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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: July 24, 2007 7:17 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 = 0.5 - California & 2.5 - 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 7/23 thru Sun 7/29
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   

More Small Southern Hemi Swell for Hawaii
Mostly Windswell for Central CA

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (7/24) Northern CA surf was head high and bumpy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with some bigger sets. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high and junky. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high on the sets. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with some chest high sets at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore continued in the waist to occasionally chest high range. The East Shore report was not available.

North/Central California had a little more northwest windswell with some minimal southern hemi swell underneath. Southern California was getting a mix of northwest windswell and small southern hemi background swell. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore. The South Shore continued to get small southern hemi background swell through the easterly windswell component that has been adding some height to the mix was missing today. The North Pacific is in hibernation for the summer other than high pressure which is helping to generate windswell along the California coast, with more expected in the days ahead. Unfortunately it is to remain outside the Hawaiian swell window for quite a while. The South Pacific has been generally suppressed with no solid swell producing systems occurring for the past week and none on the charts. Still it's not completely calm, with a gale that past well south of Tahiti a week back (7/15) generating 27 ft seas through Wednesday (7/18) mostly east of the Hawaiian swell window and a bit too weak and aimed too easterly to provide much for California. Small south swell for Hawaii mid-week. Another smaller one set up south of Hawaii Fri (7/20) generating 25 ft seas for 24 hours pushing well to the north, good for another round of small swell for late weekend. Yet one more stronger system formed Monday (7/23) generating 28 ft seas over a small area focused best on Hawaii but shadowed by Tahiti relative to the mainland. A little bit of 25 ft energy is expected to push towards California on Wednesday (7/25) then fade. In all Hawaii to continue with something rideable, while the mainland sees little of it. 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 (7/24) for the North Pacific indicated nothing of interest with only a weak flow tracking directly over the Aleutians. No winds greater than 90 kts indicated. Over the next 72 hours the faintest hint of a trough is to form in the Gulf of Alaska late Tuesday in to Wednesday (7/25) with 100-110 kts winds aimed towards the Pacific Northwest, possibly supportive of low pressure development at the oceans surface, but nothing more. And even that to fade on Thursday. Beyond 72 hours a weak flow is to continue moving over the Aleutians providing no support for surface level low pressure development.

At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned 900 nmiles north of Kauai ridging mostly east into Northern California generating 25 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino and producing a bit larger 8-9 sec period windswell along exposed breaks down into Central CA. The high was not producing any significant fetch off it's south side capable of generating east windswell for Hawaii. Very weak low pressure at 996 mbs was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska generating 25 kt east winds producing limited windswell pushing towards the Pacific Northwest. Over the next 72 hrs things to remain essentially unchanged other than the high pressure system backing off a little relative to California (reducing windswell potential some) while the Gulf low holds strength while drifting east (continuing minimal windswell potential for the Pacific Northwest). Maybe just a bit more easterly windswell generation potential expected for Hawaii by Friday (7/27) with the size of the easterly fetch building over the Islands, though limited to only 15-20 kts.

 

Tropics
Tropical Depression Cosme continue pushing east, now over the Johnson Atoll a bit east of the Dateline with maximum sustained winds 25 kts. Continued movement to the west and no strengthening is is forecast. No swell producing potential is forecast.

Tropical Storm Dalila was located 300 nmiles due south of Cabo San Lucas with sustained winds 40 kts generating 15 ft seas but aimed either due south or pushing into mainland Mexico, but not aimed well towards Southern California though physically in the swell window for Dana Point northward (1000 nmiles away). The storm was tracking northwest and expected to continue this general heading with just a slight increase in strength Wednesday into early Thursday to 50 kts while heading a little more to the west. Limited chances for faint 11 sec period swell pushing north towards the Dana Point area, but at 900 nmiles away, much decay will occur.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (7/24) high pressure at 1028 mbs just north of Hawaii was ridging east into North California, generating the usual 20-25 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino and producing moderate northerly windswell pushing into Central CA with less wrapping into exposed breaks in Southern CA. This situation to hold through Wednesday, then start fading with winds down to 20 kts Thursday through early Saturday (7/28) and a commensurate drop in windswell size expected. still, some of this wind is to be impacting nearshore locations north of Pt Conception, making for junky surf conditions. Theoretically late on Saturday the high is to start pushing east with winds building to 25-30 kts and then 30-35 kts Monday into Tuesday (7/31) with windswell responding accordingly. And on Tuesday this fetch area is to pull away from the coast south of Pt Reyes, making for more sizeable surf with cleaner conditions.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (7/24) for the South Pacific indicated a rather mixed bag of energy pushing east, with a weak ridge pushing into Antarctica and the Ross Ice Shelf below New Zealand while a weak trough was just east of that. but not winds of interest were associated with either, and all the real energy was in the northern branch of the jet flowing generally flat west to east. No clear support for surface level gale development indicated. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (7/27) a flat zonal flow is to persist in the northern branch with a cutoff low becoming more defined in the southern reaches of the South Pacific, with no real wind speeds of notice occurring. Again, not really support for surface level gale development indicated. Beyond 72 hours the cutoff low is to become absorbed in the northern branch of the jet near Monday (7/30) setting up a moderate trough in the Southeastern Pacific with winds building to near 150 kts pushing north up it's western flank, possibly setting up decent upper level support for surface level low pressure development Tuesday (7/31) with winds aimed towards California (but well east of the Hawaiian swell window). But two big ridges to be pushing south under New Zealand and just off Chile, making the trough the only area of interest.

