On Sunday (4/22) Northern CA surf was head high and reasonably clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was shoulder high and reasonably clean. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat maybe up to thigh high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to maybe chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2 ft overhead and settling down. The South Shore was chest to head high. The East Shore was about waist high.
North/Central California was pretty small with only shorter period swell and small size in the water coming from the northwest, the tail end of energy from the northern Gulf of Alaska. Southern California was getting some weak energy from the Gulf of Alaska mixed with faint southern swell coming in from a rather steep south direction. Hawaii was getting the backside of the first of 2 dateline swells on the North Shore, with a bit of southern hemi swell providing fun sized surf on the South Shore. The South Pacific is relatively quiet at the moment, but a solid storm is forecast under New Zealand Wed/Thurs pushing some solid seas well to the northeast and providing good potential for Hawaii and California long term. Otherwise swell from the 1st of 2 dateline/Gulf storms has already hit Hawaii and is getting ready to reach California providing early week surf with a bit longer period than the past few swells. And the 2nd storm is starting to develop on the dateline too, expected to provide another shot of decent swell for both Hawaii and California in the nearterm. After that the North Pacific is to really simmer down, so make the most of what you can get. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (4/22) for the North Pacific depicted a seasonally moderate flow tracking off northern Japan weaving gently east across the width of the NOrth PAcific and pushing into Northern CA with no splits or weirdness noted. winds ranged from 130-140 kts through out. a moderate trough was just east of the dateline with another pushing over California and Oregon. Modest support for surface level gale development in these troughs. Over the next 72 hours the pattern to remain about the same, with the dateline trough pushing into the Gulf of Alaska and flattening out and a generally flat pattern holding over the North Pacific. Best support for gale development in the Gulf trough. Beyond 72 hours a pretty solid ridge to push north and up to the Aleutians on the dateline next weekend, though a trough to persist in the Gulf. But that ridge is to be a short lived event, with the jet settle back to the south by early the following week. But there are some signs that the jet to loose it's cohesiveness over Siberia pushing out into the West Pacific beyond, hinting that maybe the pattern will break down.
At the surface today low pressure at 976 mbs was in the Western Gulf of Alaska generating a decent fetch of 35-40 kts winds aimed at the US West Coast. This is the remnants of the 2nd Dateline Storm (see details below) that has made swell getting ready to hit Hawaii and then expected to move to California mid-week. Swell from a previous storm is already in the water passing HAwaii and en-route to California (see 1st Dateline Storm below). Otherwise moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was mid-way between Hawaii and North CA but not doing anything from a windswell generation perspective. Another high at 1026 mbs was over the dateline trying to ridge north towards the Aleutians and possibly signaling a pattern changing in the days ahead. A weak low was west of it just off the Kuril Islands but looking rather anemic. Over the next 72 hrs the low in the Gulf is to fade out (by Monday) while rather unorganized westerly fetch continues streaming from the dateline east into the Gulf, organizing some on Tues/Wed with 30-35 kt westerly fetch organizing some in the Gulf taking aim on the PAcific Northwest and Northern CA, possibly providing some rideable swell for the coming weekend with luck. At the same time high pressure south of it is to be building to 1032 mbs and pushing east, possibly setting up a north wind event for California starting mid-week and also generating enhanced trades over the Islands into Thursday. At a glance, the best of the swell generation potential has already occurred and no significant low pressure systems are forecast.
