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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 3, 2007 9:06 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 = 2.0 - 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 4/2 thru Sun 4/8
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   

S. Pacific Swells Push North
Gulf of Alaska Starts to Stir

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (4/3) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with chest high sets. Central California surf was waist to chest high too. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat other than select breaks to waist high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high with a few bigger sets, though most spots smaller. The North Shore of Oahu was head high give or take a foot. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was waist to maybe chest high.

North/Central California had a little southern hemi swell if you knew where to look. Southern California was getting some southern hemi swell into the chest high range with luck. Hawaii was getting a weak pulse of northwest windswell and the last bit's of some southern hemi swell. More southern hemi swell is headed for California, bigger than the current swell but nothing that is to be over the top, just something rideable at the better breaks. Also another storm is winding up due south of Southern CA expected to spray a bit of energy northward. But this one to really focus on Southern California and Central/South America, with Central and North CA mostly out of the action. Also some gale activity is moving into the Gulf of Alaska over the next few days, which should set up some decent swell for the North Shore and weak to moderate weekend swell for California north of Point Conception. More North Pacific activity is forecast behind that too, possibly setting up longer period swell for Hawaii and California beyond. But that's just a guess by the models, with nothing certain at this time. So make the most of what you have and keep your fingers crossed for the models. 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 (4/3) for the North Pacific depicted an almost cohesive flow pushing northeast off Central Japan ridging to the dateline with winds 150 kts, then tracking southeast towards the Gulf of Alaska while weakening and fading out. A small split of energy was tracking southeast off the main flow near the dateline, then moving east directly over Hawaii before dying. In all not a very impressive pattern, though there was some limited support for gale development on the jet pushing towards the Gulf. Over the next 72 hours the last vestiges of the split flow are to miraculously repair themselves with up to 170 kt winds flowing into a developing trough in the Central Gulf of Alaska just 900 nmiles north of Hawaii on Thursday (3/5). Good support for storm development there but it's to not last long, fading out by Friday, limiting it's potential. Beyond 72 hours the flow is to remain consolidated and flattening out with a near straight-line flow pushing off Japan moving over the dateline and to a point 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii before dying. Winds forecast in the 130 kts range. Some support for gale development suggested, though without a defined trough development will be limited. This pattern to hold through Sunday (4/8) then energy levels to really drop off. still a consolidated jetstream flow to continue holding some degree of support for gale development on the dateline pushing into the Gulf.

At the surface today high pressure at 1024 mbs was positioned at the southern end of the dateline ridging over Hawaii and back west towards Japan. A second pinched 1024 mb high was over the Canadian coast and off California providing a thin wall of protection from a broad low pressure area trying to get a foothold from the dateline into the Gulf of Alaska. Swell from a storm off the Kuril Islands was pushing towards Hawaii (details below).

On Monday morning (4/2) a gale started to develop over the dateline as the jetstream started reconfiguring itself 35,000 ft overhead. The low had pressure 992 mbs as it pushed over the dateline with a tiny area of 40-45 kt northwest winds at 45N 178E aimed well down the 325 degree path to Hawaii continuing into the evening. 22 ft seas building to 25 ft late at 44N 177W. Unfortunately the low really petered out Tuesday AM with barely 30 kts winds indicated at 43N 170W aimed well towards Hawaii down the 335 degree path with seas 24 ft at 42N 172W. Over the next 72 hours that fetch to try and reorganize in the evening in the Gulf of Alaska with 30-35 kt west winds forecast north of Hawaii aimed to the east, pushing high pressure out of the way. 20 ft seas holding at 40N 163W aimed best at California with sideband swell for Hawaii. The low to continue circulating in the Gulf Wednesday into early Thursday (4/5) generating 30 kts west winds and 20 ft seas near 40N 150-160W aimed at California and the Pacific Northwest then dissipating. Swell expected for Hawaii starting late Thursday (4/5) holding into Friday with initial energy at 8.8 ft @ 15 secs (11-13 ft faces) from 328-335 degrees with sideband energy heading towards California too. Possible swell in North CA starting early Saturday (4/7) morning peaking mid-day with swell 6.3 ft @ 13 secs (7-8 ft faces) from 280 degrees. Very limited energy to wrap into South CA (see QuikCAST's for details).

