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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 11, 2006 10:09 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 = 1.5 - California & 0.5 - 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 5/8 thru Sun 5/14
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 Gale Forecast
South Pacific to Come on-Line Too - Mav's Contest on NBC!

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (5/11) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and a little cleaner than in days past. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with maybe chest high sets. Central California surf was waist to chest high in the Morro Bay area. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high with a few bigger sets at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high with sets to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was thigh high.

Small north windswell to dominate California through the rest of the week and fading into the weekend. Fortunately a small pulse of southern hemi swell to enter the mix Saturday into Sunday and Monday providing a little relief. But after that thing are to generally head down, with only small background southern hemi swell projected in the south end of the state and small windswell in the north through mid-next week. Hawaii is forecast to get a little southern hemi bump for Friday/Saturday fading Sunday with larger north windswell from a gale low forecast northeast of the state starting Monday holding through the week. Beyond that the area under New Zealand is to get active with potential from that region longterm for both Hawaii and California. See details below...

 

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (5/11) indicated a big ridge pushing well up into the Bering Sea over the West Pacific with a weak trough in the northern Gulf of Alaska with 130 kts winds blowing under it, providing a little hope. This trough to be the area of most interest over the coming week. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (5/14) the ridge is modeled to hold in the west while the Gulf trough persists if not builds some with most upper level winds energy diving due south aimed right at Hawaiian at 130-140 kts, providing decent support for surface level gale development there. Beyond 72 hours the pattern to hold with a second batch of energy following a similar path due south into this trough with winds up to 160 kts Monday into early Tuesday then taking aim a little more towards California for the later part of the workweek. Given the time of year this trough to be pretty decent. But it's just a forecast and nothing is certain. Nothing else of interest modeled.

At the surface on Thursday (5/11) strong high pressure at 1032 mbs centered just east of the dateline under the Aleutians stretching southwest to Japan and southeast to California, with a weak cutoff low tucked under on the dateline. The only swell generating fetch was isolated to the Cape Mendocino region of North California where the usual summer time pressure gradient was producing 25-30 kt north winds and weak windswell there, and even less windswell pushing into eastern shores of the Hawaiian Island courtesy of easterly trade winds blowing at 15-20 kts off the south side of the same high.

Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (5/14) the high is to drift southeast a little at 1036 mbs with yet another high building over the dateline at 1032 mbs while a weak surface low starts to develop late Saturday mid-way between Hawaii and Oregon fueled by a forecast strong dip in the jetstream over that region. By Sunday pressure to drop to a modest 1004 mbs with a small fetch of 30-35 kt north winds and 17 ft seas developing in the gales west quadrant late aimed mostly east of Hawaii but south of California. This isn't much, with most potential beyond the 72 hour window.

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/11) high pressure at 1032 mbs was seeping from the dateline southeast into California waters, producing the standard summertime pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino wit winds 25-30 kts over a small area and shrinking. This gradient to hold into Saturday morning continuing the steady production of shorter period north windswell, then fading Sunday as low pressure makes a comeback well off the coast late weekend. The standard northwesterly flow that has been the hallmark over local waters north of Pt Conception lately to break down through Sunday with a calm pattern forecast through Tuesday.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Thursday (5/11) the jetstream continued ridging strongly south of New Zealand pushing over the Antarctic Ross Ice Shelf and eastward unabated, though wind speeds were weak. No support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours a trough is forecast to push under Tasmania with winds 140 kts initially flowing under it on Friday then pushing further northeast and pinching off and fading into Sunday, just barely squeaking past New Zealand. This trough to likely support some form of surface low, but more importantly might help to usher in a upper pattern more favorable to storm development in the region. Elsewhere to the east over the greater South Pacific high pressure aloft to reign supreme. Beyond 72 hours into the end of next workweek a series of weak upper trough to track under New Zealand then fade as they hit the Pacific, none with any notable strength, but at least enough to keep the storm corridor open there.

At the surface on Thursday (5/11) moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs held a lock on the balance of the South Pacific. The only system of interest was a little 980 mb gale in the far southeastern Pacific with 40-45 kt south-southwest winds centered at 40S 111W aimed reasonably well towards South CA, though totally outside the swell window for anywhere north of Pt Conception. This low to wrap up late in the evening into Friday (5/12) AM with winds 45-50 kts and seas forecast at 33-35 ft over a tiny area at 40S 110 aimed north to northeast. A possible small pulse of 15-17 second energy could track towards Southern CA and points south of there for late next workweek.

On Tuesday (5/9) a 960 mb gale tracked east just over the Ross Ice Shelf with 55 kt southwest winds confirmed just barely pushing over open waters at 150W. 29 ft seas modeled at 65S 150W, free and clear of ice. By Wednesday the low was at 948 mbs just off Antarctica and well east of the actual fetch with a broad fetch of 35-40 kt winds arching northeast aimed well at California and targets southward positioned on the eastern edge of the CA swell window. Seas were modeled at 25-27 ft through the day [far less than previously forecast] at 58S 131W holding through the evening at 55S 125W, then continuing at 25 ft Thursday pushing out of the California swell window. This was actually the precursor to the gale indicated above and has likely already generated small 14 sec period utility class class swell pushing north towards California arriving Thursday (5/18). No energy expected for Hawaii.

 

Small California Pulse
Also a small gale developed in the Southeastern Pacific on Wednesday (5/3) at 960 mbs producing south winds at 35-40 kts continuing through late early Saturday. 25-26 ft seas were modeled in the vicinity of 60S 135W thru 49S 129W pushing due north. The Jason-1 satellite made multiple passes over this area reporting seas in the 23-25 ft range. Most energy was pushing towards California with just a little sideband fetch directed towards Hawaii. Hawaii to see tiny background swell of 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs late Friday-early Sat (5/12) (2.0-2.5 ft faces - 170 degrees). Small swell to push into South California Saturday AM (6/13) with swell 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs late (4 ft faces) and 3.3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees. This swell to arrive in North California late Saturday (5/13) with swell 2.3 ft @ 16 secs late (3.5 ft faces) pushing 3 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 185 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 hours most interest is to focus on the gale between California and Hawaii. By late Monday (5/15) a complex low (dual core) is to develop with pressure down to 988 mbs with 40-45 kt winds forecast in the north quadrant starting to take aim on Hawaii with 25-35 kt winds aimed at time at both Hawaii and California. 15 ft seas aimed at both locales. By Tuesday fetch in the north quadrant is to wrap into the gales west quadrant and drop south with winds 30-35 kts and seas building to 20 ft targeting Hawaii down the 10 degree great circle path. 14 ft seas targeting California. Wednesday and Thursday the low to hold it's position and slowly spin out with winds ramping down from 35 kts to 25 kts and seas to 17 ft favoring Hawaii by a good margin. Solid north to northeast windswell looks possible for Hawaii by Monday (5/15) with much lesser size and period pushing towards California.

Of interest, a strong tropical type low is modeled pushing off Japan Thursday (5/18), but that's pure speculation at this time.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure at 1028 mbs is to continue holding a lock on the Central Pacific eliminating any chance for storm development.

Of interest is a small 956 mb storm forecast to form just southwest of New Zealand Friday AM (5/12) with 55-60 kt winds pushing northeast targeting New Zealand. The storm to track east, south of New Zealand, through Saturday AM before beginning to feel the effects of an adverse jetstream flow aloft, but not before more 55 kt winds build seas to near 40 ft over a tiny area at 52S 157E sending a burst of energy directly into New Zealand but totally shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. The low to finally enter the Hawaiian swell window (201 degrees) late Saturday but by then winds to have faded to the 40-45 kts range and heading down fast after that. 32 ft sea to be pushing northeast towards Hawaii, providing some hope there. Will monitor.

Another similar short-lived and tiny storm to develop directly under New Zealand on Tuesday (5/15) with pressure 968 mbs producing 55-60 kts winds and 39 kts seas tracking northeast into Wednesday then fading fast. If this materializes solid swell should push well to the northeast targeting Hawaii up the 193-201 degree path and Tahiti as well. southern California could be shadowed a bit by Tahiti but North CA looks to be in the clear. Still this one is a ways out and far from guaranteed.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

Mavericks Surf Contest on TV - the epic 2006 Mavericks Surf Contest will be broadcast this Saturday (5/13) at 11 AM PDT (2 PM EDT) on your local NBC affiliate channel. Check it out.

Wired Magazine - Read about the technology that supports the Mavericks Surf Contest in this months edition of WIRED Magazine (pg 48 - Al Gore on the cover).

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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