On Thursday (6/15) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and marginal early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to waist high on the sets. Central California surf was waist high, maybe a little more on the sets. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe waist high on the sets. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high at the better breaks on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high and maybe even a little more rarely. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest to head high with beset breaks 1 ft overhead. The East Shore was waist high and occasionally a little more.
Decent swell was hitting Hawaii as expected today from the first of two storms that passed under New Zealand a week ago. More is expected Friday into Saturday before a more moderate swell pattern sets up. Not much happening in California today but some of the southern hemi energy that has been hitting Hawaii the past few days is to start pushing into the Golden State Friday through the weekend and into early next week. But the big story focuses on Southern CA courtesy of large storm earlier this week on the very edge of the swell window off Antarctica. Large swell energy is pushing north expected to produce a solid 4 day run of surf next week. Beginners beware. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (6/15) indicated a moderate trough positioned well north of Hawaii with 130 kts winds flowing under it. It's to push east into the eastern Gulf of Alaska by Friday then hold there through the weekend into early next week. A slow withering to commence mid-next week fading out altogether by Thursday (6/22). This trough to provide some minimal support for surface level low pressure development through the weekend, then fading out. Detailed monitoring for the North Pacific is now on an exception basis through the summer.
At the surface on Thursday (6/15) a broad a moderately strong high pressure system was over the dateline trailing west to the Kuril Islands and ridging Central California and driving a 20-25 kt north flow along much of the California coast and enhanced trades over the Hawaiian Islands at 20-25 kts. Low pressure at 992 mbs was set up in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska generating 25 kt northwest winds over a moderate area in it's southwestern sector aimed at North California and the Pacific Northwest. This pattern to hold into Friday into early Saturday with the low become a little more active generating up to 35 kt northwest winds but starting to lift north with aimed moving towards Washington and Vancouver Island. Seas forecast at 17-19 ft pushing towards the coast. Sizeable windswell possible (by Summer standards) for North and Central CA Sunday. But at the same time high pressure over the dateline is to be pushing east, increasing the pressure gradient along the California coast and generating 25-30 kt north-northwest winds over the waters of North and Central CA through Fri-Sun (6/18) producing local short period winchop and devaluing the quality of whatever swell is being produced up in the Gulf and whatever swell is coming out of the southern hemisphere.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/15) high pressure at 1026 mbs was edging towards the state from a point north of Hawaii. It's affects to be felt starting Friday AM as it interacts with lower pressure inland generating northwest winds along the coast at 25 kts continuing steadily through the weekend into Monday (6/19). At that time the core of the pressure gradient to shift to the Cape Mendocino area and nearshore winds are to lighten up south of Pt Reyes, but only by the slightest of margins, meaning lot's of local warble to still be in the water with onshore's moving in late mornings all days. Moderate local windswell to result also intermixing with swell coming from the southern hemisphere. No change through next workweek.
The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Thursday (6/15) a somewhat consolidated jetstream flow was in-place over much of the South Pacific with a weak trough in-place under New Zealand diving into the the remnants of a big ridge over the East-Central Pacific pushing down to the Antarctic ice line, then lifting sharply north near 115W driving into a steep trough there with 140 kt winds flowing into it. This trough has been supporting a strong storm the past two days in the far Southeastern Pacific. Over the next 72 hours and beyond that pattern to quickly come to an end Friday as the jet is modeled to fully split again over the entire width of the South Pacific diving over the continental Antarctic through the end of the coming workweek. The only area of hope is a small trough modeled under New Zealand starting Monday (6/19) drifting a bit east of there and making better inroads through the week, but winds generally light flowing over this trough. Minimal support for surface level low pressure development there.
At the surface on Thursday (6/15) a series of three low pressure systems were strung across the South Pacific. From west to east the remnants of a storm in the Tasman Sea was petering out over Southern New Zealand, a developing low over the Central South Pacific, and the fading remnants of Storm #3 was in the far Southeastern Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the only system of any promise is the middle of the three over the Central Pacific, scheduled to have pressure at 972 mbs Friday (6/16) with 40 kts winds over a broad area aimed due north to northeast from 45S 135W targeting California up the 192 degree great circle path and producing 12 hours of 30 ft seas starting that evening at 45S 130W. (188 degrees). Nothing else suggested.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
New Zealand Storm
On Tuesday AM (6/6) a 968 mb low developed directly under New Zealand with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts over a tiny area at 60S 165E aimed northeast up the 195 degree path to Hawaii and the 212 degree path to California. Seas building. By evening winds were down to the 50 kts range over a tiny area at 57S 175E aimed 25 degrees east of the 194 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 210 degree path to California. Seas were building.
