On Tuesday (5/23) Northern CA surf was chest high, weak with wind coming up. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high or so on the sets. Central California surf was thigh high and clean in the Morro Bay area. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were near flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest to head high. The East Shore was waist high, tradewind generated windswell.
In California northwest windswell from a gale that's been sitting in the Gulf of Alaska Sun/Mon is pushing over the outer buoys en route to the coast. Decent size expected at exposed breaks in North and Central CA from this one, the last of the season. Southern hemi swell will be mostly absent for the next week and half other than some background energy. Hawaii is still getting decent sized southern hemi swell from a system that nosed out under New Zealand a week ago. But we're one the downslide from that swell with nothing expected to back it up immediately. The southern hemi has been modeled to come back on-line for some time now, and we're right close to finding out if that will really happen, with 2 strong but small systems projected starting Thursday through the weekend targeting California and Hawaii. So there's some hope out there. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/23) indicate a weak dip/trough off the California coast that was supporting the fading remnants of a surface low there. Otherwise a huge ridge was pushing well north of the Bering Sea in the vicinity of the dateline. Nothing of interest indicated elsewhere. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (5/26) the trough just off California is to push inland with lingering energy streaming east over South Oregon. The dateline ridge is to continue and event expand, taking over the entire North Pacific. A weak cut off low is suggested north of Hawaii, but in reality no support for surface level low pressure development suggested. Beyond 72 hours a very weak jetstream flow is forecast to continue over the entire North Pacific with no support for low pressure development suggested. It's over for the season.
At the surface on Tuesday (5/23) low pressure was holding off Oregon at 988 mbs, though only 25 kt northwest winds were imaged aimed towards California and Southern Oregon. The bulk of the fetch occurred earlier (see details below). Otherwise a benign pressure pattern was in effect. Over the next 72 hours the low off California and the Pacific Northwest is to fade out while high pressure builds in to 1024 mbs by Wednesday centered just off Point Conception, driving north winds down the coast from Big Sur southward. Short period windslop to result. Otherwise a cut off low is forecast over the dateline drifting east with maybe 20 kt northwest winds aimed towards Hawaii. Not much to result surfwise though.
Late Sunday (5/21) a late season low formed in the North Gulf of Alaska, peaking early Monday (5/22) with pressure at 984 mbs dropping southeast while producing 35 to near 40 kts winds targeting California best. Seas were up to 21 ft Monday morning, then the whole system went into a fast decline by Tuesday with northwest to west winds down to 25 kts and seas dropping to 17 ft. Swell from this system pushed over buoy 46059 starting at 10 PM Monday peaking at 11 AM Tuesday with swell 8 ft @ 14 secs. Expect swell to hit North California late Tuesday (5/23) peaking right before sunrise Wednesday with swell 7.2 ft @ 14 secs (7.5-8.5 ft faces) from 290 degrees. This energy to track down into Central CA mid Wednesday with swell 5.5 ft @ 14 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces) from 300 degrees, with energy pushing into Santa Barbara that evening at 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (2.5-3.5 ft faces) from 305 degrees pushing into San Diego for Thursday morning. 48 hours of declining swell to follow for all locations.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/23) the models indicate a strong high pressure regime to take control by Wednesday AM, with the core of the high initially off San Diego, generating north winds over the Channel Islands. The high is to build to 1028 mbs on Thursday drifting north off Pt Conception with northerly winds building in from San Francisco southward up to 30-35 kt in it's core (off Central CA). No real change forecast through the weekend with the high locked in-place and northwesterly winds raking the coast. A secondary high to move in behind it, centered north of Hawaii and possibly continuing the adverse trend well into next week.
The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Tuesday (5/23) a split jetstream pattern continued over the South Pacific with energy spread evenly between the two streams. The southern branch was ridging just north of the north edge of the Ross Ice Shelf and tracking flat east from there, breaking up as it tracked over the Amundsen Sea on the eastern edge of the Southern CA swell window. No support for surface level gale development. The northern branch remained blowing mostly flat west to east over the 30S latitude with a pocket of 170 kt energy positioned off Chile. The southern branch is to be lifting slowly to the north over the Southeastern Pacific just barely enough to support some form of surface low late Wednesday with a pulse of 150 kt energy moving into that area too. In parallel with that a brief merging of the 2 branches of the jet is to occur under New Zealand, making for a more favorable climate there as well. This pocket of energy is to track northeast through the weekend continuing to provide a more favorable climate for surface low development, though not ideal. Beyond 72 hours another broad and better defined trough is forecast under New Zealand early next week, providing yet more opportunity for surface level development. In all the pattern appears to be improving, assuming the models are correct.
