Big Picture

Friday, March 5th – Friday, March 12th  

Local Weather Outlook –

Lighter winds for a while with some heavy rain possible mid-week…

Showery and cool weather today as a shear line traverses the island chain.  Subtle troughing at the jet stream level will help to keep the atmosphere unstable through the weekend, with more showers than are typical.  This trough is forecast to hang around for a few days and may inspire a bout of heavy showers over and near the Big Island Sunday night through Wednesday.  Next Friday, the trough is forecast to move retrograde, back over the islands, which could lead to heavy showers over Maui and Oahu as well.

In terms of local winds, trades have relaxed to a northeasterly 10-15 mph today and are forecast to remain about the same speed through the weekend.  Sunday night through Tuesday, trades speed up, becoming 15-25+mph out of the east by Tuesday evening.  On Wednesday, the islands south of Kauai will see winds out of the SE, possibly becoming light and variable on Thursday.  Strong NNE winds are currently modeled for next Friday as another shearline passes the islands.

Surf Outlook –

North and West Shores: Mid range NNW – NNE swell through Monday, then small to tiny Tuesday through Friday…

Today, north shores have a raggedy mixture of some mid period NNW swell and some shorter period NNE wind swell from the nearby shear line.  The NNW is side band swell from a large fetch of zonal winds which persisted near the Aleutians for a few days around the end of the month.  This source will send us a second blast out of the north tomorrow (5-8’), before becoming NNE as the swell fades Sunday and Monday.  Conditions should improve by Sunday as the local winds veer more to the east.

On the 2nd, a new fetch built out of the Kurils with winds in the 40-50mph range.  This system also took the high road over the Aleutians before recharging south of Anchorage, AK.  This system was not a stellar wave maker, but it should boost local surf back into the 2-3’ range late Monday into early Wednesday, first out of the NW and then becoming quickly more northerly.

Surf potential looks poor for the rest of the week on the north shore, with merely background NNE swell in the 1-2’ range.  With the combination of it being a La Nina year and the fact that it is already early March, a springtime pattern may now be in full effect.

South Shores: Tiny, inconsistent background South Pac. energy this week. Better chances of some small surf next weekend …

Not much happened in our South Pac. swell window last week.  Today through Tuesday, trace swell from a strong storm in the southern Indian Ocean at the end of last month will infrequently spike local buoys, but other than that no significant swell sources are expected.  Wrapping E to SE swell from local, southeasterly winds may become a factor mid-week, but this will depend on how the current weather forecast plays out.  Better chances for some substantial SW groundswell (1-2′) come at the end of next week, from a storm which pushed into the Tasman Sea on the 3rd and 4th of March.

East Shores: Trade swell starting off small, but gradually building through the week.  Long period (~13 sec) N-NNE swell this weekend…

With the trades dying out, so has the trade swell. As trades remain light through the weekend, the trade wind surf will stay under 3’. In its stead, a long period NNE swell with advisory level heights, will begin showing tonight and continue through Sunday.

As the trades pick up speed on Monday the trade swell will rise to 2-3’, becoming 2-4’ Tuesday.  Also on Tuesday, the trade wind fetch becomes elongated and quite strong, reaching more than halfway to Baja California.  This fetch strengthens on Wednesday before beginning to dissipate on Thursday.  Such a long/strong fetch will be responsible for creating advisory level surf out of the ENE (4-6’+) for Wednesday, Thursday and possibly Friday.  A strong local fetch of NE winds over the following weekend may have surf heights going even higher Saturday and Sunday.



Surf Climatology HERE

NWS criteria for High Surf Advisories (first number) & Warnings (second number).

All surf height observations & forecasts are for full ‘face’ surf height, or ‘trough to the crest’ of the wave.

North-Facing Shores 15 Feet and 25 Feet

West-Facing Shores – Remaining Islands 12 Feet and 20 Feet

West-Facing Shores – Big Island 8 Feet and 12 Feet

South-Facing Shores -(Advisory) 8 Feet and (warning) 15 Feet

East-Facing Shores – 8 Feet and 15 Feet

Get the latest Central Pac Hawaii HERE

For the SNN Buoys ‘per shore’ displayed   HERE

Note: Spectral density graph in the SNN Buoy Page HERE can show ‘slivers’ of forerunners that initial text readings of new swells which often do not ‘show’ till later on written/text buoy updates. Also, note the vertical graph is not ‘wave height’ rather its a measure of wave energy in hertz (frequency or cycles/sec) for the whole ‘band’ (the distribution of power/period in the total wave energy field/spectrum).

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