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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 4, 2007 6:48 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 = 3.2 - 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 9/3 thru Sun 9/9
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   

Southern Hemi Swell Fading
Two Storm Forecast Under New Zealand

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (9/4) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and maybe some bigger peaks and not too windy yet. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high to chest high with a few bigger sets. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to near chest high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high with best breaks chest high plus. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with chest to near head high inconsistent sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high, with sets 1 ft more. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was thigh high.

North/Central California was still receiving a nice bit of inconsistent but fun sized southern hemi swell. Southern California was getting a nice pulse of southern hemi swell, the last of the bunch. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore. The South Shore was all but over the run of southern hemi swell too. Easterly windswell was gone on the East Shore too. Southern hemi swell still has another day of life left in it for California. And some small westerly swell is moving towards the coast, expected to mix with the southern swell on Wednesday. Looking out to the future Hawaii is to remain pretty much in a calm spot for now, with nothing really forecast on the South Shore immediately, and the North Shore still asleep and the East Shore remaining in a lull. But looking at the models for the South Pacific, a series of two systems are to develop under New Zealand, with the first starting up on Wednesday and the second following late Friday. Both to have seas in the 40 ft range. But even if that does happen, it's still a week after that till whatever swell is generated reaches the Islands, and 2 more days till California. Nothing obvious is suggested for the North Pacific, though low pressure is now in-play there and from time to time the models show these systems getting interesting. But then with the next run of the model it dies back down, so for now we're remaining pessimistic and assuming no seas over the 20 ft mark for any length of time. 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 (9/4) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate flow pushing up the Kuril Islands, rising over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians, then tracking east through the Northern Gulf of Alaska into Northern Canada. Over all wind speeds were up a bit with 2 small pockets at near 140 kts. But no troughs of interest capable of supporting surface level low pressure were indicated. Over the next 72 hours a trough is to slowly start building over the dateline starting Friday (9/7) wit winds there building to 140 kts. Decent potential for low pressure to develop at the oceans surface favoring the Hawaiian swell window. Beyond 72 hours a big ridge is to take control of the Gulf of Alaska, driving the dateline trough north into the Bering Sea. Another trough to follow on Sunday (9/9) pushing off the Kamchatka Peninsula (Siberia) towards the dateline. Winds again forecast to 140 kts, then the whole thing to lift north and again enter the Bering Sea. Limited support for surface level low pressure then. Still, this is a definite departure from the summer time mode we've been in.

Note: We've made a major upgrade to our jetstream forecast models. They now includes topographic landmasses with the jet flowing over it. As before, wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. Take a look here:( NPac, SPac )

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1028 mbs was 1100 nmiles west of North California starting to set up a pressure gradient along the Central CA coast and generating 15-20 kt north winds there, with local windswell generation potential on the increase. This high was also forcing the usual 15-20 kt easterly trades over the Hawaiian Islands. A weak 1010 mb low was over the dateline, but not doing anything. Small swell was pushing towards California from a low off the coast over the Labor Day weekend. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/7) the low over the dateline is to drift northeast, perhaps generating a small fetch of 35 kt north winds aimed a bit west of Hawaii for 24 hours, but enough for small 2.9 ft @ 10 sec period swell on Saturday (9/8) for the North Shore with luck. Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs to persist off California continuing the pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino with north winds in the 30 kts range through Friday, producing windswell for Central CA. On Friday (9/7) a semi-interesting 984 mb low is forecast developing over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians, producing 35-40 kts winds aimed south towards Hawaii (though limited in areal coverage) fading out by Saturday AM. 21 ft seas forecast then at 45N 180W. This is worth watching, though confidence is low it will really occur.

 

Small Gulf Pulse (California)
A
996 mb low developed 1100 nmiles east of the south Oregon border late Saturday (9/1) producing winds of 30-35 kts aimed a bit south of Central and South California. These winds held till noon Sunday, then faded out but not before generating 20 ft seas by Sunday evening at 40N 145W for 6 hours. That is enough to put small 5 ft @ 12-13 sec period swell (5-6 ft faces) pushing into exposed breaks in Central California on early Wednesday morning (9/5) from 285 degrees and into Southern CA late morning at 2 ft @ 12 secs (2.5 ft faces) from 290 degrees. Note: This swell is now confirmed, with pure swell of 6.3 ft @ 12-13 secs recorded at buoy 46059 on Tuesday AM.

 

Tropics
Minimal Typhoon Fitow was 360 nmiles south of Tokyo Japan with winds 75 kts. It was moving northwest at 8 kts and forecast to slowly turn north, impacting Japan just west of Tokyo early on Thursday (9/6) with winds at 80 kts. Current data suggest it to track over land and maybe push northeast of Japan 48 hours later at tropical depression strength. The GFS model implicates it in helping to fuel development of low pressure on the dateline early next week (details below).

