On Thursday (4/26) Northern CA surf was double overhead pushing perhaps 12 ft on the sets but windy again with windswell intermixed. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to 1 ft overhead. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was 1-3 ft overhead and pretty hacked early. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to chest high at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high pushing shoulder high at top spots. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high pushing 1 ft overhead down south. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high and clean. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore had waist to chest high windswell.
North/Central California was on the downside from Wednesday raw windblown dateline swell. Southern California continued getting dateline swell and cleaner than up north but also smaller. Hawaii was experiencing what the mainland will soon be seeing, namely no real swell, just faint sideband energy from weak for off systems both on the North and South Shores. Fortunately there is some limited hope. The South Pacific was been reasonably active with a decent system under New Zealand pushing swell northeast mainly towards Hawaii and less so towards California. Up north a small gale is in the Northern Gulf of Alaska providing weekend hope mainly for the Pacific Northwest with sideband energy expected for Northern CA. Maybe a weak to moderate gale will develop on the dateline and just south of the Aleutians mid-next week, but this is definitely a couple of steps down from what we've been getting used to. At this point it's advisable to grovel for whatever you can get. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (4/26) for the North Pacific looked much the same as days previous with a moderate flow tracking east off Central Japan meandering across the width of the North Pacific ultimately pushing into British Columbia with no splits or odd behavior noted. Winds averaged at 130 kts with a few pockets to 140 kts. A weak trough was in the Gulf of Alaska with a weaker one over the Kuril Islands providing modest support for surface level gale development in each. Over the next 72 hours the overall pattern to remain about the same with the Gulf trough pushing further east into the Gulf continuing to provide some support for gale development at the surface with the Kuril trough holding it's ground. A moderate ridge to be building over the dateline pushing up to the Aleutians Friday, but not over them, reducing gale development potential from there on-back to Siberia. Beyond 72 hours that ridge to hold through Sunday (4/29) with winds to 170 kts while a big split and decay in the jet develops over Siberia pushing east towards the ridge. That rather dismal development to hold through the workweek pushing east, while the last vestiges of the Gulf trough pushes into the Pacific Northwest next Friday (5/4). A weak split jetstream pattern forecast thereafter over the width of the North Pacific significantly dampening any chance for surface level gale development.
At the surface today week low pressure at 976 mbs was in the northern Gulf of Alaska while a double barreled high pressure system at 1028 mbs had centers over the dateline ridging north almost to the Aleutians and another core 600 nmiles west of Pt Conception CA. It was generating brisk northerly winds down the California coast turning southwest then west ultimately pushing over Hawaii with enhanced trades occurring there. Another weak insignificant low was over the Southern Kuril Islands not producing any wind of interest.
The little low in the Gulf actually formed on Wednesday (4/25) with pressure 980 mbs and winds confirmed at 40 kt over a small area in it's south quadrant at 46N 153W targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest and North CA down to the 300 degree great circle path building to 45 kts in the evening but aimed more to the northeast at 50N 145W aimed 39 degree east of the 310 degree path to NCal. The low stalled Thursday with fetch fading from 40 kts and pushing even more to the northeast all aimed completely at Central Canada late while residual 25-30 kt fetch remains targeting areas south of there. seas built to 30 ft Thurs AM at 52N 145w and 32 ft in the evening but all aimed at Central Canada Sideband north swell expected for exposed breaks in North CA starting Saturday AM (4/28) with swell 7 ft @ 13 secs (9 ft faces) from 305-310 degrees working it's way down into Central CA by afternoon with little energy of any wrapping into Southern CA.
Over the next 72 hrs the low currently over the Kuril Islands is to track east-northeast reaching the dateline Saturday AM (4/28) with the core in the Bering Sea and limited 40-45 kt west fetch south and barely in the open Pacific. And even that to fade late with winds down to 30-35 kts while pushing fast to the east and into the Gulf of Alaska. 25 ft seas forecast Sat PM into Sunday AM at 48N 175-180W. Some degree of limited 25-30 kt west winds to track through the Gulf of Alaska Sun-Mon (4/30) generating 20 ft seas then dropping southeast towards California Tues/Wed, but winds down below 25 kts. Seas forecast in the 16-18 ft range headed for the Golden state. Some degree of minimal swell possible for Hawaii on Wednesday (5/2) and 12-13 sec period windswell possible for exposed breaks in California Thursday (5/3).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (4/26) strong high pressure at 1028 mbs was 600 nmiles west of Central CA forming a pressure gradient with lower pressure inland generating brisk north winds down the California coast. That situation to start letting up Friday with the fading last little residuals of the gradient repositioned up off Cape Mendocino Saturday (4/28) and near calm winds over Central CA waters. A light wind pattern forecast Sunday through Tuesday (5/1) with no dominant weather systems in-play locally. Wed/Thurs the remnants of a low to be moving into the area from the Gulf of Alaska possibly turning winds to the south for locations north of Pt Conception, with even a hint of rain in the forecast, but that all seems a bit premature.
Thursdays jetstream charts (4/26) for the South Pacific indicate a moderate trough under New Zealand with 110 kt winds feeding into it, providing some support for surface level gale development. A decaying ridge was fading in the far Southeastern Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough to hold stationary southeast of New Zealand continuing to provide surface level support for gale development, but not too much given the troughs weak state. Beyond 72 hours through next week the trough to remain essentially unchanged while a ridge locks down the far Southeast. Some degree of support for gale development possible under the trough southeast of New Zealand through most jetstream energy to be dropping down the far side of the trough into the ridge, effectively targeting Antarctica and Chile more than anywhere else.
At the surface gale force wind generated by a 960 mbs low southeast of New Zealand were clocking in at 40-45 kts (see details below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was indicated. Over the next 72 hours low pressure to hold southeast of New Zealand producing fleeting bits of fetch up to 45 kts, but it's all are to be tracking southeast into Antarctica getting little traction on the oceans surface targeting primarily Chile and points south of there. No swell expected to be generated for Hawaii and the Us West Coast (or Central America either). .
New Zealand Gale (Swell #3S Hawaii)
A new closed isobar 968 mb low formed south-southeast of New Zealand Wednesday AM (4/25) from an earlier fetch in the area. A broad area of 40-45 kt southwest winds developed at 60S 175E aimed well towards California up the 212 degree path and only 20 degrees off the 195 degree route to Hawaii and starting to get traction on the already agitated oceans surface there. A broad area of 32 ft seas were modeled at 58S 173E. In the evening the whole fetch was lifting northeast winds confirmed at 45 kts at 50S 170W aimed right up the 210 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 35 ft seas were modeled at 52S 175W becoming shadowed for NCal (210) and SCal (213 degrees).
The low dropped to 964 mbs on Thursday AM (4/26) with some limited 35-40 kts winds holding in the vicinity of 50S 160W but aimed more to the east, Seas built to 37 ft at 50S 167W, though that seems a bit high. And it was shadowed from S California (213 degrees) and most of NCal (210 degrees) by Tahiti. The low to quickly fade after that Thurs PM with residual 35 ft seas forecast at 47S 159W and still shadowed for the mainland, then fading out.
This was not a long lasting system, only lasting essentially 48 hours and did not reach storm status. But it theoretically generated a solid fetch and some seas of interest, though we suspect the wave models have overestimated seas heights some. Hawaii is likely to be best positioned to receive swell from this one being only 4600 nmiles away versus the 5200 nmiles from California and the fact that the mainland was shadowed by Tahiti. A reasonably solid long period swell is likely Hawaii with rideable long period energy forecast for California too, though inconsistent.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Tuesday late afternoon (5/1) with initial period 19-20 secs and size reaching 1.6 ft @ 19 secs right before dark (3 ft faces). Swell building overnight and by Wednesday AM (5/2) size pushing up to 3 ft @ 18 secs (5 ft faces) and building more through the day to 4 ft @ 17-18 secs (7 ft faces with best breaks to 9 ft - though this might be a bit on the high side). Swell to continue solid on Thursday (5/3) at 4 ft @ 16 secs (6.5 ft faces with best breaks to 8 ft). Swell Direction: 185-192 degrees
Rough data suggest swell arrival in California on Friday (5/4) with initial period 18-19 secs.
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 indicate no decent swell producing fetch over the North Pacific. A cutoff low is modeled well northwest of Hawaii Wed/Thurs but all fetch to be aimed more towards the Western Pacific. A definite downturn expected as the jetstream fall apart.
Beyond 72 hours generic low pressure to remain under New Zealand, but no real swell producing fetch is suggested, and the fetch forecast there is to be aimed primarily towards Chile. No swell of interest forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table