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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 19, 2007 10:20 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 = 3.5 - California & 2.5 - 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 4/16 thru Sun 4/22
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   

Gulf Storm Pattern Nearly-Peaking
South Pacific To Start Moving

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (4/19) Northern CA surf was 2-3 ft overhead but cleaner than days past. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf was head high to 1 ft overhead. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh to waist high at the best spots. 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. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was pushing chest high. The East Shore was head high to one foot overhead.

North/Central California was getting the tail end of swell from the Gulf/dateline region, but on the way down. Southern California was getting some wrap-around action from the Gulf of Alaska. Hawaii was getting a little pulse of southern hemi swell with nothing to going on on the North Shore. The South Pacific remains asleep with no relief suggested until early next week when a reasonably decent storm pattern is forecast to set up east of New Zealand. The North Pacific remains reasonably active but not impressive with one storm pushing over the dateline and another on the charts for the weekend providing some sideband potential for Hawaii and a bit more direct energy for California and the Pacific Northwest. But after that things to really settle down. Considering the time of year, that's about right. 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
Thursdays jetstream charts (4/19) for the North Pacific depicted a moderate flow tracking off Japan rippling gently northeast into the Gulf of Alaska with a series of 3 troughs imbedded in it. The first trough was just off Japan with the second over the dateline and the third push into the Pacific Northwest. Winds were generally 130-140 kts over the length of the jet providing modest support for surface level gale development in the aforementioned troughs. Over the next 72 hours the pattern to remain pretty much unchanged though tilting a little more towards a flat flow across the North Pacific. Reasonable support for surface level gale development, especially from the dateline into the Western Gulf of Alaska. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with the jet flattening out even more and lighting gently more to the north, consistent with the seasonal change towards Summer. Still some degree of support for surface level gale development suggested.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was 800 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii trying to push up into the Gulf of Alaska and driving brisk trades over Hawaii, but low pressure was trying to get the upper hand in the Gulf and over the dateline. A very weak non-productive low was off Oregon sinking southeast, remnants of the system that is to make weekend swell for California (see Weekend Gulf Swell below), bringing the possibility of rain and some winds for North and Central CA Thurs PM/Fri AM. Of more interest was a broad gale low was pushing over the dateline bound for the Gulf of Alaska (see Dateline Storm below). Over the next 72 hrs the Dateline Storm to try and make headway in to the Gulf, but fade before reaching it's destination. The next storm in line to develop decently, then fade as well but making a little more headway east. Swell to result for both Hawaii and California with some luck.

 

Weekend Gulf Swell (North Central CA)
On Tuesday (4/17) low pressure at 980 mbs was positioned over the intersection of the dateline interacting with high pressure in the Gulf driving most fetch to the north into the Aleutians though a fetch of 30-35 kts winds was developing lows southwest sector aimed east of Hawaii. A small area of 20 ft seas was starting to build at 43N 173W but aimed north of California, directed more towards Alaska. Through Wednesday the low to track east through still pretty much landlocked with some degree of 30-35 kt northwest fetch remaining free-and-clear in exposed Pacific waters taking tangent aim towards California. 21 ft seas forecast at 46N 160W Tuesday evening pushing into the Northern Gulf at 47N 155W Wednesday AM (4/18) then dissipating late. Limited sideband 12-13 sec period energy expected for exposed breaks in North and Central CA for the weekend (4/21) with even lesser energy for Southern CA and barely rideable. See QuikCAST's for details.

 

Dateline Storm (Hawaii/California)
Also on Tuesday AM a 976 mb low was developing just east of Japan. This one to push off Japan on Tuesday evening with pressure dropping to 972 mbs and winds up to 50-55 kts in it's south quadrant over a small area at 37N 160E aimed well towards Hawaii up the 300 degree great circle path. 27 ft seas forecast at 36N 160E. The gale to lift gently northeast Wednesday (4/18) with winds still 50-55 kts at 38N 170E aimed directly at Hawaii down the 312 degree path in the morning with seas 32 ft at 37N 168E and to 42N 178E in the evening down the 319 degree path and swinging more towards California 25 degrees south of the 292 degree great circle path with seas 38 ft at 40N 175E. This storm (actually down to gale status) to be heading for the Gulf of Alaska Thursday AM (4/20) with pressure up to 984 mbs pushing over the dateline with a moderate area of 40-45 kt west winds forecast at 43N 175W aimed 50 degrees east of the 330 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 293 degree path to North California. Seas 37 ft at 43N 178W. More of the same in the evening though winds down to 40 kts and repositioned at 45N 170W aimed entirely right at California (2200 nmiles away) up the 296 degree path. Seas up to 39 ft at 43N 172W. Residuals Friday AM with 30-35 kt winds at 45N 160W aimed right at NCal up the 296 degree path and 2800 nmiles away and seas 32 ft and fading fast at 45N 165W. Residual 29 ft seas forecast at 45N 160W late evening, then gone after that.

