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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 30, 2005 5:30 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 = 5.5 - California & 5.5 - 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 12/26 thru Sun 1/1
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   

Swell #8 Queued Up
3 More Storms Then Pattern to Weaken

 

Stormsurf wishes you and your family a very Happy New Year.
Hope you catch lot's of waves and have a great (and safe) Holiday.

Note: Forecasts will be updated on an 'as-available' basis from 12/28-1/7

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Friday (12/30) Northern CA surf was double to triple overhead and blown out. South facing breaks were head high to 2 ft overhead and blown out. Central California surf was 3-5 ft overhead and hacked. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up waist to chest high and up to 1 ft overhead at the best breaks. The LA area southward to Orange County was chest to head high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego waves were chest to head high and rarely 2 ft overhead at the best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was 1-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was thigh high.

Next up is Swell #8 for the weekend in Hawaii, and a great start to the New Year. The storm that generated it has pushed east of the dateline and is fading, but set up well to send all it's size towards the Islands. Beyond that a series of 3 small storms are to push north of Hawaii heading right for the Pacific Northwest with reasonably clean sideband energy likely for Hawaii and stormsurf pushing towards North CA and a touch of the same pushing into South CA too. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Fridays (12/30) jetstream continued solid with 170-190 kt winds blowing flat off Japan across the dateline and right into California. No ridges or troughs evident. Over the next 72 hours the strongest energy is to push over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii and then slowly simmer there looking to support storm development in that area, but nothing really noteworthy suggested. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to really start fading with winds down to 120 kts in pockets by Wednesday (1/4) though still following the flat course from Japan to California. Really unimpressive compared to what's been in-place over the past few weeks.

At the surface today weak low pressure at 964 mbs was in the Gulf of Alaska and spread wide, covering back to almost Japan and limited to a line starting at 35N and points northward. This is the remnants of Storm #8 (see below). Otherwise no clear swell producing systems suggested just yet, but that is to change. A series of low's are to form in this residual low pressure pocket all tracking east.

First up is a small 992 mb low scheduled later Saturday (12/31) 1000 nmiles west of San Francisco pushing east with a tiny patch of 45 kt winds and 32 ft seas, slamming right into Cape Mendocino late New Years Day. Possible Storm #9 to follow directly (see below).

 

Storm #8
Yet another solid storm pushed off Japan on Monday (12/26) with pressure 972 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-60 kts over a small area in it's south quadrant at 40N 158E aimed southeast right down the 307 degree path to Hawaii but well south of any route to California. The storm was tracking east and seas were building. In the evening pressure dropped to 964 mbs with winds moderating to 45-50 kts centered near 40N 160E aimed well down the 306 degree path to Hawaii.

By Tuesday AM (12/27) pressure was holding at 964 mbs with a broad fetch of 40 to near 50 kt winds terminating at 38N 164E aimed right down the 308 degree path to Hawaii and 40 degrees south of the 297 degree path to California. Seas were modeled at 32 ft centered at 40N 160E. In the evening pressure was up to 972 mbs. A solid 40-50 kt fetch was centered at 35N 172E aimed right down the 306 degree path to Hawaii and 35 degree south of the 292 degree path to California. Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 37N 163E.

On Wednesday (12/28) no big change was occurring with the center pushing slowly east. Winds still 40-50 kts at 34N 175E aimed a little more south or right down the 306 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees south of the 292 degree path into North CA (295 SCal). Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 35N 165E. In the evening 40-45 kt fetch to be approaching the dateline at 35N 178E but losing a little coverage area aimed like before. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 35N 170E.

On Thursday AM (12/29) the storm was starting to contract as it hit the dateline with pressure 968 mbs and winds forecast at 35-40 kts centered at 35N 175W aimed due east, or aimed 20 degrees east of the 315 degree great circle path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 285 degree great circle path to North CA (290 SCal). Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 34N 178E. In the evening the storm is to fall apart with pressure up to 976 mbs and winds down to 30-35 kts aimed east. Seas forecast at 32 ft centered at 35N 175W.

On Friday (12/30) the storm is to be gone with just residual winds of 30 kts pushing east. Residual seas forecast at 29 ft centered at 36N 168W. In the evening residual seas forecast at 29 ft at 35N 170W and fading fast.

