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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 22, 2007 9:30 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 = 3.0 - California & 3.3 - 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 5/21 thru Sun 5/27
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   

Small Southern Hemi Swell for All
Typhoon Yutu to Cross Dateline Heading Northeast

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (5/22) Northern CA surf was 1-2 ft overhead and warbled. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was maybe waist high at top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to maybe chest high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high, maybe a bit more. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest high with a few sets pushing head high. The East Shore was flat.

North/Central California had some windswell with a bit longer period making for rideable surf. Southern California had a bit of north windswell wrapping in with the first hints of southern hemi swell starting to tickle the buoys. Hawaii was flat on the North and East Shores, but fun sized southern hemi swell has been hitting and hasn't given up yet. Down south a decent storm developed under New Zealand Fri/Sat (5/12) generating up to 50 kts winds and 40 ft seas pushing well to the northeast. Swell from this system has hit Hawaii as bit smaller than was officially forecast, but about on track with our expectations. Swell from this one is just starting to hit California now. Another system formed in Central South Pacific over the weekend likely pushing a bit more size focused on California for early next week with yet another system forecast in the South Pacific Wednesday-Friday (5/25). In the North Pacific there's an outside chance for a tropical system surging over the dateline late this week and providing something rideable for Hawaii beyond, but that's just a guess. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/22) for the North Pacific indicated a weak trough dipping over the dateline with 120 kt winds flowing under it providing minor support for gale development there. Otherwise a slack upper wind pattern was in play. Over the next 72 hours that trough to build a little while pushing east towards the Gulf of Alaska on Wednesday with winds up to 130 kts providing a little more hope, then fading fast and rising north in the days beyond with any support for surface level low pressure development fading. Beyond 72 hours another little trough to set up west of the dateline starting Friday (5/25) with up to 130 kt winds flowing into it (and tropical low pressure down at the surface). But this trough to get stretched in the days beyond and just go flat holding over the dateline region and slowly drifting towards the Gulf through the weekend and into next week, but looking more like a ridge over time. Not much support for surface level low pressure development.

At the surface today high pressure at 1024 mbs was off the California coast ridging northeast and pushing into the Washington coast. It was generating the usual 25 kt north winds an commensurate windswell along the Central Ca coast wrapping into southern CA. Otherwise a broad area of unremarkable low pressure was moving from the eastern dateline area northeast towards the Gulf of Alaska spraying a bit of 25 kts winds towards Hawaii likely setting up a little pulse of windswell for the days ahead. Tropical Storm Yutu had made the recurve and was tracking east but still well west of the dateline. Over the next 72 hrs high pressure to hold off Central CA driving a moderate northerly flow over the Cape Mendocino up to 30 kts late Tuesday then slowly decaying to near nothing by Thursday (5/24) with slowly fading windswell the expected result in Central CA. The biggest swell source to be extratropical storm Yutu. Wednesday evening (5/23) she's to be approaching the dateline with pressure dropping to 992 mbs and winds pushing near 45 kts in it's west/southwest sector. Thursday AM (5/24) a short lived fetch of 45 kt winds forecast at 35N 172E aimed well towards Hawaii down the 305 degree great circle path and 1700 nmiles away from the Islands, but short lived. Seas building to 24 ft at 35N 177E. In the evening a quick fade is expected with no swell producing fetch left. Residual seas of 22 ft forecast at 35N 180W and fading fast. Possible small swell with period 14-15 secs pushing towards the Islands peaking Sunday (5/27) at 4.5 ft @ 13 secs (5-6 ft faces). Nothing to result for the US west coast.