Some form of large utility class surf to hit Hawaii Saturday (4/21) reaching 6.8 ft @ 16 secs late (10-11 ft faces) from 315 degrees fading some through Sunday. Swell to also push to California Monday (4/23) with period initially 18 secs pushing to 5.5 ft @ 16 secs late (8-9 ft faces) from 290 degrees then fading some Tuesday.

 

Another Dateline Storm (Hawaii/California)
A new storm was pushing off Japan Wednesday (4/18) and expected to start developing late Thursday with 55-60 kt north winds forecast in the storms west quadrant wrapping a bit eastwards at 33N 157E aimed even south of Hawaii. Friday AM (4/20) pressure to be 980 mbs with a nice fetch of 55 kt northwest winds forecast at 35N 167E aimed towards Hawaii up the 300 degree path. Seas building to 30 ft at 34N 165E. Winds down to 50-55 kts in the evening over a solid area at 37N 175E aimed towards Hawaii down the 310 degree path and towards North California up the 290 degree path. Seas building to 35 ft at 36N 172E. Saturday AM (4/21) to bring the low east with pressure 976 mbs and a broad fetch of 45-50 kt northwest winds at 40N 174W aimed about 20 degrees east of the 326 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 290 degree path to NCal. Seas holding at 35 ft at 38N 178W. The fetch to still hold into the evening at 43N 167W aimed almost due east and bypassing Hawaii and aimed almost right up the 294 degree path to NCal and 2000 nmiles away. 35 ft seas holding at 40N 170W. It's to hold well into Sunday AM (4/22) at 40 kts and even broader at 45N 163W aimed right at NCal down the 296 degree path and 1900 nmiles away. 32 ft seas modeled at 42N 163W. Still hanging on in the evening with 40 kt winds at 45N 155W aimed like before and 1500 nmiles away, right in the middle of the prime swell corridor for NCal. 32 ft seas modeled at 44N 158W. A quick decay forecast Monday AM (4/23) with winds fading from 35-40 kts and seas 30 ft at 45N 150W just 1300 nmiles from NCal. Residual 28 ft seas fading in the evening at 46N 145W.

Possible solid utility class sideband swell for Hawaii Mon/Tues (4/24) and near significant class swell for exposed breaks in North and Central California Wed/Thurs (4/26) if this one develops as forecast.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (4/19) weak low pressure at 1012 mbs was falling out of the Gulf down the Pacific Northwest coast bringing the expected break in the northwest winds to the northern half of the state. But rain is coming with it, which really isn't a bad thing given the lack of precipitation so far this year. A near neutral wind pattern to be taking control Friday as the low moves over the state though Southern CA to still be plagued by northerly winds especially in the afternoon. Things to be calming even more early Saturday (4/21) though a front associated with the next low pressure system in the Gulf of Alaska to be sagging south into the San Francisco area with the potential for south winds likely. A light northwest windflow all areas forecast Sunday. A reasonably calm pattern forecast all locations by Monday, then high pressure and north winds to build back in by Tuesday (4/24) focusing on the Cape Mendocino area Wed/Thurs with a summer-like pressure gradient and 25-30 kt north winds forecast there, likely generating northerly windswell for exposed breaks.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (4/19) for the South Pacific indicated another strong ridge was pushing east from under New Zealand. Over the next 72 hours it to taking over the greater South Pacific and pushing over Antarctica through the weekend. Beyond 72 hours the ridge to track east and almost out of the picture early next week as a trough starts setting up under New Zealand with winds 130 kts mid-week and improving odds for surface level storm development.

At the surface a generally weak wind flow was in control providing no swell producing potential for Hawaiian and California waters. Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast and no swell generation potential indicated. One exception - The models suggest a diffuse low developing a bit far to the north and southwest of Tahiti on Saturday (4/21) generating 45 kt southeast winds barely targeting these islands for 18 hours setting up 27 ft seas late in the day. Maybe some 14 sec period swell for Tahiti and even a little for Hawaii, but that remains just a guess by the models.

 

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 hrs the models suggest a quick pattern breakdown with no additional swell producing storms/gales forecast. Given the upper level flow projected in that timeframe, that does not make sense. So either the jetstream will disintegrate too or the surface level storm pattern will continue. It's too early to tell with any certainty so watch the models.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours Otherwise a broad continuous fetch of 40 kt west-southwest winds are forecast building under New Zealand next Monday (4/23) generating 30-35 ft seas through Thursday and pushing a little more to the north later in the period increasing the probability for sideband swell for Hawaii and energy pushing towards Tahiti and the US west coast.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Surfing's Greatest Misadventures: We've been reading a great book of short stories all based around surfing adventures, but not in classical sense. These are stories of surf trips gone bad, personal growth and realizations while on surf trips, silly things that happen while surfing right on up to horrifying shark attacks, and some great nostalgic tails of surfers versus the Marines at Trestles back in the early days. A truly enjoyable, easy to read and entertaining look at the culture and people that make up the surf community. Check it out here: http://www.thesurfbook.com

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/

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

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