On Sunday (3/5) Northern CA surf was 7-8 ft and totally blow to bits. Gale force sideshore winds in effect. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and blown to bits. Central California surf was waist high and clean. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high at the best breaks but most were less. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with some rare bigger sets and clean. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was waist high, maybe a tad more.
Large raw swell expected for North and Central California for Monday, and that swell is already registering solid on the outer buoys as the gale that produces it maxes out just off the coast. Small energy from the early phase of this storm to track into Hawaii from the north-northeast, but not much. After that just one more gale is forecast just off British Columbia with energy pushing towards North and Central CA from a very northerly angle. Likely a few more small systems should be expected in the Gulf of Alaska, but nothing firm yet on the charts, so make the most of what we're given. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream (3/5) continued in split mode with no change expected. The split point has moved a bit more east to 160E, but not far enough east to make any real difference. The southern branch was winding all over the place but generally snaked over Hawaii then south towards the equator with very little energy in it. The northern branch remained dominant tracking northeast al bit east of the Kuril Islands, then over the Aleutians at the dateline, dipped sharply south from Alaska tracking into Cape Mendocino CA with 110 kt winds. The trough in the Eastern Gulf had 130 kts winds flowing through it and was supporting a surface gale just off California this morning. This trough remains the best and only area for swell generation, but even that is to move inland late Monday. Over the next 72 hours into Wednesday (3/8) the split in the jetstream is to remain pronounced wand basically unchanged with most energy in the northern branch pushing over the Aleutians. A new trough is to start setting up in the northmost Gulf of Alaska, but nothing of notice just yet. Beyond 72 hours the most interesting feature is to be development of the trough in the Gulf with winds there to 190 kts pushing directly into North CA on Thursday (3/9). The core of the trough is actually to be inland over British Columbia with the jet sweeping down the Pacific Northwest coast into CA. Maybe a shot for some surface development tucked up along the coast, but it doesn't look too promising right now. Another small and weak trough to set up off Kamchatka at the same time, then tracking east through next weekend, but with only 90 kt winds supporting it, which isn't much.
At the surface today a healthy but not remarkable late season low which had dropped southeast out of the Gulf of Alaska and started developing decently on Saturday (3/4) had pressure down to 988 mbs and winds up to 45 kt in the gales southwest sector positioned about 800 nmiles offshore and aimed well towards the CA coast. On Sunday AM the gale was maxed out with 40-45 kt west winds confirmed by buoy 46006 pushing east towards California and generating 28-32 ft seas and 24 ft @ 14 sec pure swell aimed well from Pt Reyes southward to the Channel Islands. The Jason-1 satellite passed directly over the fetch confirming seas 29-30 ft with one reading to 33 ft [see image]. The low itself to push into the Pacific Northwest Monday while residual westerly fetch from the storm pushes into the California coast mostly north of Pt Conception. More moderately large raw and warbled swell to push into the north coast starting Monday at 14 ft @ 14 secs with combined seas to 18 ft (16-18 ft faces) continuing into Tuesday with small to moderate sideband energy reaching Hawaii Tuesday as well at 4.5 ft @ 12 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces).
Otherwise a broad high pressure system at 1024 mbs controlled the Eastern North Pacific centered 900 nmiles north of Hawaii driving a moderate easterly fetch in to the Hawaiian Islands. Another weaker high at 1024 mbs was off Japan ridging northeast to nearly the Aleutians Islands. No other swell source was apparent.
Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (3/8) the Hawaiian high is to drift east starting to influence California by Tuesday (3/7) while another low tries to organized in the eastern most Gulf of Alaska. Pressure to drop to 972 mbs Wednesday with up to 50 kt winds projected, but all tucked right up alongside the north Canadian coast and well outside the swell window for California, but not too bad for the Pacific Northwest and aimed well at Vancouver Island. The low itself to push inland over North Canada late Wednesday while fetch from the low pushes down the coast at 35-40 kts through Thursday producing 30 ft seas taking aim on southern Oregon. 28 ft seas forecast to be right on the northmost edge of the North CA swell window likely pushing some swell energy south. Some form of northwest fetch to persist through Saturday (3/11) as this system slowly sinks southeast and fades. 20-25 ft seas to follow the fetch south arriving just off Pt Conception late Saturday night at 20 ft. Moderately large raw swell expected for exposed breaks in California starting late Friday continuing into Saturday with lesser energy likely wrapping in to exposed breaks in Southern CA. No energy to reach Hawaii though.
A series of weak and quick moving lows are to track off the Kurils headed northeast, none with any swell generation potential.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (3/5) the models continue to indicate lot's of wind for the California coast through Saturday (3/11). Southwesterly wind to be in control through Monday north of Pt Conception then turning northwest Tuesday and pushing well into Southern CA continue unabated through Saturday. Nothing encouraging here.
The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.
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 on Friday (3/10) a cutoff low forecast northwest of Hawaii is to lift north and start organizing as it taps solid energy in the the jetstream. By Saturday pressure to drop to 988 mbs with some form of 40-45 kt north winds developing in it's west quadrant aimed towards Hawaii as the core of the low passes north over the Aleutians near the intersection of the dateline. These winds to hold for about 36 hours generating 25 ft seas and possibly setting up some small swell tracking towards Hawaii arriving around Tuesday (3/14). But this is really a reach at this time.
Otherwise strong high pressure to be setting up over the dateline continuing a lock down on the core of the NOrth PAcific storm corridor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table