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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, August 31, 2017 4:02 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
2.5 - California & 2.0 - 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 8/28 thru Sun 9/3

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 Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

1 Small S. Hemi Swell Queued for HI and CA
2 Gales for the NPac - Fall Possibly Starting

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Thursday, August 31, 2017 :

  • Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site and no date if or when it will return to service. Buoy 233/51211 (Pearl Harbor) is available but has a new frequency layout. We'll have to code a new program to read it's output (date TBD).
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 13.7 secs with southern hemi swell 1.9 ft @ 13.7 secs from 174 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 67.8 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.1 ft @ 8.5 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.4 secs from 205 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.7 secs from 206 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.3 ft @ 12.8 secs from 176 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.5 ft @ 8.3 secs with local north windswell 4.9 ft @ 7.6 secs from 314 degrees and south swell 1.6 ft @ 14.0 secs from 173 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 14-16 kts. Water temp 57.6 degs.
    Notes

    46006, 46059, Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (8/31) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at chest to shoulder high on the sets and reasonably clean with no real lump but soft. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean abut a bit foggy. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh high on rare sets and clean but weak and slow and not really rideable. In Southern California up north waves were knee to maybe thigh high on the sets and clean and weak. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was still hitting producing waves at chest to shoulder high but slow and weak but clean. In South Orange Co sets at top spots waves were head high or a little more on the sets and clean but slow. When it comes it looks fun. In San Diego surf was waist to maybe chest high and clean but foggy early. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was waist high on the sets with some bigger peaks and clean but slow and weak. The East Shore was knee to thigh high and chopped from modest east trades.

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (8/31) minimal locally generated north windswell was in-play along the coast of North and Central California with north winds 20-25 kts along the North Coast and 15-20 kts over the Central Coast. Windswell is to continue up some on Fri (9/1) then starting to fade fast on Sat (9/2) with no return for the foreseeable future. For Hawaii, no windswell was present and a none is forecast. But a gale is forecast for the Northwestern Gulf on Sun-Mon (9/4) producing 23 ft seas aimed southeast. Small swell is possible. And a tropical system in the far West Pacific is tracking north expected to generate 50 ft seas aimed northeast Sun (9/3) then turning east just south of the Aleutians with seas fading from 36 ft, fading on the North Dateline region. Looking south a small pulse of southern hemi background southeast swell was fading out in Southern CA and exposed breaks in NCal from a gale previously off Southern Chile. And another small gale developed south of Tahiti on Fri-Sat (8/26) producing 28 ft seas aimed north resulting in a second small pulse of southern hemi swell that is to arrive over the weekend. Beyond a series of gales are forecast for the far Southeast Pacific Sat (9/2), Mon (9/4) and Wed (9/6) with seas 30 ft barely in the CA swell window but all aimed east. Low odds of anything resulting for the United States. The good news is it looks like the North Pacific is coming online, or at least trying.

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
Since we are now nearing the start of Fall from a swell production perspective, we will start performing regular analysis of the jetstream for the North Pacific.
On Thursday AM (8/31) the jetstream was running east up on the 50N latitude line with winds 140 kts falling into a developing trough over the Western Gulf of Alaska then ridging northeast before pushing into Northern British Columbia. There was some support for gale development in this trough. Over the next 72 hours
the trough is to deepen some but also start pinch off into Sat AM (9/2) no longer supporting gale development. But at the same time additional wind energy is to be building over the dateline at 180 kts falling into he trough on Sun (9/3) supporting gale development and getting better defined while deepening into Mon (9/4). Winds 140+ kts feeding the trough then offering decent early season support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to pinch off on Tues (9/5). By Thurs (9/7) a weak trough is to redevelop in the Gulf being fed by 120 kts winds not offering much of interest. Over the Northwest Pacific a split and weak jetstream pattern is forecast offering no support for gale development only consolidating just east of the dateline.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (8/29) a modest local north fetch at 20 kts was over North and Central California but not pushing into nearshore waters early producing minimal north local windswell for North and Central CA. For Hawaii trade winds were blowing at 15 kts over a decent sized fetch but all positioned south of the Islands resulting in no windswell of interest along exposed east shores.

Over the next 72 hours for California the pressure gradient is to building to 25-30 kts on Fri (9/1) but limited to North CA with an eddy flow over all of Central CA. This is to be the peak of windswell production. The gradient is to quickly fade on Sat (9/2) from 20 kts over South Oregon waters with windswell production fading fast.

For Hawaii, easterly trades at 15 kts are to vaporize on Friday 99/10 with no return in sight.

Possible Gulf Gale
Of far more interest is a low pressure system forecast building in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Sat (9/2) with northwest winds building to 30-35 kts in the evening and seas building. On Sun AM (9/3) northwest winds to be 35 kts solid with 23 ft seas at 48N 161W targeting mainly the US West Coast with sideband energy towards Hawaii. In the evening fetch is to fade from 30+ kts and seas 21 ft at 47N 158W targeting mainly the US West Coast. Mon AM (9/4) north fetch is to be fading from 30 kts with a small area of 20 ft seas lingering at 48N 165W. This system is to dissipate after that. Something to monitor.

