On Thursday (3/30) Northern CA surf was about head high and a sloppy mess even though winds were light. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high and slight better conditions, but not great. Central California surf was 2-3 ft overhead with reasonable winds. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest high at best breaks with most in the waist high range. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high with best breaks having sets near head high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high,maybe a bit more on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high with a few bigger sets. The South Shore was waist high with a few sets to chest high. The East Shore was thigh high.
Energy coming from both the north and southern hemispheres - a sure sign the seasons are a changing. Small southern hemi swell was starting to hit Hawaii and scheduled to improve over the coming days and work it's way into California. But the Northern Pacific hasn't given up yet, with a moderately solid system forecast off Oregon over the weekend and 2 equal system forecast pushing off Northern Japan into the West Pacific this weekend into early next week. A pair of storm are also forecast in the far Southeast Pacific over the weekend too, setting up more potential for California and Central America a week out, but outside the Hawaiian swell window. In all, nothing super noteworthy, but not flat either. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream (3/30) was vastly improved from previous days. The split pattern was gone with a consolidated healthy flow pushing off Japan supporting a trough there, then rising/ridging northeast but not reaching the Aleutians only to dip south again into the Gulf of Alaska forming another trough there. Winds were up to 160 kts flowing under the trough off Japan fading some on the trip north but peaking again at that same speed before dipping into the Gulf. Reasonably impressive for the time of year. The best areas for surface level low pressure development would be in the troughs mentioned above. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (4/2) the same basic configuration is to hold but shifted slightly east with winds markedly fading, down to 120 kts off Japan and 130 kts flowing through the trough in the Gulf. Still some surface level support for gale development, but nothing like earlier. Beyond 72 hours the split pattern is to return by Tuesday (4/4) with no winds of interest. A new weak trough is to be over Kamchatka and the fading remnants of the gulf trough are to be pushing over North/Central CA. A bit more energy is forecast by Friday (4/7), but not enough to make a difference.
At the surface on Thursday (3/30) high pressure at 1028 mbs held control of the Central Pacific, centered 900 nmiles north of Hawaii aligned west to east ridging from the Dateline east to Baja and trying to push north into the western Gulf of Alaska but not making it. Weak low pressure was dropping out of the Gulf towards California and produced a small area of 35 kt winds on Wednesday, but was much weaker today. 20 ft seas were modeled in that area pushing southwest, setting up another spurt of windswell for the Pacific Northwest late Friday pushing into California on Saturday (4/1) but generally unremarkable. The remnants of this low to push over California late Friday/early Saturday, creating more unsettled weather and junky conditions coastside. Also a new low was trying to organize just off Japan (see details below).
Over the next 72 hours two weather systems are to be in progress targeting Hawaii and California, upgraded to the moderate category thanks to good upper level support from the jetstream.
A broad 988 mb low started to develop Tuesday (2/28) in the Sea of Japan but remained landlocked there. But by Thursday it nudged east into the open waters of the Western Pacific but unorganized. By Friday evening (3/31) pressure is to drop to 980 mbs with winds building to 45 kts and seas to 21 ft over a small area aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii then expanding on Saturday. Then winds to be in the 40 kt range with seas 30 ft (Sat PM at 37N 159E) aimed much better towards the Islands while tracking east. The low to reach the dateline late Sunday (4/2) with 35-40 kts winds and 27-29 ft seas continuing in it's south quadrant aimed well at Hawaii, fading mid-Monday as the swell vector takes aim more the east and beyond Hawaii's swell window. 27 ft seas forecast. If this one develops as modeled moderate utility class swell could push into the Islands late Wednesday (4/5) into Thursday with period in the 14-16 sec range, but that's still a bit of a long shot. Swell will be fairly well decayed given the relatively long swell travel distance. No energy of interest from this one moving into California.
