Super Typhoon Francisco

Craig Brokensha
Swellnet Analysis

While Australian surfers – more specifically, Queensland surfers – wait for their cyclone season to begin, the Western Pacific basin has been very active with tropical depressions and cyclones (called typhoons in that part of the world).

Overall the Western Pacific typhoon season has been average with ten systems in total. However, the last month has been exceptional with six of those ten systems forming in the last four weeks. It's been a back-to-back run of storms and swell for those who know where to look.

The latest storm to impact the region is Super Typhoon Francisco. Less than a weak after Typhoon Wipha made landfall across Japan, killing 20 people, Super Typhoon Francisco is currently tracking on a similar path and is expected to push across the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan today (Wednesday AEST).

large_franciscolarge_0.jpg

Francisco reached Category 5 status but will weaken while tracking north-west towards Japan as it encounters cooler waters and strong wind shear in the upper atmosphere. A large easterly groundswell is forecast to be generated by Francisco, peaking tomorrow (Thursday) morning across the Ryukyu Island chain before dropping rapidly and giving way to a large northerly groundswell as the typhoon crosses the archipelago.

large_franciscozoom_0.jpg

Although Francisco weakened on approach it'll still deliver an XL swell to Japan's southern isles. The eastern shores of Amami and Tanegashima are likely to peak in the 15 foot range, while as the swell swings to the north, the western shores are expected to peak around the same size on Friday. While it's provided plenty of surf it's also brought flooding, deadly landslides and destructive weather to Taiwan, Japan and other small islands scattered around the Western Pacific.

Follow the path of Super Typhoon Francisco and the swell it generates for the Ryukyu Islands on the Swellnet WAMs. Amami is one of the most exposed islands.

 

Comments

abc-od's picture
abc-od's picture
abc-od commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 9:52am

I only got back from 2 weeks in the Philos yesterday and the waves pumped the whole time. The last place we were at (up north) will be getting sprayed from this swell. Its always hit or miss but this was the best trip so far.

The site looks good too Craig. Couldve done with the WAMS while were there!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 10:27am

Craig, something that I can't ever recall is two typhoons meeting up with each other after following a different track. I've seen typhoons form close together and merge but this week we have Francisco who headed west and made a virtual 90 degree turn north, then we've got Lekima (No.28) who formed later and tracked pretty much northwest the whole time and they are forecast to meet each other on the 26th directly over me here on Honshu.

Francisco has been downgraded to 'strong' while Lekima has been upgraded to 'violent' at 905 hPa at 9pm tonight.

Surfwise, these typhoons haven't been too kind to us, either spinning off way down south and the swell too south to make it to us or they've gone right over top of us with giant swell and accompanying wind and rain.

Last week, Wipha whipped it's way across us and we got some good waves in the overhead range at a very sheltered spot. This weekends looking the same.

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/typh/

How do you put pics up? I have a couple of Wipha's swell taken from a cliff top. I'd have to say the swell would be 20ft+ and it's about a 50kt offshore. Pretty wild.

1173

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 10:42am

will the china surf comp at Hainan get any swell from these systems ? comp is on now I think .

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 10:42am

Zen, Francisco and now Lekima won't actually run into each other and combine, they'll come within 100km and then be absorbed into a broader are of low pressure forming across the north-east of Japan.

These WAMS show the current 12z forecast.. http://www.swellnet.com/reports/japan/ryukyu-islands/okinoerabu-east/wams

And you can't post pics in these article threads but if you past the link to the photo we can click through. Otherwise a forum post with the images would look great as well!

Keen as to see the shots from Wipha.

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 10:22pm

Hey Craig! I have a very hard time understanding why you make it impossible to post photos? PLEASE! Develop a drag and drop function.

my signature

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 10:57am

Which comp Udo, the ISA Games are in Jan and the ASP longbarders are next month. A local comp?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:02am

I thought there was a longboard comp [womens ?] on now or within days

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:04am

Udo, not from the typhoon proper, but more so a persistent fetch of NE winds on the western flank of the storm, squeezing between Taiwan and China. Not much size is expected to wrap into Riyue Bay in any case.

