On Sunday (3/26) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft over and a slop-fest. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high with sets 1 ft overhead. Central California surf was chest to head high with sets 1 ft over. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high at the best breaks with most much less. The LA Area southward to Orange County was knee high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high or so. The North Shore of Oahu was head high with sets 1-2 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was head high.
Windswell continued along the California coast driven by a series of gales that have dropped southeast through the Gulf of Alaska, with more expected to follow. Only small bit's of this energy is reaching into the south end of the state. Hawaii was doing well with a mixture of local windswell and swell from a gale that was off Japan early last week. Of more interest to the South Shore and Southern California is a series of strong gales that have pushed through the South Pacific over the weekend. They should provide a small bit of early season south swell to the better breaks a week out. And the Gulf gale pattern is to continue for the next week, providing more windswell and off-and-on conditions in North/Central California for those in the right place at the right time. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream (3/26) remained much the same as in days previous, namely split and poorly organized. The split point remained midway between Japan and the dateline with the southern branch flowing weakly over Hawaii then east into Southern Baja. The northern branch pushed steadily north over the Aleutians at the dateline then dipped southeast through the Gulf of Alaska pushing into the mainland near Cape Mendocino CA. Winds were generally very weak throughout the flow, with fleeting pockets of energy to 130 kts, but not consistent enough to be of any interest. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (3/29) the trough in the Gulf of Alaska to hold with little change in strength or position forecast. Winds not to exceed 130 kts. This pattern to be mildly supportive of some weak surface level gale formation in the Gulf pushing into the Pacific Northwest. Beyond 72 hours a bit more consolidated energy is projected flowing over the dateline and dipping south in much the same fashion as days past. Winds to 150 kts suggested by Thursday (3/30) flowing into the Gulf but fading by Saturday, resulting in nothing too interesting. A trough is suggested off the Kuril Islands next weekend, which might support some surface level development there. But until then, the pattern remains focused on the Gulf of Alaska.
At the surface on Sunday (3/26) the charts were highly uneventful. Mild high pressure at 1020 mbs was positioned off California with a slightly stronger one northwest of Hawaii pushing up to the Aleutians. Yet a third was off Japan at 1024 mbs. No low pressure of interest or winds 30 kts or great were indicated.
Over the next 72 hours the Gulf of Alaska to have the best potential for gale development. On Monday (3/27) a 996 mb low is forecast to develop just off the California coast with 25-30 kt northwest winds suggested aimed from San Francisco southward but starting to impact the coast late. The low to push inland through the day Tuesday with winds not even reaching gale force, at 20-25 kts from the southwest along moving much of the coast. 19 ft seas forecast for 12 hours on Tuesday off North CA then fading. Only very short period windslop to result. Nothing for Hawaii to result from this one.
A second gale to start forming in the northwestern Gulf on Tuesday as well, sinking southeast and producing near 40 kts winds aimed from Washington south to Pt Conception. 25 ft seas forecast late holding into Wednesday. Unfortunately this one to fade through the day Wednesday with winds down to 30 kts. Seas dropping to less than 20 ft late Thursday as the low teams up with a cutoff low tracking east from Hawaii. The pair to push over California on Friday, creating more unsettled weather and junky conditions for California, but nothing for Hawaii.
A broad 988 mb low is forecast to develop Tuesday in the Sea of Japan but is to remain landlocked and stationary through Thursday before fading out there. No swell producing fetch forecast.
A small cutoff low to track north over Hawaii on Monday (3/27) then build slightly to 1004 mbs on Wednesday generating a tiny fetch of 35 kt winds aimed back south towards Hawaii.This low to track rapidly east and out of the picture on Thursday. Small short period northeasterly windswell to result starting Thursday for north and east shores.
No other swell sources forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (3/26) the models suggest yet two more systems for California over the coming week. Not as strong as previous ones but still enough energy to let us know winter has not let go. The first to move onshore starting late Monday through Tuesday with 25-30 kt south to southwest winds expected even into Southern CA. Another one coming onshore Friday bringing 20-25 kts southerly winds from Pt Conception northward and clearing out late Saturday. Light winds in between.
The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
This area has been reasonably active over the past few days with a little more forecast. Here's the details:
On Wednesday (3/22) a 972 mbs low tracked east under New Zealand producing 40-45 kt southwest winds and 30 ft seas (modeled Wed AM at 58S 178E) for 12 hours then faded rapidly. This ought to be good for some small swell pushing into the Hawaiian Islands about a week out (Thursday 3/30) with period in the 16-17 sec range.
A second and likely the best low of the series started Friday (3/25) under New Zealand at 968 mbs with 35-40 kts winds pushing northeast.Seas reached 29 ft at 18Z at 60S 175W and holding. Late Saturday the gale surged a bit with winds up to 45 kts at 53S 155W aimed well to the northeast, but was starting to fade fast on Sunday but not before seas built to 32 ft late Saturday at 53S 152W holding in the 30 ft range through 18Z Sunday at 50S 142W, then fading out. Decent (rideable) swell is expected from this one targeting Hawaii, Tahiti and California.
Yet a third stronger 956 mb low started Sunday (3/26) off the edge of the well receded ice of the Ross Ice Shelf. Winds initially only 35 kts but are expected up to 45-50 kts Monday AM aimed east-northeast with seas building to 35 late. Winds to drop some Tuesday to 40-45 kts but are to hold at that speed through Wednesday as this one tracks east and out of the California swell window late. Seas 30-32 through the period.
The models seems a bit optimistic given the time of year, but just the same these are worth watching.
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 another low is forecast for the NOrthwestern Gulf of Alaska on Saturday (4/1) at 988 mbs producing a short burst of 35-40 kts winds aimed at the US West Coast, but it's to be gone in 24 hours. 25 ft seas suggested into early Sunday then fading. Possible windswell here for the Pacific Northwest.
Beyond 72 hours yet another storm is forecast in the deep South Pacific on Saturday (4/1) producing 45-55 kts winds and up to 40 ft seas aimed mostly due east towards South America. Some energy likely to track north into Central America and South CA, but well outside the window for Hawaii and barely in there for Tahiti.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table