Also of interest is a new gale forecast for the northeast Gulf of Alaska starting Saturday (4/1) with pressure 988 mbs and winds to 45 kts late aimed well down the great circle tracks to North CA but on the very northern edge of the swell window. 40-45 kts northwest winds to persist through Sunday aimed like before with seas building to 30 ft late (at 45N 140 - very near buoy 46006) while the core of the low tracks southeast. The low to be positioned just off San Francisco Monday with 26-29 ft seas and 30-35 kt northwest winds blowing parallel to the coast, but well offshore. Swell to start hitting Monday evening building into Tuesday AM (4/4) reaching near significant class size, assuming all goes as projected. A bit of a long shot again.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (3/30) the models suggest more unfavorable weather for the California coast well into next week. Southwest winds to begin anew Friday (3/31) from Pt Conception northward into late evening with a minor break Saturday, only to start up again as a new front pushes towards the coast Sunday, maybe backing off a little Monday (4/3) but starting up again Tuesday. Southern CA is to be mostly sheltered from this mess but by Tuesday they're to get their share of it too. Strong high pressure is to be right behind, bringing brisk northwest winds for the entire coast Wednesday and Thursday of next week. More south winds forecast behind that too.
The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
This area has been reasonably active with one more gale cycle forecast. Here's the details:
On Wednesday (3/22) a 972 mbs low tracked east under New Zealand producing 40-45 kt southwest winds and 30 ft seas (modeled Wed AM at 58S 178E) for 12 hours then faded rapidly. This ought to be good for some small swell pushing into the Hawaiian Islands starting Thursday (3/30) holding into Friday with swell 1.6 ft @ 14-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft faces pushing 3 ft at top spots).
A second and best low of the series started Friday (3/25) under New Zealand at 968 mbs with 35-40 kts winds pushing northeast. Seas reached 29 ft at 18Z at 60S 175W and holding. Late Saturday the gale surged a bit with winds up to 45 kts at 53S 155W aimed well to the northeast, but was starting to fade fast on Sunday but not before seas built to 32 ft late Saturday at 53S 152W holding in the 30 ft range through 18Z Sunday at 50S 142W, then fading out. Decent (rideable) swell is expected from this one targeting Hawaii, Tahiti and California. Swell to hit Hawaii Saturday (4/1) with swell 2.3 ft @ 17 (3.4-4.0 ft faces) building to 3 ft @ 15 secs by late Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs Monday (3.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees. Energy from this swell to push into California Monday (4/3) with swell up to 3.2 ft @ 17 secs late (5.0-5.5 ft faces) holding with period down to 16 secs Tuesday (5 ft faces) and 14 secs on Wednesday (4.0-4.5 ft faces).
Yet a third low started Sunday (3/26) off the edge of the well receded ice of the Ross Ice Shelf. Winds were initially only 35 kts but reached 45-50 kts Monday aimed northeast towards Hawaii and California with seas building to 30 late. this system faded Wednesday while tracking fast to the east. Some small background swell to be the likely result for Hawaii by Wednesday (4/5) with swell 1.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (2 ft). Even less energy to reach California.
A new 968 mbs low is to form in the Southeastern Pacific on Friday (3/31) well outside the Hawaiian swell window with pressure 968 mbs producing 45 kt winds aimed almost due north late towards California and Central America. This fetch to hold through the bulk of the day Saturday (4/1) while traveling north generating 32 ft seas, fading out by Sunday morning in the vicinity of 50S 120W, right on the edge of the California swell window positioned best for Southern CA. Possible moderate 16-17 sec period swell could result.
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 yet another gale is to push off Japan Monday (4/3) with pressure 980 mbs generating 40-45 kts winds and 29 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii. The low to make little headway east on Tuesday but to hold it's strength early with seas building to 30 ft (near 39N 160E) pushing well towards Hawaii. This system to decay fast late Tuesday into Wednesday AM. If all goes as expected more small to moderate utility swell could push towards Hawaii.
Beyond 72 hours another gale stronger one to follow in the far Southeastern Pacific on Sunday (4/2) with pressure 952 mbs and 40 to near 50 kt winds pushing northeast generating 35 ft seas before building more Monday but tracking well outside the CA swell window. This system to be well east of the Hawaiian swell window though decent swell is expected to track into California favoring the south end of the state again with Southern South America doing quite well (assuming all develops as forecast).
A much calmer pattern to follow through a very strong system is modeled under Australia mid to late next week targeting Tasmania and Southern New Zealand with swell pushing up the Tasman Sea towards Fiji and possibly surviving intact to reach Hawaii, though this is pure speculation at this point.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table