On Thursday (5/12) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high with onshore winds. South facing breaks were waist high or smaller. Central California was waist to chest high and blown out. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high with chest high sets at the best breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high with up to chest high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high with bigger sets. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist high.
A little bit of northwest swell from the dateline was gracing Hawaii's northern shores, the best the Pacific had to offer. Lesser windswell was reaching select breaks in California. Things are really on the downslide now, with no real storms of interest on the charts either north or south. Only one last little pulse is pushing from the Kuril Islands towards Hawaii from a low that was there earlier in the week. Another weak fetch is scheduled south of New Zealand on Friday but is to be sinking southeast fast, moving in the wrong direction for either Hawaii or the mainland. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (5/12) a full zonal jetstream flow was in affect across the North Pacific with no troughs or ridges. This was not conducive to storm development (animation here). Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (5/15) a mild trough is scheduled off the Kurils with a ridge north of Hawaii and another even weaker trough in the eastern Gulf of Alaska. Winds speeds in the jet are to remain relatively light with no storm development forecast.
At the surface today a broad but weak 992 mb low was filling the western Gulf of Alaska with fragmented 25 kt west winds aimed towards the US west coast. Minimal windswell generation potential. A broad 1020 mb high was nestled along the US west coast trailing southwest over Hawaii to the dateline (animation here).
On Tuesday night into Wednesday AM (5/11) a low with 30-45 kt westerly winds pushes off the Kuril Islands aimed well towards Hawaii, fading fast by night fall. Seas built briefly to 23 ft, but they will decay alot over the long journey to Hawaii. This looks good for another pulse of 11-13 sec tiny swell for the Islands late Sunday (5/15) into Monday.
Over the next 72 hours the Gulf low is to continue drifting east, with no intensification scheduled. Continued 25 kt westerly winds are forecast aimed towards the Pacific Northwest providing windswell potential for the weekend. Also by Saturday (5/14) low pressure is to be pushing quickly off Japan and reaching the dateline in the upper level trough there. No real development forecast with only some 25-30 kt west winds expected aimed towards Hawaii.
More model data here
On Thursday (5/12) the jetstream in the South Pacific was being influenced by a strong new ridge building in the northern branch and diving south towards Antarctica. The southern branch was already pushing over the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf and this new downward push was just exacerbating the situation. Otherwise a weak trough was under New Zealand but was not getting in touch with any real energy (animation here). Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (5/15) the newly developing ridge over the central South Pacific is to be in control, while the weaker trough under New Zealand continues in place, drifting slowly east. In all anything that develops in the New Zealand trough will get shunted quickly south over the Ross Ice Shelf, out of contact with open water.
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned right smack in the middle of the South Pacific, driving anything that tried to emerge from under New Zealand southeast towards Antarctica. Of most interest was a 972 mb low trying to push east under New Zealand. QuikSCAT imagery indicated 40-45 kts winds were circulating around it's north quadrant with a tiny area to 50 kts in it's west quadrant aimed well up the Tasman Sea channel towards Hawaii. Seas were building (animation here).
Over the next 72 hours this low is to develop nicely with pressure down to 964 mbs by early Friday AM (5/13) and a thin sliver of 55 kt winds aimed northeast up the 215 degree great circle path towards California and the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 31 ft centered at 54S 168E. But within 12 hours the low is to start pushing southeast with the wind vector turning due east. Winds forecast at 45-50 kts in the storms north quadrant aimed 40 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California (shadowed by Tahiti) and 70 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 38 ft centered at 54S 175E.
By Saturday AM (5/12) the storm is to be fading fast with winds barely 40 kts and dying. Seas 33 ft pushing towards Antarctica centered at 55S 178W. This system is to be functional gone after that.
With luck, a small swell will push north providing a short lived shot of something to ride. But since this storm is just forecast, and nothing has really formed yet, and whatever is to form is to be problematic in terms of it's aim, it would be premature to speculate on either the size or period of that swell.
