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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 25, 2008 9:22 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 = 2.5 - California & 0.5 - 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 9/22 thru Sun 9/28
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 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   

Small North Swell for Central CA
Strong S. Pacific Storm Still Modeled

 

New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)

Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (9/25) North/Central California was getting small northwestern windswell in the waist to maybe chest high range. Southern California was flat. Hawaii's North Shore was flat with no swell occurring. The South Shore had no swell. Waist high windswell was hitting the East Shore.

For Central California a new small pulse of energy is expected from the Gulf of Alaska later Thursday, peaking Friday, then fading out Saturday. A tiny southern hemi pulse to be in the mix Friday/Saturday too. Southern CA to stay flat till late Thursday when new southern hemi small background swell arrives, holding through Fri/Sat, fading some Sunday then returning late Monday and beyond. The North Shore of Hawaii to remain quiet for the weekend and immediately beyond, though there are some teasing indicators on the charts mid-next week. Bare minimal tradewind generated east windswell is to hold on the East Shore through Saturday then fading out. The South Shore of Hawaii to remain inactive until Sat (9/27) when just a tiny pulse arrives holding into Sunday, then dying.

A gale is off Kamchatka getting some minimal traction there and generating 20 ft seas, but all aimed northeast into the Aleutians Islands and schedule to be north of there in 12 hrs. No hope there. Another similar system is schedule for the same area on Saturday again with the same result. Another gale is forecast in the Gulf of Alaska on Mon/Tues with maybe 20 ft seas resulting, but the model are not stable and confidence in any particular outcome is low. Things to settle down after that. Down south a strong storm is to track through the deep Southwest Pacific, pushing under New Zealand on Friday (9/26) with up to 48 ft seas forecast late pushing mostly to the east and fading steadily overnight as it passes under the Tahitian swell show relative to California, popping out unshadowed Saturday AM on the other side of the shadow with 44 ft seas and fading, pushing onward to the east. Possible longer period sideband swell if this materializes. In short, no obvious well formed swell source schedule to be cleanly in the Hawaiian or US West Coast swell windows. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
On Thursday (9/25) the North Pacific jetstream was flowing flat west to east over the 43N latitude with winds to 140 kts over the West Pacific, fading to 90 kts in the east with no troughs present and offering no real support for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours a large and strong ridge with up to 180 kt winds is to build over the dateline pushing up into the southern Bering Sea Saturday, then drop southeast with a steep and pinched trough setting up in the Western Gulf of Alaska Sunday/Monday offering no real support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours that trough in the Gulf is to hang on almost getting cut-off, but not quite, offering a little better odds for surface level low pressure development Monday-Wednesday. Beyond a flat flow is forecast pushing south to 40N with 150 kt winds in the east, but not troughs. At least it isn't split.

At the surface today a gale was positioned over Kamchatka generating 35 kt southwest winds aimed at the Aleutians Islands. Seas were up to 23 ft at 52N 165E aimed all towards the Aleutians and offering no swell potential for the US West Coast or hawaii. Weak high pressure was off the US West Coast offering no swell producing fetch. Trades were suppressed over the Hawaiian Islands. Low pressure formed in the Gulf late Wednesday 99/24) tracking up to British Columbia generating a tiny fetch of 35 kt north winds just off Vancouver Islands aimed at Oregon and Central CA, generating 20 ft seas, mostly outside even the Central CA swell window. Still some energy is pushing southeast expected to reach the Central CA coast from a very north angle late Thursday into Friday with swell 4-5 ft @ 10-11 secs (4-5 ft faces) at exposed breaks. Over the next 72 hours another gale is to develop off Kamchatka doing a repeat of it's predecessor with 35 kt winds and 24 ft seas but all pushing into the Western Aleutians and offering no swell for the US West Coast or Hawaii. No other systems of interest forecast.

 

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

 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (9/25) high pressure at 1022 mbs was off the California coast riding into Washington and generating a small gradient with 20-25 kts winds off Cape Mendocino. 15 kt winds were near the Central CA coast, but expected to fade by Friday. High pressure to try and hang on off the coast through the weekend, but winds to remain light nearshore (below 15 kts). Interesting, but low pressure is to be building in the gulf moving close to the coast this weekend into mid-next week. Local winds to remain light though west winds from the low to reach 30-35 kt at times possibly setting up some westerly windswell for later next week. .

 

Tropics
On Thursday (9/25) Typhoon Jangmi was 500 nmiles east of the Central Philippines with winds 80 kts tracking northwest. It is expected to continue on this heading building to 120 kts on Saturday AM, taking a bead on southern Taiwan but tracking just south of it Sunday and then pushing into China late Monday with winds 100 kts. No swell generation for US waters expected.

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Thursday (9/25) a split jetstream pattern continued over the South Pacific, with the southerly branch positioned even further north than 2 days ago. A trough was under Australia with winds at 150 kts and another over the Central Pacific (weaker), with a big ridge in between. The trough under Australia held the most interest. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to push east under New Zealand and basically dissolve late Saturday, offering no real hope for low pressure development at the oceans surface. By Sunday a new ridge is to start pushing south over the Central Pacific likely shutting down any potential that exists there. Beyond 72 hours a generalize ridge is to continue pushing south over much of the South Pacific Tuesday and beyond, pretty much shutting things down at the oceans surface.

