On Thursday (3/29) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and somewhat cleaner than days past. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high or so. Central California surf was chest high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore had waist to chest high windswell.
North/Central California was getting the last little dribbles of northwesterly windswell. Southern California was near-flat except down south where some northerly windswell was still pushing in. Hawaii was getting some northerly windswell from a gale that was north of there a few days before. In all there is no real swell producing storms forecast for the North Pacific anytime soon. A series of gales are tracking off Siberia but are to quickly get shunted north before even reaching the dateline producing only some small energy pushing into Hawaii. The best bet right now is a series of 2 swells pushing northeast from the South Pacific, expected to provide summertime utility class surf for Hawaii and maybe near significant class surf for California next week (on the summertime scale). But after that even the South Pacific is to calm down with nothing on the charts. So make the most of whatever you can get from these swells cause it's looking all downhill from here. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (3/29) for the North Pacific depicted a bit of energy at 150 kts pushing off Southern Japan but quickly decaying before reaching the dateline, then splitting multiple directions and completely dissipating. Much the same pattern expected through the next 72 hours out to early next week. Then a more energetic flow is forecast but ridging due north off Japan pushing right to the Aleutians before reaching the dateline. That pattern to push east a little by Thursday (4/5) possibly opening up a little space off the Kuril Islands to the dateline and even pushing towards the Western Gulf of Alaska supportive of gale development, but that's more a guess at this early date.
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was still positioned 600 nmiles west of San Francisco ridging into the Pacific Northwest with a second high at 1032 mbs in the Western Gulf of Alaska ridging southwest locking the East Pacific down and preventing storm development. A broad gale low was just west of the dateline and just south of the Aleutians generating confirmed winds of 50 kts but lifting north fast, and those winds were not getting much traction aimed down any great circle path to California or Hawaii. 29 ft seas were pushing northeast towards the Aleutians. Over the next 72 hours that gale is to continue lifting north into the Bering Sea by mid-Friday (3/30) with 32 ft seas pushing into the Aleutians with only very limited sideband energy radiating southeast and east towards HAwaii and California, and likely well decayed upon arrival. No real hope here. Another gale o wrap up off the Kuril Islands and do the same thing Sat/Sun (4/1) with winds up to 55kts for an instant aimed at Hawaii then quickly fading to 45 kts and swinging more to the east. 36 ft seas from this one modeled Sunday but mostly targeting Alaska and the Aleutians when it's all said on done. Possible small swell for HAwaii and California with period in the he 16 sec range, but not much size.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (3/29) high pressure was ridging into the Pacific Northwest producing a much lighter northerly flow over California coastal waters. This trend to continue through Saturday as the high continues to slowly fade out. Then Sunday (4/1) a new high to start building off the coast generating a minor bit of northerly winds at 15 kts from Pt Conception northward, enough to rough things up a little but not to generate any windswell and holding into Monday. Theoretically low pressure to move close to the coast Tuesday-Thursday and reduce the high's influence, and eliminate the nearshore winds. No windswell expected though. In all a pretty mild pattern.
Thursdays jetstream charts (3/29) for the South Pacific revealed a consolidated flow tracking from a ridge south of New Zealand with winds 120-130 kts to a mild trough well in the far Southeast Pacific with winds then going to 200 kts ridding south under Chile. Decent support for storm development in the southeast. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the southeast is to continue pushing east almost out of the California swell window and moderating all the while, providing progressively less support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the jet is expected to split with the southern branch pushing south towards Antarctic and essentially setting up a ridge over the width of the South Pacific and minimizing the potential for storm development through the end of the next workweek.
At the surface the high pressure at 1032 mbs was just east of New Zealand with another off Chile and only the gap in between was supportive of Storm development. Low pressure at 984 mbs was positioned south and between the two high pressure areas forming a bit of a gradient and 40 kt northeast winds south of Tahiti aimed somewhat towards California. Swell from two storms was already in the water traveling northeast toward Hawaii and California (see details below). That existing fetch is to travel east-northeast Friday (3/30) with winds building to 45 kts possibly hitting the 50 kt range over a tiny area late in the day aimed mostly east and 60 degrees off any great circle track to California, then out of the swell window early Saturday. 30-32 ft seas forecast at 50S 137W-123W then pushing near 40 ft early Saturday at 51S 118W but all aimed due east and out of the picture. Maybe some background to small utility class swell for Southern CA 5-6 days out.
No other swell producing fetch modeled.
1st SPac Storm
On Thursday (3/22) a 960 mb gale was situated south of New Zealand generating 40-45 kt west winds and 30-32 ft seas near 58S 170E-180W aimed 65 degrees east of the 190-195 degree great circle paths to Hawaii but not too bad up the 211 degree paths to California (but a long ways away).