 

Kuril Storm (Hawaii)
Over the weekend a storm was positioned just off the Kuril Islands Saturday (3/31) with pressure 980 mbs generating a small fetch of 50-55 kt northwest winds aimed towards Hawaii down the 315 degree great circle path. Seas were building from 22 ft. The low continued winding up with winds in the 50 kts range Saturday evening but swinging more to the east with seas building to 30 ft aimed towards Hawaii down the 318 degree path. By Sunday (4/1) the core of the storm drifted north over the Aleutian Islands with winds fading from 40-45 kts and aimed due east 35 degrees east of the 328 degree path to Hawaii with seas again at 30 ft before the whole mess dragged north in to the Bering Sea and the fetch became obscured by land. Good potential for some fleeting utility class swell for Hawaii late Wed-Thurs (4/4-4/5) with swell maybe 5.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (7 ft faces) from 315-318 degrees early in the period.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/3) a thin elongated area of high pressure at 1022 mbs remained anchored just 200-300 nmiles off California providing protection from lower pressure building into the Gulf of Alaska. A generally light wind flow was in-control expected to continue Wednesday. Thursday/Friday and beyond much the same pattern forecast as low pressure get better established in the Gulf, though some degree of 15-20 kt north winds forecast just off Pt Conception which might pulse some up towards Monterey Bay. High pressure to try and make a comeback Saturday, but not making it and possibly only increasing the area of north winds along the Central CA coast towards San Francisco. No real change forecast into mid-next week with a tendency towards northwest winds in Northern Central CA. Southern CA to remain unaffected through the period.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/3) for the South Pacific revealed a very diffuse flow over the western region though what was there was definitely ridging south, not support gale development. A decent trough was set up in the east and on the edge of the California swell window providing support for storm development, though winds in the trough were only in the 130 kt range and not impressive. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the east is to track east and out of the picture with a diffuse flow generally taking over the South Pacific and not supportive of gale development. Beyond 72 hours the models suggest the jet to push north under New Zealand early next week with winds only 120 kts, possibly supporting gale development there, though not overly so.

At the surface a major storm was circulating in the far Southeastern Pacific (see Storm #2S below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours fleeting bit of 35-40 kt fetch area suggested, but nothing capable of generating utility class surf or greater.

 

2nd SPac Storm - Storm #1S (CA)
On Saturday (3/24) a 952 mbs storm started developing under New Zealand with 50-55 kt west winds at 60S 170E aimed 70 degrees east of the 196 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees east of the 211 degree path to California. Seas were barely 32 ft. The storm pushed east in the evening with winds down to 45 kts on the same heading as before with seas up to 36 ft at 60S 175E over a moderate area.

Winds held at 45 kts Sunday AM (3/25) but aimed a little more to the northeast at at 60S 175W aimed 25 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 45 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 38 ft at 60S 180W. In the evening the gale was pushing more to the northeast with winds down to 40-45 kts aimed a little more northeast still. Seas modeled at 39 ft at 57S 166W.

On Monday AM (3/26) the gale decayed a bit with an elongated area of 40 kts winds near 58S 150-175W generating 37 ft seas at 56S 156W aimed about 15 degree east of the 198 degree path to California and unshadowed but well off any path to Hawaii. The fetch regenerated a bit in the evening with winds back to 45 kts at 52S 149W with a shrinking area of 36 ft seas at the same locale. All this to be heading towards California just off the 198 degree path.

This system tried hanging on contrary to previous forecast data Tuesday AM (3/27) with an elongated fetch of 40 kts winds at 52S 130-150W. 35 ft seas lingered 52N 149W. In the evening winds down to 35 kts all pushing east with seas forecast down to 32 ft at 50S 138W and fading out.

This one developed a bit better than originally forecast, mainly in that it lasted longer (nearly 96 hours). Still nothing spectacular fetch-wise was indicated with winds never more than really 40-45 kts. This looks to be another utility class swell producer for Hawaii but with near significant class swell expected for California 10 days later. The wave models would have one believe this was a solid swell producer but a careful inspection of QuikSCAT satellite confirmed wind data suggests this was not an impressive storm. Unfortunately we have no good Jason-1 sea height hit's for this storm. In all this barely makes the grade for a significant class storm.

Swell to peak in Hawaii Wednesday (4/4) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft faces) dropping from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3 ft faces) Thursday (4/5). Swell Direction: 185-190 degrees

Expect swell arrival in South California starting late Monday (4/2) with swell 1.6 ft @ 20 secs (3 ft faces) and on the increase. Tuesday (4/3) swell to be pushing 3 ft @ 18 secs late (5.0-5.5 ft faces). Swell to peak late Wednesday (4/4) at 4 ft @ 16-17 secs (6.5 ft faces with top spots to 8 ft) then settling down from 4 ft @ 16 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces - top spots to 7.5 ft faces) early Thursday (4/5). Suspect these swell height numbers are a bit on the high side so plan accordingly. Swell Direction: 200 degrees

Swell to hit North California starting Tuesday (4/3) with swell pushing up to 2.6 ft @ 19 secs late (5 ft faces). Wednesday swell to reach 3.6 ft @ 17 secs late (6 ft faces with top spots to 7.5 ft) continuing at 4 ft @ 16 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces - top spots to 7.5 ft) on Thursday (4/5). Swell slowly settling down on Friday into Saturday. Suspect these swell height numbers are a bit on the high side so plan accordingly. Swell Direction: 200-205 degrees

