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 Tuesday (2/26) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft overhead and reasonably clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was a foot or two overhead and a bit onshore mid-day. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was chest high and textured with wind coming up. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was 12-14 ft on the faces and cleaning up. The South Shore was head high and clean. The East Shore was head high plus at top spots.
North/Central California was getting the faint leftovers from Sundays big storm swell, which originated just 700 nmiles off the coast. Southern California was a decent amount of leftover swell from the Sunday/Monday swell event, with little bit's of southern hemi swell filtering in underneath. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid swell originating from a gale that was just north of the Islands Monday mixing with longer period but smaller swell from west of the dateline. This was the best show in the Pacific. The East Shore was getting minimal wrap-around energy coming from the northwest. The South Shore was getting a nice solid pulse of swell originating under New Zealand Sun-Mon (2/19).
Hawaii was in the middle of a solid swell originating just north of them 24 hours before, and limited energy from that swell to push into California later this week. Also another gale is forecast developing over the dateline in the next 24 hours generating nearly 30 ft seas aimed initially towards Hawaii then swinging more east as the gale tracks towards the Gulf of Alaska while slowly fading, likely setting up moderate swell for the California coast for late in the weekend. And off-season southern hemi swell is already in the water hitting Hawaii and pushing east towards the California coast for the weekend and beyond. After that a decidedly downward trend is expected. There's been sporadic suggestions of something forming on the dateline early next week, but that is far from certain with it coming and going depending on the mood of the models. Make the most of what you have at hand. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (2/26) for the North Pacific depicted a fragmented flow pushing off Japan reaching over the dateline at up to 160 kts in pockets to a point north of Hawaii, then almost splitting with some energy pushing south towards the equator and most ridging north up into British Columbia. Maybe a faint trough was over the dateline offering a little hope, but in all it was pretty unremarkable. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to ridge north just off Japan blowing a fair amount of energy off into the Bering Sea and almost splitting though pulling itself back together thanks to an infusion of wind energy building to 200 kts over Japan Friday (2/29). The trough starting to build near the dateline is to get a little better defined while pushing east into the Gulf through the period, offering some hope for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours a consolidated flow is to hold control over the Western Pacific pushing over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii, then splitting there with a weak flow continuing to ridge over the Gulf of Alaska and weaker energy still being siphoned off towards the equator. Best odds for gale development on the dateline or locations west of there.
At the surface today a weak gale was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska offering no potential to anyone other than British Columbia in the coming days, and a second gale was trying to organize on the dateline, remnants of a gale that was previously off Kamchatka. This one holds the most hope. High pressure was off Japan with another over Hawaii and a third over the Pacific Northwest Coast. The gales were nestled in-between. Over the next 72 hours swell from the Hawaiian Gale (see details below) to push towards and into California while another gale fires up over the dateline (see Japan/Dateline/Gulf Gale below) offering hope for both Hawaii and California. These are to be the only swell sources of interest for the time being.
On Sunday AM (2/24) a 988 mb gale generated 40-45 kt winds just north of the Islands near 40N 173W aimed well at Hawaii down the 330 degree path. These winds were only be over a small area but got traction on swell already in the water heading towards the Islands. Fetch continued in the evening at 40-45 kts at 35N 162W sinking south towards Hawaii and aimed like before. Seas built to 29 ft over a tiny area at 35N 161W. Residual 40 kts northwest fetch to pass just 600 nmiles north of Oahu Monday morning and faded with 28 ft seas at 32N 155W. Larger but somewhat raw swell impacted the Islands late Monday evening with swell to 10 ft @ 14 secs Tuesday AM (2/26) producing warbled 12 ft faces from 320-330+ degrees. That swell to be fading Wednesday.
Lesser energy to push into North California Thursday morning with swell 6.7 ft @ 15 secs (9-10 ft faces) from 265-270 degrees reaching down into exposed breaks in Southern CA with swell 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft faces) late afternoon up north from 280 degrees though some energy might reach San Diego by sunset.
A system off Japan mid-day Saturday (2/23) generated 45-50 kts west winds for 18 hours near 35N 150-160E targeting Hawaii well down the 302 degree great circle path, then headed quickly north by late Sunday afternoon bound for the Bering Sea with residual 40 kt westerly fetch fading just off Kamchatka on Monday (2/25). Seas peaked at 36 ft over a small area at 35N 160-162E aimed right at Hawaii mid-Sunday then rapidly faded off Kamchatka on Tuesday (2/26). Some form of 18 sec period swell possible for Hawaii early Thursday (2/28) with swell near 6.8 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) from 302 degrees. Swell fading from 6 ft @ 13-14 secs Friday (8 ft faces).
The remnants of this gale are forecast to reorganize well to the north and east on the dateline Tuesday evening into Wednesday AM (2/27) with pressure 984 mbs generating a small fetch of 40-45 kts northwest winds near 46-44N and 177-173W generating 12 hours of 30 ft seas at 44N 172W Wednesday AM fading to 29 ft in the evening at 42N 165W. Fetch to be aimed mid-way between Hawaii (335 degs) and California (296 NCal, 301 SCal) 30 degree of of the paths to each.
Thursday (2/28) 30-35 kt remnant winds to persist moving east from 45N 165W in the morning and 44N 158 in the evening generating a moderate area of 25 ft seas at 43N 160W and 43N 155W respectively. This energy to all be aimed at North California up the 290 degree path (295 SCal).
30 kt remnant winds to be fading Friday (2/29) well off the Cape Mendocino coast with 25 ft seas at 42N 150W in the morning and 23 ft seas at 41N 142W.
Decent odds for some form of large advanced class swell for the weekend with luck for breaks North of Pt Conception, with lesser energy filtering into Southern CA late in the weekend. The forecast for Hawaii is uncertain, though some energy could be expected Saturday (3/1).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast