On Tuesday (4/10) Northern CA surf was double overhead and almost clean early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to 1 ft overhead early. Central California surf was chest 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 2-4 ft overhead on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were 6-7 ft with a few double overhead sets. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to maybe 1-2 ft overhead. The South Shore was waist to chest high with some bigger sets. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California was getting a new swell from the Dateline into the Gulf of Alaska putting some pretty good size in the water. Southern California was getting the leading edge of Swell #2S building just about as expected. Bits of sideband energy were pushing into the North Shore, but nothing interesting. The south Shore was getting sideband energy from the big storm that was in the the far Southeast Pacific days earlier. The big story is the very southerly angled early season south hemi swell starting to drive into South CA with potential for only the most exposed breaks in North and Central CA. Also a series of gales/storms are forecast to develop in the Western Gulf of Alaska pushing east late week into the weekend and beyond, setting up potential sideband energy from North Shores of the Islands but primarily influencing California north of Pt Conception and the Pacific Northwest. A little taste of late season winter mixed with summer for south facing breaks. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/10) for the North Pacific depicted a consolidated flow pushing almost flat off Central Japan meandering relatively straight across the North Pacific pushing onshore right over Northern CA. Winds were pretty light though, in the 120 kt range over it's width. Weak to moderate support for gale development suggested on the north side of the jet. Over the next 72 hours energy levels to rise some in the East Pacific up to 130-150 kts with a bit of a trough pushing east through the Gulf eventually pushing onshore on Saturday over the Pacific Northwest. Decent support for surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours a second trough to set up in the Gulf Sun-Tues (4/17) though with less jetstream energy associated with it tracking east into Canada. A big ridge to push over the eastern Aleutians at the same time too while a trough tries to develop off the Kuril Islands. Some support for gale development in these troughs.
At the surface today a fairly calm pattern was in effect with a big pool of high pressure at 1024 in between Hawaii and California with weak low pressure in the northern Gulf of Alaska. No real swell producing fetch indicated other than down 25-30 kt westerly winds positioned between the high and the low aimed towards the Pacific Northwest, good for limited windswell. Over the next 72 a new low pressure system to wind up in the Gulf late on Wednesday (4/11) generating a little fetch of 40-45 kt west winds at 48N 160W aimed east towards the US mainland. It's to slowly wrap up and track east to southeast holding in the 40 kt range through Friday generating a small area of 28 to near 30 ft seas from 47N 155W sinking to 45N 145W aimed well towards North CA down the 302 degree path. Possible large utility class swell to result on Sunday (4/15) for North and Central CA if this develops as forecast.
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.
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 Tuesday (4/10) high pressure was in-control off California driving a moderate northwest flow down the coast. A little low off the Northern California coast was building, expected to possibly push a weak front through Wednesday with south winds and rain mainly for North CA. Regardless, buy nightfall high pressure to roar in behind with brisk northwest winds forecast Thursday at 20-25 kts pushing well down into South CA, then fading out Friday 94/13) to near calm late all locations. That to hold into early Saturday then another weaker front and more high pressure to build in with more northwest winds late Saturday and stronger Sunday again down into South CA. Things calming down Monday and Tuesday (4/17).
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/10) for the South Pacific revealed a generally weak flow with a split jet over the west Pacific and no real support for storm development at the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours a massive ridge is forecast pushing hard south towards mainland Antarctica and over the core of the South Pacific starting late Wednesday (4/11) continuing through the weekend. No support for gale development of interest. Beyond 72 hours a weak generally southward pushing flow to continue providing no support for storm development.
At the surface no swell producing fetch for Hawaiian and California waters suggested. Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast with upper level high pressure driving all eastbound systems from under New Zealand south into Antarctica.
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 developing on the dateline late Friday (4/13) with pressure 980 mbs and winds 40 kts at 40N 170W aimed towards both Hawaii and California. This one to build with up to 55 kts winds Saturday, then fading while pushing east through the Gulf of Alaska Sunday (4/15). Up to 38 ft seas forecast, but aimed all to the northeast, more towards the Pacific Northwest with only sideband energy towards Hawaii with something in between for California. some degree of swell expected, but it's way too early to know for sure.
A bigger storm forecast behind that off the kuril Islands on early next week but pushing northeast towards the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians. Too early to know if this will early happen but it's a nice utility class tease.
Beyond 72 hours a generally quiet pattern forecast over the South Pacific with no swell producing fetch indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table