On Thursday (4/5) Northern CA surf was shoulder high and reasonably clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high on the sets. Central California surf was waist to maybe chest high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to maybe chest high at select breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest to head high with some overhead sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high with sets 1 ft overhead. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-3 ft overhead and clean early. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was waist high.
North/Central California was getting a mix of northwest and south swell both with longer period but not much size. Southern California was getting a good dose of southern hemi swell at the standout breaks for the second day in a row. Hawaii was getting a nice moderate pulse of northwest swell but the South Shore had flattened out. More weaker southern hemi swell is headed for South California for the weekend while some semi real swell from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to grace breaks north of Pt Conception. And next week a large very southerly angled south hemi swell is expected to slam South CA with limited potential for most North and Central CA breaks. Hawaii to continue with decent dateline swell action and possibly some real size by late in the weekend, though not for sure just yet. More to follow to as a series of gales are charted pushing from the dateline into the Gulf of Alaska. This ought to make for an interesting mix of southern hemi and northwest groundswell for California next week too. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (4/5) for the North Pacific depicted a consolidated flow pushing off Central Japan ridging at the dateline with winds 150 kts, then gradually dipping into a decent trough in the Gulf of Alaska before weakening and tracking northeast into Central Canada. The split pattern than has been a hallmark as of late was effectively gone. Decent support for gale development in the Gulf of Alaska. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold though total energy in the jet is to back off to the 130-140 kt range and flatten out, but still covering the entire width of the North Pacific from Japan pushing into Oregon. Decent support for gale development from the dateline into the Gulf. Beyond 72 hours the flow is to continue pretty much the same though losing a bit of decisiveness, meandering slightly more, but still not too bad. By Thursday (4/12) a bit of a ridge is to try and develop pushing into the Gulf but not overly so.
At the surface today very weak high pressure was trying to hold off Southern CA while low pressure had taken over most of the rest of the North Pacific. On gale was in the Gulf with pressure 972 mbs but somewhat fragmented while a second was trying to develop just west of the dateline. Swell from the previous incarnation of the Gulf low was getting ready to hit Hawaii (see Dateline-Gulf Gale below). Over the next 72 hours a storm/gale to develop Friday AM (4/6) starting on the dateline at 972 mbs with 50 kt west winds at 40N 180W producing 30 ft seas and tracking east into the Gulf supported by the improving jetstream flow aloft. 45 kt westerly winds are forecast late over a small area at 38N 170W generating 33 ft seas near that spot pushing into the Gulf Saturday but with winds down to only 35 kts and fading fast. 30 ft seas forecast Sat AM at 38N 165W then dissipating (from 25 ft late at 40N 155S) all aimed reasonably well down the 295-300 degree path to North CA and with decent energy pushing towards Hawaii down the 320-330 degree paths. Near significant class size for the Hawaiian Islands late Sunday (4/8) with swell possibly to 11 ft @ 15 secs late (15-17 ft faces) fading to 10 ft @ 13 secs (11-13 ft faces) Monday (4/9). Utility class surf possible for exposed breaks in North CA Tuesday (4/10) with swell up to 7.8 ft @ 15 secs (10-11 ft faces) fading Wednesday. But be advised - This storm has not even formed yet, so it's all pure model theory and does not represent reality.
On Monday morning (4/2) a gale started to develop over the dateline as the jetstream started reconfiguring itself 35,000 ft overhead. The low had pressure 992 mbs as it pushed over the dateline with a tiny area of 40-45 kt northwest winds at 45N 178E aimed well down the 325 degree path to Hawaii continuing into the evening. 22 ft seas building to 25 ft late at 44N 177W. Unfortunately the low really petered out Tuesday AM with barely 30 kts winds indicated at 43N 170W aimed well towards Hawaii down the 335 degree path with seas 24 ft at 42N 172W. That fetch tried to reorganize in the evening in the Gulf of Alaska with 30-35 kt west winds north of Hawaii aimed to the east. 20 ft seas were holding at 40N 163W aimed best at California with sideband swell for Hawaii. The low continued circulating in the Gulf Wednesday into early Thursday (4/5) generating 30 kts west winds and 20 ft seas near 40N 150-160W aimed at California and the Pacific Northwest then dissipating. Swell expected for Hawaii starting late Thursday (4/5) holding into Friday with swell 8.5 ft @ 12 secs (9-10 ft faces) from 328-335 degrees with sideband energy heading towards California too. Possible swell in North CA starting early Saturday (4/7) morning peaking mid-day with swell 6.6 ft @ 13 secs (7-8 ft faces) from 280 degrees. Very limited energy to wrap into South CA (see QuikCAST's for details).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (4/5) a thin area of high pressure at 1018 mbs remained anchored just off Central California providing protection from lower pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. A generally light wind flow was in-control except for off Point Conception. Northwest winds to become a bit more of a factor Friday just along a shallow line near the North and Central CA coast attributable to the high sitting just offshore, possibly building more through the weekend as lower pressure builds inland while the high holds off the coast, setting up a bit of a gradient, though it's unclear whether it will make it directly to the coast. More of the same forecast into mid-next week until real high pressure finally gets a foothold and comes blasting onshore Wednesday with lot's of northwest winds with it, pushing even into South CA.