By Wednesday AM a small area of 40 kts winds remained at 51S 169W aimed well north of the 187 degree path to Hawaii and a bit north of the 209 degree path to California. Seas were 32 ft at 55S 180W. A rapid decay set in Wednesday evening with winds down to 30-35 kts and no additional swell production occurring. Seas from previous fetch still to 32 ft at 52S 168W and fading.
Nothing to be left by Thursday AM with 29 ft seas at 50S 160W early and fading fast.
Hawaii looks to be well set up to receive a good moderate dose of swell from this system. The big concern for California is that much of this fetch was shadowed by Tahiti tracking into both North and Southern CA.
Hawaii: Swell 3 ft @ 14 secs early Friday (4 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 187-194 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival Friday (6/16) with swell 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.0-2.5 ft faces). Swell coming up some Saturday reaching 3 ft @ 16 secs early (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs on Sunday (3.0-3.5 ft faces) and becoming lost in the next swell (below). Swell Direction 209-212 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival Friday (6/16) with swell 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.0-2.5 ft faces). Swell coming up some Saturday reaching 2.6 ft @ 16 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft faces). Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs on Sunday (3.0-3.5 ft faces) and becoming lost in the next swell (below). Swell Direction 210-213 degrees
Slightly Stronger New Zealander
A 968 mb low to formed late Thursday (6/8) under New Zealand with a broad but fragmented fetch of 40 kt winds confirmed at at 54S 168E right on the edge of the swell window for Hawaii (201 degrees) and aimed a bit too east, but aimed well at California up the 216 degree path.
By Friday AM pressure was 964 mbs with a solid area of 45 kts winds centered at 53S 175W aimed 70 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii and 45 degrees east of the 210 degree path to California, shadowed by Tahiti. Seas built to 29 ft at 53S 174E. The gale held into the evening with pressure 956 mbs and a small fetch of 40-45 kts at 52S 165W aimed 70 degree east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii and 35 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California, emerging from under the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas to 32 ft at 51S 171W. The Jason-1 satellite passed right over the fetch and confirmed 31 ft seas in it's core, actually a bit less than what was modeled. Looking at the QuikSCAT wind data, this appears accurate, indicating the wave models are on the high side.
35-40 kt southwesterly fetch continued Saturday AM at 50S 157W with sideband energy likely pushing to Hawaii up the 179 degree path but most focusing 30 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California, unshadowed. Seas 32 ft at 50S 160W emerging from the Tahitian swell shadow for California with sideband energy pushing to Hawaii up the 180 degree path. The gale to be gone by Saturday night with residual 30 ft seas modeled at 49S 150W, unshadowed at 197 degrees.
This gale, not even a storm, was much less intense than modeled day before, Instead of 40 ft seas we ended up with 32 ft seas, and that mostly shadowed from California by Tahiti. Hawaii was by far best positioned to receive swell from this system, though much of that energy to be indirect since winds were aimed well east of the Islands. At this time solid utility class energy looks possible for the Islands, with the mainland getting something far less.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Friday morning (6/16) building to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs by sunset (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Swell building through the day Saturday peaking before sunset at 4 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces). Swell Direction 185-195 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival Sunday AM (6/18) pushing up to 3.3 ft @ 17 secs late (5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Swell to continue Monday with swell 3.3-3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces) but becoming lost is stronger Swell #3S. Swell Direction: 200-210 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival Sunday PM (6/18) pushing up to 1.6 ft @ 18 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft faces best breaks). Swell to continue Monday with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). On Tuesday swell fading from 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) and becoming lost under Swell #3S. Swell Direction: 200-205 degrees
Storm #3S (South California)
On Monday AM (6/12) a new storm developed in the Southeast Pacific outside the Hawaiian swell window but in the California swell window. Pressure was 960 mbs with a small fetch of 55 kts winds aimed mostly east at 52S 135W pushing 45 degree east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas built to 30 ft at 55S 142W. The low started tracking northeast in the evening with a solid 60 kt fetch confirmed at 51S 124W aimed 30 degrees east of the 182 degree path to NCal/185 SCal. Seas modeled to 37 ft at 52S 123W.
Tuesday AM (6/13) the storm bloomed a bit with pressure 960 mbs and 50-55 kts winds at 48S 120W covering 840 nmiles aimed 15 degree east of the 179-182 degree path to California, heavily favoring the south end of the state. 44 ft seas were modeled at 49S 119W. A broad area of 50-55 kt fetch held into the evening at 42S 114W aimed 20 degree east of the 178 degree path to SCal with nothing reaching into NCal. 48 ft seas modeled at 45S 113W.
By Wednesday AM fetch was fading fast though still covering a broad area with 35-40 kt winds terminating at 38S 112W and 42 ft seas at 40S 110W. The fetch covered 1080 nmiles aimed just east of due north. The fetch was all but gone by nightfall though pockets of south winds were still confirmed at 35-40 kts in the same region, but over a much smaller area. No real sea production was occurring though, with the bulk of the heights produced from previous days fetch.
