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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 30, 2006 5:54 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 = 4.0 - California & 2.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' 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 4/24 thru Sun 4/30
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   

Swell #1S Pushing North
North Pacific Sleeps - Summer Pattern In-Effect

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (4/30) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and reasonably calm early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to maybe chest high. Central California surf was up to waist high in the Morro Bay area. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high with waist high sets at the better breaks but many were flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were up to waist high with many near flat. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was chest high.

Swell from the Gulf of Alaska is hitting Hawaii's northern shores and poised to move into North and Central California directly, mixed with the persistent windswell already hitting. Behind that southern hemi swell is pushing north, expected to arrive late in the workweek for HAwaii and over the weekend for CA. This was generated by a broad gale in the Central to Southeastern Pacific the middle of last week generating moderate swell pushing north towards Hawaii and California. This to be the best, and possibly last shot at some decently rideable swell for quite some time for all locations. The models depict a strong gale developing over the dateline late this week, but we suspect that will vaporize from the charts as we get closer to that date, leaving us with nothing to back it up. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Sundays jetstream charts (4/30) indicated a rather confused and weak pattern tracking generally just south of the Aleutians west to east. No support for surf level gale development suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (5/3) a very weak trough is forecast to develop in the Gulf of Alaska but with only 110 kt winds flowing under it, and that's at it's strongest. A new trough to to be pushing off the Kuril Islands with winds to 160 kts, providing a better area for potential development. Beyond 72 hours the Kuril Islands trough is to push west over the dateline and into the Gulf of Alaska with winds holding under it to the 140 kt range through next weekend. This looks good on paper, but suspect it's a bit optimistic. No other areas of interest suggested.

At the surface on Sunday (5/30) the pattern was equally disorganized. High pressure at 1032 mbs was off Southern Oregon ridging into the Pacific Northwest and generating a gradient off Cape Mendocino with 25-30 kts winds indicated producing short period north windswell there. Weak low pressure at 992 mbs was just south of the Aleutian Islands at the dateline tracking east, with only a small area of 35 kt westerly fetch hanging over open waters of the North Pacific, and expected to fade before any seas of interest are generated.

Over the next 72 hours the only system of interest is to be high pressure off California at 1032 mbs which is to start pushing into the Pacific Northwest generating a bit more push to the usual pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino. North winds there are to increase to 35-40 kts Monday into early Tuesday increasing the size and period of the local windswell for North CA, then fading out and totally dissipating late Wednesday. No other swell sources suggested.

Gulf Gale
Low pressure dropped south from the Bering Sea into the Gulf of Alaska on Wednesday (4/26) with pressure at 996 mbs producing 35-40 kt north to northwest winds targeting Hawaii and to a lesser extent California with 20-22 ft seas. On Thursday (4/27) the low tracked east with winds fading from the 30-35 kt range aimed more to the east generating seas at 20-22 ft. Fading 30 kt fetch was targeting California and the Pacific Northwest Friday with seas holding in the 20 ft range early then dissipating. This swell to push into North CA on Sunday (4/30) building to 4 ft @ 13 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces) from 300 degrees at non-shadowed breaks. On Monday morning (5/1) swell to reach 4 ft @ 12 secs in Central CA late (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Tiny swell of 2 ft @ 12-13 secs expected in exposed north facing breaks of Southern CA on Monday afternoon (2.0-2.5 ft faces).

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (4/30) high pressure remained the dominant force in the Northeastern Pacific. It was located just off Oregon 1032 mbs ridging into the Pacific Northwest producing gradient north winds at 25-30 kts off Cape Mendocino and generating short period windswell. On Monday (5/1) the gradient is to get a boost as high pressure moves yet closer to the coast producing 35-40 kt north winds through early Tuesday (5/2) then rapidly fading as the high pushes inland. Large (by summer standards) windswell expected late Mon/early Tues with the bulk of the fetch moving off the coast south of Bodega Bay by Tues AM. Local winds northwest Monday then a light eddy flow (south winds) taking over Tuesday through Friday even into South CA. A light northwest wind flow expected to build in north of Pt Conception by Saturday AM into Sunday with south eddy winds still forecast in Southern CA.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Sunday (5/3) the jetstream continued ridging south of New Zealand and was expected to continue through the week, through pushing a bit more to the east centered over the Central South Pacific by next weekend. A persistent trough that has been centered in the Southeastern Pacific is still in-place expected to track east and out of the California swell window by next weekend. No clear signs of surface level gale development suggested aloft.

At the surface on Sunday (5/3) a rather weak pressure pattern was in place. The only noticeable feature was the fading remnants of last weeks storm in the Southeastern Pacific (details below) at 960 mbs, but no swell producing winds were indicated.

Over the next 72 hours high pressure at 1020 mbs is to set up southeast of New Zealand totally blocking the storm corridor there. No swell producing gale or storm systems forecast.

 

Small Gale
On Monday (4/24) a small low developed in the Southeast Pacific producing 40-45 kt west winds lifting northeast Tuesday. Seas built to 30 ft over a small area early Tuesday at 60S 132W for 6 hours (well east of the Hawaiian swell window) and we then on the decline expected to fade away by Wednesday before reaching the eastern edge of the California swell window. These seas were targeting California and locations south of there with perhaps some swell hitting South CA late Monday (5/1) peaking Tuesday with swell 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees. Swell pushing into North CA and peaking late Tuesday at 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3 ft faces) from 187 degrees. Nothing from this system for Hawaii through.