Hurricane Henriette was pushing inland (to the north ) over southern Baja Mexico with winds 75 kts and expected to follow that path into Mainland Mexico and eventually towards Arizona. No swell generation potential indicated.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (9/4) high pressure at 1028 mbs was pushing fast northeast to the Gulf of Alaska generating a broad pressure gradient along the California coast. North winds were modeled to be on the increase from Pt Conception northward. By Wednesday all winds are to consolidate near Cape Mendocino with north winds there 25-30 kts, generating local windswell. But for the most part the fetch itself is to be pulled away from the coast. Fetch to hold to the north at 25-30 kts through Friday (9/7) with a light wind flow nearshore if not eddy conditions in-effect (south winds 5-10 kts). Winds off Cape Mendocino to hold at 25 kts through Sunday (9/9) with weak winds nearshore from at least Point Arena southward, then the gradient to die out as high pressure moves fully onshore.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (9/4) for the South Pacific indicated a split flow pushing over the Southern Pacific. A weak trough was in the southern branch of the jet over the Central Pacific, but no energy of interest was associated with it. Over the next 72 hours a very weak trough is to start developing under New Zealand Wednesday (9/5) with winds 110 kts pushing to 120 kts 24 hours later. This trough to just barely be tracking north of the Ross Ice Shelf. Limited support for surface level low pressure development (at best). A big ridge to be pushing south over Antarctica in the Southeast Pacific. Beyond 72 hours a second pulse of energy to push under New Zealand Saturday (9/8) with winds to 140 kts aimed northeast reinforcing a rather generic trough over the Southwest Pacific. Yet a third pulse of energy to follow early next week. Limited support for surface level low pressure development indicated. Beyond a big ridge is to start pushing south over Antarctic Ice by Tuesday (9/11) totally shutting down any chance for surface level low pressure development.

At the oceans surface today the only area of interest was a 960 mbs low pressure system centered in the Central Pacific, but well to the south with winds only 35 kts. And even that is to be gone in 24 hours. No other systems of interest were being monitored. Over the next 72 hours a new gale is forecast developing south of New Zealand tracking east (see details below - New Zealand Storm). This to be the only system of interest.

 

Central Pacific Gale
A new low pressure system started to build from 964 mbs Thursday AM (8/23) under New Zealand. A moderate sized fetch of 40-45 kts winds was modeled at 55S 175E aimed 30 degrees east of the 211 degree path to CA and 45 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building but the wind/swell vector was a problem already. The gale built in coverage during the evening to 960 mbs with 45 kts winds at 52S 170W aimed again almost due east or 30 degrees east of the 209 degree path to California (and shadowed by Tahiti) and 65 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. 30 ft seas were modeled at 56S 178E. The jason-1 satellite passed over the backside of the fetch and reported seas of 30 ft where the model indicated 29 ft, right on track.

The fetch held solid Friday AM (8/24) at near 40-45 kts at 50S 160W aimed again 30 degrees east of the 202 degree path to California but unshadowed by Tahiti and 90 degree east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 32 ft at 52S 168W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the edge of the fetch and reported 28 ft seas where the model suggested 30 ft. The fetch continued east in the evening with a small area of 40 kts winds at 50S 150W aimed 30 degree east of the 196 degree path to California and outside the Hawaiian swell window. 36 ft seas were modeled at 50S 158W (shadowed by Tahiti for CA).

A rapid fade of the first fetch occurred Saturday AM (8/25) with winds down to 35-40 kts at 55S 135W well outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 60 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California. 30 ft seas hung near 50S 146W per the model but the Jason-1 satellite passed right over the core of the fetch and reported seas only to 29 ft and likely less at 55S 147W. But a new fetch of 45 kts winds developed behind at 52S 170W aimed due east or 60 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 90 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii and starting to generate new seas. In the evening these winds moved to 52S 150W again aimed east or aimed 35 degrees east of the 197 degree path to CA (unshadowed) and outside the HI swell window. Seas from the original fetch were gone with seas from the secondary fetch at 30 ft at 50S 165W.

On Sunday (8/26) the primary fetch was gone and a secondary fetch of 50-55 kts winds was centered at 57S 138W aimed northeast or 35 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas 30 ft at 50S 150W. In the evening that fetch was sinking southeast continuing at 50 kts but aimed due east at 60S 130W or 80 degrees east of the 182 degree path to California. It was over. Seas 39 ft @ 59S 129W.

