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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: March 4, 2007 11:50 AM
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 = 3.0 - California & 3.0 - 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 3/5 thru Sun 3/11
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   

Little Swell for Hawaii
Possible Windswell for CA and the Northwest

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (3/4) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was thigh high and clean. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat even at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were, you guessed it, flat. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high at the best spots. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore had waist high windswell.

North/Central California finally had some clean conditions but next to no swell. Southern California was in the dead zone with no rideable surf anywhere. Hawaii was small but at least rideable with tiny tradewind swell on the east side and some rideable small waves on the North Shore. A storm developed off Japan last Friday but quickly faded, providing much less wind energy that originally forecast. Still, it should be enough to provide a small pulse of energy targeting Hawaii's Northern Shores early week. After that a very poor jetstream pattern was building in over the Western Pacific with no change foreseen anytime soon. The only exception to be a patch in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska that's to facilitate some gale strength low pressure development mid-week targeting the Pacific Northwest down into North and Central CA, but from a rather northerly direction. Also a little bit of weak gale activity has been occurring under New Zealand which is pushing a little background energy north towards Hawaii, but small is the operative words and that gale pattern is fading out too. So in all there's little bit's of hope here and there, but in-general a rather tranquil pattern is the norm. 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
Sundays jetstream charts (3/4) depicted a triple split flow pushing off Japan with one branch pushing north of the Bering Sea, and second pushing off the Kuril Islands and the southern branch pushing flat to the east. The Kuril and Japan flows merged near the dateline with winds there at near 170 kts, but they quickly faded north of Hawaii while splitting with the southern branch pushing into Baja and the northern branch pushing into the Pacific Northwest. No good support for gale development suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (3/7) it's to get even worse, with a massive split developing just inland of Japan and the northern branch of that split to push strongly north well beyond the Bering Sea and then retrograding almost over Siberia while the weak southern branch pushes flat across the Pacific. The only ray of hope is that the return flow from the northern branch is to dive south over the Eastern Bering Sea and rejoin the main flow in the Central Gulf of Alaska, forming a decent trough over the Northeastern Gulf late Tuesday (3/6) and holding providing some support for surface level gale development. This to be the only area of interest. Beyond 72 hours the outlook remains essentially static other than the Gulf trough washing out for a bit Thurs/Fri (3/9) then redeveloping into next weekend. There's some suggestion the Bering Sea split might try to repair itself in this same timeframe, but still weak winds are modeled sucking way up to the north, so confidence is low in a total healing. This puts the eastern Gulf of Alaska the only location capable of supporting any form of gale development.

At the surface today the broad but weak remnants of a storm off Japan remain circulating just west of the dateline and east of the Kuril Islands (details below). Otherwise weak generic high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 500 nmiles west of San Diego providing no winds of any interest. Even the easterly trades that have been so dominant over Hawaii as a result of this high have collapsed. A bit of generic low pressure at 1004 mbs was trying to circulate in the Gulf of Alaska, but not having any real success yet. In short, a pretty weak pattern was in-play. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (3/7) all activity to shift to the Gulf. Early Monday a bit of energy to split off from the remnants of the low over the dateline and push towards the Gulf with pressure dropping to 988 mbs early. Winds on the increase but mostly aimed north towards Alaska. Still by evening some form of 35 to near 40 kts winds are suggested developing off the backside of this system aimed at the Pacific Northwest and California while pressure drops to 976 mbs and lifts north. More of the same forecast on Tuesday too but with winds up to 45 kts in the gales south quadrant 600 nmiles off Oregon/Washington continuing into the evening. Seas modeled to 35 ft pushing due north with 20-25 ft seas developing and heading towards the Pacific Northwest and CA. Good hope for some windswell pushing east. On Wednesday this system to be nestled well in the far Northern Gulf of Alaska with residual 30-35 kt northwest winds targeting the Pacific Northwest and North/Central California. 20-23 ft seas to be in-place over a solid area pushing directly towards Oregon and CA. This system to slowly fade out Thurs/Fri with winds dropping below 30 kts early Friday morning. Seas 25 ft in the northern Gulf Thursday aimed at the same targets fading out Friday. Windswell to start building in Northern CA late Wednesday to 7 ft @ 10-11 secs in the San Francisco area with surf maybe 6-7 ft (sooner up north) holding in the 7 ft @ 11 secs range Thursday (7 ft faces) with the real energy hitting Friday possibly pushing 8.6 ft @ 13 secs (9-10 ft faces). Surf heading down but still rideable through the weekend. This is very preliminary, but provides rough guidelines for the days ahead. See QuikCAST's for details.

