On Thursday (8/3) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and ruffled by southwest wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were the same but without the northwest lump. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest high on the sets at the best breaks (even head high at best of the best) and not looking too bad, and waist high at lesser spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high on the sets at the better breaks with rare head high sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high with 2 ft overhead rare sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was 2-3 ft overhead but more inconsistent that the days before. The East Shore was waist high.
California was seeing the start of Swell #4S which brought significant class surf to Hawaii a few days ago. Decent sized and well rideable surf was available up and down the coast. Bit's of northwest windswell were intermixed, but the southern hemi swell was the more energetic source. Hawaii was seeing the last remnants of Swell #4S with Swell #5S starting to build underneath. Winds had finally switched back to trades with the more normal glassy conditions in effect. This swell to continue to build for Hawaii, then fade over the weekend. California to see increasing size from Swell #4S through early Friday, then fading before Swell #5S arrives late on Sunday. But longterm the outlook is not so favorable with no other swell energy in the water and only a little storm forecast in the Southeast Pacific over the weekend offering marginal hope for California, but well east of the Hawaiian swell window. A bird in the hand .... See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (8/3) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days.
At the surface high pressure at 1032 had moved to the Northeast Pacific centered about 800 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA and ridging into the Pacific Northwest. It was starting to generate the usual gradient induced north winds over waters off Cape Mendocino at 30 kts producing increasing northerly windswell bound for North and Central CA. The high was also affecting Hawaii generating easterly trade wind off it's south flank at 20 kts, helping to drum up some short period windswell for easterly shores. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (8/6) the high is to max out along the California coast on Friday (with 30 kts winds still over the Cape) then the high is to retrograde south and east taking up a position north of Hawaii. From here trades to continue over the Islands in the 20 kt range with short period windswell expected along eastern shores.
No tropical system with swell producing capacity were in-play.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
By Friday high pressure off the Pacific Northwest and weak surface low pressure over the San Francisco area to fuel a healthy pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino. The difference in pressure between these two systems to generate 30-35 kt north winds there and continue production of reasonably sized local windswell with period in the 9-10 sec range. That fetch to remain isolated to outer and northern waters with a relatively calmer pattern nearshore from Pt Arena southward. Unfortunately this situation to set up a southwesterly eddy flow along the coast in the 5-10 kts range expected to continue over both North and Central CA through the weekend (and also Southern CA, but that's nothing new with that pattern in effect there for weeks now). By Monday a light northwest flow to build in north of Pt Conception as very weak high pressure start to try and regenerate again.
The detailed 5 Day Wind Forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Thursday (8/3) the southern hemi jetstream was looking mostly uninspirational today with the southern branch weak and flowing over the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf and the stronger northern branch flowing flat west to east. No interesting troughs were indicated. Over the next 72 hours a bit of a trough is forecast to try and develop in the Central Pacific tracking southeast, but a continued flow over the Wedell Ice Shelf to undercut it, leaving it fairly impotent. No other support for surface level development suggested. Beyond 72 hours a slightly better defined trough is suggested in the Southeastern Pacific on Tuesday (7/8) with 120 kt winds flowing around it then pushing out of the California swell window by Thursday. Some better hope from this one.
At the surface on Thursday (8/3) a relatively calm pattern was in place over the width of the South Pacific with no swell producing high or low pressure interaction occurring. Over the next 72 hours a 976 mb low is to form on Friday (8/4) near 140W generating a small fetch of 45-50 kt winds by evening aimed north. That low to build in areal coverage through Saturday morning with winds still aimed northeast near 52S 134W, then fading fast by evening. 32 ft seas forecast by nightfall at 50S 132, tracking east and out of the California swell window by Sunday AM. Some tiny 16-17 sec period utility swell could result for California if this comes to pass, but given the upper level outlook, that seems highly optimistic.
Storm #4S - Hawaii
On Sunday AM (7/23) a small low started to develop directly under New Zealand producing 50 kt winds at 54S 165E aimed northeast up the 201 degree path to Hawaii and the 216 degree path to California. By the evening winds continued at 50-55 kts centered near 55S 175E aimed northeast aimed like before. By Monday AM pressure was down to 960 mbs with winds fading some to 50 kts over a shrinking area centered at 56S 172E aimed well up the 195 degree path to Hawaii and the 212 degree path to California. By evening 36 ft seas were in place at 54S 175W tracking northeast with winds dropping from 45 kts over a broad area. 37 ft seas were modeled into Tuesday PM at 50S 170W on the 187 degree path to Hawaii and the 208 degree path to California but becoming shadowed by Tahiti, especially Southern CA, then fading out.
Data for the storm was reconstructed from a variety of non-Stormsurf sources (due to our server outage) so confidence is not as high as usual. Still this system appeared to be a moderate winter-time southern hemi storm well positioned to push solid energy towards Hawaii and in relatively close proximity to the Islands 4572 nmiles and well inside their swell window which should result in a significant class swell with period in the 17-20 sec range. California was much further away (6100 nmiles) and partially shadowed by Tahiti towards the end of the storm, resulting in smaller more decayed but still decent sized utility class swell in the 17-20 sec range.
