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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 20, 2007 6:16 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 = 1.9 - California & 2.0 - 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 2/19 thru Sun 2/25
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   

Much Windswell for California
High Pressure Locks Down Dateline

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (2/20) Northern CA surf was 2-4 ft overhead with windy chopped out conditions. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high and a bit warbley. Central California surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and blown out. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh to waist high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with chest high sets at the best spots. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high pushing head high on the best sets. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore had head high plus windswell.

North/Central California was getting mixed up moderate period windswell buried in chop. Southern California was getting small to moderate windswell wrapping around Pt Conception. Hawaii was getting faint bit's of small swell from across the dateline raked by strong trades, with east windswell on the windward shore. The near and long term future are not much different unfortunately. High pressure has pretty much gotten a strong foothold over the greater North Pacific thanks to a split jetstream flow aloft, and no change is forecast and if anything, it's to get worse. A series of gales remain projected in the far northeastern Gulf of Alaska into this weekend providing more windswell energy for the Northern CA region while a cutoff low is expected to develop over the northern dateline area late weekend into early next week spraying windswell south, but mostly missing the Islands. 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
Tuesdays jetstream charts (2/20) depicted a reasonably energetic consolidated flow pushing east over southern Japan at 170 kts, but it quickly split before reaching the dateline and continued well split the whole way across the rest of the North Pacific. Strongest winds with in the northern branch to 140 kts in pockets with a reasonable trough developing in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska, supportive of surface low pressure there. The two branches pushed inland over North America, one over Washington and the other over Baja. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (2/23) the same pattern to hold with the Gulf trough pushing inland late in the period almost causing the north and southern branches to almost merge over Southern CA then. Energy levels over the greater Pacific to be dropping with winds 120 kt or less. Decreasing support for gale development in the Gulf as the trough there pushes inland and nothing anywhere else. Beyond 72 hours thing to get even less promising as the northern branch of the jet pushes hard north over the Kuril Islands up into the Bering Sea over the weekend. A little trough is expected in the Northeastern Gulf Sat/Sun (2/25) pushing well inland by Tuesday possibly supporting some form of surface low development. But beyond that a positively weak flow to take over the entire North Pacific with winds down to the 110 kt range and no support for any surface low pressure development suggested.

At the surface today a broad and strong high pressure system at 1036 mbs was positioned due north of Hawaii on the 40N latitude riding east into California and Baja Mexico, south into Hawaii and west over the dateline. A second weaker high at 1020 mbs was over Japan. Around the periphery of this dominant high pressure pattern were 2 lows, one landlocked over Kamchatka (Siberia) with no swell generation potential and another in the far northeastern Gulf of Alaska pushing inland over Northern Canada. It was generating a broad fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds over the Gulf aimed towards the Pacific Northwest and Northern California as formed a pressure gradient with the dominant high pressure system to the west. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (2/23) the Hawaiian high is to weaken some and drift east while the Canadian high tracks slowly southeast, with the aforementioned fetch drifting slowly southeast too towards and eventually over California early Friday with winds down to 25 kts. Seas 20-22 ft fading slowly to the 18 ft range just before pushing inland. 11-13 sec period windswell the likely results for the Pacific Northwest and California (consult QuikCAST's for swell details). Strong trades at 20-25 kts generated off the south side of the Pacific High to continue for the Hawaiian Islands with short period easterly windswell the likely result. Weak low pressure to start developing over the dateline on Friday with pressure 1004 mbs with 35 kt winds aimed south, well beyond any great circle track into Hawaii. So in all, windswell the only product of any of the above wind events.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (2/20) high pressure at 1036 mbs was north of Hawaii ridging into the coast driving a northerly flow. But this to be temporarily suspended on Wednesday as a front associated with low pressure in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska pushes south driving south winds building into very early Thursday in the north and late Thursday into Southern CA. High pressure to be right behind though building in late Thursday into Friday with northwest winds again on the increase pushing from north into the southland and holding through the weekend. Another local low is forecast early next week (Mon 2/26) possibly bring south winds limited to North CA but northwest winds expected to follow directly. So for now it looks like lot's of wind remains in the forecast for the foreseeable future.

 

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 a new low is forecast to develop in the far northeastern Gulf of Alaska late Friday (2/23) with pressure down to 966 mbs and storm force winds to 50 kts forecast while seas build to near 37 ft. This storm to start fading early Saturday with winds dropping to 45 kts while seas push the 40 ft mark. This system to start pushing inland into Canada late Saturday while fading. The result to be very northerly angled swell pushing into the Pacific Northwest and exposed North CA breaks (but shadowed in the SF area) Sunday (2/25).

Otherwise a non-productive pair of cutoff lows to set up late in the period straddling the dateline, with all fetch in their northern quadrants aimed west towards Japan. Otherwise high pressure to hold between California and Hawaii driving northerly winds down the mainland coast and trades over the Islands and holding the storm pattern at bay. It's looking very much like a springtime pattern is taking hold.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

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.

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/

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