On Thursday (3/9) Northern CA surf was chest high and blown to bits. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were near flat. Central California surf was chest high and blown out. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to thigh high at the better breaks but most near flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was near flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was 1-2 ft overhead.
All eyes on the gale developing in the Gulf of Alaska. This to be the best swell source for California for the near term future, and potentially producing a rather large yet warbled swell for the weekend. Another gale is charted early next week, but smaller and even closer to the coast, likely making for unmanageable conditions. Hawaii might get a shot of energy from a low forecast over the dateline over the weekend, though most fetch to be aimed east of the Islands. In general there is still to be some surf coming, but the overall pattern looks to really be tapering off. Get what you can while the gettin' is good. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream (3/9) continued in split mode with the split point holding near 170E. The southern branch was weak and tracking south of Hawaii while the northern branch itself remained split with the average flow tracking east off Kamchatka then over the Aleutians. It took a dive southeast through the core of the Gulf of Alaska with a pocket of winds to 150 kts then pushing into and over North California near San Francisco. The most prominent feature was the trough's [dip] off the Canadian coast where low pressure was present at the surface. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (3/12) this trough to slowly ease itself eastward and inland as the bulk of the energy continues pushing south along the California coast, stalling over Southern CA. By Sunday it's to be totally inland and the low it's supporting at the surface is to be gone. Also the trough currently off Kamchatka is to track east with it's core remaining south of the Aleutians pushing into the northern Gulf of Alaska by Sunday. Some degree of 140 kt winds to continuously be flowing under this trough, providing decent potential for a surface low to develop in the trough. Beyond 72 hours the Kamchatka trough is to be sizeable when it reaches the Gulf of Alaska, but weak. It's to slowly fade there through Wednesday (3/15) while pushing inland over Canada. Behind it a broad weak and zonal (flat) jetstream flow is to develop, offering no hope for surface level gale or storm formation.
At the surface today high pressure at 1036 mbs was mid-way between Hawaii and Alaska while a 992 mb low was over northwestern Canada (details below). The high was generating brisk easterly trades blowing towards and into Hawaii at 20-25 kts, and producing short period windswell. Otherwise no swell sources of interest were suggested over the Western Pacific.
Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (3/12) two swell sources of interest were forecast.
The first was a low that organized in the North Eastern most Gulf of Alaska late Wednesday (3/8). Pressure to dropped to 988 mbs just off the north Canadian coast forming a gradient between the low and high pressure back to the west over the greater East Pacific. This gradient produced a broad fetch of 40-45 kt winds Wednesday evening aimed down the very edge of the Northern CA swell window up to 45-50 kts Thursday AM aimed the same direction. 32 ft seas were modeled under this fetch forecast to 36 ft Thursday evening and heading for North CA and points north of there. This fetch to fade some to the 35-40 kt range Friday with seas still in the 30 ft range and still covering a solid area while tracking southeast towards California, positioned just off the coast Saturday. Wind then dropping to 30 kts with seas 26 ft just off Pt Conception late in the day. This system to dissipate on Sunday.
Moderately large raw swell expected for exposed breaks in North California starting Friday sunset with pure swell 11.5-12.5 ft @ 15 secs (14-16 ft faces - through this estimate could be a little on the high side) continuing into Saturday sunrise with lesser energy likely wrapping into exposed breaks in Southern CA through the day Saturday (5.3 ft @ 14-15 secs [6.5-7.5 ft faces] with best exposed breaks in San Diego to 7 ft @ 14-15 secs [9-10 ft faces]) late. Swell Direction 305-310+ degrees all locations. No energy from this one to reach Hawaii though.
For Hawaii a low is to set up over the dateline on Friday (3/10) just south of the Aleutians at 980 mbs generating 30-35 kt northwest winds aimed well at the Islands. On Saturday the core of the low is to be in the Bering Sea at 970 mbs with 35-40 kt northwest fetch sweeping over the Aleutians and into the North Pacific aimed a bit east of the Islands down the 325 degree path. 25 ft seas forecast through the day pushing southeast. The low is to fade out on Sunday but 29 ft seas forecast tucked up against the Aleutians, but all aimed to the east and dissipating late. Some small utility swell possible for Hawaii starting late Monday (3/13) with period in the 13 sec range.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (3/9) the models continue to indicate a rather windy pattern for the next week with the exception of Saturday, Sunday (North and Central CA only) and early Monday. And even the break over the weekend in the north is now not as pronounced as in days before, so some doubt is developing. Northwest winds before the break followed by southerly winds after the break north of Pt Conception.
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 Monday (3/13) spin-off energy from the weekend low over the dateline is to try and organize off Oregon reaching 988 mbs late with 45 kt winds suggested over a small area aimed well at South Oregon and North CA. The low to sit off Oregon Tuesday but with fading winds down to 30 kts , then dissipating while sinking south on Wednesday. A small patch of 30 ft seas forecast under the fetch pushing directly towards Cape Mendocino Tuesday with residual 20 ft seas fading out Wednesday. Another does of large raw swell possible for the North and Central CA coasts Wednesday (3/15), but that is far from certain at this time.
Broad high pressure to take over the North Pacific thereafter, with a distinct hint of spring in the air.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table