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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 17, 2006 10:22 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
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Swell Potential Rating = 4.2 - California & 3.8 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 1/16 thru Sun 1/22
Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Utility swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of Utility swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Swell #11 Hitting Hawaii - Pushing To CA
A More Moderate Pattern To Follow

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (1/17) Northern CA surf was head high to 1-2 ft overhead and relatively clean. South facing breaks were chest high and clean. Central California surf was chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high at the best breaks with most something less. The LA area southward to Orange County was up to waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were up to rarely chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was pushing back up the double-overhead plus range late. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist to chest high from windswell.

The last solid pulse for a while is currently hitting Hawaii and pushing towards the California coast. Hawaii was seeing solid waves in the double overhead plus range. Equal size is expected for exposed North and Central California breaks on Thursday, but not as big as was forecast a few days ago seeing how the storm has not lived up to it's billing. After that a decidedly more placid storm pattern is forecast with everything tucked up in to the Northern Gulf of Alaska or coming from across the dateline and aimed too far north to be optimal for Hawaii and too far away to do much for California. La Nina is finally settling in pushing out the last remnants of last years El Nino. See details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesday (1/17) jetstream was looking much like it has the past mont off Japan with a solid flow of 160 kts winds pushing off japan, but that's where the similarities end. the flow decayed fast as it pushed to the dateline, then split with a steady branch pushing southeast to the equator with the remnants of the northern branch meandering northeast into Oregon, with a weak trough set up in the Gulf trying to fuel Storm # 11 at the surface but failing to provide a spark. Winds were barely 110 kts flowing under this system. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to slide east and deteriorate while pushing onshore over Oregon late Wednesday (1/18) then the remaining energy is to form a very weak ridge in the Gulf. The split is to remain strong starting just west of Hawaii but essentially unchanged. 150 kt energy is to continue pushing off Japan but fading well before the dateline and not providing enough energy over distance to support any real surface level storm development. Beyond 72 hours the Japanese jetstream flow is to continue if not strengthen with winds forecast up to 190 kt late Sunday (1/22), but the nasty split is to hold strong starting on the dateline and totally cutting of any energy flow into the East Pacific. One minor ray of hope is the projected development of a solid trough off the Kuril Islands Monday and Tuesday (1/24) of next week with 160 kt winds flowing under it. The east to remain locked down in what will likely become a strong high pressure system developing between the two branches of the split jet.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs remained in control of waters from Hawaii northeast to Central California setting up a large trade wind flow extending from Baja west over Hawaii and to the dateline. A weak to moderate system was circulating the Gulf of Alaska (see Storm #11 below) but was most unimpressive.

A new system started to develop mid-way between Japan and the dateline on Tuesday AM (1/17). By the evening pressure to be down to 980 mbs with a tiny fetch of 55 kt winds developing in it's west quadrant aimed close to Hawaii. Seas modeled at 34 ft at 38N 168E. By Wednesday AM (1/18) pressure to drop to 968 mbs with winds holding at 40N 170E aimed towards Hawaii down the 312 degree great circle path with 35 ft seas continuing at 39N 175E. In the evening the storm is to lift north, gone by Thursday AM but not before directing some residual 34 ft seas east towards California from 43N 178E aimed up the 296 degree path. This system could generate decent utility class swell for Hawaii by Saturday (1/21) with period at 17 secs fading fast overnight. Small utility class swell would also trickle east for North and Central California starting Monday (1/23) with period at 17 secs filtering down into Southern CA late. Nothing else of interest is in it's wake.

Also a small system was off Japan Sunday (1/15) with pressure 984 mbs intensifying into the evening with pressure dropping to 972 mbs and 50 kt winds taking aim on Hawaii over a tiny area. This storm peaked early Monday (1/16) with pressure 968 mbs and 50 kt winds confirmed at 42N 169E aimed well at Hawaii down the 314 degree path and seas building to 30 ft over a tiny area at 42N 165E. By nightfall winds were fading fast down to 35-40 kts with seas peaking at 31 ft over a tiny area at 43N 171E, with the storm totally gone by Tuesday AM (30 ft seas fading fast). This will be good for some solid utility class longer period energy pushing into Hawaii late Thursday (1/19) peaking overnight then fading into Friday.

No other swell producing systems forecast.

 

Storm # 11
Storm Forecast/History
On Friday AM (1/13) a new 996 mb low pushed east off Siberia and started to interact with the remnants of a 980 mb low over the dateline. 40 kt winds were starting to build in the southern perimeter of this system at 32N 170E aimed towards Hawaii. Seas modeled at 29 ft at 33N 163E. By evening a new 984 mb low was developing on the dateline with 45 kt winds confirmed centered at 33N 178W aimed again right at Hawaii down the 307 degree great circle path. A small core of low pressure remained north of the main storm over the Aleutians. Seas 27 ft at 32N 176E pushing towards Hawaii.

