On Tuesday (3/20) Northern CA surf was head high and pretty sloppy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high. Central California surf was about waist high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was maybe thigh high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh high too. The North Shore of Oahu was head high and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest high or so.
North/Central California was getting a little swell from the dateline, but with local chop and bump on top. Southern California was getting no swell of interest. Hawaii was on the downside of a dateline swell that was fading fast. Swell from a gale over the dateline late last week is pushing east into California. Also a storm is pushing through the Northern Gulf of Alaska expected to provide some weekend energy for both Hawaii and California. Then the pattern is to get decidedly quiet. Maybe some local gale activity in the Gulf might generate some windswell for California and the Pacific Northwest, but no other systems of interest are modeled and not much expected as La Nina builds in and the MJO moves to the inactive phase. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (3/20) looked almost impressive with a strong consolidated flow pushing off Japan out the dateline with winds 200 kts then splitting with most energy heading northeast into the Northern Gulf of Alaska on into northern Canada at 150 kts while the southern branch went south of Hawaii then east into Baja. Good support for storm development off the Kuril Islands and over the dateline. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/23) the flow is to hold together well, with the split over Hawaii disappearing while dropping south a little, targeting british Columbia rather than locations further north. The core of the strongest winds to be pushing east but fading some, down to 170 kts. Still decent support for storm development pushing into the Gulf, though no real well defined trough is to exist. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to really start withering away as the last bit of this energy pushes into the Pacific Northwest down into Central California Mon/Tues (3/27). Back to the west a completely disorganized flow to take over pushing east generally ridging north over the dateline into the Bering Sea with the faintest hint of a trough remaining over exposed waters of the Northern Gulf of Alaska. Winds 110 kts. No support for storm development and only a hint of support for gale activity in the Gulf.
At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned 900 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii riding south over the Islands and generating brisk trades there while pushing east, bound for California. Swell from a gale late last week west of the dateline was hitting California (see Dateline Gale below). A storm was in the Aleutian storm corridor in the Western Gulf of Alaska heading towards the Northern Gulf (see Gulf Storm below). A secondary low was hanging just west of the dateline generating a minimal fetch there (see Dateline Low below). No other significant weather features were indicated. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/23) the Gulf storm to be of most interest pushing east into Canada while the much weaker dateline low to track east and dissipate. By Friday a near stagnant pattern is forecast.
On Monday/Tuesday (3/20) an innocuous Gulf low generated 30 kts winds producing 17-18 ft seas targeting North CA and Oregon, good for some sloppy 10-11 sec period windswell in North CA Wednesday (3/21) but buried in local chop and mixed with dateline swell (see below). See QuikCAST's for details.
A storm formed Wednesday evening (3/14) with winds confirmed at 50 kts over a tiny area at 39N 170E aimed well at Hawaii down the 310 degree path but 40 degrees south of the 294 degree path to California. On Thursday AM (3/14) much the same was occurring with pressure 984 mbs and the storm making no eastward progress. Seas had built to 29 ft at the same location. In the evening pressure was down to 980 mbs with 40-45 kt winds confirmed at 39N 175E aimed 20 degrees east of the 312 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees south of the 293 degree path to California. Seas were up to 36 ft at 39N 174E. By Friday (3/16) the gale held it's position with 45-50 kts west winds continuing at roughly the same place and on the same headings with seas 32 ft at 40N 177E. But by evening it had totally faded out. Residual seas were down to 30 ft @ 39N 178E.
Swell to push into Northern CA Tuesday (3/20) with period 18 secs and size building late in the day to 4 ft @ 16 secs (6 ft faces) from 292-295 degrees. Swell 4.7 ft @ 14 secs Wednesday (3/21) with 6.0-6.5 ft faces but buried in local chop and secondary northwest windswell from the Gulf of Alaska. Swell also to push into Southern CA at 2 ft @ 15-16 sec on Wednesday (3 ft faces) from 297-302 degrees.
