even were permitted to watch the sun rise over the local hills.  I'll credit that in part to Marie, but mostly it has to do with the local gradient turning more northwesterly, and blowing out that fog earlier than a south flow.

Frog in pond.  Wells, Maine.

For us here in Santa Cruz, the next few days have varying amounts of fog.  But a day like today, where the marine layer was pulled out to the water by 6:30AM, are not likely.  The tropical effect, where a system pulls in all the bad weather in the region, really only works when the storm is strong, pumping, and (it sure helps) growing.  Maria is no longer a hurricane, with top sustained winds at 65 knots, and hence, not really the best vacuum to give us a few hot summer days.  There was a chance that the remnants of Marie would slide north through the continent, but it now looks like guidance sends the tropical wave westerly, into the open ocean, once it hits about 30^N.  Anyway, more of the same for us.  Warmer than the previous few days.  Mid day highs top out in the mid to upper 70s.  Low temps hit just about 60F.  Improving tomato weather for sure.

Water is warm, the days are long, and the sun is out.  Oh, and the swell is up.  It is Santa Cruz time.  It will be a great end of the week here, and plenty of fun sized surf lasting through the weekend.  Keep an eye on that ocean the next few days.  Big sneaker south souths are on their way.  If you plan to get in the water, expect some strong currents developing through the next few days, along with some plus sized sets.  Some of the better focal points could be pushing double overhead.  Stay off of coastal rocks and sea groins, and watch the show from a safe distance.

And the north Pacific is starting to stir as well.  Fingers crossed for an early fall.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tropical Summer.

Honestly, it is pretty damn nice here in Santa Cruz.  Yeah, the mornings are grey, but the afternoons have been brilliant, with bright summer sun, and light south west on shore flow.  And the tropical swell from Lowell in the water is plenty fun.  It is an odd ball of a south for us, so use your best guess as to where might be making it work.  More long period southwest is filling in today, and maybe another pulse of tropical for early in the week.  And the mid and long term look promising.  What is of most interest is the local weather, and we might be in for some tropical summer.  Are ya ready?

Coastal wild flowers along Ogunquit's rocky coastline.

Hurricane Marie looks impressive and her track looks even more impressive.  If all goes as forecast, the middle to end of next week looks very promising for swell.  I'd expect consistent, mid period, overhead south-southwest showing late in the week.  But whatever.  The weather.  Expect more of the same the next few days.  But, if Marie's forecasted track correct, she will begin to pull in, and tighten, as she moves into our weather window.  Basically, pumping up our high pressure.  As this happens, we could see less fog, warmer daytime highs, and lighter, to offshore, flow.  Could be some nice weather, and with a little luck we could be up to the low 80s by Thursday.  With tropical swell in the water to boot.  Go have some fun.  The pleasant weather could last through the holiday weekend, before we see a more typical summer time gradient develop over the Mendocino coastline.  Time will tell.  In the meantime expect improving weather as Marie moves further north and west.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

South flow, tropical swell and some chance of afternoon sunshine.

The forecast looks great if you like to surf.  As long as things continue to track as forecast, we will have mid period south swell from TS Lowell begin to fill in along our coastline.  Fingers crossed, as these swells can be very consistent, and very fun.  Expecting it to be about chest to head high plus as things hit their first peak Saturday.  That size to hold, as a New Zealand small plus long period SW swell fills in on Sunday.  A second south Pacific swell is hot on its trail arriving Monday and the tropics could even play ball and send us another mid period pulse on Tuesday.  All these overlapping swells could spell fun times.  Especially given that the winds don't really look like they are going to pick up much.

High tide at the Ogunquit River mouth.  

Some developing NW flow on Thursday, and more so on Saturday, could break the clouds earlier in the day and create a slight warming trend.  Maybe heating up to a balmy 76F.  Right now it looks like a lighter wind flow returns for the weekend, with a chance of the light southerly flow that we had over the past few days returning.  So, less sunshine, and cooler daytime highs.  More like 72F.  Tough garden weather.  Watch for developing molds and fungus.  This is blight weather.  If you begin to see your summer plants failing to disease, then it might be time to pull plants and get a start on your winter crop.  No point growing a blighted tomato late into November.  The fruit will still be mush.  Hope we see a turn in this fog soon, or I fear my cukes are done, and my tomatoes and squash might soon follow.  At least my pumpkins nice and orange.  Soon it will be time to make some pie.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How long has this been going on?

