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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: June 18, 2006 5:04 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 = 5.0 - California & 3.5 - 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 6/19 thru Sun 6/25
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 #3S Pushing to SCal
South Pacific Takes a Pause

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (6/18) Northern CA surf was head high with bigger sets and clean but unorganized. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with up to rare chest high sets. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high with up to chest high sets. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high at the better breaks on the sets, maybe even a little more. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest to head high with best breaks 1 ft overhead. The East Shore was waist high.

Southern hemi swell continued decent in Hawaii today with more coming through the workweek but of lesser size than has been hitting the past week. In California small southern hemi swell was providing something rideable with locally produced north windswell adding more size to the mix north of Pt Conception. The big story remains focused on Southern CA, with a large southern hemi swell pushing north expected to produce a solid 4 day run of surf next week. Much of this energy to be too far east to have full impact in the North and Central parts of the state though. After that a defined slowdown in the South Pacific forecast with no swell producing storms indicated. Get what you can now. 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 (6/18) indicated a weak zonal flow pushing through the Gulf of Alaska into Oregon with winds only 80 kts. Weak upper low pressure to develop there Monday with winds up 130 kts for a few hours, then returning to a placid state with no support for surface level development expected through next weekend. Even weaker conditions forecast further west. Detailed monitoring for the North Pacific is now on an exception basis through the summer.

At the surface on Sunday (6/18) a broad and moderately strong 1032 mb high pressure system stretched from the Kamchatka Peninsula southeast to a point off North California. This was generating brisk north winds along the California coast centered off Cape Mendocino at 25-30 kts and generating moderate windswell along the North and Central CA coasts. This same high pressure system was providing decent trades blowing over the Hawaiian Islands at 15-20 kts. Over the next 72 hours the high is to become a bit more centralized north of HAwaii ridging into California and continuing the pressure gradient over the Cape Mendocino area, if not intensifying it some with north winds scheduled up to 35 kts Wednesday (6/21) generating yet more short period windswell for California. Trades to continue over Hawaii too in the 20 kts range making for small to moderate short period easterly windswell there as well. Otherwise no swell producing systems forecast.

Low pressure forecast Fri/Sat (6/17) in the Gulf of Alaska did not develop as strong as expected, resulting in only 17 ft seas there during the day Friday. Small bits of 10 sec period swell from that low arrived Sunday along the California coast, but was generally lost under similar sized locally generated windswell from off Cape Mendocino.

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (6/18) high pressure at 1032 mbs was edging towards the state from a point northeast of Hawaii. It was interacting with lower pressure inland generating northwest winds along the coast at 25-30 kts and this pattern is to continue if not amplify over the coming days. North winds off Cape Mendocino forecast at 30 kts Monday pushing up to 35 kts late Tuesday into early Wednesday, falling back to 30 kts Thurs/Fri only to return to the 35 kts range for the weekend. 15 ft seas modeled pushing to 17 ft during the 35 kt wind periods. Decent size windswell expected to continue in North and Central CA for the next 7 days hugging fairly close to the coast. Local winds light early each morning but coming up late morning each day.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Sunday (6/18) a fully split jetstream flow was in-place over the entire South Pacific with the southern branch being very weak and traversing the edge of the Antarctic Continent. The Northern branch was dominate with winds 130-140 kts with slightly stronger pockets and generally flowing zonally (flat) from off Australia into Southern Chile. No significant troughs or areas of interest were in place capable of supporting surface level storm or gale development. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast other than a small weak and steep trough setting up under New Zealand Mon-Wed (6/21) providing minimal to no support for surface level development. Beyond 72 hours the pattern on gets more entrenched with the northern branch howling flat west to east at 150-170 kts with the southern branch withered to 80-100 kts and flowing flat east to west near 65S, just over the building iceshelf north of Antarctica. Zero support for surface level low pressure development there.

At the surface on Sunday (6/18) no swell producing low pressure systems were evident with high pressure at 1020 mbs sitting right smack in the middle of the Central Pacific ridging south to the Ross Ice Shelf. Over the next 72 hours that high to drift east with weak low pressure trying to set up east of New Zealand, but not forecast to do much. Maybe 24 hours of 45 kt winds aimed towards Hawaii on Tuesday (6/20), but that looks optimistic. Nothing else suggested.

