On Thursday (3/1) Northern CA surf was maybe 2 times overhead and unorganized. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and messy. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high, maybe a shade more. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to maybe chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high at the best spots. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore had head high windswell.
North/Central California had fading size but cleaner conditions with swell moving more into the pure windswell range. Southern California had some barely rideable windswell that was very unimpressive. Hawaii remained small with tradewind swell on the east side as big as anything on the North Shore. The storm pattern is as good as it's going to get right now, which isn't saying much. The jetstream is looking fairly decent off Japan with a little storm starting to organize there, possibly sending a pulse of energy towards the Hawaiian Islands for the days ahead, but most of that energy is to actually push south of there and not affecting the majority of our forecast area. After that the jet is to fall apart, and no swell producing storms of interest are forecast. So make the most of whatever you can get now, cause these are going to seem like the 'good ole days' compared to what's coming. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (3/1) depicted a reasonably consolidated flow pushing off Japan with winds up to 150 kts pushing up to the dateline, then fading fast and splitting with the southern branch e diving south over Hawaii then splitting again pushing east. The northern branch of this split flow was pushing northeast into the Northern Gulf of Alaska then down the Pacific Northwest coast. The only area capable of supporting gale development was off Japan. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (3/4) the area off Japan to hold through early Saturday providing some support for surface level gale development, then the jet is to split over Siberia with that split working it's way into the North Pacific and joining with energy pushing over the Northern Bering Sea, setting up a massive ridge and totally shutting down the entirety of the North Pacific for gale production. Beyond 72 hours the outlook becomes even less optimistic with that split growing in size into a massive ridge pushing north of the Bering Sea up towards the North Pole, totally locking what is expected to be high pressure over the entire North Pacific, save only a tiny pocket in the far Northeastern Gulf of Alaska where the jet is to return from it's arctic venture to join up with the remaining weak southerly branch traversing the North Pacific. No support for gale development suggested.
At the surface today broad and strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned 700 nmiles west of Pt Conception ridging inland over California and reducing surface winds along the coast as it started to push onshore. the south side of this high was generating enhanced trades over the Hawaiian Islands, abut a bit less robust than in days previous. Weak inconsequential low pressure was over the East Aleutians having no impact of interest. Of note was a building storm just west of Hawaii (details below). Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (3/4) the big high pressure area off California is to finally move inland providing a drying and clear pattern there. Trades to continue subsiding over the Hawaiian Islands too, reducing tradewind induced windswell there. Only the low off Japan to be of interest.
Japan Storm (Hawaii)
A new low developed over Japan Wednesday (2/28) building in strength while tracking east. The big problem with this one was all fetch was limited to it's west quadrant aimed due south towards the equator with nothing aimed at Hawaii. This one maxed out on Thursday (3/1) with north winds confirmed at 60 kts in it's west quadrant aimed almost due south with nothing aimed down the great circle tracks to Hawaii. By nightfall maybe the slightest bit of 45-50 kt winds were to be aimed east towards Hawaii. Seas building to 32 ft at 34N 155E, but generally aimed well south of the 294 degree great circle path to Hawaii. By Friday (3/2) this low to start lifting northeast, driven by the jetstream aloft with winds starting to fade in the west quadrant and limited 40-45 kt fetch targeting Hawaii, then fading. 38 ft seas forecast in the morning at 33N 160E aimed 40 degrees south of the 295 degree path to Hawaii fading to 36 ft late at 34N 165E aimed right at Hawaii down the 299 degree path. On Saturday (4/3) this low to continue fading with winds 30-35 kts aimed well towards the Islands and residual 29-31 ft seas to push east towards Hawaii from 35N 170E (303 degrees) as the low fades off Kamchatka . Maybe some lingering energy 30-35 kts winds targeting Hawaii Sunday generating only 18-20 ft seas, good for some 12-13 secs tag-along energy. In all some form of rideable utility class swell seems likely for Hawaii starting late Monday (3/5) with period 17 secs, peaking Tuesday at 6.8 ft @ 15 secs (9-10 ft faces) from 298-302 degrees, but it's still a bit too early to say this for sure.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (3/1) a 1032 mb high was pushing east into California. A drying pattern is to build in while wind starts backing off in the north (San Francisco) and in Southern CA. By Friday (3/2) the high to be pushing fully inland with calmer winds to be over most of North and South CA though Central California to still see north winds. Finally the high to push inland with an offshore flow forecast Saturday and Sunday all locations. A weak front associated with developing generic low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska to possibly push down into North CA Monday (3/5) bringing a hint of south winds to the San Francisco area, and spurring development of a local low Tues-Wed and more south winds and some rain north of Monterey Bay. Then a new high pressure system to build in with calm conditions beyond, though it might generate brisk north winds in Southern CA.
Of interest, a series of gales generated some form of 25-29 ft seas under New Zealand Sun-Tues (2/27) targeting Hawaii reasonably well. Small background swell is likely pushing towards the South Shore expected to arrive starting Tuesday (3/6) and continuing through the week with 3 ft faces projected.
Also the models continue to forecast a series of gales under New Zealand generating some form of 27 ft seas starting Thursday (3/1) pushing up to near the 30 ft mark into Tuesday (3/6) that might be good for another extended duration of small background swell pushing mainly into Hawaii's South Shores.
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 not much is expected. One little low is to develop over the dateline Tues/Wed (3/7) with maybe 40 kt west winds and 22 ft seas over a tiny area targeting Hawaii decently and relatively close, possibly providing some limited swell generation potential. But that to be short lived and quickly fade late Wednesday as it becomes assimilated into an area of generic low pressure in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska. This one to maybe spit fleeting bits of 30 kt winds towards the Pacific Northwest Mon-Thurs (3/8), but only windswell expected to result for immediately adjacent areas. Otherwise nothing else suggested.
Looking very long term the models suggest La Nina is setting up, with water temperatures dropping quickly over the tropical East Pacific and trades at least normal, if not stronger than normal the whole way across the Tropical Pacific. Some of this is attributable to the inactive phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation, now fully developed. It's affects are being felt over the entire North Pacific Basin with less storm generation potential forecast. Of interest, this is to be a rather short lived event (maybe only 30 day total duration) with the active phase of the MJO already in production over the Indian Ocean and expected to start pushing out into the far West Pacific next week. It's expected to hold together pushing into the mid-Pacific around March 15th. This might help to provide one last little pulse to the winter season late in the month, but even that is a reach. Expect something less. Beyond, a La Nina pattern seems the most likely outcome, which is not favorable to storm development or swell production for the next year (through the winter of 2007/2008).
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table