On Saturday (2/24) Northern CA surf was 1.5 times overhead and clean, but warbled and ugly. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high and cleaner. Central California surf was 1-2 ft overhead and clean. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to thigh high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was in the waist to chest high range and clean at the best spots. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high. The North Shore of Oahu was near flat. The South Shore was waist high on the sets. The East Shore had head high windswell again.
North/Central California was in the calm before the storm, again, with sloppy large windswell fading but more swell queued up off the coast along with wind and rain. Southern California was somewhat protected from the stormy pattern and large raw swell to the north, but also somewhat shadowed from the bulk of the size, providing only small but rideable surf. Hawaii remained 'Lost' from any semblance of real surf with the jetstream focused in the far Gulf of Alaska. No big change in the macro level weather pattern today with the greater North Pacific locked down by a poor jetstream flow aloft and high pressure at the surface rendering the Japan and Aleutian swell corridors stormless. Only the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska was getting any action, with a continuous series of small moderate strength gales tracking southeast towards California and the Pacific Northwest providing raw swell conditions there. No big change forecast for at least a week. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Saturdays jetstream charts (2/24) depicted a double .cgiit flow pushing off Japan at 120-130 kts, with one branch tracking east as usual while another turned due north up the Kuril Islands and jet another branch .cgiit off the southern flow out towards the dateline. A rather confused flow to be sure and not supportive of gale development. The two northern branches resycned in the Bering Sea and pushed unified through the northeastern Gulf of Alaska providing a small trough there with 150 kt winds pushing towards and over the Pacific Northwest, providing hope for surface level gale development there. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (2/27) even the little ray of hope in the Gulf is to fade as the trough there pushes mostly inland leaving only a 200 nmiles gap off British Columbia for something to form. This is likely only good for rain and nearshore winds at the surface. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf region to get another small trough, but winds to be very weak and not really supportive of anything at the surface. But back to the west off Japan there's some indication the jetstream may try and repair itself, with an almost consolidated flow setting up and a pocket of 150 kts winds forecast pushing to the dateline, though lot's of residual flows still in.cgiay and stealing energy from the main flow. Still, it looks better than right now. Some degree of support for surface level gale development possible. Will be interesting to see if the models project additional improvements in this region a few days out.
At the surface today broad high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned just northeast of Hawaii on the 35N latitude ridging east into Baja Mexico, southwest into Hawaii and northwest towards the dateline, but not making it there . A second small but strong 1040 mbs high was over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutian Islands looking poised to spill into the East Pacific. The remnants of Storm #17 were just off of British Columbia driving fetch into the Oregon coast at near 30 kts and providing swell generation opportunity for California and the Pacific Northwest (see details below). A series of two cut-off low pressure systems were in the West Pacific, one over the dateline and a second just off Japan. Neither had any swell producing fetch aimed at our forecast area but both did have 45-50 kt winds in their north quadrants aimed west towards Japan (a rather unique but weird situation) as they formed a gradient with high pressure to their north. Otherwise enhanced trades were blowing over the Hawaiian Islands generating easterly windswell there, being driven by high pressure northeast of the Islands. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (2/27) no real change is forecast with high pressure holding northeast of Hawaii while more low pressure drops from the Gulf into the PAcific Northwest and California from a rather north angle, providing lot's of wind, rain and raw swell for the area. Two such lows are forecast with winds in the 35 kt range with seas 25-27 ft on Tuesday then again on Wednesday, impacting the coast directly. Trades and windswell to continue for the eastern shores of the Hawaiian Islands. The low pressure systems in the far West Pacific to dissipate.
On Thursday PM (2/22) a new low pressure system started to form in the northern Gulf of Alaska with pressure 986 mbs just south of the juncture of the Aleutians and Alaska. Winds were verified via the QuikSCAT satellite at 40 kts, higher than expected, at 47N 162W aimed right down the 300 degree great circle path to North CA.
On Friday AM (2/23) this system had pressure down to 982 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts at 46N 153 aimed right down the 300 degree great circle path into North CA. Seas modeled up to 27 ft. In the evening pressure to hold while 40-45 kt winds were confirmed in the storms southwest sector at 45N 147W aimed right down the 298 degree path to North CA. Seas up to 35 ft at 45N 150W.
By Saturday AM (2/24) winds were confirmed fading from 40 kts at 43N 137W aimed almost right down the 302 degree great circle path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 32 ft at 43N 143W. By evening 35 kts fetch to continue off Oregon at 43N 137W, though smaller than before. Seas from previous fetch at 30 ft to be positioned at 42N 136W or in the 296 degree window for NCal.
This system was on the charts for 3-4 days before it actually formed and developed pretty much right to expectation. And if anything it shifted a bit further south from initial projections, putting it more in the North California swell window and improving the odds for sizeable swell pushing well into North and Central CA, but also increasing the likelihood of poor weather during the swells arrival. Southern California to be a bit shadowed from much of the energy, though some form of utility class well could be expected at exposed breaks (see QuikCAST's for details). But the real issue here is it's close proximity to the coast, from 670-1531 nmiles from San Francisco not allowing the swell a.cgie distance to groom itself clean. This ensures whatever swell results with have a raw warbled and possibly stormy quality.
North CA: Rough data suggest large raw swell to arrive Sunday (2/25) mid-afternoon with period 17 secs and size ramping up fast. Swell to peak a few hours after sunset with pure swell 10-11 ft @ 17 secs and seas pushing the 13 ft mark (17-19 ft faces at exposed breaks). Swell to fade overnight with swell 10 ft @ 13 secs Monday early (11-13 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 299-303 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (2/24) high pressure at 1030 mbs remained 1200 nmiles west of San Diego trying to ridge into the coast but not quite making it. The remnants of Storm #17 was circulating just 200 nmiles off British Columbia with a broad area of 35 kt northwest winds positioned off Oregon aimed right at Central and North California. This fetch to move even closer to the coast late in the day likely generating lot's off offshore chop and lump pushing towards the coast. A series of lows to follow a similar if not more northerly route in the days ahead ensuring lot's of short period warble continues pushing into the coast while one front arrives late Saturday, another Monday and yet another Tuesday all preceded by southerly winds and followed by brisk north winds. These systems are expected to push all the way down into Southern CA too. Finally the high to start pushing into the coast Wednesday with north winds backing off late and continuing in the light to moderate category into next weekend.
At the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.
Of minor interest, a small gale developed south of New Zealand late Tues/Wed (2/21) generating 27-30 ft seas near 58S 170E pushing east-northeast for 24 hours, maybe good for a small pulse of 15 sec period southern hemi background swell for Hawaii starting Monday (2/26).
Even more intersesting is a series of gales forecast for the same area under New Zealand generating near 30 ft seas for a short duration Mon (2/26), 28 ft seas Tues, and Wed/Thurs in the 35 ft range. Pretty good for the time of year. Some form of small background swell expected for Hawaii's South shore if this come to pass.
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 that has remained stationary off California is to weaken and start pushing inland late week. At the same time the Gulf of Alaska storm pattern is to dissipate there as upper level support vaporizes. The only thing of any interest is to be a new low pushing off Japan Thursday (3/1) with maybe some 35 kt fetch aimed at Hawaii, but mostly aimed well south of any great circle paths there and dissipating as it tracks east towards the dateline into Saturday (3/3), though not gone. A rather quiet pattern indeed.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table