The Jason-1 satellite made no clean passes over the fetch area during the storms lifecycle.
Swell Generation Potential
This storm was reasonably impressive from a pure meteorological perspective. Solid 50-55 kt winds blew over a 800 nmile or greater fetch area aimed well to the north for 24-36 hours with another 24 hours of 40 kt fetch behind. Seas reached a solid 48 ft (unconfirmed) and positioned reasonably close to California (4428-5134 nmiles from SCal). Historically this is a strong storm, but not over the top. The issue is it's position in the ocean relative to California. For the most part it didn't start producing decent seas until it was out of the NCal swell window. This shifts the focus to Southern California and Central America. If the storm had been 400 nmiles to the west, even larger swell would have blanketed all of California. Regardless, large seas have been produced and are tracking on a fairly northerly course, setting their sights from South CA southward into Central America (Costa Rica) and down into Peru. Significant class swell is expected to reach into Southern CA with lesser energy wrapping into only the most exposed Northern CA breaks. No energy was aimed towards Hawaii.
Detail Surf Forecasts
South CA: Expect the first small signs of this swell to theoretically start showing Sunday mid-morning (6/18) with period at 24 secs though likely noticeable only at the CDIP buoys. This part of the swell to be masked by swell hitting from New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealander below) at the same time. Size to be tiny and inconsistent/hardly noticeable through possibly rideable by sunset (1 ft @ 22 secs - 2 ft faces). Swell coming up Monday AM with swell 2.3 ft @ 20-21 secs at 8 AM (4-5 ft faces) and heading up, peaking late afternoon at 4.2 ft @ 18-19 secs though still a bit inconsistent (7.5-8.0 ft faces with best breaks to 9-10 ft on the biggest sets). Peak size to continue Tuesday AM with swell still 4.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (8 ft faces with sets to 10 ft) with improved consistency, holding reasonably solid through the day. A downward trend to begin Wednesday, but still far from small with swell 4.9 ft @ 16 secs (7.5-8.0 ft faces with sets to 9.5 ft best breaks), fading towards 15 secs late afternoon. Thursday to see 14-15 sec residuals with swell 4.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces with set to 7 ft) and fading from there. Swell Direction: 177-185 degrees
North CA: Forecast for this region is highly problematic mainly because most of the energy will be either outside the swell window or whatever does reach the coast will be shadowed by local landmass to the south. Best estimates for most exposed breaks suggest swell arrival Monday afternoon (6/19) with swell up to 2 ft @ 21 secs late (4 ft faces). This part of the swell to be masked by swell hitting from New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealander below) at the same time. On Tuesday swell to continue upward from 3.6 ft @ 19-20 secs (6-7 ft faces) pushing 4 ft @ 19 secs late (7.0-7.5 ft faces). Wednesday swell to be 3.6 ft @ 17 secs through the day (6 ft faces) and holding. Thursday to have swell of 3.5-4.0 ft @ 15 secs (5-6 ft faces). 14 sec residuals left Friday. Swell Direction: 173-182 degrees
Tasman Sea Storm (Fiji-Hawaii)
On Wednesday (6/14) a small but strong 984 mb storm developed south of Tasmania with 50-55 kt south winds pushing up into the Tasman Sea through the day. 36 ft seas were modeled over a tiny area in the evening at 48S 148E targeting Hawaii up the 214 degree path through the Tasman Sea (and unshadowed by Fiji).
This storm was tracking east Thursday AM with winds 45 kts aimed north and 37 ft seas at 45S 155E aimed towards Hawaii up the 212 degree path, then is expected to pass over the southern tip of New Zealand in the evening with residual 30-35 kt fetch and 32 ft seas pushing up through the Tasman Sea before dissipating on Friday.
Large swell possible for Fiji Sunday (6/18) GMT with swell 10 ft @ 15 secs much less energy passing there heading towards Hawaii, but well filtered by Fiji and surrounding Islands, assuming it continues as forecast. Some hope for swell arrival in Hawaii Thursday (6/22).
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours high pressure to be moving steadily east taking a position off California fueling the Cape Mendocino gradient and generating north winds at 20-25 kts Mon-Thurs (6/22) and copious windswell. 20 kts trades to also continue steady over the Hawaiian Islands.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest some level of activity is to try and coalesce directly under and just southeast of New Zealand, but never quite get there until Tuesday (6/20) when a tiny 980 mb low forms there with 55-65 kg winds aimed northeast tracking to the northeast through mid-Wednesday the fading out early Thursday. 39-41 ft seas forecast over a tiny area over that timespan targeting Hawaii well up the 195-201 degree great circle paths. Will monitor.
Otherwise nothing of interest forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table