On Tuesday (3/27) Northern CA surf was 4 ft overhead and blowing so hard it was unrideable. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was chest high and blown out. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high and junked out. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high or slightly more and blown to bits. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to maybe chest high and moving sideways down the beach. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was pushing thigh high. The East Shore had waist high windswell.
North/Central California was getting a very healthy dose of north winds that were kicking up some chop, but nothing that would be considered rideable. Southern California was near-flat with northerly winds whipping up lot's of chop. Hawaii was flat both north and south, with only minimal east windswell in between. The short and blunt story is the North Pacific has gone into hibernation. The active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation is all but gone and the jetstream has totally unraveled. The South Pacific appears to be trying to pick up the slack though with one storm in the bag and another developed right behind. Neither of these are significant class, but certainly good for summertime utility class swell for both Hawaii and California in the days ahead. So put aside your winter big waves dreams and warm up to the fact that summer is here (at least for a little while). An early end to a short and unremarkable winter. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (3/27) for the North Pacific depicted a completely unorganized and weak flow over the oceans entire width. In the coming 7days a slightly more organized flow is to try and push off Japan, but is to not make it even to the dateline, and then the whole flow is to start lifting north. Looks like a summer pattern is setting up. No support for gale development is obvious at the oceans surface.
At the surface today very strong high pressure at 1036 mbs was positioned 600 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA ridging into the mainland generating strong north winds to 30 kts and short period windswell down the Oregon and California coasts then turning southwest and west taking aim on Hawaii and weakening but not quite making it to the Islands. A weak little low at 1004 mbs was trying to develop 900 nmiles north of Hawaii but was anemic. No other systems with any swell producing characteristics were present. Over the next 72 hours windswell generated by the high pressure system off California to slowly fade out as the high pushes into the Pacific Northwest Wed/Thurs (3/29). The Hawaiian low to try and get a footing generating a short burst of 30-35 kt winds aimed well west of the Islands, good for maybe some sideband windswell a few days out (see QuikCAST's). On Wednesday a low to try and wrap up over the dateline with winds up to 45 kts, but it's to quickly track north pushing over the Aleutians late Thursday and get little traction on the oceans surface with most of it's fetch aimed north towards the Bering Sea. No hope here.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (3/27) howling north winds associated with a strong 1036 mb high off the coast was making for highly unrideable conditions over the entire length of the Golden State. Things to moderate a magnitude on Wednesday but still be far from decent, with north wind at 20-25 kts still forecast. A calming pattern is finally forecast on Thursday (3/29) as nearshore winds settle down and the windswell with it. A generally light winds pattern expected Friday through the weekend north and south as a little low pushes into Washington, maybe setting up a hint of windswell, but nothing of interest. New high pressure moving into the Gulf of Alaska to possibly produce a summer-like pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino early next week. Winds over Cape Mendocino to 25 kts with a typical 15 kt northwest flow pushing into North and Central CA making for sloppy conditions and limited short period windswell.
In the South Pacific a reasonably consolidated jetstream flow continued tracking from a ridge south of New Zealand with winds 120-130 kts to a mild trough well south of Tahiti. Decent support for storm development south of Tahiti. Over the next 72 hours the New Zealand ridge to track east reaching south of Tahiti by Thursday while the trough pushes to the Southeast Pacific, but not impressive. Beyond 72 hours that trough to build in the Southeast Pacific sucking 150 kts winds up towards it's apex Monday (4/2) possibly supporting surface level gale development through mid-week.
At the surface the remnants of a storm were fading south of Tahiti (see 2nd SPac Storm below). Swell from a previous storm was pushing north (see 1st SPac Storm below). Over the next 72 hours a 956 mb storm is forecast developing in the Southeast Pacific late Thursday (3/29) generating a tiny fetch of up to 60 kts winds at 53N 133W Friday AM aimed 40 degrees east of the 188 degree great circle path to California. Seas quickly ramping up to 38 ft at the same location. Pressure to drop to 948 mbs in the evening with 45-50 kt winds forecast at 53N 127W aimed due north right up the 183 degree path to California, then fading out and turning more to the east. 42 ft seas possible at 53N 125W tracking more to the east (40 degrees off the wind heading). This system to be out of the California swell window by Saturday AM (3/31). If this one develops as forecast some hope for decent very southerly angled swell focused mainly on South California 6 days out. But that's purely based on the models with no swell producing winds currently acting on the oceans surface in regards to this system.
