On Tuesday (3/6) Northern CA surf was waist to maybe chest high and clean but weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was thigh to waist high and clean. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were also flat. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to 1 ft overhead and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California had some barely rideable surf but clean. Southern California was shadowed and flat. Hawaii was getting a nice bit of rideable clean swell though still a little smaller than ideal. Swell for the Islands to continue for a few days originating from a storm off Japan last Friday that hung around between there and the dateline while drifting north towards Kuril's through Monday. And additional weaker energy to persist after that as it's remnants move towards the Gulf of Alaska. Exposed breaks in California to get a bit of windswell energy too from a gale developing in the eastern Gulf of Alaska Tues-Fri. And as of late even a small storm is modeled due north of Hawaii early next week. That seems like a bit of a reach, but provides the faintest hint that winter is not completely over just yet. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (3/6) depicted a flow of 160 kts winds pushing over South Japan, then splitting heavily and weakening significantly before getting out over exposed waters with the northern branch pushing hard due north up into Siberia. Then it turned east tracking above the Bering Sea before finally sinking east over Western Alaska and into the Gulf of Alaska. A small trough was there providing some hope for gale development. The southern branch flowed more or less flat east on the 35N latitude line all the way into San Diego without fanfare. In all a pretty a pretty unremarkable configuration. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/9) more of the same is forecast, but with less energy tracking into the northern branch and more flowing flat across the Pacific in the southern branch at 130-140 kts. The big split over the bulk of the Pacific to persist as is the trough in the Gulf holds on. Most support for gale development to remain in the Gulf. Beyond 72 hours the big ridge over the Bering Sea to continue fading, but not totally dissipating. But energy levels in the southern branch to not improve much, and if anything it's to whither and look pretty anemic a week out with winds only 90 kts over the bulk of the Pacific. Little support for storm development suggested.
At the surface today 3 low pressure systems of minimal interest were in-play. One was the broad but weak remnants of a gale from last weekend off Japan that was now circulating over the dateline with only 20-25 kt northwest winds aimed at Hawaii, good for some short period windswell pushing towards the Islands but that's about it. Another low was trying to set up just west of Northern Japan, with no swell producing fetch of interest over exposed waters of the North Pacific. And the third low was at gale strength organizing in the eastern Gulf of Alaska. This was the only system of any real interest. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/9) the Gulf low to be of most interest generating a moderate fetch of mostly 30-35 kt northwest winds draping from Southwest Alaska over the gulf pushing into British Columbia. Sea modeled at 18-20 ft Tuesday building to near 25 ft Wednesday then slowly decaying to 23 ft and 20 ft into Friday. This ought to be good for windswell in Northern CA late Wednesday to 5.2 ft @ 10-11 secs in the San Francisco area with surf maybe 5 ft (sooner up north) holding there Thursday. Better energy to hitting Friday possibly pushing 5.8 ft @ 12 secs (6-7 ft faces) pushing to 6.6 ft @ 12 secs Saturday (7.5 ft faces). Surf heading down on Sunday but not out. See QuikCAST's for details.
Also remnants of the dateline low to track east but not die, with the core of the system moving just northwest of Hawaii Thursday (3/8) [700-900 nmiles away] generating 30-35 kt northwest winds aimed reasonably well at Hawaii then fading out Friday. Seas forecast in the 15-17 ft range providing windswell potential for Hawaii Friday/Saturday (3/10) at 5.2 ft @ 12 secs (6 ft faces) fading to 11 secs. See QuikCAST's for details.
Swell from when this gale was off Japan this past weekend is currently hitting the Islands with a little more to come (see details below).
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 the slightest bit of 45-50 kt winds were aimed east towards Hawaii. Seas building to 27 ft at 34N 150E, but aimed well south of the 294 degree great circle path to Hawaii. By Friday (3/2) this low started lifting northeast with pressure 984 mbs, driven by the jetstream aloft with winds fading in the west quadrant and limited barely 40 kts at 34N 164E targeting Hawaii, then fading. 30 ft seas were modeled in the morning at 33N 158E aimed 40 degrees south of the 295 degree path to Hawaii fading to 27 ft late at 32N 165E aimed right at Hawaii down the 299 degree path. On Saturday (4/3) this low continued fading with winds down to 30 kts aimed well towards the Islands from 35N 164E and residual 25 ft seas push east towards Hawaii from 34N 168E (303 degrees) as the low faded off Kamchatka . Maybe some lingering energy 30-35 kts winds targeting Hawaii Sunday generating only 20 ft seas, good for some 12-13 secs tag-along energy. But this is a major downgrade from previous forecast data. This storm did not evolve anywhere near as strong as previous forecast data suggested.
In all some form of rideable but weak utility class swell hit Hawaii starting early Tuesday (3/6) period 16 secs, peaking late with swell up to 4.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (7 ft faces) from 298-302 degrees. Residuals energy to continue fading from 4.9 ft @ 13 secs Wednesday (6 ft faces).
Nothing to result for California.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (3/6) weak high pressure was holding just off the California coast providing a stagnant air flow over the state while low pressure was building in the Gulf with a front sagging south nearly over the Oregon coast and a bit out beyond California waters. That front to decay to near nothing on Wednesday while a new high pressure system at 1022 mbs builds in right behind it, result in light winds all day all locations. The high to push east through the workweek ridging into the north part of the state through the weekend keeping a generally light northerly flow in-play. Point Conception to see some 15 kt north winds Fri/Sat drifting north over San Francisco by next Monday. Perhaps another ridge and more north winds to move over Monterey Bay northward into Cape Mendocino on Tuesday (3/13), but that's a reach at this early date.
Of interest, a series of gales generated some form of 25-29 ft seas under New Zealand Sun-Tues (2/27) targeting Hawaii and Tahiti 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.
A second batch of gale energy pushed under New Zealand generating 27-29 ft seas (3/1) through Sunday (3/4) pushing up to near the 30 ft mark into Monday (3/7) good for another extended duration of small background swell pushing mainly into Hawaii's South Shores (and Tahiti).
The pattern to push east out of the Hawaiian and Tahitian swell window but still producing 27-30 ft seas into Wed/Thurs (3/8) providing weak potential for background southern hemi swell mainly for Southern CA.
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 some form of weak near-gale northwest winds (25 kts) to persist in the Gulf of Alaska from the weekend through Tuesday (3/13) providing short period small windswell for the Pacific Northwest down into North CA. But of more interest is the modeled development of a small storm just northwest of Hawaii Monday (3/12) generating 50 kt winds aimed south and seas building to 35 ft, then rapidly swinging into the systems south quadrant aimed more to the east and towards the US mainland while fading and not making much eastward progress. 35 ft seas building by Tuesday morning aimed right at Hawaii from just 900 nmiles away then holding while pushing more towards the mainland. Will believe it when it happens. No other swell producing fetch suggested.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table