On Thursday (3/8) Northern CA surf was chest to head high with a few sloppy overhead sets, even though the wind was calm. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was waist high and sloppy. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was in the thigh high range. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to maybe chest high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu as near head high and clean. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California had some sloppy but rideable surf. Southern California remained mostly shadowed with some barely rideable surf at the best spots. Hawaii was getting some more decent fun-sized surf on the North Shore but next to nothing on the south side. Swell to continue for the Islands through the weekend with a little southern hemi energy possibly added to the mix, though nothing exceptional. And much the same is forecast for exposed breaks in California north of Point Conception, though period to be below the threshold to classify it as anything more than windswell. Still it's better than nothing. Early next week the models are teasing about a storm forming on the dateline generating seas of interest targeting mainly Hawaii. But even that is just a illusion right now, with no hint of this thing actually forming at this time. Best bet is to make the most of whatever swell you have and hope the models are right, but don't count on it. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (3/8) depicted nothing different than previous days with a flow of 150 kt winds pushing over South Japan making little headway in to the Pacific before splitting with the northern branch pushing hard due north up into Kamchatka and the Bering Sea. It then turned east tracking above the Bering Sea before finally sinking east over Western Alaska and into the Gulf of Alaska. A small trough was there providing some limited hope for gale development at the surface. The southern branch flowed more or less flat east on the 35N latitude line all the way into the Pacific northwest with winds up to 110 kts in pockets. No good support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (3/11) more of the same is forecast, but the big split pushing off to the north is to settle down, way down by the end of the period. this to provide a slightly more cohesive single flow trying to push flat across the Pacific with pockets of wind up to 130 kts, but it still isn't to be great by any means. The trough to remain in the Gulf and a muddled trough is to try and develop over the dateline too, both providing some area for support of gale development. Beyond 72 hours the big ridge over the Bering Sea is to fire up again on Monday, but not be as strong as previous incarnations, yet still strong enough to prevent decent storm development. That to settle down by late in the work week next week with a big broad trough developing over the dateline providing hope. But a big split in the jet is looking likely to develop right over Japan at the same time, possibly squashing any potential yet again.
At the surface today a gale low remained in the Gulf of Alaska providing confirmed 35-40 kt fetch aimed at the Pacific Northwest and California while a second low was tracking east positioned north of Hawaii with a tiny fetch of 30 kt winds aimed south at the Islands. The Hawaiian low is bound for the Gulf generating maybe 17 ft seas good for windswell potential for the Islands Friday/Saturday with swell 5.5-6.5 ft @ 11-12 sec (6-7 ft faces). See QuikCAST's for details. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (3/11) the Gulf low to hold together through Friday generating more 35 kt northwest winds draped from Southwest Alaska into British Columbia producing seas in the 18-20 ft range as it has since Tuesday (3/6). This ought to be good for a pulse of better windswell in Northern CA hitting Friday/Saturday pushing 5.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (6 ft faces) then fading Sunday. See QuikCAST's for details.
Otherwise only faint remnants of the Gulf low to persist into Sunday with northwest winds in the 20-25 kt range targeting the Pacific Northwest like before, possibly setting up more weak 10-11 sec windswell.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (3/8) a new high pressure system at 1020 mbs was trying to ridge into the San Francisco region and expected to continue pushing inland through the weekend providing generally light winds in the mornings except for the Point Conception area where northwest wind to prevail at 15-20 kts. The high to push further north early next week setting up an almost summer-like pressure gradient over Pt-Conception to San Francisco Monday strengthening into Wednesday (3/14) with 20-25 kt northwest winds likely along the coast then. A messy situation likely to prevail, but Southern California to remain protected a generally calm.
A batch of gale energy pushed under New Zealand generating 27-29 ft seas (3/1) through Sunday (3/4) pushing up to near the 30 ft mark into Monday (3/7) good for another extended duration of small background swell pushing mainly into Hawaii's South Shores (and Tahiti) starting Saturday (3/10) through Wednesday (3/14).
The gale pattern that has been present near New Zealand and providing swell potential for Hawaiian and Tahitian pushed east out of their swell window while still producing 27-30 ft seas Wed/Thurs (3/8), providing weak potential for background southern hemi swell mainly for Southern CA Monday through Wednesday (1/14).
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 a small storm remains modeled to develop over the dateline late Sunday (3/11) generating 55 kt winds aimed south holding into Monday AM with seas building to 30 ft late Sunday theoretically pushing near 40 ft Monday AM and targeting Hawaii from 1000 nmiles away. The storm to start decaying fast Monday mid-day while tracking east to a point due north of the Islands Tuesday evening with barely 30 kt winds left. Seas fading to 27 ft during that time frame moving to within 600 nmiles of Hawaii. If this all plays out as forecast a solid but somewhat raw swell is likely for Hawaii mid-week, but odds are the models are on the optimistic side. No other swell producing fetch suggested.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table