On Saturday (3/31) Northern CA surf was waist high and chopped. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high. Central California surf was thigh high. 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 up to waist high but most flat. The North Shore of Oahu was 1 ft overhead and clean. The South Shore was chest high. The East Shore was head high and a little more.
North/Central California was in the dead zone with no north swell of interest occurring. Southern California was not seeing any swell of interest. Hawaii was getting a nice little pulse of northerly windswell providing for rideable surf on the North Shore while southern hemi swell was providing a little less size on the South Shore. There was even rideable surf on the East Shore too. Looking out into the future a bit more southern hemi swell is queued up for Hawaii and is just starting to become visible in California. The mainland to see the bulk of the size since the fetch form the storm that made these two swells was aimed well at them. But Hawaii is not lost, with the models teasing, suggesting two gales in the North Pacific next week passing north of the Islands and directing energy at Hawaii and then targeting the US West Coast. So maybe winter hasn't quite lost it's grip after all, but odds low of any significant class surf resulting. Still - good utility class surf sure ain 't nothing to sneeze at, especially considering this years track record. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Saturdays jetstream charts (3/31) for the North Pacific depicted a fragmented flow pushing over Central Japan then quickly splitting just after entering the North Pacific with the northern branch pushing up into the Bering Sea and beyond while the southern branch dribbled flat across Pacific and fading. No support for gale or storm development. Over the next 72 hours a miraculous recovery is expected. Late Monday (4/2) the northern branch is to start picking up energy with winds 150 kts while pushing east across the dateline almost to the Gulf of Alaska. The split pattern and southern branch is to persist, but the southern branch is to be loosing energy to the northern branch and by Tuesday the southern branch is to be all but gone. A bit of a trough is to set up in the Gulf of Alaska as the jet pushes further east into it. Beyond 72 hours the flow is to improve more with the southern branch all but gone by Thursday (4/5) and a moderately energetic flow of 160 kt winds pushing over the dateline into a nice trough in the Gulf of Alaska. The pattern is to even amplify a bit more into the weekend with170 kts winds on the dateline pushing cleanly into the Gulf, though not with as much as a trough as before. In all good support for gale development from the dateline into the Western Gulf of Alaska.
At the surface today weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was positioned off the US west Coast and Canada locking down the Gulf of Alaska and ridging southwest to the dateline. A weak 1012 mbs low was 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii spraying a fetch of 25 kt northeast winds a bit west of the Islands generating 14 ft seas, good for a little northeast windswell in the days ahead. Also a storm was positioned just off the Kuril Islands with pressure 980 mbs generating a small fetch of 50-55 kt northwest winds aimed towards Hawaii down the 315 degree great circle path. Seas were building from 22 ft. Over the next 72 hours the little low north of Hawaii is to hold stationary through Monday (4/2) generating more 25-30 kt northeast winds and 14-15 ft seas, with moderately short period windswell the expected result (see QuikCAST's). Saturdays storm off the Kuril's is to continue winding with winds in the 50 kts range Saturday evening but swinging more to the east with seas building to 32 ft aimed towards Hawaii down the 318 degree path. By Sunday (4/1) the core of the storm to drift north over the Aleutian Islands with winds fading from 40-45 kts and aimed due east 35 degrees east of the 328 degree path to Hawaii but with seas building to 35 ft before the whole mess drags north in to the Bering Sea and the fetch becomes obscured by land. Good potential for some fleeting utility class swell for Hawaii Wed-Thurs (4/4-4/5) with swell maybe 5.5 ft @ 15 secs (7-8 ft faces) from 315-318 degrees early in the period.
Another little low to follow quickly in it's predecessors footsteps but all it's fetch to be moving way to fast and is to not get any tractions on the oceans surface initially. But a curious little thing to happen by Monday morning (4/2) as the jetstream starts reconfiguring itself 35,000 ft overhead. The low to start getting better organized with pressure dipping to 992 mbs as it pushes over the dateline. 40-45 kt northwest winds are forecast at 43N 178E aimed well down the 325 degree path to Hawaii continuing into the evening. 22 ft seas building to 27 ft late at 43N 175W. The low to hold a little bit more into Tuesday AM with 40 kts winds at 44N 173W aimed well towards Hawaii down the 335 degree path with seas 29 ft at 42N 170W. The fetch to quickly fade out in the evening while the low that generates it tracks fast to the east and into the Gulf of Alaska, pushing high pressure out of the way. 25 ft seas holding aimed about mid-way between Hawaii and California. Swell expected for Hawaii starting late Thursday (4/5) holding into Friday with initial energy at 8.8 ft @ 15 secs (11-13 ft faces) from 328-335 degrees with sideband energy heading towards California too.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (3/31) high pressure at 1022 mbs was trying to organize just off California setting up an increasing northerly flow down the coast. The pattern to intensify some on Sunday with northerly winds building to 20 kts trying to wrap into Southern CA but not quite making it late, and on into Monday. Tuesday (4/3) the high is to fade away as a low pressure regime starts to take up shop in the Gulf, with a slack wind pattern expected. A sliver of high pressure to try and hang on offering a wedge of protection from Pt Reyes-Bodega Bay southward as a rather blustry situation pushes onshore to the north. But that to be short-lived with light winds forecast into the weekend except for northerly winds off Pt Conception, a by-product of the protecting high.