1st Dateline Storm (Hawaii/California)
On Tuesday AM (4/17) a 976 mb low developed just east of Japan. This one pushed off Japan on Tuesday evening with pressure dropping to 972 mbs and winds up to 55 kts in it's south quadrant over a small area at 37N 160E aimed well towards Hawaii up the 300 degree great circle path. 27 ft seas were modeled at 36N 160E. The gale lifted gently northeast Wednesday (4/18) with winds up to 55 kts at 40N 170E aimed due west well at Hawaii down the 312 degree and well at California up the 296 degree path in the morning with seas 29 ft at 38N 168E. In the evening 50 kt winds were confirmed at 41N 178E with 34 ft seas at 40N 176E aimed down the 319 degree path to Hawaii and swinging more towards California right up 294 degree great circle path with seas 38 ft at 40N 175E. This storm (actually down to gale status) headed for the Gulf of Alaska Thursday AM (4/20) with pressure up to 980 mbs pushing over the dateline with a moderate area of 45 kt west winds at 43N 175W aimed 50 degrees east of the 330 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 293 degree path to North California. Seas were 35 ft at 41N 178W. In the evening winds were down to 35 kts and repositioned at 44N 170W aimed entirely right at California (2250 nmiles away) up the 294 degree path. Seas were 32 ft at 43N 172W. Residuals Friday AM with 30 kt winds at 44N 160W aimed right at NCal up the 295 degree path and 1800 nmiles away and seas 29 ft and fading fast at 44N 165W. Residual 25 ft seas were at 44N 160W late evening, then gone after that.
Swell from this system hit buoy 46059 well off the California coast Sunday AM with pure swell reaching 8.5 ft @ 20 secs.
This was not an extraordinary storm by any stretch of the imagination, just your usual late seas gale. But it provided a little bit of virtual fetch as it pushed over the dateline aimed well towards California, if not right at that target. As a result a bit higher than usual number of waves per set can be expected in the 17 sec frequency.
Swell to push to North California late Sunday evening starting at 9 PM Sunday (4/22) with period initially 20 secs with pure swell pushing 6.6 ft @ 17 secs (11 ft faces) right before sunrise Monday (4/23) from 292-295 degrees while building into Central CA then fading with swell 6.6 ft @ 14 secs (9 ft faces) early Tuesday.
Another Dateline Storm (Hawaii/California)
A new storm pushed off Japan Wednesday (4/18) and started developing late Thursday with 55-60 kt north winds in it's west quadrant wrapping a bit eastwards at 35N 157E aimed even south of Hawaii. Friday AM (4/20) pressure dropped to 980 mbs with a nice fetch of 55 kt northwest winds at 37N 167E aimed towards Hawaii up the 300 degree path. Seas were building to 30 ft at 35N 165E. Winds were down to 50 kts in the evening over a small area at 38N 177E aimed towards Hawaii down the 310 degree path and towards North California up the 290 degree path. Seas built to 32 ft at 36N 175E. Saturday AM (4/21) brought the low east with pressure 976 mbs and a broad fetch of 45 kt northwest winds at 40N 174W aimed about 20 degrees east of the 326 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 290 degree path to NCal. Seas holding at 32 ft at 38N 178W. The fetch faded to 40 kts in the evening at 43N 167W aimed almost due east and bypassing Hawaii and aimed almost right up the 294 degree path to NCal and 2000 nmiles away. 32 ft seas were holding at 40N 170W. Sunday AM (4/22) winds were down to 35 kts over a broad area at 43N 163W aimed right at NCal down the 296 degree path and 1900 nmiles away. 32 ft seas modeled at 43N 163W. Winds to still be hanging on in the evening at 35 kt at 45N 160W aimed like before and 1800 nmiles away, right in the middle of the prime swell corridor for NCal. 29-30 ft seas modeled at 44N 158W. A quick decay forecast Monday AM (4/23) with winds fading from 30-35 kts and seas 29 ft at 46N 155W just 1500 nmiles from NCal. 29 ft seas forecast fading in the evening at 47N 150W.
