On Sunday (5/13) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and weak with light onshore wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to maybe chest high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat even at top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was maybe thigh high on the sets at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh high on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was near flat.
North/Central California was the standout spot with it's weak windswell coming from the north. Southern California was flat with non of the northern windswell wrapping in. Hawaii had no swell north or south and no windswell of interest on the east. The North Pacific remains quiet with nothing believable on the charts for the foreseeable future. A gale is forecast off the Pacific Northwest late in the workweek, but odds low of that occurring. Of some interest is a decent storm that developed under New Zealand Fri/Sat generating up to 50 kts winds and 40 ft seas pushing well to the northeast, likely good enough for a decent bout of southern hemi swell for Hawaii next weekend and lesser energy pushing into California a few days beyond. The models had suggested that more gale energy was to follow, but that has since vanished from the charts with nothing of real interest expected to follow. Make the most of this next southern hemi pulse. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (5/13) for the North Pacific indicated a big ridge over the west pushing well north of the Aleutian Islands the dropping into a trough over the Gulf of Alaska but very weak with winds only 90 kts. Minimal support for surface level low pressure development there only. Over the next 72 hours the ridge in the west is to settle down some and drop down to the Aleutians but not south of it while the trough in the east continues with a bit more energy developing in it, wit winds up to 130 kts. Some support for surface level gale development perhaps by mid-week. Beyond 72 hours the trough to hold in the Gulf with winds still in the 120-130 kt range moving closer to the Pacific Northwest near the end of the workweek, pushing into the Washington coast Sunday (5/20). Decent support for surface level development there. In the west the ridge there to continue fading with the jet moving more to the south, with an almost decent looking flow forecast late the weekend. Perhaps some development there to with luck.
At the surface today weak low pressure at 1004 mbs was in the northern Gulf of Alaska covering a pretty good surface area, but no winds of interest were being generated. Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs was just off the Pacific Northwest generating the usual north wind scenario off Cape Mendocino at 25 kts making for some local windswell. But the high did not reach back far enough to the west, so no trades of interest were occurring over the Hawaiian Islands. A second weak high at 1024 mbs was over the northern dateline region putting the squash on any development in that area. In short, nothing of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hrs no significant change in the pattern is forecast with low pressure hanging in the Gulf and high pressure off California, while neutral pressure hold over the Hawaiian Islands. Little bit's of weak low pressure energy are to be moving towards the Gulf though, possibly indicating a trend for the future.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (5/13) high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered just off Southern Oregon generating a broad fetch of 25 kt north winds from Cape Mendocino southward to almost Point Conception producing northwest windswell along much of the coast, and also a healthy dose of lumpy warbled conditions too. This fetch to weaken late Monday as low pressure from the Gulf of Alaska moves closer putting a dent in the high pressure pattern off our coast. But the high is to not be denied completely with some form of 20 kts north winds continuing Tuesday (5/15) but centered more to the south off Monterey Bay. More of the same forecast Wed/Thurs but with the core of the local fetch moving off Pt Conception while low pressure gets a better footing in the Gulf. Local windswell and sloppy conditions continuing over the state. No change forecast till Saturday when low pressure moves out of the Gulf and a new high moves in locally with a broad area of 25-30 kt north winds starts building over the entire coast for the weekend. Southern CA to remain shadowed from these winds through the week, but also the windswell generated by it to likely be shadowed in the south too.
Sundays jetstream charts (5/13) for the South Pacific indicated a almost-decent trough under New Zealand with 110 kt winds flowing up into the trough and providing some support for gale development down at the surface. A moderate ridge was over the Central part of the South Pacific driving and gale energy in the New Zealand trough south towards Antarctica. But overall energy levels were far from solid. Over the next 72 hours the trough under New Zealand is to expand eastward almost filling the entire South Pacific by early Tuesday (5/15). At that time decent amounts of energy to be pushing up into the trough from under Tasmania with winds 130-140 kts aimed right at New Zealand. Support for gale development likely and continuing tough not as strong through Wednesday. Beyond 72 hours the bulk of the energy is to shift east while making a gradual trek southeast, likely shifting any fetch development at the surface on a path angled towards Southern Chile and Antarctica. Support for favorable winds and swell generation at the surface fading.
At the surface today low pressure at 972 mbs was southeast of New Zealand generating a decent fetch of 40 kts winds aimed reasonably well towards Hawaii and California. This was the tail end of a previous storm (see details below). No other fetch of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours a series of two moderate sized but swift moving lows to push under New Zealand heading east, one on Monday (5/14) with 40 kt winds aimed northeast but fading in 24 hours perhaps helping to sustain seas in the 28-30 ft range from the previous days fetch. And a second is scheduled Wednesday with pressure at 948 mbs but with no solid high pressure system nearby to ramp winds up above the 35 kt range, and most of that fetch to be taking aim on Antarctica by Thursday.
New Zealand Gale
A low pressure system started developing under Tasmania on Friday (5/11) with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts late at 55S 160E as pressure fell to 960 mbs aimed up the 221 degree path to CA but shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. Seas built to 29 ft at 57S 150E. By Saturday AM (5/12) it pushed east and clear of New Zealand with a small area of 50 kt winds confirmed at 55S 168E aimed well up the 215 degree path to NCal and 30 degrees east of the 200 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 56S 160E. The low faded to 968 mbs in the evening with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts at 52S 178E aimed at NCal up the 211 degree path and 30 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 40 ft at 55S 170E, but that seems a bit high. The low tracked east Sunday AM (5/13) while winds faded from 35 kts. 37 ft seas were modeled at 53S 178E in the morning, then expected to fade from 32 ft late at 50S 172W generated primarily from previous days fetch. Seas to hang at 30 ft Monday AM at 48S 170W primarily associated with a new fetch building in the area.
All the data suggests this was a small and normal strength summer low that provided 48 hours of decent fetch aimed unobstructed towards California and a bit east of the great circle paths to Hawaii but located closer to the Islands. The wave models seem to have estimated sea heights on the high side, mainly because the winds models appear to have estimated winds higher than what the QuikSCAT satellite indicated. Still some large summer time utility class swell seems likely for Hawaii starting Saturday (5/19) with period 18 secs peaking late Sunday (5/20) with swell 3.3 ft @ 16 secs (5 ft faces) from 195-200 degrees with lesser energy eventually filtering into California early the following week. And given the complete lack of any other swell producing system being present, it's all we have.
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 Gulf low is to take a turn for the better starting Thursday (5/17) with a 996 mb low forecast off Oregon in the evening producing 40-45 kt northwest winds over a tiny area aimed at Oregon and Northern CA. It to hold into Friday AM then fade to 30 kts by evening before pushing into British Columbia on Saturday (5/19). But the fetch area to be small and short lived, resulting in only 20 ft seas and only that with alot of luck. Remote possibilities for northwest swell the coming weekend. Otherwise no swell of interest forecast in other locations.
Beyond 72 hours things to settle down for a while until next Sunday (5/20) when a new 948 mbs low starts developing southeast of New Zealand generating abroad fetch of 40-45 kts winds partially aimed to the northeast and building to the 45-50 kt range later in the day. Seas on the increase from 30 ft. Some potential here if this one develops as modeled, which is definitely a long short at this early date.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table