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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 22, 2006 1:41 AM
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 = 4.0 - California & 4.5 - 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 12/18 thru Sun 12/24
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   

Next Storm Pattern Setting Up
Main Target: NCal with Sideband Effects for Hawaii

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
We want to take a minute to thank all of you for your support, comments and well wishes over the past year and extend to you our warmest Holiday Wishes. It has been a great year here at Stormsurf thanks to you. We hope you enjoy a Happy and Safe Holiday and catch some great surf. Forecasts will be updated more or less regularly as conditions warrant (and when we're not out trying to catch a few waves ourselves).

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (12/21) Northern CA surf was 1-3 ft overhead and fairly clean early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat even at the better spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high and a little more at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were about waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-4 ft overhead. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore surf height was unknown.

Moderate surf was in-place for North California but was small to near-flat down on the south end of the state. Hawaii was starting to see some swell on the North Shore and more is expected. Here we go again with the next series of storms starting to set up focusing on the central to eastern Gulf of Alaska with North California in the bulls eye. Hawaii to get's it's fair share too but the same old problem is to persist, namely that the storms are to be oriented on a very flat west to east track forming just north of Hawaii then building as they push east of there, limiting the amount of direct energy heading south. That appears to be the pattern so far this winter. This favors spots in Northern CA since all energy is to be aimed straight for those targets. Weather to be bit less of an issue too for the north end of the golden state with the jet driving these system towards British Columbia and points further north, offering some protection. But regarding Hawaii, it will be far from flat over the coming week, just not fully in the significant class range with peak swell periods in the 13-14 sec range while California to see an abundance of 17 sec energy (or more). See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (12/21) depicted a single strong flow pushing fairly flat east off Japan tracking across the dateline at 190 kts with a small trough there dipping to the 35th parallel then proceeding flat to a point 600 nmiles west of San francisco with winds down to the 160 kt range. This was a most solid setup and was conducive to surface level storm development over the dateline. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (12/24) things to hold steady with the trough slowly easing east and amplifying as it pushes into the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday. Winds to start fading then to the 160 kt range over the length of the jet. Solid potential for surface level storm development suggested in this trough through the forecast period. Beyond 72 hours that trough to push inland over British Columbia on Monday (12/25) while a new weaker trough sets up over the dateline with winds there 140-150 kts. That trough to slowly push east and amplify reaching a point north of Hawaii Thursday (12/28) but not too impressive wind wise while a bit of a ridge starts to develop over the over the dateline. Good support for moderate storm development at the surface in this trough but things to be decaying back to the west in association with the ridge there. It is too early to know whether this will be a temporary break in the action or develop into something more permanent, but a good solid flow of 130 kt energy to start building over Japan pushing east, suggesting yet a another pulse of storm activity further out.

At the surface today the remnants of Storm #5 were pushing inland over British Columbia while another series of two lows were stacked up to the west over the dateline and then north of Hawaii following the jetstream east with a a broad fetch of 25-30 kt winds flowing northwest to southeast between them generating 23-27 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii. This to result in a steady supply of large utility class 13-14 sec period energy pushing towards the Islands Thursday (12/21) continuing through Sunday with average peak swell 10 ft @ 13-14 secs (12-14 ft faces) from 330-340 degrees. Swell simmering down after that until Potential Storm #6 gets going. Also a 1024 mb high was providing some protection off and ridging into Central California while another high was off Japan. But both were well south and did not appear to have any potential to perturbate the storms flow to the north.

Over the next 72 hours starting Friday (12/22) the leading of the pair of lows above is to wrap up tracking north in the the Gulf of Alaska generating 45-50 kt winds through the day Friday while generating up to 35 ft seas in the northern Gulf targeting mostly British Columbia though some utility class sideband energy is expected to push south into the Pacific Northwest and down into North and Central CA arriving Sunday (see QuikCAST's for details). But of far more interest is the expected development of Storm #6 on Saturday starting from a point just northwest of Hawaii (see details below). Yet another sizeable low to be percolating off Japan on Friday tracking east but not really getting going till late Saturday (see Long Term Forecast).

 

Storm #5 (North CA)
A low started forming along a front off the Pacific Northwest Tuesday PM (12/19) with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts over a tiny area at 38N 153W.

