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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 30, 2007 6:50 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 = 3.8 - California & 5.0 - 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 1/29 thru Sun 2/4
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   

Secondary Swell for California
Hawaii Under Stormy Conditions a Bit More

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (1/20) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft over at best breaks and clean though foggy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high and reasonably clean. Central California surf was chest to head high with 1 ft overhead sets. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was maybe waist high on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high to near chest high at the best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was in the 20 ft range early but fading and a mess. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was about thigh to waist high at select locations.

North California was doing well getting another small pulse of northwest energy overnight and providing fun sized surf at exposed breaks. Southern California was only getting faint filtered bits of this swell through the Channel Islands, biggest down south. Hawaii was in the midst of a major dose of raw local swell with unfavorable wind and rain on top. A new storm track set up over the weekend focused on Hawaii. Three systems were in this flurry with the first passing just 400-600 nmiles north of the Islands Sunday (1/28) generating 29 ft seas followed by another Monday producing 32 ft seas and the third scheduled late Wednesday (1/31) with only 20 ft seas. All these fading as soon as they reached a point just northeast of Hawaii, sheared by a severely split jetstream aloft sending all these systems energy north into Alaska. Some degree of limited sideband swell energy is expected to push into California starting late Wednesday (North CA) with lesser energy filtering into Southern California through late Friday. Residual energy for the Golden State over the weekend and even smaller into next week as a new storm pattern attempts to organize over the dateline. First a little pulse to push southeast towards Hawaii Friday again plowing right over the Islands Saturday while a little storm organizes over the northern dateline region Sunday targeting California. And a bit stronger one forecast early next week pushing from Japan over the dateline. But still no well-defined big significant class winter storms are on the charts. So it's more of the same for now with the MJO limping across the equatorial Pacific. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (1/30) depicted a solid flow of wind energy to 170-180 kts pushing from southern Japan riding slightly over the dateline then dipping gently southeast to a point just 300 nmiles north of Kauai. The jet split hard there with the southern branch pushing along the same track into Baja while the northern branch headed straight north through the core of the Gulf of Alaska over the eastern Aleutians on into Alaska. The best potential for surface level storm development was over the dateline tracking east towards Hawaii. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (2/2) and a bit further out a mild strengthening of the jet is forecast with up to 190 kt winds early Wednesday (1/31) pushing from the dateline southeast towards Hawaii then moderating. Another pulse of 190 energy is forecast on the uphill side of the dateline Friday while a major trough digs southward directly over the Hawaiian Islands likely bringing nasty weather there. The trough to get very steep into Saturday while pushing east before collapsing Sunday just east of the Islands. Possible support for surface level storm development in the trough and also back over the dateline. Beyond 72 hours reasonably energy to continue streaming almost flat off Japan pushing to the dateline, but noticeably thinner with winds in the 150-160 kt range and not quite as well defined as weeks past. A bit of a mild trough is forecast over the dateline next Tuesday (2/6) possibly supportive of some form of minimal storm development. Over the east the split pattern is to remain in-place and essentially unchanged but noticeably weaker there too. Perhaps a change is coming, though what that might be is far from knowable at this time.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was centered directly over the coast of Northern Canada and ridging straight south to nearly the equator, providing a wall of protection for California and the Pacific Northwest from weather systems circulating further west in the Pacific. Hawaii was just west of the edge of this high, leaving it exposed. A semi-permanant low was anchored just south of the Aleutians and just east of the dateline with a second low at 964 mbs tracking north into it while generating 45 kt south winds pushing up into Alaska, but not generating any swell producing fetch for California or Hawaii. A broad fetch of 25-30 kt northwest winds was over the northern dateline region being generating in the western quadrant of this semi-stationary low over the dateline. These winds were aimed at Hawaii down the 320-330 degree great circle path. And on the front end of that fetch, a pocket of 30-35 kt northwest winds was making a push towards the Islands following in the footsteps of the 2 systems that preceded it over the weekend. Collectively these three systems are labeled Storm #13 for the benefit of Hawaii, though that is a bit of a misnomer. Over the next 72 hours this one to pass just north of Hawaii early Wednesday AM (1/31) with 20 ft seas in tow, impact the Islands later in the day accompanied with more Kona wind and rain. And the fetch currently over the northern dateline to drop in right behind it Thursday and Friday (2/2) impacting Hawaii Saturday (2/3) helping to reinforce the stormy pattern for the Islands into the weekend. No swell producing fetch indicated for the US mainland other than perhaps sideband remnants of the fetch areas indicated above, and even those are not to be anywhere near 'storm' status, just localized gales. In all it would be rather quiet pattern except for the fact that Hawaii was in their direct path and getting hammered.