1st SPac Storm
On Thursday (3/22) a 960 mb gale was situated south of New Zealand generating 40-45 kt west winds and 30-32 ft seas near 58S 170E-180W aimed 65 degrees east of the 190-195 degree great circle paths to Hawaii but not too bad up the 211 degree paths to California (but a long ways away).
It's tracked east Friday AM (3/23) and regenerated after fading late Thursday with winds up to 50-55 kts at 56S 175W aimed northeast or 45 degree east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii and 15 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California but well shadowed by Tahiti. Seas were 30 ft at 57S 180W. In the evening winds were still 45-50 kts over a broad area at 50S 153W almost out of the Hawaiian swell window (180 degrees) but moving clear of the swell shadow at 200-203 degree relative to California. Seas built to 36 ft @ 53S 162W and unshadowed. A little 45 kt winds energy remained early Saturday AM (3/24) at 52S 150W aimed due north aimed right up the 198 degree path to California with seas 37 ft at 50S 153W, then fading in the evening.
This one looks well capable of producing a solid dose of utility class summer time swell for California from the second half of this storm with decent sideband energy pushing up towards Hawaii. Nothing exceptional in that the storm was short lived, kinda on-and-off, but still got a decent footprint and generated solid seas. Tahiti to get a very solid shot of swell too.
Expect swell arrival in California starting Sunday (4/1) with swell 2.3 ft @ 18 secs down south (4 ft faces) and 2 ft @ 18 secs up north (3.5 ft faces) from about 200 degrees. Swell pushing up on Monday/Tuesday (4/3) to 2.6-3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs range (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then heading down from there. biggest end of the range to be experienced in Southern CA.
Swell to hit Hawaii's southern shores late Thursday then up to 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Friday (3/30) slowly fading from 2.3-2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) Saturday (3/31) from 196-200 degrees.
2nd SPac Storm
On Saturday (3/24) a 952 mbs storm started developing under New Zealand with 50-55 kt west winds at 60S 165E aimed 70 degrees east of the 196 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees east of the 211 degree path to California. Seas were barely 32 ft. The storm pushed east with winds down to 45 kts on the same heading as before with seas up to 36 ft at 60S 175E over a moderate area.
Winds held at 45 kts Sunday AM (3/25) but aimed a little more to the northeast at 45 kts at 60S 175W aimed 15 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 45 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 38 ft at 60S 180W. In the evening the gale was pushing more to the northeast with winds down to 40-45 kts aimed a little more northeast still. Seas modeled at 39 ft at 57S 166W.
On Monday AM (3/26) the gale decayed a bit with an elongated area of 40 kts winds near 58S 150-175W generating 37 ft seas at 56S 156W aimed about 15 degree east of the 198 degree path to California and unshadowed but well off any path to Hawaii. The fetch regenerated a bit in the evening with winds back to 45 kts at 52S 149W with a shrinking area of 36 ft seas at the same locale. All this to be heading towards California just off the 198 degree path.
This system tried hanging on contrary to previous forecast data Tuesday AM (3/27) with an elongated fetch of 40 kts winds at 52S 130-150W. 35 ft seas lingered 52N 149W. In the evening winds dow to 35 kts all pushing east with seas forecast down to 32 ft at 50S 138W and fading out.
This one developed a bit better than originally forecast, mainly in that it lasted longer (nearly 96 hours). Still nothing spectacular fetch-wise was indicated with winds never more than really 40-45 kts. This looks to be another utility class swell producer for Hawaii a week out and maybe just a shade bigger than the one before it for California 10 days later.
Swell to hit Hawaii's southern shores Sunday (4/1) with swell 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3 ft faces) and heading to 2.3 ft @ 17-18 secs Monday (4 ft faces) leveling off at 2 ft @ 16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) Tuesday (4/3) and heading down from there. Swell Direction: 185-190 degrees
Expect swell arrival in South California starting Tuesday (4/3) with swell pushing up to 3 ft @ 18 secs late (5.0-5.4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
Swell to hit North California starting Tuesday (4/3) with swell pushing up to 2.3 ft @ 19 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft faces) Swell Direction: 210 degrees
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 another little low to try and wrap up off the Kuril Islands (Siberia), but it's to suffer the same fate (tracking fast to the north) and not even make it to the dateline. Even less hope here. Nothing else of interest suggested. A tropical low is forecast pushing northwest towards Japan early next week, but that's just a guess by the models (so far).
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a weak fetch associated with a building upper trough in the Southeast Pacific to produce yet another gale aimed north. 30-35 kt winds and 27-29 ft seas projected aimed a bit east of Southern CA. Otherwise no swell producing fetch indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table