The sickness contracted by some of my tomato plants suggest that this foggy, cool, calm summertime weather is nothing new.  Pretty much all the same for the coming week.  We will see a westerly gradient develop early in the week, but nothing exceptional.  It may mean we see a few days clear out a bit earlier in the day, but don't expect to watch the sun rise any time soon.  Overnight lows are hanging out at just about 60F, thanks to the fog blanket.  Daytime highs re trying to reach into the mid 70s, but are hindered by the lack of sun shine much before the noon hour.  Now don't get me wrong.  I kind of like the fog.  Especially how it can keep the water nice and glassy.  But before this gloom, I had tomatoes and cucumbers going off in my yard.  Now I am happy with a few green beans and winter squash.  My garden sure could use some sunshine.

Small day of paddling at Shark's Cove.  

Lots of maybe interesting things happening all around us.  Small, weak low pressure systems have been developing in the Gulf of Alaska.  This is likely an anomaly, but more indicative of early autumn than lake summer.  We could also have some tropical moisture moving into the state, from the south, late next week and into the weekend.  Today's model suggest a solid plug of moisture and energy.  If this were to come to pass, then we could see some thunder storms develop on our south facing slopes.  How cool would that be?  And the water a god send.  Anyway, I'll be keeping an eye on these things, as they could become interesting.

So, yeah, the bike trails are a bit dry and loose and rutted these days.  Blame it on the drought.  On the other hand, the surf has been quite fun.  Small south and west and north swells are comboing up into surf from waist to head high (even a touch bigger) at the local breaks.  It did not hurt that most days we saw light winds and glassy conditions.  It should be pretty fun out there right now.  Go get some.  The week ahead will see dropping conditions, but surf should remain fun through at least the first half of the week, with chances of more small Gulf of Alaska swell, and maybe even some SSE hurricane swell.  Another thing to monitor.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Drop dead gorgeous and absolutely wrong.

Around 2PM yesterday I was driving up the coast road coaxing a three year old into a much desired nap.  I was shocked at what I saw.  Sunshine on glassy water all the way up to the county line.  Absolutely wonderful day out.  And I was completely off on the call.  After seeing that, I feel more comfortable calling for afternoon sun this week, even though we are sticking in a south flow pattern.  Lucky us.  And to boot, the ocean was toasty warm.  Almost too warm, if that could ever happen.  Had me wishing I was only in a 3/2 while enjoying chest high goodness at sunset.

East coast golf courses have it easier at keeping the greens green.

And the moon rise, the super moon rise, was the cap to a wonderful day.  Well, we can hope for more of those sun breaks in the afternoon.  I sure know the garden prefers the warmth.  We may see the winds shift more westerly through the middle of the week, before shifting back south toward the weekend.  All in all, not really much change to the forecast, although I am a bit more optimistic about afternoon sunshine.  Maybe some clearing and a bit more warmth for the weekend.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Grey Days.

We're back in lovely Santa Cruz.  Still trying to get used to the coolness around here.  My son keeps on telling me how chilly he is.  A trip through New England was near perfect, with morning warmth, afternoon thunder showers, not too hot or too humid, nor to cool or too wet.  Just wonderful.  Love it back here too, but my tomatoes are not loving it.  And does not look like things will improve for the night shades, as the last of the NW gradient falls apart over Cape Mendocino, and south flows fills in starting this afternoon.  Yup, some good old fashion grey, with some breaks of sunshine late in the day.  This pattern begins to peak around Tuesday, when we might not see sunshine even through the middle of the day in the best parts in town.  Things will modify.

Sunrises over the Webhannet River estuary did not disappoint.  

We are in the second half of summer.  Sometimes, like else where, the autumn arrives with Labor Day instead of waiting until the 21st.  For us, summer can be grey.  But just a short drive up the hill, most days are sunny and hot.  So no need to complain.  But I do look forward to those fall days with sunny daybreaks and calm afternoons.  And those north west swells that start to fill in.  We actually have a few micro NPAC swells set for this coming week.  They won't be easy to spot, but the trained eye should be able to pick off a few at the right spots.  South swell also trickles in keep things in the small and fun range.  I hear the mountain bike trails are mostly dry.  Makes sense.  Although the weather is great for a ride.

Upper 50s overnight and low 70s in the afternoons.  Grey.  Light southerly flow through at least Wednesday.  There is suggestion that it could develop full eddy status as a northwest gradient tries to develop off Point Mendocino on Thursday.  Looks like we could return to a more slack south flow by the weekend.  In other words, no real big change in the weather for the coming week.  Maybe some sunny break, like this afternoon.  Watch for the funk on the tomatoes.  Hope for more sun to set the cukes.  Winter squash seem to be loving it.  More later this week.  Stoked to be home.