On Sunday (4/15) Northern CA surf was head high and blow to bits early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and reasonably clean early. Central California surf was head high and junky. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to chest high with strong onshore's. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with some chest high sets and chopped early. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and blown to bits. The North Shore of Oahu was 2 ft. The South Shore was maybe waist high on the rare set. The East Shore was waist to chest high.
North/Central California was in windswell mode but a bit of size was pushing through the outer buoys headed for shore. Southern California was getting windswell with poor conditions. Hawaii was not getting any swell of interest from either the north or the south. The South Pacific remains asleep after serving up a bit chunk of early season swell last week and no real change is forecast for the foreseeable future. Fortunately the North Pacific has not quit just yet with a few more systems scheduled for the coming week. But they are looking to be the last, so make the most of whatever they serve up. One is pushing over the dateline now scheduled to track east pushing into the Pacific Northwest. Another is forecast for the Northern Gulf mid-week and yet a third west of the dateline late week targeting mainly Hawaii. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (4/15) for the North Pacific depicted a reasonably cohesive jet weak flow pushing almost flat off Central Japan meandering east into the Gulf of Alaska with winds about 130 kts. A big energetic ridge took over in the Gulf with winds 180 kts pushing northeast into Central Canada. A weak split flow separated from the main energy at the dateline tracking southeast eventually meandering into Mexico. In all some weak to moderate support for gale development off the Kuril Islands and in the Western Gulf. Over the next 72 hours energy levels to remain the same the pushing upward by Wednesday AM (4/18) to near 190 kts in the west, but the overall flow to lift north some pushing over the Aleutians in the Western Gulf. This to push the surface level storm track north with it. Still some support for gael development off the Kuril's and in the Northern Gulf. Beyond 72 hours the ridge in the Gulf to push inland Thursday (4/19) leaving a reasonable gap south of the Aleutians from the dateline through the Gulf driven by 140 kts winds, providing decent support for surface level gale development in that area. At the same time a ridge is to be developing in the West Pacific, shutting down surface level gale development potential.
At the surface today a 980 mbs low was in the Western Gulf generating a moderate sized fetch of 40 kt west winds (see Gulf Gale below). A second weak low was west of the dateline but not doing anything of interest yet. High pressure at 1028 mbs was 600 nmiles west of San Francisco pushing east and forming a pressure gradient with lower pressure inland, generating brisk northwest winds down the California coast even driving into Southern CA. This high was ridging off to the southwest pushing just north of Hawaii and connecting to a second high over the dateline at 1028 mbs (south of the Aleutians storm corridor). In all, only the Gulf Gale had any swell generation potential. Over the next 72 the Gulf Gale to track east and fade pushing into Canada Tuesday (4/17) while the existing dateline gale starts to develop. By late Monday pressure to be 988 mbs positioned over the dateline and just south of the Aleutians interacting with building high pressure northeast of Hawaii at 1036 mbs, driving most fetch to the north into the Aleutians though a fetch of 35-40 kts winds is forecast in the lows southwest sector aimed generally towards Hawaii. A small area of 20 ft seas to start building at 43N 177E. More of the same forecast Tuesday (4/17) as the core of the low pushes north of the Aleutians though some degree of 35-40 kt fetch is to remain free-and-clean in exposed Pacific waters taking tangent aim more towards California, though mainly towards Canada. 21 ft seas forecast at 45N 160W-170W. By Wednesday (4/18) the low to push north more into the eastern Bering Sea, with fetch fading out. 26 ft seas forecast briefly at 50N 160W, starting to fade late. Some sideband 13 sec period energy expected for exposed breaks in North and Central CA for the weekend (4/21) with even lesser energy for Hawaii on Friday (4/20) and barely rideable.