 

Storm #13 (Hawaii)
On Saturday AM (1/27) a new non-close isobar low was on the dateline producing 35 kt winds and 25 ft seas aimed directly at Hawaii from 35N 178E down the 310 degree great circle path. It built in the evening with pressure to 988 mbs and winds up to 40-45 kts at 32N 172W aimed as before with seas to 28 ft just behind.

Sunday AM this low was essentially unchanged repositioned at 32N 160W or a mere 600 nmiles north of Hawaii with 35-40 kt winds aimed well at North California up the 270 degree path (275 SCal) and seas 29 ft just behind while a new fetch developed over the dateline, the product of low pressure formally off Japan. Sunday night the first fetch was all but gone with a tiny area of 35 kts winds and 27 ft seas remaining at 34N 152W aimed like before. Regarding the second fetch, on Sunday morning it had pressure of 996 mbs with winds 45 kts over a small area at 35N 172E aimed right at Hawaii down the 303 degree great circle path. In the evening winds built rather fast to near 50 kts and over a solid area at 32N 178W again aimed right at the Islands down the 300 degree path and 40 degrees south of the 280 degree path to Ncal (285 SCal). 27 ft seas were modeled at 32N 180W.

On Monday AM the low faded with pressure 980 mbs centered due north of the Islands with 45 kt winds at 27N 165W about 400 nmiles northwest of Oahu aimed right at there down the 315 degree path. Seas to 32 ft at 28N 170W. Very close indeed! By Monday PM the low swang north fast with most of it's fetch moving into the storms east quadrant aimed north as well towards Alaska. 29 ft seas were modeled at 27N 160W and pushing to within 300 nmiles of Hawaii. Some of this energy was trying to push towards California, but only fleeting while residual fetch continued aimed at Hawaii but not getting good tractions on the oceans surface.

On Tuesday (1/30) this storm was all but gone, becoming absorbed in a large and broad circulation over the Western Gulf of Alaska spraying a large area of generic 25-30 kt winds towards Hawaii and California. Seas from the main fetch at 25 ft at 34N 155W targeting California up the 270 degree path.

The fetch in the Gulf is to retrograde to the dateline into Thursday (2/1) with winds 35 kts over a broad area targeting both California up the 300-305 degree path and Hawaii up the 320 degree path. Seas 20 ft through Friday morning then fading out.

Hawaii: The next pulse of swell from this complex gale expect to arrive early Thursday (1/1) with swell 10 ft @ 12 secs (10-12 ft faces) and already on the downswing by sunrise. Moderate chunky and hacked windswell expected to follow through the week. One last pulse currently modeled arriving early Saturday peaking mid-day with swell 15 ft @ 12-13 secs (17-19 ft faces). Things to settle down after that.

California: This system has developed weaker than previously forecast. No chance for significant class swell to result along the US west coast. Moderate utility class swell most likely and only at exposed breaks. Consult QuikCAST's for details.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (1/31) high pressure at 1030 mbs was over the north most coast of Canada ridging due south down into waters off Baja and providing ample protection for California from a series of gales north of Hawaii. A weak northwest flow was modeled over outer California waters limping into the coast. No significant change in this pattern forecast through Friday with winds below 15 kts forecast over outer waters and generally out of the northwest. Over the weekend the high to weaken some and winds to get lighter if not returning a bit more to the offshore angle while low pressure over Hawaii inches closer, but not overrunning the blocking high just yet. Light winds to hold through Tuesday of next week (2/6).

 

South Pacific

Overview
A
t the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.