South California: By Thursday (8/3) swell to be peaking at 3.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (6 ft faces with sets to 7 ft at best breaks) holding through the day. Friday swell to continue at 3.9 ft @ 15 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) dropping to 3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5) then down from there while new swell builds in. Swell Direction 210 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on historical experience, so plan accordingly.
North California: By Thursday (8/3) swell to be peaking at 3.9 ft @ 16 secs (6 ft faces with sets to 7.5 ft at best breaks) holding through the day. Friday to continue the trend with swell 3.9 ft @ 15 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces) dropping to 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5). Swell Direction 210-215 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on historical experience, so plan accordingly.
Storm #5S - Hawaii
A secondary kink in the isobars from the fading remnants of Storm #3S (above) developed southeast of New Zealand on Friday (7/28) regenerating confirmed 40-45 kt southwest winds near 52S 166W. These winds were aimed 20 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii (not bad) and right up the 205 degree path to California but totally shadowed by Tahiti. They were getting good traction on the already well-agitated ocean surface generating 30 ft seas Friday AM at 53S 170W best suited for Hawaii. In the evening the system tracked slowly east with winds confirmed at the same speed repositioned at 47S 162W and aimed 40 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii but well at California up the 205 degree path but still totally shadowed by Tahiti. 32 ft seas were modeled at 50S 165W. A closed 968 mb low was in-place Saturday AM but the bulk of the winds had faded, down to 35 kts roughly centered at 44S 147W aimed northeast targeting California up the 197 degree path and unshadowed but east of the Hawaii swell window. 35 ft seas were modeled at 45S 157W emerging into the clear for California (203 degree path). But the Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and only reported seas of 29-31 ft there, with a similarly weak report 6 hours later. Seas were modeled fading to 30 ft at 43S 148W in the evening though all fetch of interest had dissipated.
On Sunday (7/30) a small core of 40-45 kts winds were modeled to redevelop at 52S 145W aimed right up the 195 degree path to California (unobstructed) continuing in the the evening. A tiny area of 30 ft seas to result at 50S 140W building to 32 ft in the evening. This system to effectively fizzle out over the day Monday with lingering 32 ft seas modeled at 45S 135W (189 degree path to California).
This storm poses two problems, neither helpful to whatever swell might arrive in California. First off the Tahitian swell shadow will certainly take a good whack off any size this one produces during it's early life when it was strongest. Secondly the Jason-1 satellite reading suggest the model well overstated sea heights, another negative factor. Conversely Hawaii was free and clear of any obstruction so whatever this storm produces will reach the South Shore unimpeded. Since no satellite passes occurred early in the storms life, we're forced to go with the WW-3 estimates, but there is much uncertainty as to their accuracy for Hawaii, which means the resulting surf forecast could be on the high side. Be forewarned. All that said, we're projecting a small significant class swell push into Hawaii with moderate utility class energy for California.
Hawaii: Expect small energy starting to arrive Thursday afternoon (8/3) with swell 2 ft @ 18 secs (3-4 ft faces) but hidden by remnants of Swell #4S. Swell to start peaking at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) late Friday (8/4) then possibly 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5). A steady decline forecast by Sunday (8/6) with swell 3.6 ft @ 13 secs early (4.0-4.5 ft faces) and heading down. Swell Direction: 185 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on confirmed sea height readings from the Jason-1 satellite.
South California: Expect swell arrival Sunday (8/6) with swell building to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces and inconsistent). Swell continuing Monday (8/7) at 3 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) dropping to 3 ft @ 14-15 secs Tuesday (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction 200-205 degrees Note: Plan on something less than what is forecast due to inconsistencies between confirmed Jason-1 satellite sea height data and what was depicted by the WW3 wavemodel.
North California: Expect swell arrival Sunday (8/6) with swell building to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces and inconsistent). Swell peaking Monday (8/7) with swell 3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) fading from 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5 ft faces) Tuesday (8/6). Swell Direction 200-205 degrees Note: Plan on something less than what is forecast due to inconsistencies between confirmed Jason-1 satellite sea height data and what was depicted by the WW3 wavemodel.
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 high pressure to continue retrograding west to a point near the dateline by Tuesday (8/8) while weak generic low pressure sets up of the PAcific Northwest coast (no swell producing fetch suggested). 15-20 kts trades to continue over the Islands, then the high is to slowly start tracking back to the east with a weak gradient starting to develop off Cape Mendocino by Thursday (8/10) with the potential to produce small windswell for California. Trades to continue over Hawaii, but more in the 15 kts range making for sloppier and smaller windswell.
Beyond 72 hours a series of low are to try and push under New Zealand, but all are to get squashed south into Antarctic Ice before making any serious inroads into exposed waters of the greater South Pacific. No swell generation potential forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table