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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 25, 2006 10:13 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 = 2.0 - California & 3.0 - 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 5/22 thru Sun 5/28
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   

South Pacific Storm Forms
North Pacific Goes into Hibernation

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (5/25) Northern CA surf was head high and ripped by onshore northwest winds. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and reasonably protected from the northwest wind. Central California surf was chest high and ripped apart by the wind. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist to chest high at the best spots, with most thigh high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high pushing near head high but windy. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was waist to chest high, tradewind generated windswell.

In California residual northwest windswell coming from the Gulf of Alaska and poor local conditions were in control. The Gulf swell to continue fading with only local windswell remaining, with a short period through the weekend. Not too promising. No real southern hemi swell is on the menu for the next 5 days either. Hawaii has a little pulse of northwest windswell hitting and fading bits of southern hemi swell still in the water. Fortunately a little more southern hemi swell is forecast though not remarkable. The South Pacific is starting to heat up, with a storm currently churning through the Southeast Pacific aimed at breaks in California and down into South America, with another solid one forecast under New Zealand next Wednesday focused reasonably well on Hawaii. So all hope is not lost, but nether is anything exceptional indicated. 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 (5/25) indicate no significant troughs or features that would support low pressure development. No change is forecast over the next 7 days with a big ridge of high pressure streaming north into and beyond the Bering Sea significantly hampering surface level low pressure development. Detailed monitoring for the North Pacific will be accomplished on an exception basis from here on out.

At the surface on Thursday (5/25) high pressure at 1024 mbs was locked down off the Central California coast generating a brisk northerly flow along most of the California coast. A cutoff low was northwest of Hawaii at 1004 mbs, but not generating any fetch of interest aimed towards the Islands. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast. Short period northerly windslop to dominate the California coast with weak to moderate trades blowing into the Hawaiian Islands. The low northwest of there is to slowly light northeast and weaken. No swell generation potential suggested.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/25) the models indicate strong high pressure has taken control of the area at 1027 mbs centered off Central California, generating north winds from San Francisco south to the Channel Islands and into Baja. The high is to hold with no real change forecast through the weekend and into early next week. Short period windslop and ragged northwest wind conditions expected at all exposed north facing breaks.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Thursday (5/25) a semi split jetstream pattern was in place the South Pacific with energy spread evenly between the two streams. Two points of interest were indicated though. A trough was in the far Southeast Pacific with 120 kt winds pushing fairly sharp to the northeast providing support for surface level low pressure development. Also in the west under New Zealand the northern branch of the jet was ridging hard to the south merging with the southern branch providing a little extra pocket of energy at the touch-point. This in an of itself is not doing anything too interesting, but it's to track east helping to continue the trough already set up there in the Southeast Pacific, possibly prolonging the favorable environment there and supporting surface level development. Beyond 72 hours a new trough is forecast to start developing under New Zealand next Wednesday (5/31) with 120 kt winds flowing through it, possibly helping to support low pressure development there.

At the surface on Thursday (5/25) a broad 1032 mb high pressure system remained centered just east of New Zealand aligned west to east. A series of three low pressure systems were tracking south and east of there with one in the far Southeast Pacific of note - Potential Storm #2S (details below). Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (5/28) the trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere is to continue supporting some fleeting surface fetch in the Southeast Pacific with things calm to the west. A big upper level low was starting to develop just south of Tahiti expected to hold through late Saturday, but any fetch it produces is to be aimed west towards New Zealand, providing nothing for our forecast area. So the focus is on the Southeast Pacific storm complex. There 2 more small fetches are to develop right behind Potential Storm #2S on Friday (5/26) at 50 kts, but only lasting 24 hours or less. Still seas at 38 ft are forecast at 58S 121W from the eastmost one and 35 ft at 61S 164W south of HAwaii. The first system to just provide some extension on the Swell #2S for California and the second to provide some background swell for HAwaii but not much more since most of the fetch is to be aimed grater than 45 degrees east of any great circle track to the Islands.

 

Weak Hawaiian Background Pulse
On Thursday (5/18) a small patch of 30-32 ft seas was modeled under New Zealand at 59S 170E heading due east generated by 24 hours of 45 kt west winds confirmed by the QuikSCAT satellite there, but that was gone by nightfall. Limited potential for background swell for Hawaii from 200 degrees starting late Thursday (5/25) with swell up to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs Friday (2.5-3.0 ft faces) holding into Saturday with swell 2 ft @ 15 secs.

 

Southeast Pacific - Possible Storm #2S
On Wednesday AM a low started developing due south of Tahiti (east of the Hawaiian swell window) with pressure 964 mbs and winds confirmed at 50 kts over a small area at 60S 150W aimed 25 degrees east of the 194 degree path into California. By evening pressure was down to 954 mbs with a moderate fetch of 50-55 kt southwest winds confirmed centered at 55S 135W aimed just 20 degrees east of the 186 degree path to California. Not too bad. Seas were building fast at 32 ft centered at 61S 145W. The Jason-1 satellite made passes around the periphery of the fetch late evening, but not directly through it. Those readings supported the numbers coming from the wave model though. On Thursday AM the storm fetch was lifting northeast with pressure 964 mbs and 720 nmiles of 50 kt winds centered at 48S 123W aimed 20 degrees east of the 182-185 degree paths to California. This was decent, though not exceptional. Seas were modeled at 40 ft over a tiny area at 58S 132W. By nightfall the low to continue lifting rapidly northeast with winds barely 50 kt over a tiny area though mostly 40-45 kts centered at 45S 115W and outside the NCal swell window with a little energy still aimed at SCal up the 178 degree paths. 37 ft seas forecast aimed towards CA on the very eastern edge of the swell window at 49S 1230W, dissipating fast by Friday AM.

Current data suggestsa small significant class swell has been generated and is pushing north and east towards California, Central America and northern South America. This was a rather short lived system with only 36-48 hours of effective fetch, but that fetch was traveling well to the northeast building momentum towards the aforementioned targets.

South California: Expect swell arrival early Thursday AM (6/1) with period 19 secs and swell small but building reasonably quickly through the day to 3.3 ft @ 18 sec by sunset (5.5-6.0 ft faces with best breaks to 7.5 ft). Swell to continue upwards from there, but we'll wait till final confirmed data comes in before posting more. Swell Direction: 183-188 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival Thursday AM (6/1) with period 19-20 secs and swell small but building through the day to 2 ft @ 19 sec by sunset (3.5-4.0 ft faces with best breaks to 5 ft). Swell to continue upwards from there, but we'll wait till final confirmed data comes in before posting more. Swell Direction: 182-187 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 high pressure between Hawaii and California is to slowly fade while maintaining it's position further south than usual, generating gradient north winds centered off Pt Conception but affecting areas from San Francisco southward through the Channel Islands into next Thursday. Elsewhere a near neutral pressure pattern indicated with no swell generation potential suggested.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a second interesting storm is modeled, this time forming under New Zealand. The models have been charting this one for some time now but it always fails to materialize, so this projection remains highly suspect. Just the same the jet is to finally turn to the north there providing some hope down at the surface. On Tuesday evening (5/29) a 972 mb low is to form well south of New Zealand over the Ross Ice Shelf producing 45- 50 kt winds edging slowly over exposed water north of there. By Wednesday 35 ft seas projected with winds dropping to 40-45 kts on Thursday and seas up to 37 ft free-and-clear pushing towards Hawaii and California. If this develops as forecast another small significant class swell could push northeast focusing on Hawaii with lesser energy decaying on the long trip to California. Will monitor.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

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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