 

Tropics
Typhoon Yutu was positioned just northeast of Iwo Jima Monday evening (5/21) with sustained winds 65 kts, right at minimal typhoon strength. A slow degradation in strength forecast over the next 24 hours with a steady acceleration on forward speed to the northeast. This is the final update on this system. It's extratropical progress will be monitored in forecast statement above.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/22) high pressure at 1026 mbs remained positioned 800 nmiles west of Pt Conception ridging northeast into Washington generating up to 30 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino and providing ample windswell along the Central CA coast. This is expected to hold into early Wednesday, then a steady degradation of the high is forecast through Thursday with winds dropping off fast. Local winds fading over the duration. A neutral pressure pattern and light winds forecast through Saturday (5/26) then high pressure to return Sunday with the gradient again building over Cape Mendocino, but modest in size and strength and confined north of Pt Reyes. And even this to possibly fading out by Tuesday (5/29) as low pressure takes hold in the Gulf.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/22) for the South Pacific indicated a moderate trough southeast of New Zealand with winds of 110 kt flowing up it's west side providing some support for gale development under it. A weak ridge controlled the Southeastern Pacific suppressing any support for surface level gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the trough above is to track east and push a little further north with up to 150 kts winds forecast Wednesday (5/23) feeding it in a small area near it's apex aimed well to the northeast, good for gale development through Thursday and pushing well into the Southeast Pacific. The trough to hold but much weaker by the weekend. Beyond 72 hours the trough to fade but a less defined trough to take hold in the deep Central South Pacific with most winds flowing pretty much west to east, and limiting the potential for surface level gale development.

At the surface today a broad low pressure system at a whopping 936 mbs was generating a fetch of 35-40 kt winds at 53S 168W aimed well to the northeast. That fetch is to continue into the evening terminating near 52N 155W with seas on the increase to 30 ft at 52S 160W. No strong high pressure was nearby to create a pressure gradient and really push the wind machine, resulting in the rather meager winds flow. Wednesday AM (5/23) Winds to continue over a now large area but down to 30-35 kts at 50S 150W with seas holding at 30 ft at the same place. A bit of a new fetch to start building in the evening more towards the lows core with wind at 40 kts at 62S 150W. 29 ft seas fading from the original fetch at 50S 150W. Thursday AM (5/24) 35 kt winds to hold at 58S 148W again aimed northeast with a broad fetch of 27-29 ft seas forecast at 58S 148W. 35-40 kt winds to slowly rotate northeast around the core of the low through Friday AM (5/25) with 29-30 ft seas following the fetch to 50S 130W.

This to now be a strong system, but it's to cover a large area and last a long time (96 hrs) while slowly lumbering from west to east.if this develops as forecast a good solid does of moderate period swell is expected to push north focused mainly on California with winds blowing no more than 20 degree east of the 190-203 degree paths and totally unshadowed from Tahiti while Hawaii to get more of a glancing blow wit winds 30-45 degree east of the 170-190 degree paths. Good potential for large summertime class utility class swell for California with period in the 15-16 secs range and fun sized 14-15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. the big plus for this system is it's rather northward position, helping to eliminate swell decay on the long trip north.

 

New Zealand Gale
A low pressure system started developing under Tasmania on Friday (5/11) with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts late at 55S 160E as pressure fell to 960 mbs aimed up the 221 degree path to CA but shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. Seas built to 29 ft at 57S 150E. By Saturday AM (5/12) it pushed east and clear of New Zealand with a small area of 50 kt winds confirmed at 55S 168E aimed well up the 215 degree path to NCal and 30 degrees east of the 200 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 56S 160E. The low faded to 968 mbs in the evening with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts at 52S 178E aimed at NCal up the 211 degree path and 30 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 40 ft at 55S 170E, but that seems a bit high. The low tracked east Sunday AM (5/13) while winds faded from 35 kts. 38 ft seas were modeled at 53S 178E in the morning, then fading from 32 ft late at 50S 172W generated primarily from previous days fetch. This system was effectively dead after that.

All the data suggests this was a small and normal strength summer low that provided 48 hours of decent fetch aimed unobstructed towards California and a bit east of the great circle paths to Hawaii but located closer to the Islands. The wave models seem to have estimated sea heights on the high side, mainly because the winds models appear to have estimated winds higher than what the QuikSCAT satellite indicated.

California to see some swell starting early Tuesday (5/22) with swell building slowly from 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces) peaking Wednesday (5/23) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft faces) from 215 degrees. Swell fading from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs Thursday.