It's tracked east Friday AM (3/23) and regenerated after fading late Thursday with winds up to 50-55 kts at 56S 175W aimed northeast or 45 degree east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii and 15 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California but well shadowed by Tahiti. Seas were 30 ft at 57S 180W. In the evening winds were still 45-50 kts over a broad area at 50S 153W almost out of the Hawaiian swell window (180 degrees) but moving clear of the swell shadow at 200-203 degree relative to California. Seas built to 36 ft @ 53S 162W and unshadowed. A little 45 kt winds energy remained early Saturday AM (3/24) at 52S 150W aimed due north aimed right up the 198 degree path to California with seas 37 ft at 50S 153W, then fading in the evening.
This one looks well capable of producing a solid dose of utility class summer time swell for California from the second half of this storm with decent sideband energy pushing up towards Hawaii. Nothing exceptional in that the storm was short lived, kinda on-and-off, but still got a decent footprint and generated solid seas. Tahiti to get a very solid shot of swell too.
Expect swell arrival in California starting Sunday (4/1) with swell 2.3 ft @ 18 secs down south (4 ft faces) and 2 ft @ 18 secs up north (3.5 ft faces) from about 200 degrees. Swell pushing up on Monday/Tuesday (4/3) to 2.6-3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs range (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then heading down from there. biggest end of the range to be experienced in Southern CA.
Swell to hit Hawaii's southern shores late Thursday then up to 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Friday (3/30) slowly fading from 2.3-2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) Saturday (3/31) from 196-200 degrees.
2nd SPac Storm - Storm #1S (CA)
On Saturday (3/24) a 952 mbs storm started developing under New Zealand with 50-55 kt west winds at 60S 170E aimed 70 degrees east of the 196 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees east of the 211 degree path to California. Seas were barely 32 ft. The storm pushed east in the evening with winds down to 45 kts on the same heading as before with seas up to 36 ft at 60S 175E over a moderate area.
Winds held at 45 kts Sunday AM (3/25) but aimed a little more to the northeast at at 60S 175W aimed 25 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 45 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 38 ft at 60S 180W. In the evening the gale was pushing more to the northeast with winds down to 40-45 kts aimed a little more northeast still. Seas modeled at 39 ft at 57S 166W.
On Monday AM (3/26) the gale decayed a bit with an elongated area of 40 kts winds near 58S 150-175W generating 37 ft seas at 56S 156W aimed about 15 degree east of the 198 degree path to California and unshadowed but well off any path to Hawaii. The fetch regenerated a bit in the evening with winds back to 45 kts at 52S 149W with a shrinking area of 36 ft seas at the same locale. All this to be heading towards California just off the 198 degree path.
This system tried hanging on contrary to previous forecast data Tuesday AM (3/27) with an elongated fetch of 40 kts winds at 52S 130-150W. 35 ft seas lingered 52N 149W. In the evening winds down to 35 kts all pushing east with seas forecast down to 32 ft at 50S 138W and fading out.
This one developed a bit better than originally forecast, mainly in that it lasted longer (nearly 96 hours). Still nothing spectacular fetch-wise was indicated with winds never more than really 40-45 kts. This looks to be another utility class swell producer for Hawaii but with near significant class swell expected for California 10 days later. The wave models would have one believe this was a solid swell producer but a careful inspection of QuikSCAT satellite confirmed wind data suggests this was not an impressive storm. Unfortunately we have no good Jason-1 sea height hit's for this storm. In all this barely makes the grade for a significant class storm.
Swell to hit Hawaii's southern shores Sunday (4/1) with swell 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3 ft faces) and heading to 2.3 ft @ 17-18 secs Monday (4 ft faces) leveling off at 2 ft @ 16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) Tuesday (4/3). Swell peaking Wednesday (4/4) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft faces) dropping from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3 ft faces) Thursday (4/5). Swell Direction: 185-190 degrees
Expect swell arrival in South California starting late Monday (4/2) with swell 1.6 ft @ 20 secs (3 ft faces) and on the increase. Tuesday (4/3) swell to be pushing 3 ft @ 18 secs late (5.0-5.5 ft faces). Swell to peak late Wednesday (4/4) at 4 ft @ 16-17 secs (6.5 ft faces with top spots to 8 ft) then settling down from 4 ft @ 16 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces - top spots to 7.5 ft faces) early Thursday (4/5). Suspect these swell height numbers are a bit on the high side so plan accordingly. Swell Direction: 200 degrees
Swell to hit North California starting Tuesday (4/3) with swell pushing up to 2.6 ft @ 19 secs late (5 ft faces). Wednesday swell to reach 3.6 ft @ 17 secs late (6 ft faces with top spots to 7.5 ft) continuing at 4 ft @ 16 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces - top spots to 7.5 ft) on Thursday (4/5). Swell slowly settling down on Friday into Saturday. Suspect these swell height numbers are a bit on the high side so plan accordingly. Swell Direction: 200-205 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 real stagnant pattern is modeled with no swell producing fetch suggested. Perhaps a little gale over the eastern Aleutians mid-next week and a weak low developing between HAwaii and California, but odds very low of either instance occurring due to the unfavorable flow aloft. So the hibernation of the North Pacific to continue.
Beyond 72 hours the declining jetstream flow aloft to take it's toll at the oceans surface with no swell producing fetch indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table