And I'm pretty sure there's no competition on at the moment either?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:04am

You musta seen the announcements. The ASP issued a few pressers about next month's comps - Swatch Girls Pro and some other l/boarder comp. 

wildenstein8's picture
wildenstein8's picture
wildenstein8 commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:08am

stunet wrote: and some other l/boarder comp.

Only the world championships. Have you caught blindboy-itis?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:35am

wildenstein8 wrote: Only the world championships. Have you caught blindboy-itis?

Whoops, sorry Wildenstein! Didn't mean to belittle the loggers. All competition surfing is Serious Business.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:08am

Can you walk me through how to paste the photos?

I can open a forum page as suggested but I don't have flickr or any of those file sharing things.

The wife is good at that sort of stuff.

I'm out the door now but I can send them from my phone too. Or, I can email them to Swellnet and you can put them up.

Not super quality, just taken with my mobile but I'd like you to see them.

1173

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:09am

Just email them through to [email protected] Zen and I'll get them up. Cheers!

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 10:23pm

I'll jot down that add..

my signature

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:31am

Will do.

Prob, early afternoon today.

1173

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 3:23pm

Saw some great footage from that area yesterday and we are now waiting to hear from our friends how they are managing. Thy have avoided he worst of the last couple but this one appears to be heading straight for them!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 4:41pm

Pics probably tonight now, been pretty busy. They aren't that spectacular, you kinda had to see it with your own eyes.

BB, hope all is well down there with your mates.

Francisco is probably just about on top of them by now.

Wipha last week smashed the Izu islands but the deaths came as result of landslides. We had some signs and things blown over, some localized flooding and a few damaged roofs (rooves?) but most of all it was just amazing to see the ocean about as angry as it gets.

1173

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 4:51pm

Send them anyway Zen. It would be good to see regardless of quality.

Do you have any areas nearby that get good away from the brunt of such massive storms and associated swell? Novelty places like Sydney Harbour and Broken Bay etc that only work with massive swell? Or do you sit it out and wait for things to settle down?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 5:51pm

Fitzy, we've got a local place called 'Kiddies Corner' that is a little novelty wave but only works on low tide and has to be giant. That's our local go-to spot when huge but I've never bothered with it.

There's a couple of others, but the most impressive place is up north and is very fickle. You need a giant (10ft+) south to East swell and North to NW winds, tide has to be perfect, everything has to be perfect. It would be lucky to break well once a year, sometimes it's too big and closes out, other times not big enough and is just a giant straight-hander shorey. Other times it's just too bloody scary even though it looks doable.

But, when it all comes together, it is amazing, a bit like a cross between Super tubos and Puerto Escondido. Thick, round, crazy sand bottom barrels. It can be frightening and I have to say more than once I haven't had the wantons to paddle out.

Coincidentally, it is also the place that I had one of my worst wipeouts in recent memory- a genuine two wave hold down and flogged within an inch of my life. I thought I was going to drown. I still get shivers thinking about it.

1173

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 9:21pm

Hi zen we should know tomorrow how things have gone down there. We have been watching NHK news on SBS so we have seen the landslides. I don't know about the rest of Japan but Kyushu seems to be basically one large land slip zone with virtually every slope showing evidence of past events even those heavily forested. I suppose the moral is don't build at the bottom of a hill. Take care in all that swell!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 2:54pm

Here's a link to Zen's photos from Typhoon Wipha..
http://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/25901

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 5:09pm

Thanks for putting up the pics Craig.

I should explain, the pics are of the giant swell, and the bloke in the foreground of one of them is Californian expat ripper and photog, Jade Edson. The blue sky pic is what the reef usually looks like on a sunny day (the spot Jade is looking at).

The other shot of the A-frame is that fickle spot I mentioned above doing it's thing.

Francisco is due here on the weekend, looking at a forecast of 20ft @ 16 secs, so probably spectating again- ha ha.

1173

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 5:47pm

Zen. Cheers for the photos. Amazing system of two storms. Keep us updated and stay safe.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

niggly's picture
niggly's picture
niggly commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 6:49pm

cheers for the photo's zen' be great to sees some other shots,
I wanna surf at 5 's
cheers

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 11:14pm

No worries Niggly.