By Wednesday AM winds were confirmed up to 50 to near 60 kts over a tiny area at 40N 141W with seas 27 ft at 39N 144W and on the increase. By evening 55 kt winds continued at 45N 133W aimed right at Oregon and reasonably well down the 310 degree path to NCal with seas 30 ft at 42N 137W. This swell hit buoy 46006 on Wednesday (12/20) near noon with seas near 30 ft and swell 20 ft @ 14 secs while 40-50 kt winds pushed over the buoy. Swell peaked in the 25 ft range (average) @ 17 secs from 5-10 PM. this swell hit buoy 46059 at 8 PM Wed and peaked Thursday from 2 AM to 8 AM with swell 16-21 ft @ 17 secs.

This low was just northeast and nearly impacting Vancouver Island Thursday AM with 40 kt winds aimed at that location generating more 30 ft seas at 45N 130W out of the NCal swell window but still targeting Oregon.

Swell expected for North CA (centered on San Francisco) over a broad swath coming from west to northwest starting near sunset Thursday (12/21) peaking at 4 PM through 1 AM Friday with pure swell 11-14 ft @ 16-17 secs (18-23 ft faces) with swell down to 12 ft @ 14-15 secs early Friday (14-17 ft and fading fast). Swell Direction: 285-315 degrees

 

Storm #6
A little low was pushing off Japan Thursday (12/21) expected to reach the dateline and start building late Friday.

By Saturday AM (12/23) pressure to be 984 mbs with 50 kt winds in the storms south quadrant at 35N 162W providing sideband energy to Hawaii down the 310 degree path for 12 hours. this system to quickly blow up after that and by the evening pressure to be 952 mbs with winds 60-65 kts at 38N 150W targeting North California down the 282 degree path and streaming on a heading just north of east. Seas rapidly building from 32 ft due north of Hawaii at 37N 153W.

Sunday AM (12/24) winds to hold at 60-65 kts at 41N 144W still targeting North CA well down an unobstructed 287 degree window while the storm starts shifting north. 44 ft seas modeled well west of Cape Mendocino at 41N 144W. In the evening a broad fetch of 50-55 kt winds to be off Oregon at 43N 137W pushing much energy towards North CA down the 298 degree path and the Pacific Northwest with 47 ft seas suggested at 41N 137W.

This system to then fade out on Monday in the northeast Gulf pushing onshore over British Columbia while 42 ft seas push into the coast there.

The result is to be large and very powerful long period swell pushing into California but a bit on the raw side, not having much time to unwrap. This swell, if it materializes, could be much like those of last week with a bit of a lurch and X factor to it. Weaker sideband energy expected for Hawaii. But at this time only the first molecules of wind are start to move in association with it off Japan, so it's still to early to know anything for certain.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (12/21) a front was pushing down the North California coast associated with Storm #5 pushing inland over British Columbia and expected to wash out over Pt Conception overnight. By Friday weak high pressure to try and set up providing a few hours of northerly winds, then it's to fade as another front builds offshore but that too to fade late Friday. A rather weak wind pattern is expected south of Bodega Bay into South CA through Saturday, with no significant chop forecast. But the front associated with Storm #6 to start affecting the San Francisco area mid-Sunday with southeast winds building through late Monday washing out near Pt Conception again. A rather light wind pattern to follow Tuesday and Wednesday of next week except near Pt Conception where moderate north winds might be an issue.

 

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 on Christmas Eve Sunday (12/24) another new storm to be pushing over the dateline originating off Japan with pressure 972 mbs and a tiny fetch of 50-55 kts winds developing in it's south quadrant. This one to build with 55 kt winds forecast in it's south quadrant in the evening as it crosses the dateline at 44N 178W targeting Hawaii about 40 degree east of the 328 degree path and 25 degrees south of the 297 degree path to N California (302 SCal) while pushing steadily east. This system to slowly decay from Monday forward through Tuesday AM (12/26) but not before generating 40 ft seas Monday and Tuesday from 44N 167W to 46N 150W driving small significant class energy towards North and Central CA and the Pacific Northwest, making this possible Swell #6.

 

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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