Gulf Storm (CA)
On Monday PM (3/19) a small new storm formed south of the Aleutians and just east of the dateline. Pressure was 968 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts over a tiny area in the lows southeast sector aimed mostly northeast towards Alaska from 45N 173W. Nothing aimed at Hawaii and next to nothing aimed at California. On Tuesday AM (3/20) the storm held while tracking east with winds more in the southern quadrant now, confirmed at 50-55 kts at 47N 168W aimed right at North CA down the 301 degree great circle path (305 Scal). Seas modeled at 30 ft at 46N 170W. In the evening winds to hold at 50-55 kts over a small area at 48N 160W aimed 20 degrees east of the 306 degree path to North CA (310 SCal). Seas modeled up to 36 ft @ 48N 162W. On Wednesday AM (3/21) the storm to be moving fast east and losing traction with 45 kt west winds forecast at 52N 149W aimed 20 degrees east of the 309 degree path to NCal and out of the SCal swell window. Seas 35 ft at 51N 153W. By evening this one to be pushing inland over north Canada with seas out of even the NCal swell window.
This is shaping up to be a very small storm having only a small footprint on the oceans surface, but reasonably potent. No energy is forecast aimed at Hawaii but there's a reasonable chance for some energy to push towards California, especially since the storm is pushing east in that same relative direction. Assuming the models are right, some form of decent utility class well seems likely for North CA starting Friday (3/23) with period 17-18 secs fading to 14 secs by Saturday AM with peak swell size maybe 7.8 ft and coming from 300-308 degrees. Energy pushing into Southern CA Saturday AM (3/24) with swell 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs. This to be likely the last swell of the season.
Also on Monday (3/19) follow on energy from the Gulf Storm (above) was generating a diffuse area of 25 kt west winds west of the dateline aimed mid-way between Hawaii and California and producing 20 ft seas, but a long ways away from the latter. It's to get marginally better organized Tuesday into Wednesday (3/21) with a more consolidated fetch of 30 kt northwest winds and 20-22 ft seas targeting Hawaii down the 315 degree path, while slipping east to the dateline, then fading out Thursday. 12-13 sec period windswell possible for Hawaii Saturday and Sunday (3/25) dribbling into exposed breaks in California Tuesday (3/27).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (3/20) high pressure at 1034 mbs was poised just offshore and getting ready to make a big push east. This means only one thing - wind. By Wednesday 30 kt northwest winds are forecast over Cape Mendocino pushing south to Pt Reyes even to just off Monterey Bay, though a little less nearshore. Chop to rule the day from Point Conception northward. the high to stall off the coast and fade some Thursday with northwest winds dropping to 20-25 kts offshore and much less nearshore early, maybe only 10 kts. A bit more wind Friday as the high tries to push east again with 20-25 kt north winds off the coast, less near shore. Windslop still in control. SCal to remain protected though. The high to dissipate through the weekend through still producing 15 kt northwest wind Saturday into early sunday at exposed breaks. Possible south winds Monday for North and Central CA as a little local low forms ahead of the next big push of high pressure. Very strong northwest winds forecast all the way down into Southern Ca Tuesday (3/27) as that high moves in.
A gale developed south of Tahiti Monday (3/12) at 53S 158W tracking east while producing 27 ft seas spraying north towards the Islands for a short period before moving east of that swell window and fading. This system reorganized Wednesday (3/14) on the southern edge of the California swell window at 48N 125W generating 32 ft seas late targeting Southern CA and all locations south of there before pushing east of the swell window and dissipating early Thursday (3/15). Small to moderate southern hemi swell action especially for Southern CA from 180-185 degrees expected starting late Tuesday (3/20) peaking Wednesday with swell 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft faces) from 200 degrees mixed with energy from 185 degrees.
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 a series of mild lows to push east through the Gulf but no winds greater than 25 kts suggested. Strong high pressure to start building over the dateline during the weekend pushing into the southern Gulf Monday with pressure 1036 mbs generating brisk 30 kt north winds ahead of it (pushing into California) and 25 kt easterly winds south of it (pushing over Hawaii) with moderate sized windswell to expected result. There's a remote suggestion of a weak gale setting up in the Gulf early next week, but fetch to only be in the 30 kt range targeting the Pacific Northwest and good for some more windswell. Looks like things to really settle down.
Beyond 72 hours a small gale producing 29 ft seas is to push under New Zealand on Friday (3/23) pushing northeast into Saturday possibly setting up small swell for Tahiti and Hawaii in the days ahead. Beyond that the models are really teasing with a strong storm pushing under New Zealand Sunday (3/25) then lifting northeast and building into mid-next week. It's a total phantom for now, but it provides a little hint of where things are likely heading in the weeks ahead.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table