Hawaii looks likely to get small utility class sideband swell from this one due to it's close proximity (4319-4836 nmiles) and California possibly a bit more, but not much (5227-6283 nmiles). The big problem with this one was that the fetch passed from west to east quickly and didn't get good traction on the oceans surface, and even when it did, the fetch was aimed almost due and not well up any great circle path to Hawaii or California. So for the most part it will be sideband swell for either location.

Southern CA: Period down to 14 secs Wednesday (9/5) with swell 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 200-210 on the first pulse and 198-208 on the second.

Northern CA: Period down to 15 secs Wednesday (9/5) AM with swell 2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and fading with period at 14 secs at sunset. Swell Direction: 195-210 on the first pulse and 195-206 on the second.

 

New Zealand Gale
A small new low fired up just east of New Zealand Tuesday AM (8/28) with pressure 980 mbs. A small fetch of 35 kts winds was aimed north from 43S 180W towards Hawaii. In the evening it built with pressure 968 mbs and a tiny area of winds 40-45 kts at 45S 172W aimed well towards Hawaii 20 degrees east of the 196 degree path and right at California up the 217 degree path.

Wednesday AM (8/29) this one held with 40-45 kt winds at 45S 170W aimed more to the east. Seas finally built to 29 ft over a tiny area at 43S 170W. In the evening fetch was fading fast with winds 40-45 kts at 44S 160W aimed due east and not at Hawaii at all and 45 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti. Seas built to 32 ft @ 44S 164W (unshadowed to California) attributable mainly to the previous days fetch.

This system was gone by Thursday AM (8/30) with residual 30 ft seas fading at 45S 152W.

This system was small, short lived, and didn't have fetch aimed particularly well at Hawaii when it was strongest, and it was too far away from California to be of particular interest. The net result to be some form of small utility class swell pushing into Hawaii starting Tuesday (9/4) at 1.3 ft @ 15 secs building to 2 ft @ 14 secs (2.5 ft faces0 Wednesday (9/5).Swell Direction: 185-190 degrees. Swell to reach California Wednesday (9/5) with swell 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) fading Thursday with swell 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 207-2217 degrees

 

New Zealand Storm
On Wednesday AM (9/5) a 960 mb low is forecast to build under New Zealand producing a tiny area of 45 kt winds at 60S 160E just barely off the northern edge of the Ross ice Shelf. Winds to be aimed due east 45 degrees east of the 201 degree great circle path to Hawaii and 20 degrees east of the 213 degree path tot California. Seas modeled at 29 ft a t 60S 155E. In the evening winds to be on the upswing fast reaching 50-55kts at 60S 175E again aimed almost due east. These winds to be aimed 50 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and becoming shadowed by Tahiti. Seas building to 36 ft at 59S 172E.

On Thursday AM (9/6) storm pressure to be 952 mbs with winds fading from 50 kts at 57S 175W aimed more to the northeast or 55 degrees east of the 188 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees east of the 206 degree path to California but shadowed by Tahiti. Seas building to 43 ft at 57S 177W. In the evening 40 kt residual fetch to be at 55S 160W aimed northeast and aimed over 70 degrees east of the 181 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California. Seas fading from 42 ft at 55S 165W.

By Friday AM (9/7) all fetch to be gone and seas fading from 36 ft at 55S 155W, attributable all to previous days fetch.

This is to be a rather short but strong storm if it develops as forecast. The concern here is that the jetstream does not look like it's to be configured well to support the strength forecast down at the oceans surface. So this will be an interesting test case, but we're willing to bet it will evolve as something less than forecast. even if all plays out well, there are problems with this one. All fetch relative to Hawaii to be aimed well east of any great circle track there, limiting the amount of energy pushing north. And California, though well in the main swell vector, to have Tahiti sitting right in the middle of the swell's path, shearing some size and consistency off of whatever swell is generated. Will monitor.

 

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 A broad but weak low pressure system is to push off the Kamchatka Peninsula Sunday (9/9) moving to the dateline and building late fueled by the remnants of Typhoon Fitow. Winds to 45 kts are forecast pushing southeast towards Hawaii and California right before the low tracks north into the Bering Sea late Monday (9/10). Seas modeled to 27 ft. Will believe it when it happens, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest yet another strong low developing under New Zealand on Friday (9/7) with pressure 968 mbs. 45-50 kt winds are forecast through Sunday PM (9/9) generating 40-43 ft seas pushing on a track similar to the storm before it. And the wind direction in this storm to be much the same as it's predecessor, resulting in the same concerns about shadowing for the mainland and energy transfer to the north for Hawaii. Still, something is better than nothing.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here: http://www.bluewatergoldrush.com

Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com

Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists. http://www.waveridersgallery.net/

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/

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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