On Sunday (4/29) Northern CA surf was 3 ft overhead and a warbled mess. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high with sets to head high and foggy early. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was maybe waist high at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was pushing waist high. The East Shore had thigh high windswell.
North/Central California was on the backside of a swell from the Gulf of Alaska that came in over the weekend, but things were definitely heading down. Southern California was getting only the faintest last little bit's of wrap around energy from the Gulf of Alaska. Hawaii was getting no swell of interest either from the north or south. Fortunately the outlooks is a bit better. The South Pacific has produced a reasonably decent system under New Zealand last week that is pushing swell northeast mainly towards Hawaii with lesser energy scheduled for California. And over the dateline a gale is starting to produce some decent seas just barely south of the Aleutians. This system is expected to hold through early Monday then slowly fade as is pushes east towards the Pacific Northwest through Thursday, hopefully dragging another moderate late season northwest swell into exposed breaks of California for late in the week. After that the charts go dead over the North Pacific with virtually nothing suggested and only very limited energy modeled coming from the south. So make the most of what you can get. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (4/29) for the North Pacific were reasonably solid with the the jet weakly pushing off Japan then ramping up fast while almost ridging over the dateline and blowing at nearly 190 kts, then pushing into the Gulf of Alaska and fading to near nothing before tracking into Washington. Some decent support for gale development on the dateline. Over the next 72 hours the energy over the dateline is to shift east pushing into the Gulf Monday and forming a bit more of a defined trough, then that trough to slowly loose energy while pushing east positioned directly off the Pacific Northwest into late Tuesday (5/1). That trough to push inland Wednesday and Thursday. Good support for gale development in this trough. Beyond 72 hours and behind the aforementioned trough the jet to totally fall apart with a big split flow forecast and virtually no energy of interest modeled through next weekend.
At the surface today week low pressure at 984 mbs was over the Eastern Aleutians while high pressure at 1028 mbs was over the southern dateline. Only the gale was producing any winds of interest, otherwise a rather placid pattern was taking hold. This gale started developing from a low that was over the Kuril Islands on Friday (4/27) pushing to the dateline Saturday AM (4/28) with pressure 984 mbs and the core almost in the Bering Sea with limited 40-45 kt west fetch confirmed south and barely in the open Pacific at 47N 174E aimed right up the 302 degree path to NCal and 40 degrees east of the 325 degree path to Hawaii. That held in the evening moving east to 47N 174W aimed about like before but out of the Hawaiian swell. 27 ft seas were modeled at 48N 177E. By Sunday AM (4/29) the low continued east with 35-40 kts winds positioned at 46N 170W aimed at California like before. Seas were modeled to 29 ft at 47N 175W.
Over the next 72 hrs the Aleutian low to be the only system of interest continuing to track east into the northern Gulf of Alaska producing limited 35 kt west winds Sunday evening at 45N 165W aimed down the 296 degree path to NCal. 29-30 ft seas are modeled at 45N 168W. By Monday AM the low to start sinking gently southeast with 30-35 kts winds forecast at 44N 155W aimed at NCal up the 295 degree great circle path. Seas modeled to 28 ft at 44N 160W. It's to be even weaker in the evening with winds down to barely 30 kts at 42N 150W aimed down the 292 degree path. Seas forecast down to 25 ft at 43N 153W. Residual 25 kt northwest winds to continue pushing towards the Pacific Northwest Tuesday (5/2) just off the Oregon coast then fading out. Seas fading from 22 ft at 42N 148W. Theoretically another low to form from the remnants of this system directly off the southmost Oregon coast Thursday (5/3) generating 45 kt northwest winds and 25 ft seas at 43N 130W pushing more energy down the 310 degree tracks to California, but very close to the coast and moving onshore late in the evening. Some degree of minimal swell possible for Hawaii on Wednesday (5/2) and 15-16 sec period swell mixed with shorter period elements (13-14 sec) possible for exposed breaks in California starting Thursday (5/3) into Friday.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (4/29) a weak to moderate high pressure system at 1028 mbs was positioned just off Oregon forming a small pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino and generating north winds there at 25 kts, but only over a tiny area. Otherwise near-calm winds were in-place from Bodega Bay southward. The gradient to fall south on Monday (4/30) and weaken bringing moderate northwesterly winds down into Pt Conception, but only in the 15kt range. That to fade some Tuesday as lower pressure takes up control of the Gulf of Alaska. Light winds forecast Wednesday (5/2) into Thursday though south wind could move into the picture as low pressure is forecast developing just off the Oregon coast mid-day. Southern Ca could see some northwesterly wind to with high pressure trying to get a foothold there. By Friday low pressure is to be moving inland with nothing but high pressure in the forecast, and northwest winds the expected result Friday night over Pt Conception building northward for the weekend.