On Saturday AM (1/14) the southern storm started to rotate east under the residual northern core with winds 40 kts but fading fast while most energy looked to be moving into the residual low to the north. 40-45 kt winds were confirmed aimed right at Hawaii down the 225 degree great circle path. Seas continuing at 26 ft at 35N 175W from the original fetch but started building to 25 ft as well under the northern fetch at 47N 172E. In the evening the whole thing looked rather unorganized with two pockets of winds. The western pocket remained aimed at Hawaii but winds were only 35-40 kts at 40N 175W aimed at Hawaii down the 328 degree path with seas 29 ft at 45N 176E while the eastern most pocket had winds 50 kts but only covering a tiny area at 46N 165W aimed at North CA down the 299 degree great circle path. Seas were building

On Sunday AM (1/15) what was 2 distinct lows merged into one consolidate storm with pressure down to 960 mbs positioned in the northwestern Gulf of Alaska just south of the Aleutians. Winds were modeled at 45 kt in the storm core south quadrant at 48N 160W aimed mostly north of targets at California but well at Vancouver Island northward. A fetch of 40 kt winds continued in the storms southwest sector, which is to become the main swell producing fetch over the next 24 hours. These winds were centered at 42N 170W aimed 25 degrees south of the 295 degree path to North CA and 20 degrees east of the 331 degree path to Hawaii. Seas lagging behind but were up to 30 ft at 43N 175W. In the evening pressure was 968 mbs with a fetch of 40 kt winds centered at 44N 162W aimed 20 degrees south of the 296 degree path to NCal with nothing left aimed at Hawaii. 30 ft seas were modeled at 40N 170W.

On Monday AM (1/16) the storm, really a gale, to start fading up with pressure up to 976 mbs and winds 40 kts at 42N 156W aimed right at North CA down the 290 great circle path. Seas up to 32 ft were modeled at 43N 161W. In the evening things tried to hold on in close proximity to the NCal coast (1500 nmiles) with 35-40 kt winds near 44N 152W aimed right at NCal down the 296 degree path. Seas were modeled at 32 ft at 43N 155W. But the Jason-1 satellite passed right over this area on confirmed seas mostly in the 27-29 ft range with a few readings barely 30 ft. The models look to be on the high side.

This gale continued producing a tiny patch of 35 kt winds Tuesday AM (1/17) at 43N 143W aimed right at NCal down the 295 degree path with 30 ft seas modeled fading at 43N 147W and fading. But the Jason-1 satellite passed right over the swell generation area and found only 24-27 ft seas, far less than the models suggested. By evening 29 ft seas to remain at 43N 140W and fading fast, but suspect those sea heights too are high.

Swell Generation Potential
This system initially looked reasonably impressive on the charts with the wave models depicting 40 ft seas positioned close to California. Of course reality settled into the forecast and what has been confirmed and what is on the charts is just a shadow of what was suggested days earlier. In all 48 hours of 40 kt winds produced 48 hours of barely 30 ft seas in reasonably close proximity to California (857-1770 nmiles), minimizing swell decay but not so close as to induce too much raw quality upon landfall. The lack of winds in the 50 kt range is most troubling likely limiting period to the 14-15 sec range for California. Significant class surf is likely, but nothing exceptional. Hawaii had 60 hours of 40 kt winds producing 26-29 ft seas aimed at the Islands down the 325-336 degree paths. Large utility class surf has been produced.

North California (San Francisco): Expect swell arrival late Wednesday (1/18) night with period at 17 secs. Swell peaking mid-morning Thursday with pure swell 8.4-10.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (13-16 ft faces) holding through about 4 PM. Swell to be rather raw a lumpy. Local winds northwest 10 kts early up to 15 kts later in the day. Swell to be rideable but bumpy and not pretty. Swell Direction 294-297 degrees

North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (1/17) high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned off the coast ridging into Central CA while Storm #11 was preparing to push onshore to the north. It's affects to reach into North and Central CA early Wednesday, but a new high pressure system at 1032 mbs to quickly take control providing a solid pulse of northwest winds by the evening the whole way into South CA continuing into Thursday. Things to settle down Friday into Saturday but a new very local low to set up off Cape mendocino that evening building into Sunday and pushing south possibly producing sizeable windswell and south winds for the weekend, though that is not real certain at this time. Regardless more high pressure expected late Monday of next week providing north winds for the North and Central coasts though leaving Southern CA untouched.

The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.

 

South Pacific

Overview
No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.

South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the pattern is to change with the focus becoming the Northwest Pacific and the extreme north Gulf of Alaska. Latest models suggest a large low setting up in the Gulf on Saturday (1/21) producing a broad fetch of 45-50 kt winds on the very northern edge of the NCal swell window then pushing into Canada. Most swell to be pushing into the Pacific Northwest an locations north of there though.

Also a large storm is forecast to set up off the Kuril Islands on Tuesday (1/24) producing a real fetch of 40-45 kts aimed a bit south of Hawaii, though this is a real stretch for the models. Still, it is to make no eastward progress and remain isolated to the far Northwest Pacific.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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