Saturdays jetstream charts (3/31) for the South Pacific revealed a ridge pushing south under New Zealand feeding into a very mild trough in the far east South Pacific, providing the thinnest of support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the jetstream pattern is to amplify with a strong ridge setting up under New Zealand and a steep trough setting up in the southeast with winds 180 kts feeding it late Monday (4/2), providing good opportunity for storm development there. That to be short lived though as the trough tracks east out of the Southern CA swell window late Tuesday. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to totally loose definition and fragment into multiple pieces, providing no support for storm development.
At the surface the high pressure at 1028 mbs was east of New Zealand while a pair of storm were pushing east in the far southeast Pacific, outside even the Southern California swell window. Swell from a series of storms was pushing north, already starting to hit Hawaii and the first expected to hit California later today (see details below). A series of 2 small fetch areas were in the South Pacific with winds 40 kts, but both were aimed east to southeast and were not producing any seas of interest. Over the next 72 hours one more storm is on the charts targeting primarily Southern CA (see 4th Possible Storm below).
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.
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
On Friday AM (3/30) a small fetch of 45-50 kts winds developed at 50S 130W associated with a 968 mb low there. Seas were building to 30 ft at 49S 137W. In the evening winds continued by tracking east to 50S 120W, almost out of the California swell window. Seas built to 35 ft at 48S 125W tracking mostly east but likely sending some sideband energy towards Southern CA up the 185 degree path. On Saturday AM the low was already out of the California swell window with seas doing the same. Some potential for small utility class swell for Southern CA starting on Sunday (4/8).
4th Possible Storm
Late Sunday (4/1) a 956 mb low is to start coalescing in the far southeast Pacific with a fragmented area of 40 kt winds developing near 57S 137W aimed almost due north, but very shallow. Seas on the increase.
Monday AM (4/2) pressure to drop to 948 mbs with a fetch of 55 kt southwest winds building at 56S 130W with seas building from 32 ft at 55S 130W. But most of the momentum is to be to the east. Winds to hold into the evening at 54S 125W with seas to 42 ft at the same locale.
The storm to start blowing itself out on Tuesday (4/3) with winds fading from 45-50 kts at 52S 123W but aimed almost due north, right up the 182 degree path to South CA. Seas modeled at 40 ft at 50S 122W heading reasonably well to the north. Winds to ramp back up in the evening to 55 kts at 53S 117W aimed almost right up the 180 degree path to Southern CA. 35 ft seas over a broad area at 50S 120W heading north.
Winds starting to fade out Wednesday AM (4/4) from 40 kts but still aimed due north and seas peaking at 37 ft at 50S 117W all aimed right for South CA. In the evening 40 kt winds to hang on at 53S 115W still aimed due north with 35 ft seas continuing at 50S 117W.
This storm to finally dissipate on Thursday (4/5) with no swell producing fetch left.
This is a most interesting situation with 84 hours of 45-50 kt winds and 36-40 ft seas forecast all aimed almost de north. But this storm is to form in the far Southeast Pacific, effectively eliminating Hawaii, Tahiti and much of North California from getting swell. If this one develops as forecast a very nice moderately long period southern hemi swell is likely to start pushing north targeting Southern California, Central America and exposed breaks in South America. One more early season swell.
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 low pressure generating swell for Hawaii is to settle into the Gulf of Alaska late Tuesday night (4/3) getting better established Wednesday with 25-30 kt west winds over a reasonably broad area pushing right towards North and Central CA and only about 1300 nmiles out. 23 ft seas forecast Wed AM at 37N 155W continuing into the evening. Theoretically a bit of a resurgence is forecast Thursday (4/5) with winds 35 kts at 43N 150W generating more 25 ft seas at 39N 155W then dissipating Friday and the low pushing inland over northern Canada. Possible swell in North CA late Friday (4/6) peaking Saturday morning with period 13 secs.
What's even more interesting is that a second gale to follow close behind on Friday (4/6) starting on the dateline and tracking east into the Gulf supported by the improving jetstream flow aloft. 45 kt westerly winds are forecast over a small area 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii pushing into the Gulf Saturday holding intensity and building 30 ft seas all aimed well down the 295-300 degree path to North CA, but only sideband energy towards Hawaii . Large utility class surf possible for exposed breaks in CA if all this comes to pass, which seem like quite a reach given the NPac's history this year. Take this info with a heavy dose of skepticism.
Beyond 72 hours a declining jetstream flow aloft to not provide any fuel for storm development in the South Pacific other than that detailed above.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table