On Tuesday (5/15) Northern CA surf was chest high and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was up to waist high and windy. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat. 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 flat. The East Shore was near flat.
North/Central California was again the standout spot, if that really means anything because it was unrideable local windswell hacked by wind and chop. Southern California was essentially flat though a few guys were out trying to get a ride or two on minimal northern windswell. Hawaii had no rideable swell north or south and no windswell of interest on the east. The North Pacific remains essentially unchanged with a quiet pattern in effect. A gale remains forecast off the Pacific Northwest for late Thurs into Friday (5/18) possibly generating a little semi-swell for the weekend from Monterey Bay northward. A decent storm developed under New Zealand Fri/Sat (5/12) generating up to 50 kts winds and 40 ft seas pushing well to the northeast, likely good enough for a decent bit of southern hemi swell for Hawaii this weekend and lesser energy pushing into California starting Tuesday (5/22). The models suggest two more gale pulses to follow, but pretty limited in their strength. hawaii might get a little energy out of the first one, but not much else unless you go to Tahiti. Make the most out of whatever swell you can get cause the long term is not looking inspiring. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/15) for the North Pacific indicated a moderately strong ridge over the west pushing over the Aleutian Islands but not north of it any longer then dropping into a weak trough in the Gulf of Alaska with winds only 90 kts. Minimal support for surface level low pressure development there. Over the next 72 hours the ridge in the west is to break up with it's energy pushing down into the trough in the Gulf with winds there building to 120 kts Wed/Thurs then fading to 110 kts Friday and the apex of the trough starts pushing towards the Pacific Northwest. Decent support for surface level gale development in the trough. Beyond 72 hours the trough to weaken while pushing into the Pacific Northwest on Sunday (5/20). Another batch of energy to try and build over the West Pacific, but it's to moderate while tracking east, with an essentially flat jetstream flow forecast over the entire North Pacific by early next week with winds about 100 kts over it's width. Not much support for surface gale development, but not horribly bad either, especially considering the time of year.
At the surface today weak low pressure at 1004 mbs continued in the Northeast Gulf of Alaska but with no winds of interest being generated. Otherwise weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was centered just off Southern California generating the usual north wind flow from Cape Mendocino southward at 20 kts making only for weak gutless short period windswell. As before the high did not reach back far enough to the west nor was strong enough to generate any trades of interest for Hawaii. A second weak high at 1020 mbs was just west of the dateline doing nothing to support generation of swell producing fetch. In all a very quiet pattern was in effect. Over the next 72 hrs the only change of interest is that the Gulf low is to build some starting Thursday (5/17) as a little pocket of additional energy tracks west into it, building to 993 mbs late off Oregon producing 40 kt northwest winds over a tiny area aimed at Oregon and Northern CA. It to hold into Friday AM with winds fading from 35 kts before pushing into British Columbia late Saturday (5/19). But the fetch area to be small and short lived, resulting in only 21 ft seas aimed mostly north of even North CA. Some possibility for small 12 sec period northwest swell by Sunday (5/20) in North CA.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/15) high pressure at 1025 mbs had sunk south and was now positioned just 600 nmiles off Southern California generating a modest fetch of 20 kt northwest winds from Cape Mendocino southward to the Channel Islands producing weak bumpy northwest windswell for exposed breaks down the coast. This pattern to hold through the rest of the workweek but with the core of it shifting further south with each day. by the weekend winds to push 30 kts but centered just over Pt Conception with the bulk of the windswell occurring from there southward. Southern CA to remain mostly protected from the bulk of the wind though a southwesterly eddy flow expected through the period while rather poor conditions expected up north. Next week the core of the fetch to start lifting north to it's usual spot over Cape Mendocino late Monday (5/21) as low pressure weakens in the Gulf, allowing the high pressure system off the coast to move north then fading Tuesday as the high pushes inland. Local windswell fading with it.
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/15) for the South Pacific indicated a decent trough under New Zealand with 130 kt winds flowing up the troughs west side almost pushing over southern New Zealand. The trough had expanded east almost filling the entire lower reaches of the South Pacific, though winds were below 100 kts and not particularly supportive of gale development at the oceans surface. Best bet's were under New Zealand with the most strength in the trough there. Over the next 72 hours the energy in the west is to quickly push east and take a slight dive towards Antarctica, aiming most of the surface level energy the same way and not supportive of energy pushing north. Another little trough to build under New Zealand Thursday (5/17) but turning south ward just as fast. Beyond 72 hours the bulk of the energy is to shift on a southward track with a ridge building and pushing towards Antarctica, eliminating gale development potential starting this weekend.
At the surface today low pressure at 960 mbs was due south of New Zealand generating a decent fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii and California. No other fetch of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours the New Zealand fetch to build a bit Tuesday PM with 45-50 kt fetch starting to clear New Zealand but aimed almost due east and bypassing paths to Hawaii and a little less towards California. Seas building to 30 ft under New Zealand at 50S 165E. 50 kts winds to continue Wed AM at 57S 173W aimed due east with 35 ft seas forecast at 53S 170W. 50 kt east winds to continue in the evening at 54S 170W with seas holding at 35 ft at 50S 180W. Thursday AM (5/17) the last little fetch of 45 kts winds is forecast at 55S 160W sinking southeast with seas fading from 30 ft at 48S 170W, mainly generated from previous days fetch. If this all comes to pass some form of small to moderate utility class swell seems likely for Hawaii a week out with much less for California 8 days beyond.
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. 38 ft seas were modeled at 53S 178E in the morning, then fading from 32 ft late at 50S 172W generated primarily from previous days fetch. This system was effectively dead after that.
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 swell 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces) peaking late Sunday (5/20) with swell 3.2 ft @ 16 secs (5 ft faces) from 195-200 degrees. Swell fading from 3.3 ft @ 15 secs Monday (4.5-5.0 ft faces) and 3 ft @ 14 secs Tuesday (4 ft faces). Lesser energy eventually filtering into California early Tuesday (5/22) with swell building slowly from 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces) peaking Wednesday (5/23) from 215 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 more very weak low pressure is forecast to circulate in the Gulf of Alaska. but with no strong forcing high pressure system and because the low itself is to be so weak no swell producing fetch is to result. In short, a very quiet pattern to continue.
Beyond 72 hours one more small storm is forecast on Saturday (5/19) southeast of New Zealand with a fetch aimed due east. This one to be fairly intense but very compact and short lived peaking out on Sunday with seas supposedly hitting the 40 ft mark, then all but gone by Monday. another dose of small utility class swell possibly for Hawaii through California to be shadowed by Tahiti. nothing else forecast to follow.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table