On Friday (4/13) a loosely organized low started to develop on the dateline with pressure 988 mbs and weak 35 kt west winds confirmed at 40N 175W. On Saturday AM (4/14) things got a bit better organized with pressure dropping to 972 mbs and a broad area of 35-40 kt winds suggested with a core to 40-45 kts at 46N 170W. Seas built to 20 ft at 40N 180W. In the evening the low held together reasonably well with 40 kt northwest winds at 45N 168W and 25 ft seas modeled at 40N 170W. Sunday AM (4/15) the low was looking a bit better with a moderate area of 40-45 kt west winds at 46N 160W aimed right down the 296 degree path to North CA with 29 ft seas modeled at 45N 162W. This is starting to get a little bit interesting. In the evening the low to track east with 35-40 kts west winds still holding on at 45N 154W aimed right down the 300 degree path to North CA. 31 ft seas forecast at 46N 155W. The low to fade out Monday AM with 30-35 kt northwest winds forecast at 45N 145W easily generating 29 ft seas at 45N 149W then near gone by nightfall with residual 25 ft seas fading at 43N 143W again pushing towards NCal down the 302 degree great circle path.
In all this is not to be an impressive system, but given it's relative close proximity to California and the fact that the fetch is to be aimed right at the coast might be good enough to throw some decent size and period towards the northern half of the state. Also It's to hold together for 72 hours might provide additional utility. Possible large utility to small significant class swell expected for Northern CA Wednesday (4/18) starting at 2 AM with period 17 secs peaking near sunrise at 7.4-7.8 ft @ 16 secs (12 ft faces) holding reasonably through the day as period meanders down to 14 secs late afternoon. Swell Direction: 295-300 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (4/15) high pressure was taking control off the coast while low pressure was moving inland over Nevada resulting in a strong pressure gradient and brisk north winds raking nearshore locations even down into Southern CA. That to let up some Monday, especially in Southern CA as the low moves out, but more high pressure to be building north of Hawaii, signaling the future trend Northwest winds to still be firmly in control. Tuesday bring the arrival of the next high pressure systems with 15-20 kt northwest winds north of Pt Conception early, working their way into South CA in the afternoon. Another blow expected Wednesday as the high moves firmly east and in control, tapering off Thursday. Things finally settling down late Friday, but not out for the weekend. It is Spring.
Sundays jetstream charts (4/15) for the South Pacific continued indicating a massive ridge in control pushing the jetstream hard to the south from 160W over Antarctica and totally eliminating any chance for storm development. Over the next 72 hours that massive ridge is forecast to fade out, but be replaced with an equally uninspiring south displaced zonal flow (flat) and weak, not supportive of storm development. Beyond 72 hours and other big ridge is forecast (Friday 4/20) pushing into Antarctica then gradually moderating into early next week. No support for storm development.
At the surface a generally weak surface wind flow was in control providing no swell producing potential for Hawaiian and California waters. Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast with upper level high pressure driving all eastbound systems from under New Zealand south into Antarctica.
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 one more gale is forecast for the North Pacific. This one to push off Japan on Tuesday (4/17) with pressure dropping to 976 mbs and winds up to 55 kts in it's south quadrant at 37N 163E aimed well towards Hawaii up the 300 degree great circle path. 30 ft seas forecast at 38N 158E. The gale to lift gently northeast Wednesday (4/18) with winds still 55 kts at 40N 170E aimed directly at Hawaii down the 312 degree path in the morning with seas 35 ft at 37N 165E and to 42N 178E in the evening down the 319 degree path with seas 36 ft at 40N 170E. This storm to be heading for the Gulf of Alaska Thursday AM (4/20) with pressure holding at 976 mbs pushing over the dateline with a broad area of 40-45 kt west winds forecast at 42N 175W aimed 50 degrees east of the 330 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 292 degree path to North California. Seas 37 ft at 42N 178E. More of the same in the evening but repositioned at 43N 170W aimed entirely right at California up the 294 degree path. Residuals Friday AM with 35 kts winds at 45N 165W aimed right at NCal up the 296 degree path.
After that a much quieter pattern forecast with no clear indication of any swell producing gales modeled.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a storm developing south of New Zealand late Thursday (4/19) with 50 kt west winds. It to build into Friday AM with 55 kt winds taking aim more to the northeast, targeting Hawaii and California reasonably. A quick fade is forecast Saturday but not before 32 ft seas are generated. This is a bit of a reach for the models, and given the poor upper level flow it seems a bit optimistic that this will play out at the surface as modeled. Still, it bears watching.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table