 

Storm 1S (California)
Storm History
On Tuesday AM (4/25) a 972 mb gale was developing well south just above the Ross Ice Shelf producing 45 kt south winds at 60S 180W aimed towards Hawaii and California while the low itself tracked east. By nightfall the fetch had increased size with 45-50 kts winds confirmed at 57S 167W aimed right up the 186 degree path to Hawaii and the 202 degree path to California (clear of the Tahitian swell shadow).

By Wednesday AM pressure was down to 964 with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt winds inplace at 54S 159W pushing north towards Hawaii up the 181 degree path and towards California up the 200 degree path. Seas modeled at 30 ft at 54S 165W. In the evening pressure dropped to 948 mbs with a decentralized fetch of 45-50 kt winds building at 50S 144W aimed more to the east, or northeast at California up the 195 degree path and with sideband energy still pushing 40 degree east of the 180 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas building to 35 ft at 53S 155W. Seas modeled at 30 ft at 53S 155W, and the Jason-1 satellite passed over the outer fringes of the fetch near 06Z Thursday reporting seas 30 ft, consistent with the wave models expectations.

On Thursday AM pressure dropped to 932 mbs with fetch confirmed ramping up to 50-55 kts over a small area at 54S 132W aimed over a arch from California (188 degree) east to South America and moving to the eastern edge of the California swell window by nightfall. Seas 32 ft at 51S 152W in the AM. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch Thursday AM confirming seas at 34 ft at 51S 148W, right on track if not better than what the models suggested. Winds were still be holding in the 50-55 kt range at 55S 127W aimed up the 183 degree path to California by nightfall with seas modeled to 40 ft at 54S 122W.

Contrary to previous model runs, the low went stationary there and spun out through Saturday (4/29) with winds fading to the 30-35 kts range and 37 ft seas at 54S 121W on the edge of the swell window Friday AM fading fast afterward (below the 30 ft threshold by nightfall) as all fetch was targeting Antarctica.

Swell Generation Potential
This has not been a great storm by any summertime standard, mainly because it's tracking fast to the east not allowing it's fetch to get good purchase/traction on the oceans surface, limiting swell production capacity. Still it generated a broad area of decent sized seas pushing towards Hawaii, but not enough to reach the significant class threshold. The expected reorganization of the storm in the Eastern Pacific occurred as expected sending another larger pulse of energy north and east, with California and South/Central America the expected recipients. Significant class size with solid period expected, earning this one the title of first significant class swell of the summer.

Surf Forecast
Hawaii: A large summer-time utility class swell will push into Hawaii starting before sunrise Wednesday (5/3) with period at 18 secs, building to 2.6 ft @ 17 secs by sunset (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks to 5.5 ft). Swell to peak Thursday at 3 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces - best breaks to 6 ft). Decent energy to hold into Friday AM (5/5) with swell 3 ft @ 14 secs early and fading from there ( 4 ft faces) down to 2.3 ft @ 13 secs Saturday AM (3 ft faces). Swell Direction: 180-186 degrees

South California (Orange County): Expect the first small signs of this swell to hit near sunset Thursday (5/4) with swell 1.0-1.3 ft @ 20 secs (2 ft faces). Swell building steadily through the day Friday (5/5) reaching 4 ft @ 16 secs by sunset (6.0-6.5 ft faces and up to 8 ft at top spots). Swell to peak Saturday AM (5/6) at 4.6 ft @ 16 secs fading to 15 secs through the day (7.0-7.5 ft faces and up to 9 ft at top spots). Solid size expected to continue Sunday but filtering down, starting at 4.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces). Swell Direction: 190-195 degrees

North California (Santa Cruz): Expect the first small signs of this swell to hit near sunset Thursday (5/4) with swell 1.0 ft @ 20 secs (2 ft faces). Swell building steadily through the day Friday (5/5) reaching 3.6 ft @ 17 secs by sunset (6.0 ft faces and up to 7.5 ft at top spots). Swell to peak Saturday AM (5/6) at 4.3 ft @ 16 secs fading to 15 secs late (6.5-7.0 ft faces and up to 8.5 ft at top spots). Solid size expected to continue Sunday but filtering down, starting at 4.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces). Swell Direction: 185-192 degrees

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 weak if one is to believe the models a broad 984 mb low is to develop off Kamchatka on Wednesday (5/3) with 35-45 kt northwest winds taking aim at Hawaii for the far northwestern quadrant of the Pacific. This low to track east through the day Thursday with 40-45 kts west winds continuing aimed a bit north of the Hawaiian Islands and better at California, but a long ways away from there. This puts Hawaii in the better position. 30 ft seas projected for 12 hours late Thursday night fading as they hit the dateline. The low to totally dissipate Friday as it pushes into the Western Gulf of Alaska with no swell producing fetch remaining. Assuming this low develops as forecast, which is a bold assumption, some decent sized swell could push towards the Hawaiian Islands (for the time of year), but confidence is very low.

Yet another low to follow in this ones path next weekend, but smaller and weaker with only 35 kt fetch suggested as it pushes off Kamchatka.

Otherwise no swell producing fetch suggested for the North Pacific.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure at 1028 mbs is to build east-southeast of New Zealand continuing the lock of the swell corridor there and building to 1036 mbs by next weekend. This system to totally dominate the Southern Pacific eliminating any chance for storm development.

A decent 960 mb storm is forecast to make a fleeting trek across the southern Tasman Sea on Thursday (5/4) with 50-55 kt southwest winds pushing up towards Fiji with 40-42 ft seas projected. This bodes well for that area, with some energy possibly trickling north towards Hawaii. But as soon as this storm hits the greater Pacific it's to be squashed to the south by the dominant high pressure there ahead of it, and be ripped to shreds, dissipating by late Friday (5/5).

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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