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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 13, 2006 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 = 5.0 - California & 4.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 12/11 thru Sun 12/17
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   

Storm #3 Less than Hoped For
Storm#4 to Follow - Local Weather an Issue in North CA

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (12/12) Northern CA surf was 3-4 times over head and a stormy mess. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to a few feet overhead and blown out by south wind. Central California surf was double overhead or more and chunky. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to head high at the better spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was head high with sets pushing 2 ft overhead at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were head high to 2 ft overhead on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was a few ft overhead and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist high.

Swell #2 is really all but gone in Hawaii. Swell #2 is still holding solid in California with large stormy surf to the north and smaller cleaner waves down south. This swell has one more day to it and dropping. The next storm in the series is getting organized off the Pacific Northwest coast expected to peak out Wednesday then push into British Columbia late in the day. And one more storm to form even closer to the coast late Thursday and pushing inland Friday. Neither of these systems to do anything for Hawaii being well east of their swell window but should generated some rather north angled swell pushing into California, biggest up north. A bit of a break while the jetstream reorganizes and the next series of storm starts queuing up, with energy forecast for the dateline early next week pushing east. Though not optimal for anywhere with Hawaii again likely getting only tangent energy and California getting slammed semi-headon, it's better than nothing. 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 (12/12) depicted a moderate cohesive flow pushing east off Japan tracking almost flat across the Pacific at 160 kts pushing to a point 900 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA, then fading and limping inland from there. Support for surface level storm development continued. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (12/15) the jet is to split over the dateline by Thursday with no energy there and quite unorganized. But a defined singular flow to continue both east and west of that point with winds 170 kts in both locales, suggesting this is just a temporary situation. The split to get more pronounced into Friday with most energy following the northern branch arching into the Gulf of Alaska then diving back south to join the rest of the flow while purging into California. High pressure to stet up at the surface under the split. Beyond 72 hours the split flow to remain over the Eastern Pacific while a strong consolidated jet continues over the West Pacific pushing off Japan and eventually pushing over the dateline to a point well north of Hawaii with winds 170 kts. Support for storm development possible south of the Aleutians over the dateline, but no defined troughs are indicated so that's more of a guess.

At the surface today Storm #3 wa starting to organize northeast of Hawaii and west of Oregon [see details below]. Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs was southwest of San Diego California ridging back west over Hawaii and generating a broad area of east winds pushing a bit south of the Hawaiian Islands. A weak pressure pattern was over the West Pacific. Other than Storm #3 no swell generation potential was indicated. Over the next 72 hours Storm #3 to be the primary focus while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs sets up over the dateline Thursday (12/14). Another storm to follow right behind Storm #3 on Wednesday evening forming 1200 nmiles off the Cape Mendocino CA coast. This to be called potential Storm #4 (see details below).

 

Storm #3 (updated Wed PM)
On Sunday (12/10) weak low pressure pushed off Japan tracking fast to the east but not getting well organized.

Nothing interesting happened till Monday AM (12/11) as the storm hit the dateline and pressure dropped to 976 mbs with 50 kt winds confirmed over a tiny area aimed due east at 39N 175W targeting California down the 292 degree great circle path. These winds were aimed 40 degrees east of the 325 degree path to Hawaii. In the evening 55-60 kt winds were confirmed established in the storms south quadrant at 41N 162W aimed almost due east or 70 degrees east of the 347 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 290 degree path to North CA (285 Scal). But they were moving east so fast they were having difficulty getting any traction on the oceans surface. 27 ft seas were modeled starting to build over a tiny area at 39N 172W.

On Tuesday AM (12/12) 50-55 kt winds were confirmed in the storm south quadrant as the storm itself started lifting slightly north of east with all fetch now at 42N 150W bypassing Hawaii and targeting California directly down the 290 degree path. Seas modeled at near 30 ft at 41N 159W. In the evening the storm was making a beeline northeast towards British Columbia with 45-50 kts winds at 44N 143W aimed right down the 299 degree great circle path to NCal (305 SCal). Seas modeled up to 30 ft @ 43N 145W, right on the Farallon swell shadow for NCal.

By Wednesday AM (12/13) this storm was in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska with 55-60 kt winds just west of Vancouver Island at 48N 133W aimed 30 degrees east of the 319 degree path to North CA and out of the SCal swell window. Seas forecast at 37 ft @ 47N 136W or on the 318 degree path to NCal. Swell from this system hit buoy 46006 at 1 Am Wednesday quickly building to 27 ft @ 17 secs with pure swell 20 ft @ 16 secs holding in the 17 ft at 16 sec range through noon, then settling down. Swell moving into buoy 46059 at 2 PM with seas 20 ft @ 17 secs and pure swell 15.7 ft @ 17-18 secs. Most impressive. This system was well out of our forecast area by nightfall.

This system was very small but fairly intense, following a track similar to previous storms but with one exception, it's pushing towards Canada rather than towards the US west coast, possibly providing a break in the local weather. It's was 774-1682 nmiles from North CA. Smaller long period 17-20 sec energy is likely for California with tangent non-significant 13-14 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. Will monitor.

