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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 3, 2007 1:07 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 = 2.2 - California & 4.5 - 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 2/5 thru Sun 2/11
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   

Two Dateline Storms Forecast
Hawaii Closest - But Wind Still An Issue

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Saturday (2/3) Northern CA surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and clean early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to chest high. Central California surf was chest to head high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest to head high at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high with a little more on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high at the best breaks on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was double overhead and onshore. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was maybe waist high.

North California was getting the last little bit of surf from Swell #13. Southern California was getting the last pulse of surf from Swell #13. Hawaii was in the final days of the Kona wind pattern with larger swell again building on north facing shores, but junked out. A big shift in the entire weather pattern over the North Pacific is scheduled to begin in the next few days. California which has been protected by high pressure and generally light offshore winds is to get what Hawaii has been enduring for a week now, namely rain and south wind as a series of weak and wet weather systems move into the state ushered in by a jetstream flow aloft pushing right into the mainland. Hawaii to get a little break but not out of the woods, with a generally Kona wind pattern still in play, though not anywhere near as bad as it's been. A series of gales are forecast to push off Japan following the jet due east, but none are expected to garner much size or width, and are to be only limited swell producers. Initially these systems to be stronger west of the dateline, but as the coming week progresses they are to make steadily more headway into the East Pacific on the coat tails of the reconfigured jetstream. But Hawaii, by being closer to these systems than the mainland might actually get some near significant class swell as they pass reasonably well north of the Islands, though weather still to be a bit of a concern. So in all it looks like the Gulf of Alaska is trying to open for business a week out, but will not quite be there. And California might finally get some much needed rain (and snow in upper elevations) while Hawaii tried to break out of the Kona wind pattern, though not quite getting there yet. See details below...

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

North Pacific

Overview
Saturdays jetstream charts (2/3) depicted a solid flow of wind energy to 200 kts pushing off southern Japan ridging slightly over the dateline then losing a little punch down to 180 kts while dropping hard south into a trough centered almost directly over Hawaii, then ridging just as fast to the north up into northern British Columbia. The best bets for surface level gale development are over the dateline and in that trough just north of Hawaii. Beyond 72 hours the trough over Hawaii is to quickly pinch off and dissipate while the ridge over the dateline lays down, resulting in a flat flow tracking from South Japan over the dateline to a point 600 nmiles north of Hawaii by late Sunday then on east to about 1200 nmiles east of Southern CA Tuesday (2/6). Wind energy in the jet to be steadily dropping off too, down to 140 kts. Gentle support for gale development expected off the Kuril's and again towards the Gulf of Alaska. Of note, the big ridge that has been protecting California to be really weakening during this timeframe. Beyond 72 hours a generally flat jetstream flow is modeled pushing off Japan tracking east just north of Hawaii and then right into Baja with winds strongest off Japan at 160 kts. Still there is some concern around a spurious little piece of jetstream energy that is to be occasionally splitting from the main flow near the dateline tracking due north up in to the Bering Sea and beyond, really going nowhere. This appears to be the culprit limiting a full frontal assault in the the East Pacific and effectively stealing that little bit of juice needed to fully open the Gulf of Alaska storm corridor. We'll be watching this carefully.

At the surface today high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered over and just inland of San Francisco providing a minimal protective blanket for the Golden State up in to Oregon and Washington extending a mere 500 nmiles off the coast. Otherwise a moderately unsettled pattern was over the rest of the North Pacific. A weak low at 1000 mbs was 900 nmiles north of Hawaii producing a fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds and 20 ft seas passing just 250 nmiles north of the Islands, generating more large windswell, Kona winds and rain there. A general dismal situation. Further west a broad gale with pressure 976 mbs was circulating just west of the dateline and south of the Aleutians. This was possible Storm #14 relative to Hawaii (see details below). Over the next 72 hours Storm #14 to be the first area of interest as it tracks to the dateline stalls and lifts north sending swell energy primarily towards the Islands. Then another stronger system is expected to push off North Japan on Sunday evening (2/4) generating storm force winds over a small area then slowly fading as it tracks southeast towards Hawaii. This to be possible Storm #15, again with the focus on the Islands. Further east the remnants of what was Storm #13 are to try and reorganize off the California coast on Sunday, but not really making it, with those residuals lifting north and brushing Central and North CA Tuesday (2/6), only generating some southerly winds. That to be joined by more weak low pressure Wednesday generating some northwest winds in the 25 kts range well off the coast, but mainly serving to set up a potential rain event on into Southern California in the days ahead.

