On Thursday (5/24) Northern CA surf was chest high and wind blown. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to chest high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high at only the top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were up to chest high, but most in the waist high range. The North Shore of Oahu was up to waist high. The South Shore was shoulder to head high, maybe even a bit more. The East Shore was thigh high at best.
North/Central California continued with a mix of unremarkable local windswell and southern hemi swell. Southern California was getting a taste of small southern hemi swell at the usual breaks. Hawaii was getting minimal windswell on the North Shore with decent southern hemi swell on the South Shore. The first of several pulses from the southern hemi has passed Hawaii but is still producing a little something along the California coast, but on the downswing. A second pulse expected to be real dud has hit Hawaii and done a bit better than our pessimistic forecast, all the better for everyone. This one is working it's way towards California for the weekend. And yet another system is chugging through the central South Pacific. Not a strong one by any means, but respectable in girth and positioned well to the north, it ought to provide a little something for Hawaii late next week and into the weekend for California. Maybe another one a week beyond too, but that's a real reach for the models. The extratropical remnants of Typhoon Yutu are now forecast to not do anything, so that one out of the picture. At least the southern hemi is providing something to look forward to. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (5/24) for the North Pacific indicated a weak trough extending from off the Kuril Islands rising gently northeast across the dateline and into the Gulf of Alaska, but weak with winds only up to 100 kts. Not much support for surface level low pressure development, but certainly no a big ridging situation either. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast with a little more energy starting to show mainly over the dateline and west of there with winds to 140 kts over the weekend imbedded in some ripples undulating along the trough. Maybe a little more support for low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours the new energy is to get focused into a broad trough building over the dateline and pushing east into the Gulf late next week. Maybe some support for low pressure development, but the models seem to exaggerate these opportunities if going too far into the future.
At the surface today weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was off the California coast providing only a gently northwest windswell along the mainland and a light trade flow over the Hawaiian Islands. Weak low pressure at 996 mbs was in the northern Gulf of Alaska but no winds of interest were being generated. The remnants of Typhoon Yutu were pushing over the dateline with winds confirmed at 30-35 kts aimed at bit at Hawaii, but only over a very small area. No real swell generation potential. Over the next 72 hrs the remnants of Yutu are to continue disintegrating, contrary to earlier prognostications by the models suggesting strengthening. A new low pressure system is to push off Japan and start building by Sunday (5/27) aided by a improved jetstream flow aloft. Winds supposedly building to 40 kts and seas to 23 ft in it's south quadrant aimed at Hawaii, but that seems highly optimistic. Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.
No tropical activity was being monitored at this time.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/23) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was 1000 nmiles west of San Diego tracking east. No windswell producing fetch was suggested off the California coast. No significant change expected Friday. Then late Saturday the high to surge a little east generating the usual weak pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino with winds building to 20 kts and up to near 30 kts late Sunday with windswell on the increase. That to hold into Monday then wither. Windswell fading. Some form of 20 kt winds to start regenerating up there Thurs/Fri (6/1) but very small in areal coverage and likely not a windswell generation source. Generally light winds all locations south of Pt Reyes through the period other than possibly Sun/Mon (5/28) when northwest winds near shore might reach 10-15 kts, and then limited north of Pt Conception.
Thursdays jetstream charts (5/24) for the South Pacific indicated a high amplitude trough tilted to the east over the Central Pacific pushing well to the north peaking at 45S with winds there to 130 kts. Good support for surface level gale development. Ridge conditions were east and west of it pushing the whole was south to Antarctica. Over the next 72 hours that trough to continue it's slow march to the east while steadily loosing energy and effectively gone by Sunday (5/27). Continued diminishing support for surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours a new trough to try and set up directly east of New Zealand and weak at first, but decent energy forecast to feed into it starting Tuesday (5/29) with wind to 140 kts continuing in the 130 kt range for 24 hours before the trough pinches off and shuts down. This one to push to 35N aimed right at Hawaii. Good support for surface level gale development assuming this comes to pass.