North California: Expect swell possible tiny 20 sec energy arriving Thursday (12/14) before sunrise with 17 sec energy filling in fast behind by first light. Swell to peak from midmorning till sunset with swell 9-10 ft ft @ 16-18 secs (15-17 ft faces) with residual mixed energy from other sources pushing combined swell to near 12 ft @ 17 secs making for rogue 20 ft sets. 14 sec residuals Friday. Swell Direction 290-295 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival Thursday 4 PM (12/14) with period 20 secs and building. Swell to peak near 11 PM and hold into Friday near 7 AM with swell 3.3-4.0 ft @ ft @ 17 secs (5.6-6.8 ft faces best exposed breaks). 14-16 sec residuals expected through the remainder of daylight hours. Swell Direction 295-301 degrees

 

Potential Storm #4 (updated Wed PM)
On Wednesday morning (12/13) the first hints of a new storm were developing 900 nmiles north of Hawaii with a tiny area of 50 kt winds at 35N 160W aimed 30 degrees south of the 275 degree path to North Ca (287 Scal). In the evening it was was off the North California coast. Pressure was 988 mbs with 50 kt winds over a small area in the storms south quadrant at 38N 153W aimed right at North CA down the 282 degree path and quickly ramping up to 55 kts. 23 ft seas forecast at 35S 156W.

Thursday AM 50-55 kt winds forecast at 39N 143W targeting Central and North CA down the 284 degree path. Seas 32 ft at 38N 145W. In the evening the storm to quickly track northeast with 55-60 kt winds forecast at 43N 133W aimed right down the 319 degree great circle path to NCal but outside the South CA swell window. 32 ft seas forecast at 43N 130W on the 308 degree path to NCal.

This system to be inland by Friday AM (12/15) with residual seas at 32 ft at 43N 130W or right on the 319 degree path to NCal but well outside any path to South CA.

This system to be 491-909 nmiles from NCal pushing alot of local raw energy down the 285-310 degree paths. Significant class swell could push into North and Central California Friday (12/15) during the day with period 14-17 secs.

North California: Purely theoretical estimates suggest raw energy from this storm to arrive Friday near noon quickly ramping up peaking near 9 PM with pure swell 11-12 ft @ 15-17 secs (16-19 ft faces). Swell Direction: Not much left for Saturday. 280-288 then up to 315 degrees.

South California: Expect swell arrival Saturday 3 AM with period 17-18 secs and ramping up fast, peaking near 10 AM with swell 4.1-4.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (6.6-8.1 ft faces at exposed breaks). Swell holding but with less period through sunset. Swell fading out overnight. Swell Direction 289-301 degrees

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (12/12) the stormy weather pattern that has plagued the north coast continues unabated with no end in sight. Winds finally calmed down at sunset Tuesday but south winds are scheduled to return for Wednesday into Thursday while a light northerly flow takes hold from Monterey southward. The dividing line appears to be over Santa Cruz. Finally Friday high pressure to move in but too aggressively with 20 kt north winds forecast at sunrise down to Pt Conception holding through the day only to fade on Saturday and be replaced with mixed conditions early as a new local low forms right over the Central CA coast, with strong north winds building in right behind in the evening into Sunday and pushing in to South Ca. Northeast winds Monday of next week with things slowly settling down.

 

South Pacific

Overview
A
t the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.

 

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 high pressure to set up north of Hawaii in between the split in the jet streams aloft driving the storm track to the north and into the Bering Sea for a little bit. A series of weak low to push off Japan and Kamchatka over the weekend but all to get quickly shuttled northeast into and over the Aleutians. Finally on Monday (12/18) the jet is to repair itself and a real storm is to form off the Kuril's tracking east over the dateline with 55-60 kt west winds bound for the Gulf of Alaska while high pressure holds down water off the coast of California and offering protection to Hawaii as well. Maybe this to be the start of another storm cycle but with better local conditions for California. Hawaii to still have to deal with the rather oblique swell angle problem though. limiting surf size.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...


MAVERICKSSURF MAVFILM MAVSURFER SURFPULSE TOWSURFER

Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: El Nino is making it's mark on the Pacific Ocean, though yet to have a major impact on the atmosphere above. Read when the storm machine might fire up, and what evidence is stacking up in favor of El Nino here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml

New Precipitation Models: Over the holidays we focused on expanding our coverage of precipitation models, and now provide high resolution coverage of all US coastal locations. You can now tell whether it will be raining when the surf is pumping, or better yet, know whether it will be snowing in the higher elevations (West Coast). Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html

Weather Model Problem: The past few days the 12Z run of the GFS model has been corrupted when posted on government servers, resulting in our graphic output looking like psychedelic gibberish. This is not a Stormsurf problem and we are switching over to backup servers that are operating normally to capture the data. We have reported the problem to NOAA. This problem has been confirmed by other server users as well. We apologize for the inconvenience. Update: The problem has been fixed. Service has returned to normal as of 11/25/06.

Jason-1 Satellite Problem: On Oct 31 the Jason-1 satellite automatically went into safe-hold mode. This is triggered when sensors on the satellite detect an anomaly that suggests the satellite is in danger. It goes into a type of hibernation to protect it's sensitive instruments. JPL has been working on the issue and was able to restore the satellite to normal operations at 8:30 PM on Friday 11/17. No new data is available yet, but as soon as it is we'll be publishing it over the wave models images as usual here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html
Note: The first bit of fresh data was posted on 11/29/06 and we're processing it right now.

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/

Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management plan has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/jointplan/involved.html

Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml

Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the implications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html

New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: Nine months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height plus the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html

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

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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