At the surface today low pressure at 984 mbs was south of Tahiti generating 35 kt winds aimed northeast from 42S 156W aimed reasonably well up the 205 degree great circle path to California. Limited fetch was also aimed north towards Hawaii up the 180 degree path. 23 ft seas were modeled pushing north to both locales. This was past of a evolving system documented below (see Gale #2). Over the next 72 hours a quieter pattern to take hold. By Friday (7/27) a 980 mbs low is forecast to develop southeast of New Zealand generating 30-35 kts west winds near 50S 172W aimed generally east of either the California and Hawaiian swell windows.

Gale #1
A fetch developed late Thursday (7/19) into Friday associated with a 984 mb low well south of Tahiti. 30-35 kts south winds were confirmed at roughly 50S 160W into early Saturday (7/21) generating 23-25 ft seas at 45S 155W targeting Hawaii quite well through mid-Saturday (7/21). Swell expected in Hawaii starting Sunday (7/29) at 2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) and on the increase reaching near 3 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft faces) Monday. Swell Direction: 180-185 degrees. Swell Direction: 180-185 degrees. Minimal swell expected for California starting Monday (7/30) at 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) from 205 degrees.

Gale #2
On Monday (7/23) a complex area of low pressure (really 2 separate lows in close proximity to each other) set up east of New Zealand generating an elongated fetch of southwesterly winds with the core reaching 45 kts near 43S 163W. A tiny area of 30 ft seas was confirmed by the Jason-1 satellite at 39S 162W aimed 20 degrees east of the 181 degree path to Hawaii well up the 206 degree path to California but totally shadowed by Tahiti. The fetch continued into the evening drifting generally east with peak winds near the 35-40 kt range. 27 ft seas over a tiny area at 40S 160W. Tuesday morning winds were down to 35 kts at 42S 156W aimed reasonably well up the 205 degree path to California and unshadowed and almost out of the Hawaiian swell window. 23 ft seas were aimed towards Hawaii and fading at 40S 160W with 27 ft seas at 39S 150W aimed about 25 degrees east of the 201 degree path to California. 35 kts winds to hold in this area (40S 153W) in the evening with 25 ft seas forecast at 37S 150W pushing towards California up the 203 degree path and partially shadowed by Tahiti. By Wednesday AM (7/25) the last fading remnants of this fetch to be centered at 37S 150W with winds 30 kts aimed and shadowed like before relative to California. 25 ft seas are forecast at 35S 150W aimed northeast, but again partially shadowed. By evening this system is to be gone with 24 ft seas fading at 35S 145W. For the most part this swell was aimed best at Hawaii and in closer proximity, providing them the best shot for surf. California was shadowed by Tahiti from the bulk of this and will like see only minimally rideable surf (details to be provided in the QuikCAST's). Swell expected in Hawaii starting Tuesday (7/31) at 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces). Swell Direction: 190 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 the models indicate high pressure to continue in the 1024 mb range while pushing from a position north of Hawaii towards California. The result is to be 20-25 kt north winds over a small area off Cape Mendocino Sat/Sun and a building northwest windswell into Central California, then increasing to the 30 kt range area Mon/Tues with windswell increasing yet more. Hawaii to see trades in the 15-20 kt range with a limited footprint through the weekend producing minimal short period windswell along easterly shores, then fading early next week as the bulk of the high moves to a point just off the Northern CA coast.

MJO Moving to the Inactive Phase: The last fading remnants of the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) appears to have run it's course with westerly wind anomalies (850 mb) now limited to the area just east of Central America. This is likely supporting the development of TS Dalila. Otherwise the inactive phase has taken strong hold of the Western Pacific and is spilling well east of the dateline now. The daily SOI is moving into the positive range after being negative for almost a month. It is currently +8.4 with the 30 day average currently -12 and the 90 day average at -1.43. Any gains made by the previous weeks active phase of the MJO will likely be eliminated through in the coming weeks as the 'inactive phase' builds over the greater Pacific. Current models suggests this pulse to work it's way across the equatorial Pacific through at least mid-August, likely suppressing surface level storm development.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models indicate that low pressure developing southeast of New Zealand is to track due east and intensify some in fits and starts through the coming weekend with winds in the 40-45 kt range. Seas to toggle between 27-30 ft on it's trek east, but mostly aimed all towards Chile having no sideband potential for Hawaii and only a marginal amount more for California. No other swell producing system forecast.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Jackson Browne, Ben Harper and special guests are performing at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on July 29th. Their soulful performances on this date will benefit Boarding House Mentors, an organization that brings the stoke of surfing to inner city youth. More here: www.boardinghousementors.org

New CDIP Buoys Online: We've updated our buoy system to pick up new CDIP buoys put in service recently. One is the Monterey Canyon (inside Monterey Bay). Check it out here: Buoy 156. Also there are more new CDIP buoys activated in NCal, SCal, Pacific Northwest, and Florida.

Jason-1 Satellite Data On-line and Improved!: Our Jason-1 satellite data was upgraded yet again Wednesday PM (6/6) and is now operating better than ever. We've added a feature that averages the data every 15 measurements on the local views and every 50 measurements on the global view (1 measurement every 3 nautical miles) and overlays the results onto the wave model chart. Both the single highest measurement on the chart and the highest 15 measurement average are posted at the bottom of each chart. This seems to work real well and compensates for the very spiky nature of the raw data coming off the satellite. So we now have an effective way to verify the accuracy (or lack of) the wave model output. See the data here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html

Comprehensive guides to surfing Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Baja and Mainland Mexico: They ain't pretty. They ain't glossy. They ain't coffee table picture books. These are guides for surfers who want real, useful information. Since 1996 The Surfer's Guides have always provided more info, more detail, more tips, and have been updated more often than any other surf travel guides. Take a look here: http://www.surfingtravel.com/

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

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

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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