At the surface today the remnants of a broad low pressure system were in control of the Central South Pacific generating swell (see Central Pacific Gale below). No other swell producing fetch was indicated. Over the new 72 hours this system to be slowly winding down while tracking east. A new storm is to try and migrate east from the south Tasman Sea pushing into exposed waters of the South Pacific just under the southern tip of New Zealand on Saturday (5/26) with 40-45 kt winds moving clearly into the Hawaiian swell window at 48S 173E aimed towards the Islands up the 201 degree great circle path. Seas forecast at 32 ft at the same location. On Sunday AM (5/27) 40-45 kts winds to persist while trying to drift north at 45S 178W again aimed about 15 degrees east of the 195 degree route to the Islands. Seas forecast at 32 ft. A quick decay forecast in the evening with seas fading from near 30 ft at 44S 175W. This system to effectively gone thereafter. If this occurs a nice pulse of near significant class 16-17 sec period swell ought to push into the Hawaii Islands 6-7 days out. Some probability for swell to push to California too from 215-220 degrees, but much smaller due to the long travel distance and off axis fetch angle. Will monitor.
Secondary New Zealand Fetch
On Tuesday AM (4/15) a decent fetch of 40-45 kts winds was aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii and California. That fetch continued Tuesday PM with 40-45 kt winds clearing New Zealand at 53S 170E aimed like before. Seas built to 30 ft under New Zealand at 50S 165E shadowed from Hawaii but aimed towards CA well. A small area of 40 kts winds continued Wed AM at 50S 173W aimed due east with 30 ft seas modeled way back at 50S 173E. No winds were left in the evening per the satellite yet the wave models projected 30 ft seas at 50S 180W. This made no sense. Thursday AM (5/17) no fetch was indicated per the QuikSCAT satellite again yet the wave models still indicated near 30 ft seas present southeast of New Zealand. Though there's some hint of swell pushing up into Hawaii mid to late next week we suspect nothing much will materialize. But just in case, here's the calculated swell numbers (expect something less).
Hawaii to see swell arriving Wednesday (5/23) at 2 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft faces) pushing 3 ft @ 15 secs Thursday (4.5 ft faces) fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Friday (5/25).
California to see swell of 2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3 ft faces) Saturday (5/26) pushing 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) Sunday and fading late.
Third New Zealand System
On Saturday (5/19) a new low pressure system at 960 mbs was located southeast of New Zealand just starting to generate a fetch of 50-55 kts south to southwest winds at 57S 172W aimed right up the 205 degree path to California and just sneaking east of the Tahitian swell shadow and 20 degree east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. It had generated a tiny area of 30 ft seas at 60S 175E, of no real interest. The low continued tracking east generating 40-45 kt southwest winds Sat PM at 53S 163W aimed right up the 203 degree path to California and unshadowed but 40 degree off the 181 degree path to Hawaii. Seas of 32 ft were modeled at 57S 170W but very tiny in areal coverage. Winds continued confirmed at 40-45 kts Sun AM at 47S 148W aimed right up the 196 degree path to California with 30 ft seas over a bit broader area at 54S 159W lingering behind. The fetch was aimed outside of the Hawaii swell window. A bit of a resurgence occurred Sun PM but all aimed at Antarctica. Residual southwest winds of 40 kts were confirmed at 43S 140W aimed 20 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas held at 29 ft at 48S 149W. The fetch was gone Monday AM with supposedly 30 ft seas modeled at 43S 138W, but that is highly suspect, then fading out.
In all this one is interesting not because of it's strength, because it really was mostly in the gael force range, but because it was pretty far to the north and pushing right up the 195-205 degree great circle paths to California (unshadowed by Tahiti) with some virtual fetch developing, This is interesting for California and Baja. Possible utility class swell at 15-16 secs. A little energy to be pushing towards Hawaii, but not much.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival early Sunday (5/27) with swell peaking at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs late (3.5 ft faces). Energy fading from 2.3-2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) early Monday (5/28). Swell Direction:185-187 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (5/28) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to peak early Tuesday (5/29) with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 2.9 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) early. Swell Direction: 193-200 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (5/28) with swell building to 2 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5 ft faces). Swell to peak midday Tuesday (5/29) with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 3 ft @ 15-16 secs early(4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 190-198 degrees
4th Central Pacific Gale
On Tuesday AM (5/22) a new gale developed in the Southwest Pacific with pressure a whopping 936 mbs generating a fetch of 35-40 kt winds at 53S 168W aimed well to the northeast. That fetch built into the evening to 40-45 kts aimed right at California up the 205 degree path and 20 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii terminating near 54S 170W with seas on the increase to 28 ft at 52S 165W. No strong high pressure was nearby to create a pressure gradient and really push the wind machine through.