 

Possible Storm #14 (Hawaii)
A new gale pushed off the Northern Kuril Islands Friday evening (2/2) with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts at 40N 165E aimed 35 degrees south of the 295 degree path to California but right down the 310 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building.

By Saturday AM (2/3) winds were modeled holding at 40-45 kts at 40N 170E again aimed best at Hawaii down the 312 degree path. Seas modeled up to 27 ft at 41N 162E. Beyond 72 hours by Saturday evening winds to be dropping to the 35 kt range at 38N 180W as this system hits the dateline aimed almost right at Hawaii down the 317 degree path and 35 degrees south of the 290 route into California. Seas up to 30 ft at 38N 165E.

A little more is forecast mostly aimed at Hawaii Sunday AM (2/4) as the core of the low lifts north to the intersection of the the Aleutians and the dateline with 40 kt north-northwest winds targeting Hawaii from 40N 180W just 20 degrees east of the 320 degree great circle path. Seas building to 31 ft at 38N 180W. Residuals seas at 29 ft @ 38N 175W Sunday evening and fading fast with no swell producing wind left.

This is by no means an impressive system, though it was fairly large in girth. Winds are to never reach storm status (50kts) and it is to be a short lived with only 36 hours of effective fetch. Still that to be enough to produce sufficient seas to qualify as a significant class storm mainly due to Hawaii's relatively close proximity to the fetch, limiting swell decay. California to only see small to moderate utility class well from this (assuming all goes as forecast).

Hawaii: Rough data suggests minimal significant class swell hitting the Hawaiian Islands Tuesday peaking late in the day with pure swell near 12 ft @ 15 secs from 310-320 degrees.

 

Possible Storm #15 (Hawaii)
But another stronger system is expected to push off North Japan on Sunday evening (2/4) with pressure 980 mbs generating 50-55 kts winds over a small area at 41N 154E again targeting Hawaii down the 307 degree path if not aimed a hair south of there, with nothing aimed at Calfiornia.Seas building to 30 ft at 40N 155E.

This one to continue falling southeast with pressure 984 mbs Monday AM (2/5) generating 45-50 kt northwest winds at 37N 163E aimed exclusively at Hawaii down the 300 degree path while 40-45 degrees off the 290 degree route to California. Seas building to 35 ft at 36N 165E. 40-45 kt northwest winds to continue in the evening at 35N 175E aimed well down the 305 degree path to Hawaii. 35 ft seas modeled sinking southeast at 34N 171E.

The core of the storm to pass over the dateline Tuesday AM (2/6) with a small area of 40 kt winds continuing at 33N 178W aimed right at Hawaii down the 303 degree great circle path. Seas 31 ft at 32N 178E. By evening this one to be nearly gone with the core low pressure tracking north towards the Bering Sea and only a small area of 35 kt winds remaining at 35N 170W aimed a bit east of the Islands down the 325 degree path. 28 ft seas forecast at 31N 172W, moving close to the Islands.

This one is to be a bit better organized than it's predecessor, providing 48 hours of effective fetch and some of that into the real storm force category, though most in strong gale status. Still, its to be tracking right towards the Islands and moving relatively close, providing good potential for significant class surf arriving Thursday (2/8). California conversely is to be well off the main swell vector through the storms life, and quite distant from the seas this system generates. Utility class potential the best hope.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (2/3) high pressure at 1026 mbs was over interior North California providing a thin margin of protection for the California coast. Further out off the coast south winds and inclement weather was brewing. That protection to hold through Sunday, then the pattern shifts. By Monday (2/5) weak low pressure at 1004 mbs to be just 600 nmiles off Central CA bringing south winds into the picture from Point Conception northward continuing Tuesday and Wednesday with much needed rain moving into the picture late Tuesday in San Francisco building southward Wednesday evening into Southern CA Thursday. A new system and more of the same expected into the coming weekend too. Looks like a more normal winter is finally going to arrive, though these systems to be coming from the west (rather than the northwest) suggesting warmer than normal temperatures with them, typical of El Nino.

 

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 there's some suggestion the remnants of Storm #15 to try and reorganize north of Hawaii Thursday (2/8) pushing east with seas in the 25 ft range then slowly weakening while pushing east to a point 600 nmiles east of Pt Conception late Saturday (20 ft). No other weather system capable of generating utility class surf or greater is forecast.

 

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

2009

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