Also a tropical system is to be tracking north off Japan (see Tropical Update below).

 

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

 

Tropical Update
Typhoon Sanvu was 450 nmiles south-southeast of Tokyo with winds 75 kts tracking north at 7 kts producing seas at 28 ft. This system is to continue tracking north- to northeast on Fri AM (9/1) peaking with winds 90 kts and seas increasing to 40 ft at 27.5N 143E. Beyond this system is to continue tracking north and building in coverage while weakening with winds 60 kts on Sun AM (9/3) with seas 53 ft at 42N 151E (304 degs NCal). There is some disagreement on this system track with the official forecast putting the core over the Central Kuril Islands while the GFS has it more to the east. The more easterly track is preferred and will result in larger seas, supposedly pushing 55 ft in the evening at 45.5N 154E (305 degs NCal). Sanvu is to turn extratropical Mon PM (9/4) with winds from the west at 45 kts and seas 36 ft at 49N 160E aimed east (barely unshadowed by the Aleutians on the 308 degree track to NCal) then turning fully east on Tues AM (9/5) with west winds 40 kts and seas 32 ft at 50N 167E (barely clear on the 308 degree track to NCal). A quick fade to follow. Something to monitor.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (8/31) a pressure gradient was in control of California nearshore coastal waters generating 20-25 kt north winds over North CA and 20 kt north winds off Central CA. The fetch is to build Fri (9/1) with north winds 25+ kts over North CA fading late with an eddy flow (south winds) to be in control of Central CA up to Pt Arena. Sat (9/2) winds to be light over all of California waters with light south winds from Pt Arena southward. Sunday light winds generally 10 kts or less are forecast over all coastal waters. A light wind pattern is forecast again Mon-Thurs (9/7).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (8/31) small swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was hitting California (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also small swell from a gale previously south of Tahiti was pushing north (see Small Central Pacific Gale below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was in play over the width of the South Pacific.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

A gale is forecast in the far deep Southeast Pacific Fri PM (9/1) with 40-45 kt west winds producing 29 ft seas at 62S 127W in the CA swell window but not really radiating north much. By Sat AM (9/2) that fetch is to be all well east of the CA swell window with seas 36 ft at 61.5S 109W and well east of the CA swell window. No meaningful swell to result for California. Most energy is to be aimed at Chile.

Another similar system is to develop in the same location Sun PM 99/3) with 40-45 kt southwest winds generating 30 ft seas at 60S 121W. It is to be well east of there 12 hours later. Again, low odds of any meaningful swell resulting for California.

 

Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sat PM (8/20) a small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Sat PM into Sun AM (8/20) producing 33 ft seas at 57S 97W in association with a gale low there supported by an upper level trough. But most of this energy was targeting Mexico down into Peru and Chile.

Southern CA: Residuals on Thurs (8/31) fading from 2.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 173 degrees

North CA: Residuals on Thurs (8/31) fading from 2.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 170 degrees

 

Small Central Pacific Gale
A small cutoff gale developed south of Tahiti Thurs PM (8/24) with 35-40 kt south winds and seas building from 24 ft over a small area at 48S 160W aimed due north. On Fri AM (8/25) fetch built in coverage at 35 kts from the south and with 2 pockets to 40 kts with seas to 28 ft up at 40S 158W aimed due north. In the evening the original fetch was fading from 30-35 kts but a new fetch built south of it at 40 kts aimed north with a new area of 28 ft seas at 47S 153W and seas from the original fetch fading from 25 ft at 36S 155W. Fetch faded from 40 kts Sat AM (8/26) aimed north with seas 27-28 ft at 43S 152W. Fetch faded in the evening from 35 kts with seas fading from 28 ft at 39S 151W aimed north. A Decent swell is pushing north towards Tahiti with smaller energy for Hawaii with less energy from the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (9/1) building to 2.0 ft @ 16 secs (3.0 ft) later. Swell to peak on Sat (9/2) at 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (9/3) from 2.2 ft @ 13 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 180 degrees

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/2) pushing 1.8 ft @ 16 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell holding Sun (9/3) at 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on late Sat (9/2) pushing 1.3 ft @ 17 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell peaking Sun (9/3) at 1.9 ft @ 16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 206 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 remnants of Extratropical Storm Sanvu are to track over the dateline into the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska Wed PM (9/6) with seas fading from 21 ft at 49N 170W and fading from there. Small swell is possible.

No windswell production is expected for CA or HI.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

More details to follow...