Thursdays jetstream charts (4/5) for the South Pacific revealed a horribly diffuse and weak flow over the entirety of the South PAcific with no support for storm development suggested. Over the next 72 hours energy levels to start coming back up to normal with a weak elongated trough trying to get established southeast of New Zealand but not really making it. No real support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a big ridge to set up in the South Pacific driving all storm energy over Antarctica.
At the surface a gale was trying to organize under New Zealand but it is expected to fade. There were no remaining signs of the major storm that was in the far Southeast Pacific. In between a generally tranquil pattern was in place. Over the next 72 hours a broad gale is forecast in the deep Southeast Pacific late in the period, but all fetch to be aimed due east towards South Chile ( or further south) with no swell of interest expected to result (assuming it even forms). No other swell producing fetch modeled.
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 Saturday (4/7) with swell 2 ft @ 16 secs dropping to 2 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (3.0-3.5 ft faces) from 185-195 degrees.
Storm #2S (focus on Southern CA)
Late Sunday (4/1) a 968 mb low started coalescing in the far southeast Pacific with a fragmented area of 35 kt winds developing near 60S 142W aimed almost due north, but very shallow. Seas trying to build.
Monday AM (4/2) pressure dropped to 944 mbs with a broad fetch of 40 kt south to southwest winds building at 54S 138W with seas building. The fetch covered 960 straight line nmiles aimed towards California. Winds continued building in coverage and speed confirmed at 50-55 kts into the evening at 52S 132W over a 600 nmiles area aimed due north with seas to 32 ft at the same locale.
The storm started maxing Tuesday AM (4/3) with a most impressive area of 50-60 kts confirmed at 52S 127W aimed due north and covering a 1020 nmiles straight line fetch area aimed right up the 186 degree path to South CA (182 NCal). Seas modeled at 38 ft at 50S 129W heading well to the north. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and though much of the data was obscured by rain, the data that did leak though was consistent with what was identified by the wave models. Winds were confirmed at 50-55 kts in the evening over a 780 nmiles straight line fetch area at 52S 122W aimed about 25 degrees east of the 183 degree path to Southern CA (180 NCal). 42-43 ft seas were modeled over a broad area at 49S 123W heading north.
Winds were fading Wednesday AM (4/4) confirmed at 40-45 kts but still aimed about 20 degrees east of the 180 degree path to SCal from 52S 117W with seas still 43 ft at 50S 120W all aimed right for South CA and locations southeast of there. In the evening winds were gone with residual 36 ft seas continuing at 48S 117W, just inside the SCal swell window.
This storm to be gone on Thursday (4/5) with no swell producing fetch left.
This was a very strong storm with 60 hours of 40-45 kt winds and a core of 24 hours of 50-55 kt winds over a large area aimed almost due north, producing 40-43 ft seas. Confirmed wind data was impressive. But this storm was in the far Southeast Pacific, effectively eliminating Hawaii, Tahiti and most of North/Central California from getting unobstructed swell. That is not to say they won't get some swell, with sideband energy expected into Hawaii and some full on energy into exposed breaks in North and Central CA, but the tight swell window there will eliminate many more common spots. This system was between 4887-5042 nmiles from Southern CA. Still a very nice long period significant class summer-time southern hemi swell is likely to start pushing north targeting primarily Southern California, Central America and exposed breaks in South America. One more early season swell, and a most impressive one at that.
Southern California to start seeing swell early Monday (4/9) with period 23 secs and size coming up slowly through the day, maybe rideable at sunset. Size coming on comparatively quick Tuesday (4/10) reaching 4 ft @ 20 secs (8 ft faces with best breaks to 10 ft) late morning. Swell to 4.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (8 ft faces with best breaks to 10 ft) Wednesday (4/11) then down to 4.3 ft @ 16 secs on Thursday (7 ft faces with 8.5 ft sets best breaks). 14- sec residuals late Friday. Swell Direction: 180-187 degrees
Northern California to see swell energy starting Tuesday AM (4/10) with period at 21 secs and coming up from there relatively fast, reaching 4.3 ft @ 20 secs late (8 ft faces with best spots to 10 ft) but only at the most exposed breaks. Size far less at sheltered breaks. Swell continuing Wednesday (4/11) with swell to 4.5 ft @ 18 secs (8 ft faces with best spots to 10 ft) with the same swell window restrictions. Swell dropping to 4.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (7 ft faces with sets to 8.5 ft ) Thursday (4/12) but still quite decent. Swell dropping from there with period down to 14 secs late Friday. Swell Direction:180-184 degrees
Hawaiian South and Southeast shores to possibly see some sideband swell energy starting Tuesday AM (4/10) with swell reaching 2 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (3.0-3.5 ft) pushing 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) through the day Wednesday (4/11). Swell down to 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) Thursday and fading. Swell Direction: 160-165 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 hrs another gale is forecast developing over the dateline Sunday (4/8) with northwest winds 35 kts over a broad area aimed well at Hawaii down the 320-325 degree paths then fading while pushing east early Monday. Seas to 25 ft late Sunday into Monday. Yet another gale to follow starting in the same area late Monday taking a more northerly track into the Gulf with 40-45 kts winds holding through Thursday (4/12) generating 32-35 ft seas all the while. Good utility class or more potential for both Hawaii and Northern/Central CA. Theoretically one more to follow that too.
Beyond 72 hours high pressure to take over with all gale energy getting driven over Antarctica and no swell producing fetch forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table