Sundays jetstream charts (4/29) for the South Pacific indicate a moderate trough continuing to hold under New Zealand with 100 kt winds feeding into it, providing only very modest support for surface level gale development. A ridge continued in the far Southeastern Pacific suppressing storm development there. Over the next 72 hours the trough to hold stationary southeast of New Zealand with winds building to 140 kts Tuesday (5/1) providing surface level support for gale development, but all aimed to the east rather than the more ideal northeast configuration. Beyond 72 hours the trough to drift east reaching the mid-South Pacific by Friday (5/4) with 120 kt winds flowing up it's west side aimed better to the north and holding into the early weekend. Better support for gale development favorable for California but a bit too far east for Hawaii. A big ridge to follow on Sunday suppressing surface level gale development.
At the surface gale force wind at 40-45 kts generated by a 972 mb low was southeast of New Zealand near 55S 173W. Seas were building. Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was indicated. Over the next 72 hours this low to merge with other developing low pressure systems in the area creating a fragmented area of fetch almost filling the South Pacific Monday (4/30). But it to be short lived and most energy to take aim to the southeast towards Chile and Antarctica. A limited area of 30 ft seas modeled developing at 52S 170W Sunday evening into Monday Am at 51S 155W maybe good for some very limited utility class energy pushing towards Hawaii and California, but by Tuesday it's to all be heading south. No other swell producing fetch forecast.
New Zealand Gale (Swell #3S Hawaii)
A new closed isobar 968 mb low formed south-southeast of New Zealand Wednesday AM (4/25) from an earlier fetch in the area. A broad area of 40-45 kt southwest winds developed at 60S 175E aimed well towards California up the 212 degree path and only 20 degrees off the 195 degree route to Hawaii and starting to get traction on the already agitated oceans surface there. A broad area of 32 ft seas were modeled at 58S 173E. In the evening the whole fetch was lifting northeast winds confirmed at 45 kts at 50S 170W aimed right up the 210 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 35 ft seas were modeled at 52S 175W becoming shadowed for NCal (210) and SCal (213 degrees).
The low dropped to 964 mbs on Thursday AM (4/26) with some limited 35-40 kts winds holding in the vicinity of 50S 160W but aimed more to the east, Seas built to 37 ft at 50S 167W, though that seems a bit high. And it was shadowed from S California (213 degrees) and most of NCal (210 degrees) by Tahiti. The low to quickly fade after that Thurs PM with residual 35 ft seas modeled at 47S 159W and still shadowed for the mainland, then fading out.
This was not a long lasting system, only lasting essentially 48 hours and did not reach storm status. But it theoretically generated a solid fetch and some seas of interest, though we suspect the wave models have overestimated seas heights some. Hawaii is likely to be best positioned to receive swell from this one being only 4140-5014 nmiles away versus the 5428-6567 nmiles from California and the fact that the mainland was shadowed by Tahiti. A reasonably solid long period swell with some size is likely Hawaii with rideable long period energy forecast for California too, though inconsistent.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Tuesday late afternoon (5/1) with initial period 19-20 secs and size reaching 1.6 ft @ 19 secs right before dark (3 ft faces). Swell building overnight and by Wednesday AM (5/2) size pushing up to 3 ft @ 18 secs (5 ft faces) and building more through the day to 3.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (6 ft faces with best breaks to 8 ft). Swell to continue solid on Thursday (5/3) at 3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.8 ft faces with best breaks to 7 ft). Swell fading from 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Friday morning (5/4). Swell Direction: 185-192 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrive Friday (5/4) building to 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs late (4.5 ft faces). Swell to peak Saturday (5/5) at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell fading from 3 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 202-207 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival Friday (5/4) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to peak Saturday (5/5) with swell up to 3 ft @ 16 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell fading from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 206-211 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 the models indicate no decent swell producing fetch over the North Pacific. A cutoff low is modeled well northwest of Hawaii Wed/Thurs but all fetch to be aimed towards the Western Pacific. A big downturn expected as the jetstream falls apart.
Beyond 72 hours another quick moving fetch to set up Thurs/Fri (5/4) possibly generating another shortlived area of 30 ft seas near 51S 140W, but again it to all be aimed due east limiting it's swell generation potential for the US West coast and providing no potential for Hawaii. Nothing else to follow.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table