On Thursday (4/5) Northern CA surf was 2-4 ft overhead and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf was shoulder to head high and junky. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to maybe chest high at select breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high and clean. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was on the way up with solid triple overhead surf expected by sunset. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist high.
North/Central California was getting the tail end of swell for the Gulf of Alaska that actually had some solid size on Saturday pushing near double overhead at top spots. Southern California was getting a decent amount of swell from the Gulf of Alaska mixed with small southern hemi swell. Hawaii was getting the leading edge of a reasonably powerful late season swell from the dateline expected to reach significant class heights by nightfall. A weekend storm over the dateline has produced swell about as expected pushing longer period significant class swell into Hawaii and utility class surf is expected for California from it mid-week. At the same time a large, very southerly angled south hemi swell is expected to drive into South CA with potential for only the most exposed breaks in North and Central CA. Hawaii to see the dateline swell fade early week with little bits of the big southern hemi swell pushing in from a southeasterly angle, but with very limited size. More gales are forecast to develop near the dateline but now take a track into the Northern Gulf of Alaska. Perhaps some more northerly swell for both Hawaii and California, but of a much more limited size for the Islands though exposed breaks in North CA might do OK. Happy Easter! See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (4/8) for the North Pacific depicted a consolidated flow pushing flat off Central Japan tracking straight across the North Pacific and poised to push onshore right over Northern CA. Winds were in the 130-140 kts range over it's width, which isn't too bad. Generic support for gale development suggested from the dateline into the Gulf of Alaska. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold though total energy in the jet is to back off to the 120-130 kt range with a little ridge developing in the Western Gulf on Wednesday (4/11). No real change in storm development support levels. Beyond 72 hours things to get a little funky with energy levels coming up in the East Pacific but a series of short amplitude ridges and troughs developing pushing through the Gulf and into California. Maybe some rain and a locally more dynamic weather pattern possible there. Some support for gale development possible too, though not overly so. In all things to hold together and winter is not totally gone yet.
At the surface today a broad area of low pressure was centered in the Northern Gulf of Alaska bounds by the area from the dateline into the Gulf pushing into Canada from 35N northward. A broad fetch of 25 kt west winds covered this entire area pushing towards the Pacific Northwest and California, likely generating shorter period windswell. Weak high pressure was south of it covering the area from North CA westward over the Hawaiian Islands onward to almost Japan. Over the next 72 a new little fetch is to develop in the western part of the low pressure zone (on the dateline) Sunday PM into Monday AM (4/9) with 35 kt northwest winds forecast tracking east and fading to 30-35 kts in the evening and then gone. 22-25 ft seas are modeled Monday at 43N 165W-180W and likely generating more 13-14 sec period swell for Hawaii Wed/Thurs (4/12) and the US west coast (Thurs/Fri), though size to not be anything special (see QuikCAST's).
On Friday AM (4/6) a storm started developing on the dateline with pressure 976 mbs with 50 kt west winds confirmed over a small area at 40N 180W producing 29 ft seas and tracking east into the Gulf supported by the improving jetstream flow aloft. In the evening pressure was down to 972 mbs with 40-45 kt westerly winds over a small area at 40N 168W generating 30 ft seas near that spot, then pushing into the Gulf Saturday but with winds down to only 35 kts and fading fast at 44N 150W. 28 ft seas were modeled Sat AM at 37N 165W then dissipating (from 23 ft late at 37N 160W) all aimed reasonably well down the 291-296 degree path to North CA and with decent energy pushing towards Hawaii down the 320-330 degree paths.
Significant class size expected for the Hawaiian Islands late Sunday (4/8) with swell possibly to 8 ft @ 17 secs late afternoon (14 ft faces) fading to 7.6 ft @ 14 secs (10-11 ft faces) early Monday (4/9).
Utility class surf expected for exposed breaks in North CA Tuesday (4/10) mid afternoon with swell up to 6 ft @ 16-17 secs (10 ft faces) fading from 6.6 ft @ 13 secs (8 ft faces) Wednesday (4/11).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (4/8) high pressure was just nosing up into North CA, but the bulk of it was midway between Hawaii and Pt Conception at 1022 mbs generating a mostly light onshore wind flow over California. The high is expected to start surging northeast Monday with pressure up to 1026 mbs generating brisk northwesterly winds from Pt Arena southward even down into South CA (20 kts) continuing Tuesday (though letting up in South CA) while a new high sets up a bit off the coast and low pressure moves into Oregon. This to result in more 20 kt northwesterlies Wed & Thurs even into South CA. A real mess. Things to settle dow for a few days but then more high pressure and northwest winds expected late Saturday into Sunday. So the short synopsis is, if it's clean the week go out cause the odds are the wind will be coming up.
Sundays jetstream charts (4/8) for the South Pacific revealed a weak flow with a split jet over the west through a little trough was trying to get established there and a very weak consolidated flow in the east and generally riding south. No real support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours a zonal (flat) flow is to set up with winds to 140 kts over the east, but again not real supportive of gale development. Beyond 72 hours a massive ridge is forecast pushing hard south towards mainland Antarctica over the core of the South Pacific starting late Wednesday (4/11) continuing into next weekend. No support for gale development of interest.