Francisco will whizz past us early tomorrow morning.

Sunday is looking all time and there's a pretty good chance No.5 will be on.

1173

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 26 Oct 2013 at 9:21am

Hi zen feeling slightly shaken this morning?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 26 Oct 2013 at 9:57am

Bit of a non-event BB so far.

Got a lot of rain overnight and looking out the window to the ocean I can't see much due to the sea-spray, so guessing it's pretty big.

The actual typhoon is not forecast to start hitting us till mid-morning and it seems to be quite windy atm but I don't think it's going to be that bad. It's picking up speed and travelling NE really quickly now. So it will move away and most of the damaging wind will be out in the ocean. Once they hit that cold water from the 'Kuroshio' (the 'black current' northern cold current) they die pretty quickly.

Pretty shitty day here actually but that's ok, I'll be at work all day and tomorrow/Monday looking sunny and offshore.

1173

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 26 Oct 2013 at 10:12am

I was thinking more of the 6.8 quake off Fukushima, 2.10 Tokyo time.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 26 Oct 2013 at 10:45am

Wow, just checked.

Must have slept through it. I do recall something, thought I was dreaming.

It's funny though, since the big one there's been hundreds of tremors. You might be at lunch and one will come, these days people don't even break conversation.

1173

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 at 3:20pm

Hey Zen, how did you pull through? Hopefully not too much carnage. Did you score some nice waves?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 at 7:41pm

No worries Fitzy. Everything stayed offshore.

Typhoon Wipha from a couple of weeks ago was the big one (hence the pics).

Saturday was pretty big but I worked all day. Sunday was the day. We had solid 6ft peaks at a local beachie, all day offshore and a max of 6 out all day.

Was hard work though, getting caught inside was a bitch and there were plenty of meaty duckdives to be had. Got rag-dolled on a couple but overall it was pretty fun.

Love this time of the year here.

1173

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 1:17pm

In line with forecast Zen?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 6:10pm

Pretty much spot on for here Craig.

The weekend forecast was correct and today you've called 1-2ft, with 5kt South winds.

Surfed a little beachie today at 1-2 ft with light southerly winds.

You did forecast drizzle but after a little mid-morning cloud cover, it fined up and has been a beautiful autumn day. But we can let you off for that one.

So far, forecast and WAMS seem to be working well.

1173

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 6:16pm

Awesome, thanks for the reply, I'm up your way at the start of February but for the snow!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 6:47pm

Ahh man, after NZ, you're going to love Japan in Feb.

Where you planning to go?

If you need any help with Japanese or any pointers, I'd be happy to help.

1173

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 7:00pm

Heading up to Rusutsu, will try and get two stints up there over 2 weeks or so and also do lots of sight seeing.

Be keen to catch up if I'm in your area, and any tips much appreciated!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 at 9:26pm

I haven't been to Rusutsu but have done Niseko once. I liked the boarding at Niseko but I didn't like the Aussie Yobbo element there. But, I hear most Aussies are going to Hakuba and Nozawa in Nagano now as they're being pushed out by Russian and Chinese tourists.

I've only heard good things about Rusutsu though, really good powder and good facilities. It gets super cold here in Japan so having Gondolas and covered quads is a plus.

One thing about Rusutsu though is it's not very steep. But if you're a beginner or intermediate you'll be well catered for and there's lots of off-piste to get your tree thing happening.

Rusutsu doesn't have much nightlife as opposed to Niseko too, but if you're cool to just have a nice dinner, chill with a couple of beers, soak in a hot spring before an early-ish night, you're laughing.

Also, if you have kids, Rusutsu is very family friendly, I think there's even an amusement park right there at the base of the hill. Wave pool too I believe.

You're a long way away from me, but closer to the time I'll give you my number and if you need assistance, no worries.

1173

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 at 7:29am

Thanks Zen, maybe I'll warm up at Rusutsu and then head somewhere a little more challenging for my second stint. Will get in touch closer to the date! Cheers.