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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 21, 2006 9:20 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 = 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   

Gulf Pattern Falters
South Pacific Not Up to Speed Yet

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Friday (4/21) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and sloppy even though the wind was calm early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high. Central California surf was chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high and weak at the better spots, flat elsewhere. The LA Area southward to Orange County was near flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was 1-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest to head high from north swell.

Things are really settling down. The last real swell for quite some time is still pushing into Hawaii and North California, but on the way down. A rather large locally generated summer-like windswell is expected to also push into North CA on Saturday but fade just as fast as it comes. A weak gale is charted well north of Hawaii mid-next week, but confidence low in that happening. The South Pacific is producing a series of consistent gales, but none are strong enough to produce anything more that impulse class swell and all are well east of the Hawaiian swell window, targeting California and locations south of there. In short, we're heading into a summertime pattern. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Fridays jetstream (4/21) was looking much less positive than in weeks before, about as one would expect for the time of year. It was tracking off North Japan but actually split over Russia, leaving a poor environment off Japan for surface level development. The energy consolidated as it approached the dateline forming a mild dip/trough just east of the dateline dropping just below the Aleutian Islands there with 160 kt winds flowing under it over a small area. The jet then turn hard northeast pushing into north Canada with a strong ridge northeast of Hawaii and off California. Only the little dip east of the dateline held any promise for surface level development. Over the next 72 hours through Monday (4/24) the Gulf trough is to remain the only area of interest tracking slowly east and getting steeper, about ready to push into Canada. A larger split flow to be setting up over the West Pacific providing a very inhospitable climate for surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours yet another trough to develop in the western Gulf following a similar course, but with not as much wind energy flowing under it. Minimal support for surface level gale development suggested next Thursday/Friday (4/28).

At the surface on Friday (4/21) high pressure controlled the bulk of the North Pacific centered on the dateline at 1024 mbs but dropping from Kamchatka southeast to the core on the dateline, then ridging southeast towards South California. A second more concentrated high was off NOrth California at 1028 mbs forming a tight summer-like gradient between itself and lower pressure over the Central Sierra's, generating north winds at 30-35 kts and starting to generate a typical local north windswell targeting North and Central CA through early Sunday (4/23). Also a weak 996 mb low was over the eastern most Aleutians generating a small area of 30 kt west winds and 18-19 ft seas aimed towards the US west coast, but positioned a long ways away. Minimal hope for windswell to result from this one for California though Hawaii might get some 3.7 ft @ 11-12 sec windswell (4.0-4.5 ft faces) late Mon/Tues (4/24-25). No other swell producing systems forecast over the next 72 hours with high pressure moving northeast of Hawaii at 1024 mbs.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Friday (4/21) satellite and model data indicated high pressure firmly in control of the waters off California at 1030 mbs while lower pressure was inland over the Sierras and into Nevada. This was setting up a strong gradient off Cape Mendocino with north winds confirmed at 30-35 kts and modeled to near 40 kts continuing into Saturday morning. Windswell on the rise with seas 15 ft off Pt Arena Friday evening. By Saturday AM those winds to be retreating from the coast with a weak south wind eddy flow perhaps setting in. A calm pattern to continue through Tuesday then more high pressure start nudging up to the coast with north winds again developing pushing down through Point Conception, then retreating Thursday. Windswell likely during this event too, but with the winds only being in the 30 kt range, windswell will be something less this second go around. Looks much like an early summer pattern for now with windswell present when the wind is a-blowin'.

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 one small low is forecast to develop in the deep Southeast Pacific on Saturday (4/22) at 968 mbs producing 40 kt southwest winds targeting California with 27-30 ft seas for 24 hours before sliding east out of the swell window. Maybe some small swell with period in the 15-17 sec range possible, best focused on the south end of the state. Nothing from this system for Hawaii through.

No other 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 another low is to drop out of the Bering Sea into the northwest Gulf of Alaska on Wednesday (4/26) generating 30-35 kt northwest winds and 20-23 ft seas aimed initially at Hawaii then towards California and the Pacific Northwest through Friday (4/28). More small to moderate sized 12-13 sec period windswell possible if one is to believe the models. High pressure to be moving east at the same time though setting up more north winds along the California coast in the 25-30 kt range Wed/Thurs (4/26).

Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another small low is forecast in the deep Southeast Pacific starting Wednesday (4/26) but a bit decentralized with pressure 968 mbs and winds 35 kts ramping up to 50 kts over a tiny area Thursday producing supposedly 42 ft seas pushing mostly east towards South America. Will monitor but confidence is low at this time for this system to develop or push swell into California. This system to be outside the Hawaiian swell window.

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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