 

Secondary New Zealand Fetch
On Tuesday AM (4/15) a decent fetch of 40-45 kts winds was aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii and California. That fetch continued Tuesday PM with 40-45 kt winds clearing New Zealand at 53S 170E aimed like before. Seas built to 30 ft under New Zealand at 50S 165E shadowed from Hawaii but aimed towards CA well. A small area of 40 kts winds continued Wed AM at 50S 173W aimed due east with 30 ft seas modeled way back at 50S 173E. No winds were left in the evening per the satellite yet the wave models projected 30 ft seas at 50S 180W. This made no sense. Thursday AM (5/17) no fetch was indicated per the QuikSCAT satellite again yet the wave models still indicated near 30 ft seas present southeast of New Zealand. Though there's some hint of swell pushing up into Hawaii mid to late next week we suspect nothing much will materialize. But just in case, here's the calculated swell numbers (expect something less).

Hawaii to see swell arriving Wednesday (5/23) at 2 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft faces) pushing 3 ft @ 15 secs Thursday (4.5 ft faces) fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) Friday (5/25).

California to see swell of 2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3 ft faces) Saturday (5/26) pushing 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) Sunday and fading late.

 


Third New Zealand System
On Saturday (5/19) a new low pressure system at 960 mbs was located southeast of New Zealand just starting to generate a fetch of 50-55 kts south to southwest winds at 57S 172W aimed right up the 205 degree path to California and just sneaking east of the Tahitian swell shadow and 20 degree east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. It had generated a tiny area of 30 ft seas at 60S 175E, of no real interest. The low continued tracking east generating 40-45 kt southwest winds Sat PM at 53S 163W aimed right up the 203 degree path to California and unshadowed but 40 degree off the 181 degree path to Hawaii. Seas of 32 ft were modeled at 57S 170W but very tiny in areal coverage. Winds continued confirmed at 40-45 kts Sun AM at 47S 148W aimed right up the 196 degree path to California with 30 ft seas over a bit broader area at 54S 159W lingering behind. The fetch was aimed outside of the Hawaii swell window. A bit of a resurgence occurred Sun PM but all aimed at Antarctica. Residual southwest winds of 40 kts were confirmed at 43S 140W aimed 20 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas held at 29 ft at 48S 149W. The fetch was gone Monday AM with supposedly 30 ft seas modeled at 43S 138W, but that is highly suspect, then fading out.

In all this one is interesting not because of it's strength, because it really was mostly in the gael force range, but because it was pretty far to the north and pushing right up the 195-205 degree great circle paths to California (unshadowed by Tahiti) with some virtual fetch developing, This is interesting for California and Baja. Possible utility class swell at 15-16 secs. A little energy to be pushing towards Hawaii, but not much.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival early Sunday (5/27) with swell peaking at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs late (3.5 ft faces). Energy fading from 2.3-2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) early Monday (5/28). Swell Direction:185-187 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (5/28) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 17 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to peak early Tuesday (5/29) with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 2.9 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) early. Swell Direction: 193-200 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (5/28) with swell building to 2 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5 ft faces). Swell to peak midday Tuesday (5/29) with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). A slow decline expected Wednesday (5/30) with swell fading from 3 ft @ 15-16 secs early(4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 190-198 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 hrs Typhoon Yutu to decay to nothing while tracking northeast towards and into the Gulf of Alaska. Otherwise new high pressure to start setting up off Oregon late Sunday (5/27) with a modest area of 25 kt north winds building over Cape Mendocino CA good for perhaps minor windswell down the Central CA coast. Theoretically a broad low to push over the dateline and start building late Monday (5/28) in the Southern Gulf of Alaska. winds forecast at 35-40 kts Tuesday into Wednesday (5/30) aimed well towards California with up to 25 ft seas modeled. That all seems highly optimistic and unlikely to happen. Will monitor. This low in rather close proximity to Hawaii to continue suppression of high pressure north of the Islands resulting in less than normal trades and reduced windswell generation potential along easterly shores.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a weaker pattern is forecast. Perhaps a thin small fetch of 45 kt southwest winds developing next Mon/Tues, aimed best at California, but certainly no large scale storms forecast. looks like a slack pattern setting up, so make the most of the swell either in the water pushing north or forecast in the immediate future.

Details to follow...

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MAVERICKSSURF MAVFILM MAVSURFER SURFPULSE Inside Mavericks Randy Cone Surfboards

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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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