At the surface a gale was trying to organize in the far Southeast Pacific, but all fetch is aligned west to east targeting southern Chile. No hope there. Over the next 72 hours another similar low to set up under New Zealand Mon/Tues with up to 55 kt winds, but again all aimed due east and of little use. No other swell producing fetch modeled.
Storm #2S (focus on Southern CA)
Late Sunday (4/1) a 968 mb low started coalescing in the far southeast Pacific with a fragmented area of 35 kt winds developing near 60S 142W aimed almost due north, but very shallow. Seas trying to build.
Monday AM (4/2) pressure dropped to 944 mbs with a broad fetch of 40 kt south to southwest winds building at 54S 138W with seas building. The fetch covered 960 straight line nmiles aimed towards California. Winds continued building in coverage and speed confirmed at 50-55 kts into the evening at 52S 132W over a 600 nmiles area aimed due north with seas to 32 ft at the same locale.
The storm started maxing Tuesday AM (4/3) with a most impressive area of 50-60 kts confirmed at 52S 127W aimed due north and covering a 1020 nmiles straight line fetch area aimed right up the 186 degree path to South CA (182 NCal). Seas modeled at 38 ft at 50S 129W heading well to the north. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and though much of the data was obscured by rain, the data that did leak though was consistent with what was identified by the wave models. Winds were confirmed at 50-55 kts in the evening over a 780 nmiles straight line fetch area at 52S 122W aimed about 25 degrees east of the 183 degree path to Southern CA (180 NCal). 42-43 ft seas were modeled over a broad area at 49S 123W heading north.
Winds were fading Wednesday AM (4/4) confirmed at 40-45 kts but still aimed about 20 degrees east of the 180 degree path to SCal from 52S 117W with seas still 43 ft at 50S 120W all aimed right for South CA and locations southeast of there. In the evening winds were gone with residual 36 ft seas continuing at 48S 117W, just inside the SCal swell window.
This storm to be gone on Thursday (4/5) with no swell producing fetch left.
This was a very strong storm with 60 hours of 40-45 kt winds and a core of 24 hours of 50-55 kt winds over a large area aimed almost due north, producing 40-43 ft seas. Confirmed wind data was impressive. But this storm was in the far Southeast Pacific, effectively eliminating Hawaii, Tahiti and most of North/Central California from getting unobstructed swell. That is not to say they won't get some swell, with sideband energy expected into Hawaii and some full on energy into exposed breaks in North and Central CA, but the tight swell window there will eliminate many more common spots. This system was between 4887-5042 nmiles from Southern CA. Still a very nice long period significant class summer-time southern hemi swell is likely to start pushing north targeting primarily Southern California, Central America and exposed breaks in South America. One more early season swell, and a most impressive one at that.
Southern California to start seeing swell early Monday (4/9) with period 23 secs and size coming up slowly through the day, maybe rideable at sunset. Size coming on comparatively quick Tuesday (4/10) reaching 4 ft @ 20 secs (8 ft faces with best breaks to 10 ft) late morning. Swell to 4.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (8 ft faces with best breaks to 10 ft) Wednesday (4/11) then down to 4.3 ft @ 16 secs on Thursday (7 ft faces with 8.5 ft sets best breaks). 14- sec residuals late Friday. Swell Direction: 180-187 degrees
Northern California to see swell energy starting Tuesday AM (4/10) with period at 21 secs and coming up from there relatively fast, reaching 4.3 ft @ 20 secs late (8 ft faces with best spots to 10 ft) but only at the most exposed breaks. Size far less at sheltered breaks. Swell continuing Wednesday (4/11) with swell to 4.5 ft @ 18 secs (8 ft faces with best spots to 10 ft) with the same swell window restrictions. Swell dropping to 4.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (7 ft faces with sets to 8.5 ft ) Thursday (4/12) but still quite decent. Swell dropping from there with period down to 14 secs late Friday. Swell Direction:180-184 degrees
Hawaiian South and Southeast shores to possibly see some sideband swell energy starting Tuesday AM (4/10) with swell reaching 2 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (3.0-3.5 ft) pushing 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) through the day Wednesday (4/11). Swell down to 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) Thursday and fading. Swell Direction: 160-165 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 hrs another gale is forecast over the dateline pushing up in to the Northern Gulf Tues-Fri (4/12) generating 40 kts winds and up to 30 ft seas at 48N 155W aimed reasonably well towards California. Some decent utility class swell possible if this plays out as forecast. Yet another gale to follow it next weekend in the Northern Gulf with yet another off Japan late next weekend. It isn't over just yet. .
Beyond 72 hours a huge ridge in the upper levels of the atmosphere to drive all storm systems south over Antarctica, eliminating any chance for swell producing fetch to get any traction on the oceans surface pushing swell to the north and northeast. Flatness the expected result.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table