 

La Nina Unchanged

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration and is holding.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wed (8/30) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific and modest easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/31) Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. They are to fade starting 9/1 with neutral wind anomalies taking root and holding through the end of the model run on 9/7. Perhaps the Inactive Phase of the MJO is going to take a break, defueling La Nina for a little bit.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 8/30 a neutral MJO pattern was in control of the KWGA. The statistical model depicts a neutral pattern to continue for the next 2 weeks turning weakly Active/Wet on day 15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with a weak Inactive/Dry Phase setting up in the west on day 15. So the two models are in conflict long term.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/31) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak over the East Indian Ocean tracking east and forecast to reach the West Pacific 2 weeks out and very weak. The GEFS model depicts the same thing if not weaker.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/31) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase was over the far East Pacific and modest in strength. It is to track rapidly east while slowly fading pushing over Central America through 9/10. At the same time a weak Active/Wet MJO pattern is over the far West Pacific and is to push east while fading and gone over Central America on 9/30. A weak Inactive/Dry Phase is to push over the far West Pacific 10/5 tracking east through the end of the model run 10/10. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (8/31) This model depicts an almost indiscernible version of the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with modest east wind anomalies over the West Pacific. Those are forecast to fade in the next few days with weak west anomalies taking root 9/4 and holding with a neutral MJO pattern in play though 10/8. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 10/10 with modest west anomalies in control through 10/28. Then the Inactive Phase starts redeveloping the West Pacific 11/1 and neutral anomalies turning easterly by 11/5 holding through the end of the model run (11/28). The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal redeveloped 7/25 from the dateline eastward then built a little on 8/15 but still minimal and is to hold weak till 10/6, then building in coverage but drifting east. There's some sense the pattern is to start shifting east early November entirely east of the dateline. Best guess is a very weak directionless and low energy weather pattern biased towards La Nina redeveloping in Fall of 2017. It will take 5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.

CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/31) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating west and cooler water building in the east. In the far West Pacific water temps were depicted at 30 degs centered at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has stabilized at 167W. The 24 deg isotherm has retrograded to 123W and is holding at 75 meters deep at 140W (previously 100 meters). Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and turning neutral to weak negative +0.0 to -1.0 degs indicative of La Nina while +1.0 degree anomalies build in coverage in the West Pacific at 125 meters deep. The dividing line between cool and warm is at 155W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/26 depicts the same thing, but with more cool water east and less warm water in the west. It looks like the cool water pocket is poised to erupt to the surface in the equatorial East Pacific in few weeks while east winds are pushing all warm surface waters of the equatorial Pacific to the West Pacific. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/26) Negative anomalies are building coverage at -5 cms from 165W to Ecuador with 2 small pockets of -10 cm anomalies embedded suggesting a building cool pool at depth.

Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (8/30) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed with modest upwelling nearshore along Peru and Ecuador tracking northwest over the Galapagos and then flowing steadily west from there on the equator and well defined out to 160W. There is no breaks in the cool stream over this entire area. This looks very much like a classic La Nina signature. Cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is building.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/30): A weak warming trend is building from Peru to Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 100W. Cooling continues in pockets between 110W-145W with interspersed warmer pockets. La Nina is stalling for the moment.
Hi-res Overview:
(8/30) A clear La Nina cool stream is present on the equator from Peru up to Ecuador then west to 180W. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. If anything the stream of cooler water associated with nearshore upwelling just off Peru northwest to the Galapagos is building in the past few days. Otherwise waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal other than the aforementioned stream. We now assert that climatology needs to be updated to reflect the new reality of warming ocean temperatures over the entire planet.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/31) Today's temps were steady at -0.850, down from a warm peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18 and +1.0 degs on 5/2 and +0.6 degs on 6/20. 
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (8/31) temps were steady at -0.165, down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/31) The forecast has temps falling steadily from +0.0 in early Aug to -0.5 in early Oct and down from there to -1.2 in late Dec. Then the trend is to turn upwards rebounding to 0.0 in April 2018. This is a upgrade in the strength of La Nina and suggests a legit La Nina now forecast for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (8/28) continues to suggest a weak La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Sept and building steadily into Dec/Jan 2018. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Aug Plume updated (8/20) depicts temps forecast to fade 0.0 degs in Aug, and are to hold there solid through Feb 2018 suggesting a neutral pattern in control. See chart here - link.  The NMME consensus depicts the same thing with temps -0.01 degrees below normal through Jan. last month both models depicted temps at +0.3 degs above normal through the Winter. So this is a significant downgrade.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (8/31): The daily index was negative at -11.84, a change from a near continuous string of positive readings. The 30 day average was falling some at 3.42. The 90 day average was stable at +0.45 or just north of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (8/31) Today's value was falling again at -1.27 (up from -2.20 on 6/28) but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina. A supposed peak of this La Nina was reached on 11/2/16 at -1.94 (last year) . So the index is about as negative as it was at the peak of last years (2016) La Nina. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip 2 year La Nina (not unusual). This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July=-0.41. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool

****

External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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