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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 16, 2006 1:00 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 = 2.5 - 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 4/17 thru Sun 4/23
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   

One More for the Gulf of Alaska
South Pacific Forecast Slumps

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (4/16) Northern CA surf was 3-4 feet overhead and ripped to shreds by unfavorable wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high, maybe a little more and hacked. Central California surf was waist high with clean conditions. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were near flat with biggest sets at the best spots to waist high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were also up to waist high, but at least it was clean. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high from wraparound northeast wind swell. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was head high to 1 ft overhead from northeast windswell.

One more gale is charted for the Gulf of Alaska early this week, focusing equally on Hawaii, California and the Pacific Northwest. This one is already formed in the Bering Sea, expected to drop southeast into the Gulf of Alaska Monday and Tuesday so odds are holding decently for it to play out as forecast. But after that no real swell producing systems are forecast for the North Pacific. A gale previously forecast for the Southeast Pacific early this week has vaporized from the charts, with nothing of interest expected now. A series of very small and weak systems remain forecast 6 days out, but odds of them actually developing are low at this time. So best guidance at this time is to make the most of whatever swell you can latch into over the next 4-5 days, cause it's all downward from here. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Sunday jetstream (4/16) was looking about as expected for this time of year, namely positioned well to the north over the bulk of the North Pacific tracking off Southern Kamchatka then east over the Aleutians with one pocket of energy to 140 kts on the dateline. Further east it finally made a dip sharply to the south along the Canadian coast tracking into North California near San Francisco. In all there was no support for surface level gale development other than the fading remnants in the trough off NCal. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (4/19) one more southward incursion of the jet is forecast in the Gulf of Alaska, with the jet remaining well to the north and non-productive over the rest of the North Pacific. Late Sunday 120 kt winds are to be pushing over the Western Gulf and starting to sag southward, clearing out a little space in the Gulf by late Monday (4/17). This to hold into Wednesday then push east and inland with no other activity forecast. Beyond 72 hours a very steep and pinched trough is forecast developing north of Hawaii tracking east but there no suggestion that it could support storm or gale development with winds only 130 kts at it's peak.

At the surface on Sunday (4/16) high pressure ruled supreme over the bulk of the North Pacific centered just north of Hawaii at 1028 mbs ridging west towards Japan and southeast towards South California but not quite reaching there. If anything it was driving brisk trades over the Hawaii an Islands and and otherwise continuing the lock down of the Aleutian storm corridor. The only low pressure of interest was a new 976 mb gale in the eastern Bering Sea drifting southeast (see details below). Otherwise swell from a previous gale in the Gulf was starting to impact Northern California working it's way south (See Gulf Gale below). No other swell producing systems forecast over the next 72 hours with high pressure currently north of Hawaii tracking east and nestling up along the North CA coast late Thursday (4/20) still at 1028, driving formation of a summer-like Cape Mendocino gradient producing localized windswell there. More high pressure at 1032 mbs to be developing behind it over the dateline, pretty much ensuring a total lockdown of the North Pacific from here on out.

On Monday (4/17) a 976 mb gale is forecast to start dropping southeast from the Bering Sea over the Aleutians and into the northern Gulf of Alaska with 40-45 kt west winds forecast pushing over exposed Gulf waters. Seas forecast to 35 ft late, but that seems awfully high given the limited exposure. This fetch to be pushing towards both HAwaii and California. By Tuesday the low is to be free and clear of any landmass with the core well exposed over open waters of the Gulf, but pressure is to be rising from 984 mbs and fading fast. Winds are to be down to 30-35 kts early and fading below 30 kts by nightfall. Seas forecast at 30 ft aimed well at California (300-305 degrees) and the Pacific Northwest with lesser energy pushing towards Hawaii down the 350 degree path. By Wednesday pressure to be 992 mbs as the low lifts northeast and fades out with no swell producing fetch left.Prelimiany rough data suggest a moderate size utility class swell could push in to Hawaii starting late Wednesday (4/19) peaking Thursday AM with period 14-15 secs and lesser 13 sec energy into Friday AM from 345-350 degrees. North California to see swell arriving Thursday (4/20) and building through the day with period 16 secs, peaking overnight with solid 14-15 sec energy still present Friday AM from about 300 degrees. Central California to see limited swell peaking Friday AM (4/21) with period at 14-15 secs from 305-310 degree. Even less energy to limp into exposed breaks in South CA late Friday.

 

Gulf Gale
On Thursday (4/13) a 984 mb low was developing in the extreme northern Gulf of Alaska expected to drop southeast while interacting with strong high pressure at 1032 mbs north of Hawaii. By evening this gradient to be generating a broad fetch of 40-45 kts northwest winds setting up over exposed waters of the Gulf. The low to track southeast Friday impacting the Central Canadian coast late with 30-35 kt winds continuing over exposed waters east of there. Seas to peak at 30 ft for a brief interval early Friday positioned on the very northern edge of the North CA swell window (315+ degrees), then start fading though some degree of 25-30 kt fetch to be pushing southeast through the Gulf through Saturday. Seas to fall below the 20 ft threshold early Sunday. All winds to be pushing on a very north angle towards North CA, even less well setup for Central CA. Rough data suggests rather large (for the time of year) swell with period in the 14 sec range pushing into North CA early Sunday (4/16) with swell 9-10 ft @ 14 secs (12-13 ft faces at exposed breaks) but well shadowed with even less energy pushing into Central CA.

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

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (4/16) satellite and model data indicated the last of the rainy weather was pushing over North CA, with nearly a week of dryness to follow, and possibly much longer (like till next Fall). Northwest winds driven by high pressure pushing into the state to be the big story this week starting Monday in the north at 10-15 kts continuing non-stop through Saturday, then going slack in time for the big windswell on Sunday (4/23). Much the same forecast for Central CA, though a chance for offshore winds in the morning Tues & Wed. South CA to be protected through the week.

The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch was present or forecast to occur.

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 high pressure to take over. A tight gradient to develop off Cape Mendocino on Friday (4/21) as high pressure drifts east towards the North CA coast generating brisk north winds at 30-35 kts building to 40 kts late, continuing into Saturday then fading Sunday. Large localized north windswell possible for locations north of Pt Conception.

Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch forecast until Thursday (4/20) when a series of 2 small and fleeting gales are forecast in the deep Southeast Pacific. At this time they are not actually expected to develop, but are more just wishful thinking by the models. Even so, the most powerful of these is forecast to form late Saturday (4/22) producing a tiny area of 38 ft seas 24 hours later, still quite a ways away.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here

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

Mavericks Surf Contest and Stormsurf
- Science hangs 10 at Surf Contest: CNET - Read it Here
- Pillar Point Unique Conditions swell Mavericks Monsters: Rough seabed, winds and seas currents to create California biggest surfing challenge; San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here
- Tyler Smith's Quest: Chasing the Moby Dick of the Surfing World: San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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