On Sunday (2/18) Northern CA surf was 2-4 ft overhead with victory at sea conditions. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and a bit windy. Central California surf was head high to 2 ft overhead and blown out. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh to waist high and windy at the best spots. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was head high or so. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was head high plus.
North/Central California was getting long period groundswell from the dateline buried in chop. Southern California was getting hints of swell from the dateline with building wind and chop. Hawaii was seeing a bit of essentially background energy with east windswell in the mix. Unfortunately the long range outlook isn't much better. A very poor jetstream flow aloft is not providing any support for surface level storm development, and El Nino is fading fast with La Nina on it's heels. The Madden Julian Oscillation is moving strongly towards the inactive phase too, fueling the onslaught of La Nina. And the models indicate no storm development over the greater North Pacific for the next week. A series of gales are projected in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska, maybe good for generating sizeable windswell for California and the Pacific Northwest, but even if that does happen local conditions to be bad when whatever swell is produced actually arrives. In short, it looks like the 'S' word is coming (Spring). See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (2/18) depicted a fairly energetic single flow pushing over southern Japan at 180 kts, but it quickly split before getting anywhere near the dateline and continued well split the whole way across the North Pacific Ocean. There weren't even any semi-interesting troughs present anywhere over the region. No support for surface level gale development suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (2/21) the split pattern to continue over the width of the Pacific. Of slight interest, a small trough to set up over the far Northeastern Gulf of Alaska Monday into Wednesday possibly supporting some form of gale development there, but it to be mostly right up along the Canadian coast. Beyond 72 hours out through next weekend that trough to push inland early Friday (2/23) while a split pattern holds further out at sea with energy levels dropping over the jetstream's length. Winds to peak out at 120 kts over Japan and pushing up into the Gulf, with most areas far less than that. No support for surface level gale development.
At the surface today a broad and strong high pressure system at 1036 mbs was 1400 nmiles west of San Francisco ridging into the mainland and also south over Hawaii affecting the area out almost to the dateline. A second high at 1028 mbs was over the dateline. The only areas of the greater Pacific not affected by high pressure was a little patch just off Japan and a thin strip over the Aleutians in to the Northern Gulf of Alaska. A tiny low was off Japan but not doing anything of interest. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (2/21) the Japan low to track straight due north over Kamchatka with no fetch aimed towards our forecast area's. The two high pressure systems mentioned above to merge into one large one filling the greater Pacific. Weak low pressure at 980 mbs to set up over Northern Canada right on the coast there forming a moderate gradient with the high out over the ocean. Gale force winds of 35-40 kts to result Monday into Wednesday targeting the Pacific Northwest initially then focusing towards California with seas 20-27 ft through the period (even into early Friday). Moderate windswell forecast with swell size 7-10 ft @ 13-14 sec range (10-13 ft faces) during the period under poor conditions.
No other swell producing systems forecast.
A gale forecast for the Gulf of Alaska Fri/Sat AM (2/17) barely formed generating only 20-22 ft seas which are expected to be lost under the aforementioned chop fest scheduled for the Gulf.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (2/18) high pressure at 1038 mbs was 1200 nmiles west of San Francisco and sitting nearly stationary there. It was driving a strong northerly flow along the California coast north of Pt Conception at 25 kts scheduled to reach 35 kts late Sunday early Monday (2/19) and sweep over the outer Channel Islands. Much chop and poor conditions expected. The high to back off a bit late Monday into Tuesday with winds speeds declining to near calm late Tuesday as a cold front develops to the north associated with a gale low in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska. That front to push into San Francisco Wednesday (2/21) with south winds ahead of it then work it's way south in to Southern CA Thursday. Another bout of north winds to follow Friday into early Saturday (2/24) then dissipating, only to be followed by more north winds late Sunday and beyond. Looks like the usual windy Spring pattern is setting up.
At the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.
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 the big high pressure system is to start loosing some ground, down to 1028 mbs by Friday (2/23 but still anchored off the mainland and making no real moves towards pushing onshore. A second high at 1032 mbs to be off the Kuril Islands pushing towards the dateline. Theoretically a little low to start building northwest of Hawaii on Saturday (2/24) at 992 mbs, but all fetch to be in it's north quadrant aimed well west of the Islands. The low to lift north into the Western Gulf of Alaska, making no eastward progress due to the blocking high pressure system off the mainland. No other swell producing systems forecast.
In all, nothing of any interest forecast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table