On Tuesday (2/27) Northern CA surf was 2 times plus overhead and chopped, warbled and a mess. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to one foot overhead and messy. Central California surf was 2-3 overhead and onshore. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high or so range and onshore. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to maybe chest high with top breaks to head high and onshore. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high at the best spots. The South Shore was effectively flat. The East Shore was waist high.
North/Central California remaining a choppy mess with moderate to large locally generated proto-swell in control with one more day or so more to go. Southern California remained protected from the bulk of the the stormy and raw swell pattern to the north, but also shadowed from the bulk of the size, providing only small and windblown surf. Hawaii remained out of the storm track with only tiny impulse class energy occasionally pushing into the North Shore with background energy from the southern hemi occasionally adding into the mix on south facing shores. A little improvement is trying to occur in the jetstream possibly fueling development of some surface level gale activity down at the oceans surface over the next few days. This might provide some swell for Hawaii while in-parallel the gale pattern that has dominated the Gulf of Alaska starts to wind down. So surf along the California coast is to be diminishing over the next several days while Hawaii might actually get something into the rideable zone. Take whatever you can get from here on out because there no clear signs of anything better in the future. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (2/27) depicted an almost consolidated flow pushing off Japan with winds 150 kts pushing to the dateline, then fading fast while diving south over Hawaii only to rebound and track into Southern CA. A weak flow was also pushing east through the Bering Sea dropping south through the eastern Gulf of Alaska then joining the main flow pushing into Southern CA. In all the only support real storm development was off Japan, with very limited support for gale development off the Pacific Northwest. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/2) the area off Japan to remain reasonably active with 150 kts winds continuing there pushing to the dateline providing hope for surface level storm development. To the east the trough off the Pacific Northwest to push inland with a very split flow taking over there. No support for surface level gale development in the east. Beyond 72 hours the outlook becomes less optimistic with a major flow of energy to break away from the main flow coming off Japan and track due north into the Bering Sea Saturday (3/3) then starting to suck more energy off Japan splitting it well over Siberia. The net result is to be a giant split flow over the entire West Pacific with the flow only consolidating once it tracks over the northeastern Gulf of Alaska then flowing into Oregon. This to occur early next week. This pattern suggests the Northeastern Gulf to again become active, while the rest of the North Pacific remains stagnant.
At the surface today broad and strong high pressure at 1038 mbs was positioned 1200 nmiles northeast of Hawaii trying to ridge into California, but not quite making it yet, and also pushing south into Hawaii and northwest towards the dateline, but not making it there either. The bulk of the East Pacific was under it's control with the only hint of low pressure tracking east into Oregon and fading. Some 30 kt northwest winds were off the Pacific Northwest aimed towards California, the result of the pressure gradient between high pressure out at sea and low pressure moving inland. Large windswell was being generated with 18-20 ft seas being registered at both the Oregon and California outer buoys, but period was generally in the 13 sec range. More easterly windswell was also being generated along eastern shore of the Hawaiian Islands by enhanced trades off the south side of this same high pressure center. Over the West Pacific a broad generic low pressure system was off the Kuril Islands and the Kamchatka Peninsula but not winds of interest were being generated. In all only the windswell off the Pacific Northwest was interesting, and even that was a sloppy mess. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/2) the big-semi permanent high north of Hawaii is to finally start moving east, pushing inland over California and drying things out there a bit. This to allow the Kamchatka low to push rapidly east into the Gulf of Alaska, but with no upper level winds supporting it's development, it is expected to just fade out there with no swell producing winds forecast. Of slightly more interest is a new low forecast to develop over Japan Wednesday (2/28) and building in strength while tracking east. The big problem is that all fetch is to be limited to it's west quadrant aimed due south towards the equator with nothing aimed at Hawaii. this one to max out on Thursday with theoretically up to 55 kts north winds continuing in it's west quadrant aimed like before with only the slightest hint of 45 kt winds aimed east towards Hawaii. Seas building to 37 ft at 32N 155E, but generally aimed well south of the 294 degree great circle path to Hawaii. By Friday (3/2) this low to start lifting northeast, driven by the jetstream aloft with winds starting to fade in the west quadrant and limited 40 kt fetch targeting Hawaii, then fading. 32 ft seas forecast at 30n 160E aimed well south of the 292 degree path to Hawaii. Residual 25-27 ft seas to push east towards Hawaii from 32N 170E Saturday as the low fades off Kamchatka . Some form of rideable utility class swell seems likely for Hawaii, but it's really too early to say with any certainty.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (2/27) low pressure that has been a mainstay off the Pacific Northwest coast was pushing inland over Oregon while a broad and strong 1038 mbs high was pushing east. It's effects are expected to start being felt Wednesday with brisk northwesterly winds pushing down the coast at 20-25 kts. Residual moisture to continue pushing over the area into Thursday north of Pt Conception, then drying out as winds start to back off in the north (San Francisco) and in Southern CA. By Friday (3/2) the high to be pushing fully inland with calmer winds to be over most of North and Central CA with an offshore flow forecast Saturday and Sunday north and south. More of the same forecast early next week though developing low pressure off Oregon might bring south winds from Pt Reyes northward.
Of interest, the models continue to project a series of gales under New Zealand generating some form of 25 ft seas pushing up to near the 30 ft mark into Sunday (3/4) this is not guaranteed, but might be good for an extended duration of small background swell pushing into Hawaii's South Shores starting Tuesday (3/6).
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours two areas of interest are forecast. One is a little low that's to develop over the dateline Mon/Tues (3/6) with 40-45 kt northwest winds and 27-29 ft seas targeting Hawaii decently and relatively close, possibly providing some swell generation potential. Also a similar low to set up off Oregon during the same timeframe generating 40-45 kt northwest winds targeting North California and Oregon with 22-25 ft seas expected. Moderate windswell the likely outcome. Beyond a broader area of low pressure is forecast for the Gulf area, though no specific swell generation capabilities are immediately suggested.
Looking very long term the models suggest La Nina is setting up, with water temperatures dropping quickly over the tropical East Pacific and trades at least normal, if not stronger than normal the whole way across the Tropical Pacific. Some of this is attributable to the inactive phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation, now fully developed. It's affects are being felt over the entire North Pacific Basin with less storm generation potential forecast. Of interest, this is to be a rather short lived event (maybe only 30 day total duration) with the active phase of the MJO already in production over the Indian Ocean and expected to start pushing out into the far West Pacific next week. It's expected to hold together pushing into the mid-Pacific around March 15th. This might help to provide one last little pulse to the winter season, but even that is a reach. Expect something less. Beyond, a La Nina pattern seems the most likely outcome, which is not favorable to storm development or swell production.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table