More model data here
New Zealand System
On Thursday AM (5/5) a new 956 mb low developed south of New Zealand while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was sitting just east of New Zealand forming a tight gradient between the two systems. Winds were confirmed at 50 to near 60 kts centered at 59S 166E, but they were all aimed mostly southeast towards the Ross Ice Shelf, the high pressure system having the upper hand. The same situation occurred in the evening with seas building to 40 ft late over a small area centered at 63S 177E.
On Friday (5/6) pressure dropped to 952 mbs with the gradient holding producing more 50-55 kt west to southwest winds at 65S 173W blowing mostly over sea ice. 32 ft seas were over a tiny area right off the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf at 65S 170W. By evening the low pushed farther east, but the high kept pace with it and the gradient eased some. Winds down to 45-50 kts centered near 65S 150W, all over the Ross ice Shelf. No seas were being produced. Swell generation potential was over.
On Saturday AM (5/7) the low tracked further east and was starting to reemerge from the Ice, getting some traction on the oceans surface. But it was pretty far east, moving towards the eastern edge of the US swell window. Maybe some energy eventually for South America.
Based on confirmed data, the vast majority of the fetch in this system was aimed too far south towards Antarctica and too far away from the US to have much hope of producing any decent swell. Background energy is likely tracking up towards Hawaii expected to arrive on Saturday (5/14). Limited swell is also tracking towards California, expected to arrive on Sunday (5/15). Size to be in the impulse class range though at all locations. See QuikCASTs for details.
Yet Another New Zealand Storm
A broad 952 mb low developed under Australia on Monday (5/9) tracking east generating 30-40 kt west winds aimed poorly into the Tasman Sea. It held into Tuesday (5/10) with 30 to near 40 kt southwest winds pushing somewhat up into the Tasman Sea but not ideal. Seas were modeled into the 29 ft range through Monday (5/9), but again not aimed well up the Tasman Sea Channel. A quick decline is expected through this evening into Wednesday AM (5/11).
At this time suspect most energy from this storm is to slam directly into western New Zealand. Seas height hindcasts have fallen well behind original estimates too and positioned a long ways from either Hawaii or California. This system was best positioned to drive some swell towards Hawaii, but there is serious doubts as to how much energy will actually reach the Islands due to blockage from Fiji which is sitting right in the middle of the swell window. At this time only background energy is expected to reach the Islands with nothing into California.
California Offshore Forecast
Thursday mornings local charts (5/12) depicted high pressure at 1020 mbs 500 nmiles west of Pt Conception ridging into North and Central CA. This is to be the major weather feature through Monday (5/16) producing northwest winds directly along the coast. Low pressure is to persist in the Gulf of Alaska with westerly winds at 25 kts and 12-13 ft seas being generated on the border between the low and high pressure to the south. This should produce some minor northwest windswell at 10 secs starting Sunday (5/15). The low in the Gulf is to try and dislodge the high, but with no success until possibly Tuesday (5/17).
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Thursdays upper level models (5/12) indicate that beyond 72 hours the trough east of the Kurils is to pinch off remaining fairly unproductive while decent energy (170 kt winds) are to be blowing into a developing trough off California Tuesday (5/17), then pushing onshore early Thursday (5/19). It actually looks decent, but that's a long ways off.
At the surface low pressure that was over the dateline is to move east in to the Gulf of Alaska by late Monday (5/16) and starting to develop. Believe it or not (most likely not) pressure is to drop to 980 mbs on Tuesday (5/17) with 40-45 kt developing in the systems southwest region aimed right at North and Central CA. Seas building to 29 ft near buoy 46006. The low is to move onshore on Wednesday and fade with improving conditions as the swell builds on Thursday. This is all very far fetched and will likely not even happen, but it's interesting just the same.
The models suggest even more behind that.
Thursdays upper level models (5/12) indicated that beyond 72 hours the huge upper ridge is to moderate some, though still in control till the middle of next week. After that the same old split jetstream pattern is to regain control, with no indication of anything capable of supporting any respectable surface level storm projected.
At the surface 72 hours out a broad area of low pressure (remnants of the last New Zealand low) is to persist under New Zealand tracking slowly east. But weak is the operative word with only fragmented areas of 25-35 kt south winds in place aimed towards Hawaii and fading. In general, the upper level high is to overshadow anything at the surface.
No swell producing systems forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table