Also remnants of the dateline low to fade but not die, with the core of the system sinking southeast Sunday through Tuesday (3/6) then moving just north west of Hawaii late Tuesday. 30-35 kt north west winds expected to be aimed reasonably well at Hawaii fading to the 25 kt range by Wednesday, but just 700 nmiles away. Seas forecast in the 20-23 ft range through the period providing hope for windswell development for Hawaii Thursday and Friday (3/9). See QuikCAST's for details.

 

Japan Storm (Hawaii)
A new low developed over Japan Wednesday (2/28) building in strength while tracking east. The big problem with this one was all fetch was limited to it's west quadrant aimed due south towards the equator with nothing aimed at Hawaii. This one maxed out on Thursday (3/1) with north winds confirmed at 60 kts in it's west quadrant aimed almost due south with nothing aimed down the great circle tracks to Hawaii. By nightfall the slightest bit of 45-50 kt winds were aimed east towards Hawaii. Seas building to 27 ft at 34N 150E, but aimed well south of the 294 degree great circle path to Hawaii. By Friday (3/2) this low started lifting northeast with pressure 984 mbs, driven by the jetstream aloft with winds fading in the west quadrant and limited barely 40 kts at 34N 164E targeting Hawaii, then fading. 30 ft seas were modeled in the morning at 33N 158E aimed 40 degrees south of the 295 degree path to Hawaii fading to 27 ft late at 32N 165E aimed right at Hawaii down the 299 degree path. On Saturday (4/3) this low continued fading with winds down to 30 kts aimed well towards the Islands from 35N 164E and residual 25 ft seas push east towards Hawaii from 34N 168E (303 degrees) as the low faded off Kamchatka . Maybe some lingering energy 30-35 kts winds targeting Hawaii Sunday generating only 20 ft seas, good for some 12-13 secs tag-along energy. But this is a major downgrade from previous forecast data. This storm did not evolve anywhere near as strong as previous forecast data suggested.

In all some form of rideable but weak utility class swell seems likely for Hawaii starting early Tuesday (3/6) period 16 secs, peaking late with swell up to 4.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (7 ft faces) from 298-302 degrees. Residuals fading from 4.9 ft @ 13 secs Wednesday (6 ft faces).

Nothing to result for California.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (3/4) a 1024 mb high was holding just off the California coast providing a weak winds flow and pleasant conditions. That to hold into Monday while a gale low builds offshore heading for the Gulf of Alaska. The front from that low to push up to the coast and reach Cape Mendocino-Pt Arena on late Tuesday (3/6) but fading fast, with most of the low's energy directed due north. The core of the front to wash out over the San Francisco area early Wednesday with just a bit of light south winds and rain the only result limited to Monterey Bay northward. By Thursday (3/8) a new high pressure system at 1028 mbs to clear things out and bring northerly winds to Central CA at 20 kts building up into North CA Friday. The high to start pushing inland over the weekend with an offshore flow developing eventually, but details sketchy at this time.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Of interest, a series of gales generated some form of 25-29 ft seas under New Zealand Sun-Tues (2/27) targeting Hawaii and Tahiti reasonably well. Small background swell is likely pushing towards the South Shore expected to arrive starting Tuesday (3/6) and continuing through the week with 3 ft faces projected.

A second batch of gale pushed under New Zealand generating some form of 27-29 ft seas starting Thursday (3/1) through Sunday (3/4) pushing up to near the 30 ft mark into Monday (3/7) that might be good for another extended duration of small background swell pushing mainly into Hawaii's South Shores (and Tahiti).

The pattern to push east out of the Hawaiian and Tahitian swell windswell but still producing 27-30 ft seas Wed/Thurs (3/8).

 

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 little low, not even really a gale, that is to be tracking east and positioned due north of Hawaii on Thursday (3/8) is to be making it's way towards the Gulf by Friday merging with fading gale energy there. By Saturday (3/10) a broad fetch of 25-30 kt northwest winds to be present there aimed towards the Pacific Northwest and California with near 20 ft seas redeveloping, holding into Sunday and providing hope for more windswell the following week.

A broad low is forecast trying to build over Japan, but it looks to be tracking north before getting any exposure over open waters of the West Pacific, driven by the jetstream aloft. A bit of high pressure driven 25-30 kt northwest winds are forecast a week out on the dateline targeting Hawaii and possibly generating more windswell, but that' really a reach at this early date.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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