 

3rd Pulse
On Friday AM (3/30) a small fetch of 45-50 kts winds developed at 50S 130W associated with a 968 mb low there. Seas were building to 30 ft at 49S 137W. In the evening winds continued by tracking east to 50S 120W, almost out of the California swell window. Seas built to 35 ft at 48S 125W tracking mostly east but likely sending some sideband energy towards Southern CA up the 185 degree path. On Saturday AM the low was already out of the California swell window with seas doing the same. Some potential for small utility class swell for Southern CA starting on Sunday (4/8).

 

Storm #2S (Southern CA)
Late Sunday (4/1) a 968 mb low started coalescing in the far southeast Pacific with a fragmented area of 35 kt winds developing near 60S 142W aimed almost due north, but very shallow. Seas trying to build.

Monday AM (4/2) pressure dropped to 944 mbs with a broad fetch of 40 kt south to southwest winds building at 54S 138W with seas building. The fetch covered 960 straight line nmiles aimed towards California. Winds continued building in coverage and speed confirmed at 50-55 kts into the evening at 52S 132W over a 600 nmiles area aimed due north with seas to 32 ft at the same locale.

The storm started maxing Tuesday AM (4/3) with a most impressive area of 50-60 kts confirmed at 52S 127W aimed due north and covering a 1020 nmiles straight line fetch area aimed right up the 186 degree path to South CA (182 NCal). Seas modeled at 38 ft at 50S 129W heading well to the north. Winds to hold at 50-55 kts in the evening at 52S 122W aimed almost right up the 185 degree path to Southern CA (181 NCal). 42-43 ft seas forecast over a broad area at 49S 123W heading north.

Winds fading out Wednesday AM (4/4) from 40-45 kts but still aimed due north at 52S 188W and seas still 42 ft at 50S 120W all aimed right for South CA. In the evening winds to be gone with residual 36 ft seas continuing at 48S 117W, just inside the SCal swell window.

This storm to be gone on Thursday (4/5) with no swell producing fetch left.

This is a most interesting situation if it plays out as forecast with 60 hours of 40-45 kt winds and a core of 24 hours of 50-55 kt winds over a large area aimed due north, producing 40-42 ft seas. Confirmed wind data so far is impressive. But this storm is in the far Southeast Pacific, effectively eliminating Hawaii, Tahiti and most of North/Central California from getting swell. If this one continues developing as forecast a very nice long period significant class summer-time southern hemi swell is likely to start pushing north targeting Southern California, Central America and exposed breaks in South America. One more early season swell.

Rough data based purely on the models for planning purposes only suggest swell pushing into Southern California starting late Monday with size coming up comparatively quick, reaching 3.6 ft @ 20 secs Tuesday (4/10) morning. Swell Direction: 180-186 degrees

 

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 a second gale to follow close behind on Friday AM (4/6) starting on the dateline at 972 mbs with 50 kt west winds at 40N 180W producing 30 ft seas and tracking east into the Gulf supported by the improving jetstream flow aloft. 45-50 kt westerly winds are forecast late over a small area at 38N 170W generating 35 ft seas near that spot pushing into the Gulf Saturday but with winds down to only 30 kts and fading fast. 30 ft fast fading seas forecast Sat AM at 38N 165W then dissipating all aimed reasonably well down the 295-300 degree path to North CA, but decent energy pushing towards Hawaii to down the 320-330 degree paths. Near significant class size for the Islands late Sunday (4/8) with utility class surf possible for exposed breaks in CA mid-next week, which still seems like quite a reach given the NPac's history this year.

Theoretically another storm to form behind it crossing over the dateline and moving towards the Gulf of Alaska early next week, but that seems even more unlikely.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a declining jetstream flow aloft to not provide any fuel for storm development in the South Pacific until late Sunday (4/8). Then a broad fetch of 35-40 kt winds to generating near 30 ft seas for 36 hours positioned east of New Zealand targeting mostly California and Tahiti with sideband energy for Hawaii. Otherwise nothing of interest forecast.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

STORMSURF on the News: NBC-11 came to visit Stormsurf last week to talk about the Mavericks Surf Contest and surf forecasting. See the piece here: http://www.nbc11.com/mavericks Click on 'Mavericks Forecaster'

Surf Video Clips at Yousurftubes.com - Check out this new website dedicated soley to high quality - high action surf clips from around the world. Great action form Morocco, Hawaii, Mexico, California and many more spots all streaming right to your desktop. Piles of fun and hours on enjoyment. Check it out now at: http://www.Yousurftubes.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.

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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