 

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

 

Slightly Stronger New Zealander
A 968 mb low to formed late Thursday (6/8) under New Zealand with a broad but fragmented fetch of 40 kt winds confirmed at at 54S 168E right on the edge of the swell window for Hawaii (201 degrees) and aimed a bit too east, but aimed well at California up the 216 degree path.

By Friday AM pressure was 964 mbs with a solid area of 45 kts winds centered at 53S 175W aimed 70 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii and 45 degrees east of the 210 degree path to California, shadowed by Tahiti. Seas built to 29 ft at 53S 174E. The gale held into the evening with pressure 956 mbs and a small fetch of 40-45 kts at 52S 165W aimed 70 degree east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii and 35 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California, emerging from under the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas to 32 ft at 51S 171W. The Jason-1 satellite passed right over the fetch and confirmed 31 ft seas in it's core, actually a bit less than what was modeled. Looking at the QuikSCAT wind data, this appears accurate, indicating the wave models are on the high side.

35-40 kt southwesterly fetch continued Saturday AM at 50S 157W with sideband energy likely pushing to Hawaii up the 179 degree path but most focusing 30 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California, unshadowed. Seas 32 ft at 50S 160W emerging from the Tahitian swell shadow for California with sideband energy pushing to Hawaii up the 180 degree path. The gale to be gone by Saturday night with residual 30 ft seas modeled at 49S 150W, unshadowed at 197 degrees.

This gale, not even a storm, was much less intense than modeled day before, Instead of 40 ft seas we ended up with 32 ft seas, and that mostly shadowed from California by Tahiti. Hawaii was by far best positioned to receive swell from this system, though much of that energy to be indirect since winds were aimed well east of the Islands. At this time solid utility class energy looks possible for the Islands, with the mainland getting something far less.

South California: Expect swell arrival Sunday AM (6/18) pushing up to 3.3 ft @ 17 secs late (5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Swell to continue Monday with swell 3.3-3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces) but becoming lost is stronger Swell #3S. Swell Direction: 200-210 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival Sunday PM (6/18) pushing up to 1.6 ft @ 18 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft faces best breaks). Swell to continue Monday with swell 3.0 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). On Tuesday swell fading from 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) and becoming lost under Swell #3S. Swell Direction: 200-205 degrees

 

Storm #3S (South California)
Storm History
On Monday AM (6/12) a new storm developed in the Southeast Pacific outside the Hawaiian swell window but in the California swell window. Pressure was 960 mbs with a small fetch of 55 kts winds aimed mostly east at 52S 135W pushing 45 degree east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas built to 30 ft at 55S 142W. The low started tracking northeast in the evening with a solid 60 kt fetch confirmed at 51S 124W aimed 30 degrees east of the 182 degree path to NCal/185 SCal. Seas modeled to 37 ft at 52S 123W.

Tuesday AM (6/13) the storm bloomed a bit with pressure 960 mbs and 50-55 kts winds at 48S 120W covering 840 nmiles aimed 15 degree east of the 179-182 degree path to California, heavily favoring the south end of the state. 44 ft seas were modeled at 49S 119W. A broad area of 50-55 kt fetch held into the evening at 42S 114W aimed 20 degree east of the 178 degree path to SCal with nothing reaching into NCal. 48 ft seas modeled at 45S 113W.

By Wednesday AM fetch was fading fast though still covering a broad area with 35-40 kt winds terminating at 38S 112W and 42 ft seas at 40S 110W. The fetch covered 1080 nmiles aimed just east of due north. The fetch was all but gone by nightfall though pockets of south winds were still confirmed at 35-40 kts in the same region, but over a much smaller area. No real sea production was occurring though, with the bulk of the heights produced from previous days fetch.

The Jason-1 satellite made no clean passes over the fetch area during the storms lifecycle.

Swell Generation Potential
This storm was reasonably impressive from a pure meteorological perspective. Solid 50-55 kt winds blew over a 800 nmile or greater fetch area aimed well to the north for 24-36 hours with another 24 hours of 40 kt fetch behind. Seas reached a solid 48 ft (unconfirmed) and positioned reasonably close to California (4428-5134 nmiles from SCal). Historically this is a strong storm, but not over the top. The issue is it's position in the ocean relative to California. For the most part it didn't start producing decent seas until it was out of the NCal swell window. This shifts the focus to Southern California and Central America. If the storm had been 400 nmiles to the west, even larger swell would have blanketed all of California. Regardless, large seas have been produced and are tracking on a fairly northerly course, setting their sights from South CA southward into Central America (Costa Rica) and down into Peru. Significant class swell is expected to reach into Southern CA with lesser energy wrapping into only the most exposed Northern CA breaks. No energy was aimed towards Hawaii.