At the oceans surface a weak gale was centered east of new Zealand generating 45 kts winds and 32 ft seas at 49N 162W tracking due east. Over the next 72 hours that gale is forecast is hold but over an even smaller area in the evening with 45 kts winds left and 32 ft seas at 48S 152W aimed a little more to the north. Some degree of 45 kts winds to continue Friday aimed almost due north with 30 ft seas at 46S 140W in the AM and then 33 ft at 45S 130W in the evening, gone by Saturday. If this comes to pass some degree of decent utility class swell could push into California (unshadowed too) in 9 days (Sat PM 10/4) with period 17 secs, with background energy reaching into Hawaii 7 days later Thurs PM (10/2).

 

Small New Zealand Storm
A small storm formed under New Zealand Monday AM (9/15) with 50 kts winds over a tiny area at 60S 172E aimed due east and pushing east into Tuesday (9/16) with winds confirmed at 55 kts Monday evening at 58S 165W, then fading from 40-45 kts Tuesday AM at 57S 150W and aimed more to the north, expected to be gone by night fall. 36 ft seas were modeled over a small area Monday PM (9/15) at 60S 175W barely off the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf fading from 34 ft Tues AM at 58S 160W, then gone (29 ft at 56S 150W in the evening). Limited background swell possible for Hawaii starting Wed (9/24) but odds very low, and California Fri (9/26) (better odds). See QuikCASTs for details.

Southeast Pacific Gale
On Thursday AM (9/18) a weak low tracked off the Ross Ice Shelf northeast free and clear of ice with 40 kts winds at 54S 132W generating barely 30 ft seas at 56S 135W, then dissipated in the evening. 29-30 ft seas were modeled fading Thurs PM from 52S 125W. Limited sideband swell possibly pushing up into Southern California Fri (9/26) with swell 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) continuing into Saturday at 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3 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 a new low pressure system is to try and set up in the Gulf of Alaska Saturday (9/27) at 992 mbs generating maybe 30 kt northwest winds and seas to 15 ft pushing southwest towards California for 24 hrs (into Sunday), then perhaps rebuilding some in the Eastern Gulf on Monday-Wednesday with a small window of 35 kt winds and 20 ft seas possible. But a finer analysis is not worth the effort just yet. More development possible in this area later in the week too with energy streaming off Japan racing towards the Gulf.

MJO/ENSO Update: As of Tuesday (9/23) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) continued giving way to the Active phase. The Daily SOI index was finally falling some at 12.72. The 30 day average was steady to 17.11 and the 90 day average was up to 7.88. This is no longer even neutral, but is more symptomatic of La Nina. This active phase of the MJO appears to be starting to push all those indices down. Winds at at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up), indicated east winds were fading fast over an isolated area of the far Eastern Equatorial Pacific mainly off Central America. The models suggest it's to slowly fade out and be gone by Saturday (9/27). At the same time the Active Phase was nearly peaked out over the Philippines trying to edge out into the greater Pacific, but not making much headway. Limited bit's were barely reaching the dateline and this is about as far east as it's forecast to go. It's to hold there while slowly fading through 10/7. This is to be a fairly weak pulse of the Active Phase and is to offer only weak support for fueling the development of North Pacific storms through the start of October. We suspect the peak of activity to start 9/26-10/5.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hrs (actually less) a strong storm continues to be forecast tracking under New Zealand starting Thursday evening (9/25) with pressure 936 mbs and winds to 55 kts at 58S 158E aimed due east or 30 degrees east of the 215 degree path to CA and 45 degrees east of the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas from previous fetch to be 32 ft at 55S 165E. Friday AM (9/26) winds to hold in the 55-60 kt range at 57S 172E generating seas to 46 ft at 58S 172E moving into the Tahitian swell shadow for CA. In the evening barely 50 kts winds forecast at 59S 173W aimed due east with 49 ft seas forecast at 58S 175W, still shadowed by Tahiti to CA, but just barely and aimed due east, or 40+ degrees off any great circle track to CA. Seas pushing almost perpendicular to the great circle paths to Hawaii (90 degrees). Saturday AM (9/27) 35 kt winds forecast fading fast aimed east with 42 ft seas at 58S 162W with only minor obstruction from outlying Tahitian Islands suggested relative to CA. Winds fading out totally in the evening with 35 ft seas from previous fetch forecast at 57S 153W aimed 45 degrees east of any great circle path to CA. This system to fade fast from there. If all goes as planned Hawaii to get some longer period sideband energy but most energy to be aimed well east of this target. California to have a lesser version of Hawaii's problem coupled with the usual Tahitian swell shadow during the peak of the storm. but the real concern is the upper level jetstream models do not support formation of this storm nearly as strong as it;s modeled. Wouldn't be surprised to see a major downgrade in the models in the next run or two.

Details to follow...

****

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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Local Interest

The Kelly Slater Project - A group of dedicated surfers from Cocoa Beach are working to construct a statue of the the home town legend and set it up for all to enjoy near the break where Kelly grew up surfing. Take a look at the statue and read all about it here: http://www.thekellyslaterproject.com/

STORMSURF Local Wave Models Upgraded - We significantly upgraded the local waves models on Sunday (6/8). All now utilize our newly developed high-resolution 3D shaded relief topography for mapping landmasses. Coastlines are now accurate down to the individual pixel providing near photographic realism. Mountains and hills are all shaded and accurate to within the same single pixel specification. Cities are overlaid as before, but now we've added major highways and rivers too (for many locations). Some good examples of this new technology can be viewed here:
- View the reefs north of Tahiti and notice their contribution to the 'Swell Shadow' relative to California - Tahiti
- Notice the detail of the coast in and around Vancouver Islands and Washington State - Pacific Northwest
- See the details of inland waterways of the US Northeast Coast - Virginia
- Details of the Mentawai Island and Nias

And all the local models can be found either on our homepage or from the wavemodel page (bottom half of the page).

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o5lj9CUpCc

Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here: http://www.darrowchiropractic.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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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