Near significant class swell expected for Hawaii starting Monday (4/23) building to 8.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (13 ft faces) dropping from 7.2 ft @ 13 secs (9 ft faces) Tuesday AM (4/24). Swell Direction: 305-315+ degrees
Near significant class swell to hit exposed breaks in North and Central California Wed morning building to 7.8 ft 17 secs (13-14 ft faces) fading from 7.8 ft @ 14 secs Thursday (4/26). Swell Direction: 290-296 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (4/22) a near neutral pressure pattern was in control of California waters with high pressure tucked just northeast of Hawaii and low pressure in the Western Gulf of Alaska. More of the same is forecast Monday as the high retrogrades (pushes west) into early Tuesday. Then high pressure to start rushing east up to 1032 mbs and aimed right for Oregon. North winds to be on the increase in the afternoon along the entire coast with a solid gradient in-place Wednesday AM (4/25) generating 20-25 kt northwest winds from North CA down to Pt Conception. South CA looks to be spared though. The situation to get worse on Thursday with winds up to near 30 kts then trying to back down on Friday, but not quite making it. Finally Saturday the big blow to back off with calm winds in place late morning continuing into Sunday.
Sundays jetstream charts (4/22) for the South Pacific indicate a moderate ridge was still in control west to east, driving most weather over Antarctica and leaving the South Pacific unfavorable for storm development. Over the next 72 hours things to change as a solid trough sets up southeast of New Zealand with 140 kt winds pushing well to the north there by early Wednesday (4/25) making storm development much more likely in the region. Beyond 72 hours the trough to hold though loose energy while a big ridge builds in the Southeast Pacific. But in the west energy levels in the semi-permanent trough setting up there to possibly build again late next weekend. Good support for storm development under New Zealand
At the surface a weak wind flow was in control providing no support for swell generation. Over the weekend a rather north displaced low formed as forecast Sat/Sun (4/23) southwest of Tahiti near 50S 150W generating 30-35 kt southeast winds with one 6 hr pulse to near 45 kts targeting South Pacific islands mostly west of Tahiti for 18 hours and producing 22-25 ft seas Sunday. Maybe some 13-14 sec period swell for them, but little expected for Tahiti and Hawaii.
Over the next 72 hours a persistent fetch of 35 kt west wind is forecast under New Zealand Monday (4/23) starting to rough the oceans surface up into Tuesday AM with 30 ft seas building at 60S 180W. In the evening a closed isobar 972 low is to finally form with a broad area of 40-45 kt southwest winds forming at 60S 165E starting to get traction on the already agitated oceans surface there. 30 ft seas forecast redeveloping west at 60S 170E. By Wednesday AM the low to hold with 45 kt winds forecast at 56S 172E aimed well towards California up the 212 degree path and only 20 degrees off the 195 degree route to Hawaii. Seas building to 36 ft at 55S 175E. In the evening the whole fetch to be lifting northeast winds 45 kt winds forecast at 50S 170W aimed right up the 210 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 40 ft seas forecast at 52S 178W. The low to drop to 960 mbs on Thursday AM (4/26) with 40-45 kts winds holding in the vicinity of 50S 163W aimed almost due north or right up the 203 -208 degree path to California but totally shadowed by Tahiti and 35 degrees east of the 181-187 degree paths to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 39 ft at 48S 168W and shadowed relative to California but fine for Hawaii. The fetch to quickly track off to the east in the evening with swell generation potential fading fast. Residual 36 ft seas forecast at 45S 165W but still shadowed relative to California. But the low itself to be holding in the region and not moving very far east, providing potential for the days ahead.
If this plays out as forecast a solid long period swell is possible for Hawaii with decent long period energy forecast for California too, though inconsistent.
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 the models continue to suggest a quick pattern breakdown with no additional swell producing storms/gales forecast. The upper level flow does not look as bad as the surface level models suggest though, possibly leaving the door a little bit open for gale development. Nothing indicated on the charts though.
Beyond 72 hours generic low pressure to remain under New Zealand, but the bulk of the fetch to be aimed at extreme South America and only limited fetch forecast to be aimed towards either Hawaii or California. A small patch of 30 ft seas to possibly result a week out, but that's not worth anything at this early date.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table