This was not to be a particularly well organized system, with no high winds or tight gradients. Just your usual standard winter time North Pacific storm. But it had a moderately large fetch that tracked slowly east, getting good traction on the oceans surface generating every bit of sea height possible. The swell vector was aimed right at Hawaii, and the storm itself is to be positioned closest to the Islands, with the largest part of the swell expected to hit there with significant class size. Solid energy is to also push east, but mostly south of targets in California. This will actually generate swell a little more in the normal range (not significant class size), instead of the out-of-control larger swells of the recent past, but this swell to likely be lost under much larger locally generated swell.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Friday (12/30) at 10 PM with period near 20 secs and size tiny but building. Peak size to be hitting near 11 AM Saturday (12/31) holding through the day and well into the evening with pure swell 9.0-11 ft @ 17 secs (15-18 ft Hawaiian at top standout breaks on the North Shore). Size starting to fade some by 4 AM Sunday (1/1) with period dropping into the 15 sec range and trickling down from there. Swell 8-10 ft @ 15 secs (12-15 ft Hawaiian). Swell Direction: 302-306 degrees with energy to 316 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday (1/1) just after sunset with period 20 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to peak starting near sunrise Monday (1/2) with swell 6.2-6.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (11-12 ft Hawaiian) holding through the day, fading some after sunset. Solid energy to continue on Tuesday (1/3) with period in the 15 secs range. But this entire swell is to be totally buried under a much stronger locally generated swell. Swell Direction: 281-284 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (1/2) at sunrise with period 20 secs and size tiny but building slowly through the day. Swell to peak starting Tuesday (1/3) at 2 AM with swell 2.75-3.0 ft @ 17-18 secs at most breaks (4.7-5.4 ft faces) and up to 3.9-4.2 ft @ 17-18 secs at best breaks in San Diego and Santa Barbara (6.6-7.5 ft faces) and holding through the morning, fading some late afternoon. Solid energy to continue on Wednesday (1/4) with period in the 14-15 secs range. But this entire swell is to be totally buried under a much stronger locally generated swell. Swell Direction: 287-290 degrees

 

Possible Storm #9
Possible Storm #9 is to be developing just east of the dateline Sunday AM (1/1) with pressure 968 mbs and winds forecast at 55-60 kts pushing to hurricane force at 40N 175W aimed right down the 325 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 30 ft at 40N 175W and building fast. In the evening winds to continue at 60-65 kts in the storms south quadrant over a tiny area centered at 40N 160W aimed due east. That's right up the 287 degree path to California with maybe some fleeting residual fetch aimed at Hawaii down the 350 degree path. Seas forecast at 40 ft at 40N 165W.

On Monday AM (12/02) pressure to hold at 968 mbs with 50-55 kt fetch continuing in it's south quadrant at 40N 151W aimed due east right up the 285 degree great circle path to NCal (294 SCal). Seas forecast at 43 ft centered at 39N 156W. In the evening the storm is to push east with 45-50 kt winds continuing at 40N 140W aimed right at NCal up the 285 degree great circle path (295 SCal). Seas dropping just a bit to 39 ft at 40N 147W within 1200 nmiles of the NCal coast.

On Tuesday AM (1/3) this system to head northeast towards Canada with residual 40 kt winds fading out aimed best from Cape Mendocino northward and the leading edge of the fetch getting dangerously close to the Northern CA coast. Seas still 37 ft at 42N 140W, 700 nmiles from San Francisco.

This is to be a small but powerful system positioned too close to North CA to be optimal allowing much shorter period lump to still be present when the swell arrives mixed with poor local winds, and too far east of Hawaii to have much impact. Central CA remains the best target for size and decent winds. Will monitor.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Friday (12/30) the models suggest the south wind regime is to break in North CA. Current data indicates a switch to light north winds a week out (late Friday - 1/6) which is stretching the credibility gap, but we're looking for any glimmer of hope. Prior to that front after front is to be pushing onshore with the only shot for decent winds in the Bay Area on Monday (1/2). Central CA (Morro Bay) to see a permanent break perhaps as early as Tuesday (1/3). Southern CA conversely to see a south wind event starting late Sunday (1/1) holding through Monday, but cleaning up nicely by Tuesday. So in short, no big change forecast for another week.

The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.

 

South Pacific

Overview
No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.

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 storm pattern to remain solid but not as strong as in days past. A broad 984 mb storm is forecast north of Hawaii on Tuesday (1/3) shifting it's focus to South California on Wednesday (1/4) with 45-50 kt winds and 38 ft seas fading Thursday (1/5) as it moves to within 600 nmiles of the S. California coast. Good potential for SCal breaks from this one if it develops as forecast making it Potential Storm #10.

Also on Tuesday possible Storm #11 is to be winding up off Japan with pressure dropping to 976 mbs, 55-60 kt winds and 42 ft seas taking aim on Hawaii, but this one is to make no real eastward progress, not even reaching the dateline and dissipating by Thursday (1/5). After that things to really settle down with nothing else of interest on the charts through Friday (1/6).

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

More Local Wind Models: Stormsurf is proud to announce the expansion of our local wind models, now providing global coverage. Get the latest local wind forecast updated 4 times daily with coverage out 7.5 days. See them here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html

Sharks, Sharks and more Sharks: Want to know all the details of every shark encounter over the past few months in California? You can read all about it in the fascinating chronology produced be the Shark Research Committee. There's alot more going on in our waters than you could ever have imagined (or ever wanted to know). http://www.sharkresearchcommittee.com/pacific_coast_shark_news.htm

Stormsurf Weather Model Update: Over the weekend (10/30) we moved new new code into production that should dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of our weather models. We've had problems with them not keeping in-sync with the wave models. Hopefully that problem is now resolved though we're still dependent on NOAA data servers just like everyone else. What this fix does do is provide the infrastructure now to rapidly expand our offering of weather models, enabling more detailed global coverage. We will be working on that as time permits.

Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him: http://www.pacificsurfgallery.com

Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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