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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 14, 2005 11:47 AM
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 = 3.0 - California & 1.0 - 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 5/9 thru Sun 5/15
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   

North Pacific Gale Forecast
Small Storm Pushes Under New Zealand

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Saturday (5/14) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high with moderate northwest wind. South facing breaks were up to waist high. Central California was up to waist high and clean early. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were lucky to be waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high with maybe some stray chest high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high. The South Shore was basically flat. The East Shore was waist high.

Yet another small pulse of northwest swell from the dateline had arrived along Hawaii's northern shores. This was the best there was in the Pacific. Weak windswell was hitting California. Small surf to remain the norm everywhere but Hawaii. The models are consistently suggesting a strong late season gale is to develop off the California coast late in the week, but there's considerable uncertainty with that eventuality. There's also a short lived storm that tracked under New Zealand on Friday, which might generate a short lived swell for Hawaii and less for California. Otherwise nothing else is on the charts. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
On Saturday (5/14) a mostly zonal jetstream flow was in affect across the North Pacific with only a minor trough in the Gulf and another off the Kurils. Windspeeds were moderate in the 120-130 kt range. This was not conducive to storm development (animation here). Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (5/17) energy is to build along the jet in the East Pacific with winds up to 150-160 kts and a stronger trough developing in the Gulf of Alaska, suggestive that something may be building at the surface.

At the surface today a broad but weak 992 mb low persisted in the Gulf of Alaska with fragmented 25 kt west winds aimed towards the US west coast. Minimal windswell generation potential. Weak 1020 mb high pressure was lying over a thin area north of Hawaii extending from the dateline up to California, but not ridging onshore (animation here). Also of more interest was a 988 mb low building west of the dateline (more details below).

On Tuesday night into Wednesday AM (5/11) a low with 30-45 kt westerly winds pushed off the Kuril Islands aimed well towards Hawaii, fading fast by night fall. Seas built briefly to 23 ft, but they decayed alot over the long journey to Hawaii. Another pulse of 11-13 sec tiny swell is headed for the Islands late Sunday (5/15) into Monday and Tuesday.

Potential Gulf Gale
Over the next 72 hours the dateline low is to track east-northeast, riding over high pressure starting on the south end of the dateline. 35-40 kt winds are to be aimed at Hawaii likely generating seas to 23 ft and producing a solid shot of winter-time fun size swell for the Islands arriving late Wednesday (5/18). This system is to be due north of Hawaii by late Monday (5/16), but is not to develop any more than it was on Saturday. But by Tuesday (5/17) the gale is to surge a little with pressure down to 980 mbs and winds holding in the 30-40 kts range, aimed right at North and Central CA and building in areal coverage. Sea forecast up to the 25 ft range and covering a larger area. This system is to slowly fade on Wednesday (5/18) as it lifts north in the Eastern Gulf though seas are to hold in the 23 ft range early. Residual energy to spin in the Gulf through Friday (5/20) but winds to be minimal. Possible swell from this system reaching northern CA late Thursday (5/19) and holding in some form through Saturday. Winter time utility class size possible. Lesser energy to reach into exposed breaks of Southern CA. It's too early to say with any certainty whether this will really happen, but is certainly worth monitoring.

More model data here

South Pacific

Overview
On Saturday (5/14) the jetstream in the South Pacific continued under the influence of high pressure aloft driving it south over the Antarctica ice. Otherwise a weak trough was under New Zealand but was not getting in touch with any real energy (animation here). In general the whole upper flow was weak, with no strong winds indicated. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (5/17) the weak trough under New Zealand is to fade away as the two branches of the jet track in parallel west to east, with the southern branch nearly over ice the entire way across the South Pacific. Only minor undulations forecast and nothing of interest pops out.

At the surface today strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned over the eastern South Pacific, driving anything that tried to push much east of New Zealand southeast towards Antarctica. We are still tracking the remnants of a storm that developed under New Zealand late Thursday (5/12) below. Otherwise a 964 mb storm was developing just southwest of Chile and is expected to continue there for the next 72 hours pushing solid fetch and swell north up the South American coast into Central America. But it was outside the California swell window and no swell is expected beyond southern Mexico (animation here).

Over the next 72 hours the poor upper level pattern is to continue making it's affects felt at the surface, with no swell producing systems forecast.

More model data here

 

New Zealand System
On Thursday AM (5/5) a new 956 mb low developed south of New Zealand while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was sitting just east of New Zealand forming a tight gradient between the two systems. Winds were confirmed at 50 to near 60 kts centered at 59S 166E, but they were all aimed mostly southeast towards the Ross Ice Shelf, the high pressure system having the upper hand. The same situation occurred in the evening with seas building to 40 ft late over a small area centered at 63S 177E.

On Friday (5/6) pressure dropped to 952 mbs with the gradient holding producing more 50-55 kt west to southwest winds at 65S 173W blowing mostly over sea ice. 32 ft seas were over a tiny area right off the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf at 65S 170W. By evening the low pushed farther east, but the high kept pace with it and the gradient eased some. Winds down to 45-50 kts centered near 65S 150W, all over the Ross ice Shelf. No seas were being produced. Swell generation potential was over.

On Saturday AM (5/7) the low tracked further east and was starting to reemerge from the Ice, getting some traction on the oceans surface. But it was pretty far east, moving towards the eastern edge of the US swell window. Maybe some energy eventually for South America.

Based on confirmed data, the vast majority of the fetch in this system was aimed too far south towards Antarctica and too far away from the US to have much hope of producing any decent swell. Background energy is likely tracking up towards Hawaii expected to arrive on Saturday (5/14). Limited swell is also tracking towards California, expected to arrive on Sunday (5/15). Size to be in the impulse class range though at all locations. See QuikCAST's for details.