At the surface on Tuesday (5/23) a small 1032 mb high pressure system remained centered just east of New Zealand, but otherwise no defined low pressure centered were anywhere in the South Pacific with no suggestion of swell development depicted. Swell from a short lived fetch south of New Zealand on Saturday (5/13) continued hitting Hawaii, but was heading down from it's peak on Monday (5/22). Over the next 72 hours through Friday (5/26) the overall pattern is to change with a series of surface low projected. era gradual invigoration of the pattern is suggested with a more favorable jetstream flow aloft trying to take hold. By Wednesday AM a low is to start developing due south of Tahiti (already east of the Hawaiian swell window) with pressure down to 968 mbs by evening with a small-to-moderate fetch of 50-55 kt winds forecast aimed northeast. On Thursday AM the storm is to be lifting northeast with 55-60 kt winds at 55S 125W aimed 30 degrees east of the 182-185 degree paths to California. Seas to 40 ft modeled at 57S 128W. By nightfall the low to continue northeast with winds still 55 kt aimed due north to wards California up the 178-182 degree paths. 41 ft seas forecast aimed towards CA on the very eastern edge of the swell window, dissipating rapidly thereafter. Will continue to monitor this situation, but at this time significant class swell looks possible for California a week out from the storm demise.
Weak Hawaiian Background Pulse
On Thursday (5/18) a small patch of 30-32 ft seas was modeled under New Zealand at 59S 170E heading due east generated by 24 hours of 45 kt west winds confirmed by the QuikSCAT satellite there, but that was gone by nightfall. Limited potential for background swell for Hawaii from 200 degrees starting late Thursday (5/25) with swell up to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs Friday (2.5-3.0 ft faces) holding into Saturday with swell 2 ft @ 15 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 hours a near neutral pressure pattern is forecast with no swell producing low pressure systems indicated. High pressure hold between California and Hawaii generating north winds and short period windslop along the Central and South CA coast, retreating early next week. No other swell producing fetch suggested.
Beyond 72 hours a second 'storm of interest' is modeled. This has been on the charts for some time now, morphing with each new run but hanging in there none-the-less, improving it;s chances of actually developing. On Thursday evening (5/25) a 972 mb low is to form under New Zealand producing near 50 kt winds and 35 ft seas, dropping to 964 mbs Friday AM with 50-55 kt west to southwest winds taking hold aimed reasonably well towards Hawaii (185 degrees) and California (208 degrees - moving into the Tahiti swell shadow) from 60S 168W. Seas supposedly up to 45 ft at 61S 172W. This one to continue unchanged Saturday AM with 50-55 kt winds at 55S 155W (south of Hawaii) blowing northeast or 45 degrees east of the 178 degree path to Oahu and well up the 200 degree path to California (east of the Tahiti swell shadow) with 45 ft seas modeled at 57S 158W. A rapid decay forecast Saturday with no swell producing fetch left in the AM and seas fading from 37 ft. If this develops as forecast another moderate significant class swell could push northeast focusing on Central America with solid size pushing into California and sideband energy into Hawaii. Will monitor.
More activity to follow, but much less intense.
Details to follow...
Wired Magazine - Read about the technology that supports the Mavericks Surf Contest in this months edition of WIRED Magazine (pg 48 - Al Gore on the cover).
New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here
Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here
Mavericks Surf Contest and Stormsurf
- Science hangs 10 at Surf Contest: CNET - Read it Here
- Pillar Point Unique Conditions swell Mavericks Monsters: Rough seabed, winds and seas currents to create California biggest surfing challenge; San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here
- Tyler Smith's Quest: Chasing the Moby Dick of the Surfing World: San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table