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 Saturday (3/1) Northern CA surf was head high with a building onshore wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high and crumbly. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high and almost clean early. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to maybe chest high and clean early. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high and glassy. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high and clean but weak. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to 2 ft overhead and clean as a whistle. The South Shore was near flat and clean. The East Shore was waist high at top spots.
North/Central California was getting leftover swell originating north of Hawaii days earlier and fading with new swell from a gale in the Gulf poised on the outer buoys. Southern hemi swell was in the mix too. Southern California was getting a mix of southern hemi swell originating under New Zealand and small northwest swell from Hawaii. Hawaii's North Shore was getting swell originating off Japan and still pretty solid making it the best surf in our forecast area today. The East Shore was getting minimal wrap-around energy. The South Shore was on the verge of being flat.
Hawaii to continue getting a steady diet of swell from over the dateline after the Japan swell dies out, starting with the first pulse on Monday. And more is expected behind that. California is poised for another pulse of swell originating from the GUlf by Sunday continuing in some moderate fashion intro early next week, then settling down but not out with more modest activity schedule for the Gulf through the week. And southern hemi swell is to continue pushing in through mid-next week. So in all there should be more surf for everyone and in the fun sized range, making for decent odds for performance surfing versus any life or death situations. Enjoy! See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Saturdays jetstream charts (3/1) for the North Pacific were shaping up, depicted a solid flow of up to 190 kts winds pushing off Japan to the dateline then falling into a weak trough there, then ridging northeast over the Gulf of Alaska with another trough pushing into the Pacific Northwest. Decent odds for gale development over the dateline with something pushing into the Northwest. Over the next 72 hours a solid flow to continue off Japan reaching over the dateline and falling into a persistent trough almost north of Hawaii and offering good hope for gale development there, while a strong ridge builds over the Gulf of Alaska likely setting up high pressure down at the oceans surface, and holding, though the ridge is to start looking weaker by mid-next week. Beyond 72 hours the ridge in the east is to fade fast with the jet continuing respectable at 160 kts extending from Japan over the dateline and pushing into the mid-Gulf by Friday (3/7), then pushing into Washington a day later. No obvious troughs forecast but sufficient energy is expected if one were to form to support gale development. In all, not too bad a pattern.
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned between Hawaii and California ready to surge east. It was already starting to generate a modest amount of north winds down the California coast with more expected. A weak low was pushing into Canada and actually helped to generate swell earlier in it's life. That swell was poised just off the California coast on Saturday. A broad but highly unorganized area of low pressure was over the northern dateline region trying to push into the Gulf of Alaska and offering no real fetch of interest. It was dragging a weak front towards the Hawaiian Islands. It generated swell over the dateline earlier in the week expected to arrive Monday (3/3). Another pocket of low pressure was just off Japan trying to organize, but not looking impressive at all. Over the next 72 hours high pressure to impact California making for a bout of north winds Sunday but fading fast while the conglomeration of low pressure systems on the dateline try to coalesce into something of interest on Sunday (3/2) .
At that time a consolidated low is to deepen to 976 mbs with 45 kt wind at 40N 178W aimed right at Hawaii down the 319 degree path producing 26 ft seas, then quickly swinging to the east in the evening with 45 kt winds holding at 43N 173W aimed right at NCal up the 294 degree path. 32 ft seas forecast building at 41N 175W heading towards California. Secondary 30-35 kt fetch to persist in the area of 35N 170E-170W Monday and Tuesday (3/4) getting good traction on an already agitated seas state generating 25-29 kts seas near 35N 175E-175W targeting Hawaii best. Advanced class swell likely for Hawaii and intermediate class swell for California if this develops as forecast (see QuikCASTs for details).
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).
The remnants of this gale reorganized somewhat 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 kts northwest winds near 46-44N and 177-173W generating 12 hours of 27-28 ft seas at 44N 171W Wednesday AM fading to 25 ft in the evening at 43N 165W. Fetch was 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 23 ft seas at 42N 160W and 43N 158W respectively. This energy was all be aimed at North California up the 290 degree path (295 SCal).
30 kt remnant winds were fading Friday (2/29) well off the Cape Mendocino coast with 20 ft seas at 43N 151W in the morning and 19 ft seas at 43N 145W in the evening before dissipating. .
Decent odds for some form of 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 CA to see swell of 5.4-5.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (8 ft faces) Sunday from 291-296 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
As of Saturday (3/1) high pressure was in-control of waters off California and pushing east. By evening with 30 kt north winds are forecast blowing over Pt Conception and lesser energy up to Cape Mendocino. A distinctly Spring-like pressure gradient is to be set up by Sunday AM with 25-30 kt north winds blowing from Cape Mendocino south to Pt Conception and over the Channel Islands (though Southern CA to be mostly spared the direct assault) and continuing into the evening. It's to totally fall apart Monday with only light northeast winds forecast, then another bit of weak high pressure to be ridging into the Pacific Northwest coast Tuesday (3/4) setting up a light northerly flow Tuesday from Cape Mendocino down into Pt Conception, but mostly over outer water and fading through the day Wednesday. Generic weak high pressure to hold off the coast with a light northerly flow over local waters (though Southern CA to remain protected) into early next weekend.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
Residual energy from a New Zealand gale reorganized in the Southeast Pacific Friday into Saturday (2/23) generating 30 ft seas pushing well to the northeast from 62S 153W Friday AM (2/22) pushing to 58S 145W in the evening then 52S 138W Saturday AM before fading rapidly in the evening.
Another pulse of more southerly angled swell is expected to reach Southern CA Sunday (3/2) with swell 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5 ft faces) dropping from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) on Monday (3/3) from 190-195 degrees.
Northern CA to swell swell of 2.9 ft @ 17 secs on Sunday (3/2) (5 ft faces) fading from 2.9 ft @ 16 secs Monday (4.5-5.0 ft faces) and 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs Tuesday (3.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees.
An interesting storm is forecast forming in the mid-South Pacific Monday AM (3/3) with pressure 960 mbs generating a decent fetch of 50-55 kt south to southwest winds near 57S 155W tracking northeast through late Tuesday with winds slowly fading to 35 kts at 50S 135W. This fetch to generate 38 ft seas Mon PM at 57S 150W holding till Tuesday AM at 50S 145W then fading from 35 ft at 45N 138W. If this occurs some form a decent southern hemi swell might be set up pushing towards California and Central America with a faint hope of sideband energy reaching Hawaii. 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 another pair of modest gales are to push off Japan Wednesday (3/5) moving quickly towards the dateline Thursday with the leading one almost in the Gulf with pressure 980 mbs and 40-45 kts winds raking a long area extending from the dateline at 40N to 155W through the period generating 25-28 ft seas all aimed due east towards California up the 290-295 degree paths. Maybe some hope there. The second low to follow right behind but further south generating 35 kt winds tracking from 35N 160E to 170W Wed-Fri (3/7) aimed better at Hawaii and generating 26 ft seas. Hope here as well.
An yet another similar low is forecast off Japan next weekend.
No swell producing systems of interst 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