 

Yet Another New Zealand Storm
A broad 952 mb low developed under Australia on Monday (5/9) tracking east generating 30-40 kt west winds aimed poorly into the Tasman Sea. It held into Tuesday (5/10) with 30 to near 40 kt southwest winds pushing somewhat up into the Tasman Sea but not ideal. Seas were modeled into the 29 ft range through Monday (5/9), but again not aimed well up the Tasman Sea Channel. A quick decline is expected through this evening into Wednesday AM (5/11).

At this time suspect most energy from this storm is to slam directly into western New Zealand. Seas height hindcasts have fallen well behind original estimates too and positioned a long ways from either Hawaii or California. This system was best positioned to drive some swell towards Hawaii, but there is serious doubts as to how much energy will actually reach the Islands due to blockage from Fiji which is sitting right in the middle of the swell window. At this time only background energy is expected to reach the Islands with nothing into California.

 

Tiny New Zealand Storm
Of most interest was a 972 mb low starting to push east under New Zealand on Thursday PM (5/14). QuikSCAT imagery indicated 40-45 kts winds were circulating around it's north quadrant with a tiny area to 50 kts in it's west quadrant aimed well up the Tasman Sea channel towards Hawaii.

On early Friday AM (5/13) the low developed nicely with pressure down to 964 mbs and a thin sliver of 50-55 kt winds were centered at 56S 168E aimed northeast up the 215 degree great circle path towards California and the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 30 ft centered at 53S 170E. But already the balance of the wind in this storms north quadrant were taking aim at Antarctica as the affects of high pressure aloft and at the surface were having a significant influence over this system. By the evening pressure was down to 956 mbs with winds down to 40-50 kts over a tiny area centered at 56S 175E, not even to the dateline and tracking southeast rather than the optimal northeast direction. These winds were aimed 40 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California (shadowed by Tahiti) and 70 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 54S 174E but covered only a tiny area.

By Saturday AM (5/12) the storm was fading fast with pressure 960 mbs and winds 35-40 kts and on the way down. Residual seas from previous days fetch down to 32 ft at 56S 179W and pushing towards Antarctica. This system was functional gone. Continued 25-30 kt fetch is forecast through Monday (5/16) providing energy pushing towards Tahiti, but of too short a period to survive with any size up to Hawaii and California.

With luck, a small swell will push north providing a short lived shot of something to ride, but not much else. This storm was 4784 nmiles from Hawaii and 6289 nmiles from California. Expect swell arrival on the South Shore starting Saturday (5/21) with period at 17 secs and size minimal but building, maxing Sunday afternoon (5/22) with residual energy continuing through Monday (5/23). Whatever is going to arrive in California will hit starting late Monday evening (5/23) with period 17-18 secs and maxing midday Tuesday (5/24). Remnants to continue through early Thursday (5/26).

 

California Offshore Forecast
Saturday mornings local charts (5/14) depicted the eastern edge of weak high pressure at 1020 mbs centered mid-way between Hawaii and Pt Conception ridging right up to the Point, generating a bit of a gradient there, but not much else. Weak low pressure at 992 mbs continued in the Gulf of Alaska. The high is to retreat some by Tuesday (5/17) as a new stronger low builds in the Gulf, pushing a real cold front into the Bay Area by the afternoon with the standard southerly winds down to nearly Pt Conception by early evening. South winds to continue on Wednesday then fading with the low early Thursday (5/19) as weak high pressure and calm winds build in.

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

QuikCAST

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Saturdays upper and surface models models (5/14) indicated that beyond 72 hours and after the first Gulf gale, perhaps a second one is to develop. But that looks less likely that previous runs of the models had suggested. If anything happens it will likely to be minimal. No other swell producing systems forecast

The models suggest even more behind that.

 

South Pacific

On Saturday (5/14) beyond 72 hours out the jetstream is to continue in a split mode. 2 weak troughs are forecast a week out in the mid Pacific in both the north and southern branches, but wind speeds are to be low and neither looks capable of supporting any real storm development.

At the surface 72 hours out surprisingly a new low is forecast tracking under New Zealand on Wednesday AM (5/18) with pressure 972 mbs. Winds 45-50 kts in it's north quadrant with seas building to 32 ft aimed east. Winds fading to 40-45 kts on Thursday (5/19) with seas 35 ft. Continued energy on Friday (5/20) as the low tracks into the Southeastern Pacific with seas 29-30 ft. If this develops, which is highly uncertain at this time, some small but decently rideable surf would seem likely for both Hawaii and California, with some real swell pushing into Tahiti.

Details to follow...


MAVERICKSSURF MAVFILM MAVSURFER SURFPULSE TOWSURFER THIRDREEF

Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: Check out all the latest indicators to get a handle on how the Summer and Fall seasons could unfold. http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml

Big Florida Swell: A strong gale pushed off Cape Hatteras on 4/15 generating solid seas and a 70 ft rogue wave that hit a cruise ship before proceeded south to make solid waves for the Southeast US coast. Matt Kechele was there to catch it. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/kechele.html

Stormsurf Weather Models Updated Again: Yes, we've been at it again this weekend getting another batch of weather models running. Global coverage is now provided for jetstream forecasts and surface pressure and winds. Zoomed in data is also available for such locations as the Mentawai Islands to Western Australia corridor, Tahiti, South America, Europe and Norwegian Sea. So now you can get local wind forecasts for these and more locations with one click. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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