Wednesday AM (5/23) winds continued over a now broad area confirmed at 45 kts at 55S 162W with seas holding at 30 ft at 55S 162W. Winds were aimed right at California up the 203 degree path but 40 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Fetch tried to hold on in the evening at 35-40 kts confirmed at 54S 150W aimed almost right at California up the 196 degree path and 20 degrees east of the 176 degree route to Hawaii. 29 ft seas modeled fading from 50S 150W. The Jason-1 satellite made 2 passes very near this area and confirmed average seas at 26-28 ft, about 1-2 ft less than the model. Some individual readings were up to 30 ft. Not too bad.
Thursday AM (5/24) 35-40 kt winds were confirmed at 54S 147W again aimed northeast just like before with a broad area of 29 ft seas modeled at 51S 150W. The sea height projection (by the model) seems a little bit high given the decreasing wind state, but the prolonged duration of fetch might be making up the difference. No Jason-1 passes occurred near the area. In the evening 40 kts winds to continue at 45S 137W pushing well to the north aimed 15 degrees east of the 192 degree path to California. Seas to respond to the broad fetch by holding if not building a little to 30 ft over a broad area at 46S 143W.
Friday AM (5/25) 35-40 kt winds to slowly be fading and rotate northeast around the core of the low at 44S 130W aimed 30 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California with 29-30 ft seas following the fetch to 48SS 135W. this is in reasonably close proximity to the coast. The fetch to be gone in the evening with seas fading fast from 29 ft at 45S 130W.
This to not a strong system, but it's to cover a large area and last a long time (nearly 4 days) while slowly lumbering from west to east on a track progressively to the northeast. Swell is already in the water pushing north as confirmed by the Jason-1 satellite with more supposedly being generated if the Thurs PM/Fri AM seas play out as forecast. But make no mistake, these are not high seas by any historical standard and are in-fact just right at the cusp of the acceptable level. Still, it's much better than nothing. Even now a dose of moderate period swell is push north focused mainly on California 9from 4753-5694 nmiles away) and totally unshadowed from Tahiti. Hawaii, while closer to the fetch (at 4212-4455 nmiles away) was mainly off axis for the bulk of it with the whole second half of the gale is to be outside their swell window. In all good potential for large summertime class utility class swell for California with period in the 16 secs range and fun sized 15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting early Wednesday AM (5/30) with period 17 secs peaking right before sunset at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) continuing into Thursday AM (5/31) at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 15 secs (same size). Swell fading late with period down to 14 secs on Friday. Swell Direction: 174-181 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday AM (5/31) building near sunset with swell to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs and coming up. Swell to start peaking Friday AM (6/1) with swell 2.6-2.9 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces and up to 6 ft top spots) holding all day. Still solid energy expected Saturday AM (6/2) with swell 2.6-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) then slowly settling down into Sunday. Swell Direction: 192-201 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (5/31) at sunset to 2 ft @ 18 secs (3 ft faces). Swell to be maxing mid-Friday (6/1) at 2.6-2.9 ft @ 16 secs (4.2-4.6 ft faces and up to 5.5 ft top spots) and holding through the day. Solid energy to continue Saturday AM (6/2) at the same size with period 15 secs, then fading late afternoon into Sunday, with period 14 secs. Swell Direction: 190-199 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 low off Japan to is continue trekking east with winds gradually settling down from 35 kts Monday to 30 kts and then dissipating early next Thursday (5/31) just east of the dateline. Fetch to be aimed generally east to southeast, a bit east of Hawaii. Sea fading from 23 ft Monday to 18 ft Thursday (5/31). Limited potential for small swell along Hawaiian Northwest Shores.
Beyond 72 hours a weaker pattern is forecast. Though a strong trough is modeled in the upper levels of the atmosphere, down at the surface low pressure is to form but all it's fetch to be aimed south towards Antarctica. No other swell producing fetch suggested.
Details to follow...
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Jason-1 Satellite Data: As you've maybe noticed Jason-1 satellite data (verified significant wave heights) has not been available (overlaid on our wave models) for quite a while. The main altimeter on the satellite took a major radiation hit back in November. While that didn't completely disable the sensor or the data feed, the damage did cause the data to be downloaded on a much less frequent basis, making it unusable for posting over our real-time wave models. Fortunately a second altimeter exists and we've been starting to receive and process data from it. We're working to start providing the data to you in the next few weeks (maybe sooner). The good news is that the data is near-real time, with only a 2-3 hours time lag, a significant improvement over the old sensor even when it was operating normally.
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table