New Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Sunday (1/27) Northern CA surf was head high to a few feet overhead, but all was pure windswell and looking very disorganized and hacked by wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to head high but blown out. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was pushing head high with south winds in control. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to shoulder high at the better breaks and wind blown. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high or a little more with south winds. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high and junked out. The North Shore of Oahu was up to 2 ft overhead and reasonably clean conditions. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was building fast nearly double overhead.
North/Central California was getting just very south angled windswell off the low pressure that has been hanging off the coast for a week now, buried in chop too. Southern California was getting south angled locally generated windswell from low pressure off the coast. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some wrap-around swell coming from the northeast, associated with the low that was off California. The East Shore was getting the brunt of the northeast swell with sizeable surf impacting the coast. The South Shore was seasonally flat with no swell. For the foreseeable future the split jetstream flow that has been dominating the weather pattern is expected to continue in control. On minor change is that the split is to become a little less energetic, opening up a slightly larger area in the northern Gulf of Alaska down into the Pacific Northwest and enabling weather systems to track in that region, possibly setting up some swell for California from a rather northerly angle. Hawaii to start getting some more energy originating from just west of the dateline too. So in all the pattern is getting marginally better, but nothing great. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (1/27) for the North Pacific continued depicting a fully split jetstream with the split point on the dateline. Winds were very moderate at 140 kts pushing over Japan, with the northern branch tracking due north from the split point over the Aleutians up into Alaska, then dropping hard south just off the Canadian coast pushing inland over Central CA. The southern branch passed just south of Hawaii then northeast into Baja, somewhat joining the northern flow there. Only the area just off Kamchatka held any potential for serious gale development, with minor potential over the Pacific Northwest coast. Over the next 72 hours the same overall pattern is to hold though the northern branch of the jet is to stop tracking up into Alaska and is instead to travel just south of the Aleutians and then down into the Pacific Northwest, opening up a small area of gale development at the surface in the Northern Gulf of Alaska. This is better than what was the configuration days before. Beyond 72 hours the situation is to remain more of less the same, but the split is to become a little more energetic by the weekend (2/2) with the northern branch again rising up into Alaska and shutting the Gulf down leaving on the the area west of the dateline open for business.
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned 900 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging north to nearly Alaska and south over the Hawaiian Islands, generating brisk trades from the east-northeast there. Otherwise the ill defined remnants of low pressure that has been hanging for a week off California was positioned just 100 nmiles off the coast of San Francisco was getting ready to move inland. A moderate pressure gradient between the low and high pressure above Hawaii was generating a broad area of north winds at 25-30 kts aimed not at the CA coast, but into open ocean. No other systems of interest were in-play. Over the next 72 hours another very local and weak low to build off the Pacific Northwest and Canada generating 30-40 kt northwest winds focused on Oregon late Monday into late Tuesday and likely generating some form of windswell for that area down into North California through Wednesday with swell up to 9 ft @ 11-12 secs (9 ft faces) from 305-310 degrees.
Then on Tuesday (1/29) a new storm is forecast to develop in the Gulf of Alaska originating from a low that was passing over the dateline. By evening 55-60 kts winds are forecast over a small area at 48N 163W aimed right at North CA up the 305 degree path and 2100 nmiles out. 29 ft seas are forecast at 49N 167W. 55 kt winds to hold into Wednesday AM (1/30) at 49N 158W aimed at NCal up the 307 degree path. 42 ft seas are modeled at 49N 158W. By evening a small area of 50 kts winds are still forecast at 48N 150W aimed down the 308 degree path to NCal. UP to 44 ft seas are forecast at 48N 150W. Thursday AM (1/31) a small area of residual 45 kts wind are forecast at 45N140W aimed like before with seas fading from 43 ft at 46N 142W. Winds and seas to be fading out late. Possible large swell from a north angle forecast for the North CA coast late in the weekend holding into the weekend if all this plays out at forecast. No energy expected to reach the Hawaiian Islands from this one.
Northeast Shore Swell (Hawaii)
Also on Thursday (1/24) the gradient/gale off Canada was falling south generating 30-35 kt north winds with seas to 20 ft late. That fetch to make it to a point about 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino CA late Thursday and hold there with winds still 30 kts into Friday and seas to 26 ft late near 35N 138W. Actually fetch is to turn offshore relative to California but take aim directly on Hawaii producing 26 ft seas heading almost in that direction, offering the hope for northeast swell for northeast facing beaches. Hawaii to get swell pushing 12 ft @ 12 secs late Sunday (1/27) with 12 ft faces maybe at exposed northeast facing breaks from 40-50 degrees fading fast Monday and buried in local tradewind induced windswell.
On Thursday (1/24) a low off Japan built with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt winds and 29 ft seas developing at 36N 153E in it's southwest quadrant aimed a bit south of any great circle path to Hawaii. That fetch hung-on Friday off Japan with winds holding in the 40 kt range aimed better at the Islands, but making zero forward progress eastward and instead drifting north. Up to 37 ft seas were modeled mid-day at 38N 162E. 35 kt winds faded on Saturday off the Kuril Islands as the low drifted well north into the Bering Sea and becoming landlocked, with seas in the 30-36 ft range but aimed pretty well north of any route to Hawaii, but decently towards the US West coast, then gone on Sunday. Good potential for long period advanced class swell to start trickling into Hawaii late Monday (1/28) peaking at 7 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) early Tuesday (1/29) from305 degrees. Maybe even some well decayed inconsistent energy to push into the US West Coast late on Wed (1/30) peaking Thursday (1/31) at 4.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (7-8 ft faces) from 300 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast