On Sunday (5/6) Northern CA surf was head high and relatively clean, but soft. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to rarely chest high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest to head high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high at top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to maybe chest high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and occasionally a little more. The North Shore of Oahu was coming up from chest high early. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore had chest high windswell.
North/Central California was in to summer mode with only windswell coming from the north and faint hints of southern hemi swell from the south. Southern California was getting a mix of northerly windswell and stronger southern hemi swell. Hawaii was getting a minor pulse of swell for a low that was north of the Islands on Saturday mixed with fading southern hemi swell. The North Pacific is in hibernation with virtually no swell producing storms forecast for the foreseeable future. Summer has arrived and local windswell is the only hope from the north. Meanwhile the southern hemi has gone fairly stagnant too, though a series of weak systems are forecast to push west to east over the coming week but all fetch to be aligned the same, driving any minor swell mostly towards Chile and Peru with next to nothing expected to seep northwards. But as of Saturday night the models have started tossing a ray of hope our way with a solid storm now modeled under New Zealand next weekend pushing well tot he Northeast and providing hope for south swell a week beyond that. This suggests that it will be nearly 2 weeks til we see energy greater than 16 secs. The only other hope is local tradewind swell for the Islands or the usual Cape Mendocino gradient for California, and the latter seems like a decent bet per the models. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (5/6) for the North Pacific indicated ridge pushing through the Eastern Gulf of Alaska and over California with winds at 130 kts, totally blocking development of surface low pressure there. To the west a split and calm pattern was in control over the dateline. Further west another ridge was building over Japan providing no energy of interest. Over the next 72 hours No improvements in the pattern suggested and no support for surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours the jet over the West and Central Pacific to be centered almost directly over the Aleutians suggesting that if anything does form it will be landlocked in the Bering Sea (not good). In the east the faintest hints of a trough are to try and develop in the Gulf next weekend, but it looked much better a few days before, suggesting this is at best and optimistic outlook. In short, no upper level support for surface level gale development is forecast over the next week.
At the surface today high pressure was the name of the game. One was just 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino CA at 1028 mbs ridging into Oregon/Washington while a second at 1038 mbs sitting right over the dateline. No low pressure was to he found. The high pressure system in the east was generating 25 kt north winds and localized windswell over Cape Mendocino on down into Central CA and limited east trades pushing over the Islands, providing a little hope for windswell there. Over the next 72 hrs the dateline high to take over pushing up to 1040 mbs and moving just east of the dateline and positioned a bit far to the north (centered near 43N). It to be generating a broad fetch of 20-25 kt east to northeast winds Monday/Tuesday north and northeast of Hawaii, perhaps good for some windswell on east facing shores. Otherwise to the east high pressure that was in control there to be fading out leaving a slack wind pattern in it's wake with declining windswell potential.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (5/6) high pressure at 1030 mbs was positioned just 1030 mbs west of Cape Mendocino forming a solid pressure gradient along the coast with lower pressure inland. The net result was 25 kt north winds along the upper California coast generating short period windswell. The high to be moving inland over Washington Monday with the gradient and windswell fading out. A far calmer patter forecast Tuesday and Wednesday then a new stronger high to start pushing into the area Thursday (5/10) with a new gradient and building northwest winds forecast, starting to generate windswell and locally choppy conditions through the weekend with the gradient extending south into Pt Conception.
Sundays jetstream charts (5/6) for the South Pacific indicated a rather diffuse flow pushing over New Zealand sinking gently to the southeast with winds generally in the 100 kt range pushing to Antarctica in the far east. No support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast though the flow is to start making moves towards flowing more directly west to east, but still positioned rather far to the south along the 65S latitude. Beyond 72 hours more energy is to start developing southeast of New Zealand starting Wednesday (5/9) with a pocket of winds to 130 kts, but aimed southeast towards Antarctica. Gale development likely but not aimed favorably. A second more energetic pocket of energy is forecast by Friday under New Zealand at near 180 kts and lifting northeast through the weekend into a nice trough with 140 kts winds pushing to the northeast by Sunday (5/13). This are to provide good potential to support surface level storm development.
At the surface high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned due south of Tahiti driving all eastbound low pressure from under New Zealand on a generally southeast track with fetch pushing towards Antarctica and there was no low pressure of interest (and therefore no fetch) east of there. In short, a rather unproductive setup. Over the next 72 hours the high pressure system is to slip east but more high pressure is to be building east of New Zealand. On Wednesday (5/9) a 960 mbs low pressure system is to form under New Zealand, but due to high pressure to it's north and an unfavorable jetstream the broad are of 35-40 kt winds it's to produce are to all be aimed due east if not slightly southeast, favoring targets in Chile or maybe Peru. No swell generation potential for our forecast area.
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 modeled 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 4140-5014 nmiles away versus the 5428-6567 nmiles from California and the fact that the mainland was shadowed by Tahiti. A reasonably solid long period swell with some size is likely Hawaii with rideable long period energy forecast for California too, though inconsistent.
South California: Residual swell of 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Monday (5/7) and fading. Swell Direction: 202-207 degrees
North California: Residual swell of 2.3-2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Monday (5/7) and fading. Swell Direction: 206-211 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 strong high pressure over the dateline is to seep east and weaken. As it impacts the US west coast Wednesday it's to generate some northerly winds at 25 kts over Cape Mendocino covering a small area and producing limited short period windswell for North and Central CA through the weekend (5/12). A cutoff low is forecast next weekend north of Hawaii forming a weak gradient with the remnants of high pressure to it's north, which might drive some limited 20 kts fetch towards Hawaii setting up short period windswell for the Northeast Shore the week beyond, but that's seems highly unlikely. In short, no real swell generation potential suggested.
Beyond 72 hrs the models indicate a new low pressure system to start developing under New Zealand on Friday (5/11) with winds pushing to 50 kts late. again they are all to be aimed due east, but covering a rather broad area. By Saturday a secondary fetch to set up with winds 45-50 kts aimed well to the northeast and building to 50-55 kts through the day. Seas building from 35 ft to 40 ft late near 55S 178E. The fetch itself to even track some to the northeast favoring targets in Hawaii and to a certain extent the US mainland. A slow decline forecast for Sunday (5/13) with winds dropping from 45 kts but covering a massive area and aimed pure northeast favoring the aforementioned targets. 42 ft seas forecast at 52S 173W dropping to 40 ft late and tracking northeast. It is very early to assume there is even an ounce of truth in this modeled output, but it provides a nice little tease and something to watch for through the coming week in what is otherwise a very tranquil pattern.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table