On Tuesday (3/14) Northern CA surf was head high and ugly. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were about the same. Central California surf was 2 ft. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat, maybe waist high at the very best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat with a few waist high sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high with a few bigger sets to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was chest to head high.
California is all but flat. Hawaii take's the cake with northwest swell in the head high range. Bigger swell is on the way for the mainland though, and is already hitting the outer buoys with seas to 30 ft. No need to get too worked up though, because local winds to not be favorable in the north. Maybe Southern CA will have the better shot at this one, but even that is far from certain. Another low is forecast off Oregon setting up yet more windblown locally generated swell for the mainland with a gale forecast over the dateline sending some energy towards the Islands, assuming the models are accurate. Better than nothing but not great. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream (3/14) remained poorly organized with a fair chuck of 170 kt winds flowing off Southern Japan then veering hard north and fading while pushing over the Bering Sea just off Kamchatka, tracking east then diving south into the Gulf of Alaska with barely 100 kt winds left pushing into North CA. The only area with any support for surface level gale development was the Gulf and even that was weak. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/17) the Gulf trough is to try and hang on while drifting east and moving inland over the Pacific Northwest with only weak winds blowing through it. Some continued support in this area for surface level gael development, fading by the weekend. By Wednesday a trough is to develop off Kamchatka tracking east over the Aleutians reaching the dateline by Friday with maybe 120 kt winds flowing under it, pretty weak. Beyond 72 hours the dateline trough is to continue weakly to the east pushing into and through the Gulf of Alaska setting up a broad trough there by next week, but with no real winds flowing under it. This is the best area for potential gale development for next week. The split jetstream pattern that has been so pronounced as of late, though it faded a bit the past few days, is to come back with a vengeance from Saturday onward, also adding to the lack of support for any real storm development. A generally unfavorable set-up expected or the week ahead.
At the surface today the fast fading remnants of low pressure off the California coast had generated swell pushing east (see CA Gale below). No other swell sources were in evidence. Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered 900 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii stretching southeast into Baja and north into the Bering Sea, supporting the southward flow of colder arctic air into the Pacific Northwest and California. A second high was over the dateline at 1020 mbs reaching north to almost the Aleutians.
Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/17) 2 systems of interest are forecast. The first is a small low forecast off Japan Wednesday dropping quickly to 964 mbs with a brief burst of 55 kt winds forecast in lows south quadrant aimed towards Hawaii. 30 ft seas forecast at 43N 170E. It is to track quickly northeast moving over and north of the Aleutians near the dateline by Thursday midday. 45-50 kt winds at least to continue through the period but aimed more to the east and away from the Hawaiian Islands, though sideband fetch is likely to continue. 32 ft seas forecast but increasing aimed to the north towards the Aleutians by late Thursday. On Friday all fetch is to migrate north of the Aleutians with seas fading from 28 ft and swell generation potential fading. Rough data suggest small swell pushing into Hawaii early Sunday (3/19) with swell 4 ft @ 15-16 secs (5-6 ft faces).
Also a 996 mb low is to develop just a few hundred nmiles off Oregon on Thursday (3/16) producing a 18 hour fetch of 40 kt northwest winds aimed down the coast before dissipating Friday morning as it moves inland over Washington. Perhaps some 26 ft seas to result late Thursday just outside the NCal swell window pushing a very steep north swell down the North/Central CA coast for the weekend.
On Monday (3/13) a new fetch in the Gulf of Alaska started developing with pressure down to 992 mbs and 40-45 kt winds developing in it's southwest sector positioned 900 nmiles off the Oregon coast building to 45-50 kts late at 42N 138W aimed right at North CA up the 293 degree great circle path. The fetch pushed right over buoy 46006 early Tuesday AM producing 45-50 kts winds and 30-33 ft seas, a bit more than expected. This was outside the swell window for Hawaii. Seas were modeled to 27 ft at 42N 135W targeting California from Pt Arena southward but in too close in proximity to the coast to be ideal. This low was pushing into the Oregon coast on Tuesday with fetch dissipating. Raw swell is expected to hit North CA peaking just after sunrise Wednesday with swell 12 ft @ 14 secs (13-14 ft faces) and 10.0 ft @ 14 secs at Point Conception Wednesday mid-day (11-12 ft faces). Swell of 4.5-5.0 ft @ 14 secs to wrap into exposed Southern CA breaks at sunset (5.5-6.5 ft faces) with best breaks in San Diego to 6 ft @ 14 secs (8-9 ft faces but not till likely after sunset).
No other swell sources forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (3/14) the models continue suggesting no real let-up in the wind pattern from Pt Conception northward with either south winds or northwest winds in-control and lot's of local fetch just off the coast making for messy conditions. Wednesday to have generally light winds, then south winds Thursday turning northwest and building by late Friday continuing strong through Saturday and pushing well into South CA. A bit of a break Sunday but then south winds return Monday and into Tuesday and again pushing into South CA. Almost more of a winter pattern but without the strong storm energy.
The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.
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 two high pressure centers to retain control of the balance of the North Pacific, one just off California at 1028 mbs and the second over the dateline also at 1028 mbs then merging together late in the weekend.
Beyond that the models suggest a storm developing off Japan tracking north on Monday (3/20) with 50 kts winds and 32 ft seas aimed towards Hawaii, but making no eastward progress. Some small swell generation potential for the Islands there. Also 2 more gale lows are forecast for the Gulf of Alaska, one just off Oregon on Monday and another in the Northern Gulf on Tuesday. 24 hours of 40 kt winds expected aimed exclusively towards the mainland (California and the Pacific Northwest) producing 22 and 26 ft seas. More raw swell for the West Coast likely.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table