 

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 Aleutian low to fade out, allowing development of a new system Friday (2/2). At that time pressure in this system to be 984 mbs pushing east-northeast from Japan getting marginally better organized with near 40 kt winds over a broad area centered near 38N 170E aimed due east to northeast up the 292 degree path to NCal in the evening. By Saturday AM (2/3) pressure to be 960 mbs as it pushes over the dateline with 45-50 kts winds forecast in it's south quadrant at 40N 178W aimed right at Northern CA up the 285 degree path (290 SCal). Seas to 25 ft forecast in a diffuse area just west of the dateline near 37N. By evening the thing to explode, but most fetch to wrap into the storm northeast quadrant aimed at Alaska though 45-50 kts winds to regenerate in the south quadrant at 45N 180W aimed right at Ncal up the 299 degree path with sideband energy aimed at Hawaii up the 328 degree path. Seas to 29 ft at 42N 172W favoring the California paths. Sunday AM (2/4) this storm to be lifting fast to the north with limited 45 kt west winds positioned just south of the Aleutians on the dateline aimed at NCal up the 310 degree path. Seas building to 32 ft at 44N 172W. No fetch left by nightfall with residual 30 ft seas at 49N 171W. This one is looking capable of producing another utility class swell aimed mainly at California with period in the 15-17 sec range, assuming it even forms.

Beyond that yet another small storm to develop over the Kuril Islands Sunday with a tiny area of 55 kts winds imbedded in a broader area of 40 kts winds favoring Hawaii down the 315 degree path and aimed well south of the 310 degree path to California. This one to track southeast reaching the dateline Tuesday (2/6) and stalling, but muchly weakened with winds only 35 kts. Seas to peak out Monday AM at 37 ft west of the dateline targeting Hawaii best, then dropping to the 29-32 ft range Tuesday at 35N 170W, again favoring Hawaii. Will be interesting to see if this one even forms.

Kona winds for Hawaii to finally fade late Monday (2/5) perhaps ushering in trades for the days and swells ahead.

The Madden Julian Oscillation remains weakly active and the main suspect fueling for the current storm cycle. SOI values dipping to the -28 range late last week, then rose to -15 over the weekend and are now in the positive range and of no interest. Very weak trade wind anomalies were over the dateline to 160W (south of Hawaii), and are modeled to continue into Feb 13. This remains a bit of an upgrade from last week. We're estimating another 1.5-2.0 weeks of storm enhancement potential. Fortunately there is no strong sense that the inactive phase is to come behind possible continuing somewhat favorable conditions for storm development.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...

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MAVERICKSSURF MAVFILM MAVSURFER SURFPULSE Inside Mavericks TOWSURFER

Local Interest

Surf Comics: If you like surf comics take a look at this little gem. A new comic weekly with a nice archive. See it here: http://www.beachnutscomic.com/

High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.

El Nino Forecast Updated: El Nino is making it's mark on the Pacific Ocean, though yet to have a major impact on the atmosphere above. Read when the storm machine might fire up, and what evidence is stacking up in favor of El Nino here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml

New Precipitation Models: Over the holidays we focused on expanding our coverage of precipitation models, and now provide high resolution coverage of all US coastal locations. You can now tell whether it will be raining when the surf is pumping, or better yet, know whether it will be snowing in the higher elevations (West Coast). Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html

Weather Model Problem: The past few days the 12Z run of the GFS model has been corrupted when posted on government servers, resulting in our graphic output looking like psychedelic gibberish. This is not a Stormsurf problem and we are switching over to backup servers that are operating normally to capture the data. We have reported the problem to NOAA. This problem has been confirmed by other server users as well. We apologize for the inconvenience. Update: The problem has been fixed. Service has returned to normal as of 11/25/06.

Jason-1 Satellite Problem: On Oct 31 the Jason-1 satellite automatically went into safe-hold mode. This is triggered when sensors on the satellite detect an anomaly that suggests the satellite is in danger. It goes into a type of hibernation to protect it's sensitive instruments. JPL has been working on the issue and was able to restore the satellite to normal operations at 8:30 PM on Friday 11/17. No new data is available yet, but as soon as it is we'll be publishing it over the wave models images as usual here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html
Note: The first bit of fresh data was posted on 11/29/06 and we're processing it right now.

New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here: http://www.insidemavericks.com/

Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management plan has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/jointplan/involved.html

Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml

Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the implications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html

New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: Nine months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height plus the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
http://www.google.com/ig/add?moduleurl=http://www.stormsurf.com/gadget/stormsurf .xml

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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