Detail Surf Forecasts
South CA: Expect the first small signs of this swell to theoretically start showing Sunday mid-morning (6/18) with period at 24 secs though likely noticeable only at the CDIP buoys. This part of the swell to be masked by swell hitting from New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealander below) at the same time. Size to be tiny and inconsistent/hardly noticeable through possibly rideable by sunset (1 ft @ 22 secs - 2 ft faces). Swell coming up Monday AM with swell 2.3 ft @ 20-21 secs at 8 AM (4-5 ft faces) and heading up, peaking late afternoon at 4.2 ft @ 18-19 secs though still a bit inconsistent (7.5-8.0 ft faces with best breaks to 9-10 ft on the biggest sets). Peak size to continue Tuesday AM with swell still 4.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (8 ft faces with sets to 10 ft) with improved consistency, holding reasonably solid through the day. A downward trend to begin Wednesday, but still far from small with swell 4.9 ft @ 16 secs (7.5-8.0 ft faces with sets to 9.5 ft best breaks), fading towards 15 secs late afternoon. Thursday to see 14-15 sec residuals with swell 4.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces with set to 7 ft) and fading from there. Swell Direction: 177-185 degrees

North CA: Forecast for this region is highly problematic mainly because most of the energy will be either outside the swell window or whatever does reach the coast will be shadowed by local landmass to the south. Best estimates for most exposed breaks suggest swell arrival Monday afternoon (6/19) with swell up to 2 ft @ 21 secs late (4 ft faces). This part of the swell to be masked by swell hitting from New Zealand (see Stronger New Zealander below) at the same time. On Tuesday swell to continue upward from 3.6 ft @ 19-20 secs (6-7 ft faces) pushing 4 ft @ 19 secs late (7.0-7.5 ft faces). Wednesday swell to be 3.6 ft @ 17 secs through the day (6 ft faces) and holding. Thursday to have swell of 3.5-4.0 ft @ 15 secs (5-6 ft faces). 14 sec residuals left Friday. Swell Direction: 173-182 degrees

 

Tasman Sea Storm (Fiji-Hawaii)
On Wednesday (6/14) a small but strong 984 mb storm developed south of Tasmania with 50-55 kt south winds pushing up into the Tasman Sea through the day. 36 ft seas were modeled over a tiny area in the evening at 48S 148E targeting Hawaii up the 214 degree path through the Tasman Sea (and unshadowed by Fiji).

This storm was tracking east Thursday AM with winds 45 kts aimed north and 37 ft seas at 45S 155E aimed towards Hawaii up the 212 degree path. In the evening the storm core passed over the southern tip of New Zealand with residual 30-35 kt fetch and 32 ft seas pushing up through the Tasman Sea from 44S 161E then dissipated on Friday.

Large swell was expected to hit Fiji Sunday (6/18) GMT with swell 10 ft @ 15 secs with much less energy passing there heading towards Hawaii, well filtered by Fiji and surrounding Islands.

Expect swell to arrive in Hawaii late Wednesday (6/21 with swell 1.3 ft @ 17 secs (2 ft faces) building to 2.3 ft @ 16 secs Thursday (3.0-3.5 ft faces) then peaking early Friday with swell 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces). One more day of rideable surf Saturday then it's to fade. Swell Direction: 210-214 degrees.

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure to continue off California with a secondary high setting up over the dateline. The first system to continue producing north winds along the California coast at 30 kts pushing up to 35 kts by next weekend with steady local moderate sized windswell continuing. Trades and the commensurate easterly windswell to continue over Hawaii till Friday, then faltering as the first high moves too close to California and the dateline high stays stuck there, not moving east enough to reinvigorate the trades over the Islands.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours not much is forecast. The only hope is the same low forecast on Tuesday is to regenerate Friday (6/23) southeast of Hawaii producing another 24 hours fetch of 40-45 kts winds tracking northeast, with 28-30 ft seas modeled at 39S 145W tracking to 32S 130W and targeting California and Central America. Confidence very low of this actually developing through. No other swell producing fetch indicated.

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

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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