New Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Monday (4/21) Northern CA surf was maybe chest high and heavily textured, but cleaner than days past. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high and reasonably clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high and windblown. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to chest high at top spots and windy. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high not clean, but not chopped either. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high with a few bigger sets and clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with a few bigger sets. The East Shore was waist high and onshore.
North/Central California was seeing just the last little bit of locally generated windswell with rare pulses of fading southern hemi swell underneath. Southern California was getting a mix of very limited locally generated northerly windswell and inconsistent southern hemi swell. Hawaii's North Shore was flat. The East Shore had the usual small easterly tradewind swell pushing in. The South Shore was getting the last bit of energy originating from under New Zealand a week before and fading.
For the future the North and Central California coast to see a real drop in size, with only very minimal 3 ft locally generated windswell providing anything of interest mid-week, and then a remote chance for an equal sized pulse from the Gulf providing something to stand up on, but nothing more. Southern CA to fall into the dead zone with virtually nothing of interest forecast. The North Shore of Oahu is to remain small for a bit, but there's good possibilities that swell from a low pushing over the dateline might drive a little bit of rideable swell in Thursday on through the weekend. Not much, but better than nothing. Southern hemi swell is forecast for the South Shore a week out thanks to a building gale under New Zealand. This is not for sure, but odds are in favor of this one coming down the pipe. Keep you fingers crossed. And it might help to provide a taste of something for California long-term. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Mondays jetstream charts (4/21) for the North Pacific indicated a weak trough pushing over the dateline headed for the Western Gulf of Alaska with winds up to 120 kts pushing under it offering a little support for surface level low pressure development. A .cgiit flow was east and west of the trough pretty much shutting down the rest of the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to drop southeast into the Gulf and get cutoff from the main flow, just sitting there north of Hawaii spinning without any real winds to feed it. Beyond 72 hours that trough is forecast to tap the jetstream once again by Sunday (4/27) pushing east eventually moving into British Columbia by Monday (4/28). A giant ridge to be building behind shutting any potential down for the future.
At the surface today weak high pressure was positioned along the 35N latitude stretching from San Francisco west to the dateline making for a modest northerly flow down the California coast strongest over Point Conception at 25 kts then turning east making for 15 kt trades over the Hawaiian Islands. Very limited windswell generation potential in both CA and HI. Otherwise low pressure at 996 mbs was sitting over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians generating 30-35 kt north winds targeting Hawaii well with 18-20 ft seas at 47N 180W (since Sunday 4/20). Some form of minimal 13 sec swell is already in the water heading south towards Hawaii.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure to fade, centered just off Southern California making for a moderate northerly flow there, but fading mid-week. The low over the dateline is to drop southeast and stall 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii on Wednesday (4/23) generating limited 25-30 kt winds aimed towards both Hawaii and California, but favoring the Islands due to it's closer proximity. 16 ft seas are to be generated, offering a little hope of something rideable pushing south and east, arriving on the North Shore late Thursday (4/24).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday (4/21) high pressure that had been the source of much wind over the weekend was fading and drifting south offering some relief for the Bay Area but still making a bit of a chopped mess over Pt Conception and surrounding areas. The high to hold strength while sinking just a bit further south mid-next week, possibly continuing the windy pattern for exposed breaks in Southern CA into Friday (4/25), though the Channel Islands might offer some protection. Up north first one small and weak low to nudge into Cape Mendocino late Monday with a front dissipating off San Francisco Tuesday (4/22) providing a light southerly flow from Monterey Bay northward. Rain from this system is forecast pushing down the central coast through early Wednesday. High pressure to ridge northward late Thursday making for northerly winds over the entire state through the weekend save Southern CA, which is to be shadowed. Monday (4/28) the high to back off as low pressure in the Gulf pushes towards the state, offering some wind relief for the northern half of the state, but even that break is 'iffy'.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
A gale was pushing under New Zealand on Monday (4/21) generating a diffuse are of 40 kt winds aimed north east towards Hawaii with seas to 31 ft modeled at 50S 170E. Some form of limited swell is already in the Hawaiian swell window pushing north. It is forecast to start re-organizing just off the southeastern New Zealand coast Tuesday (4/22). Winds to build over a decent sized fetch area at 48S 178E to near 45 kts aimed well up the 200 degree great circle path to Hawaii pushing 40-45 kt fetch through the day Wednesday near 44S 170W traveling northeast continuing into Thursday near 43S 160W all aimed well towards Hawaii and then California. Seas to 35 ft late Tuesday at 43S 180W then to 39 ft at 47S 170W Wednesday PM fading from 36 ft at 42N 160W early Thursday AM and slowly fading into Friday morning (to 30 ft or less). Possible decent long-lived southern hemi swell for Hawaii a week beyond with less size for the US West coast about 9-10 days out. Will monitor.
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 only potential swell source of interest is to come from the cutoff low hanging in the Central Gulf of Alaska. As it starts to become re-absorbed in the upper level flow it might get re-energized Fri-Sun (4/27) with winds to 30-35 kts aimed right at the Central CA coast. Seas building to 20 ft with luck. This continues to seem very far fetched, but is something to watch. No other swell source is indicated.
No swell producing winds are forecast.
Details to follow...
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table