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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 9, 2007 10:01 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 = 3.9 - California & 3.8 - 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 1/8 thru Sun 1/14
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 #11 Fading
.cgiit Jetstream Still Plagues East Pacific


On Tuesday (1/9) Northern CA surf was double overhead.cgius and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high pushing the head high mark. Central California surf was shoulder to head high with sets 2 ft overhead. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high at best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was about waist high at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was 3-4 ft overhead from local windswell.

California continued to have solid surf in the north with clean conditions, though from a rather steep angle in regards to Southern California with much less size occurring there. And a downward trend is in progress. Hawaii was receiving a bit of shorter period energy from the dateline expected to fade slowly into Wednesday. The best hope for the future remains a large and reasonably strong storm currently chugging north expected to pass into the Western Bering Sea Wednesday before ever reaching the dateline. So though this one is and reasonably strong, it's a long ways away from Hawaii with fetch aimed mostly north of any track to the Islands and even further from California though aimed better there. The net result to be moderate large long period and groomed energy sweeping into both the Islands late week and California for the weekend. After that it's all downward from there as we hopefully wait for the active phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation to push further into the Western Pacific over the next 2 weeks and add a bit of fuel to the jet stream. But that's not guaranteed. So until then, we patiently watch and wait. See details below...


Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream charts (1/9) depicted a strong consolidated flow pushing off Japan with winds to 200 kts making it a little bit east to 170E before .cgiitting strongly with the southern branch tracking southeast over Hawaii then .cgiitting again while tracking mostly south of the equator while the dominant northern branch pushed almost due north tracking over the Aleutians just east of the dateline only dipping south of land in the far northeastern Gulf of Alaska. Only the area off the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka Peninsula was capable of support surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (1/12) the same general pattern to hold but with the consolidated flow pushing a bit further east to the dateline but loosing a bit of energy with consolidated winds 170 kts, through still quite respectable. A major .cgiit to continue in the east with no support for storm development suggested there and the northern branch remaining mostly over land. Beyond 72 hours the same general pattern suggested, but with the consolidated flow making more headway east reaching a point north of Hawaii with winds near 180 kts centered a bit east of Japan while a weak very .cgiit flow continues in the east. Surface level storm development to be limited to the West Pacific. Of note, the southern branch to start getting more organized and is to lift north, pushing over South California Tuesday (1/16), though this to not have any effect on storm development with a tranquil pattern forecast everywhere east of the dateline.

At the surface today the pattern in the upper atmosphere remains well reflected at oceans surface. High pressure at 1024 mbs was seeping into the Oregon coast from a point centered 600 nmiles off Central CA while a second stronger high pressure at 1040 mbs was positioned in the Central Gulf of Alaska, shutting down any potential for storm development there. Remnants of a broad storm remained circulating off the Kamchatka Peninsula (details below), much weaker than it's earlier self. Also swell from a storm that formed over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians last Thurs/Fri (1/5) generated swell that reached the significant class threshold in Northern CA on Monday (1/8) and is therefore labeled Storm #10. It was fading fast on Tuesday though.

Over the next 72 hours the Japan Storm (details below) is to slowly spin out while swell from it radiates outwards towards Hawaii and California while high pressure builds stronger in the Gulf of Alaska. This to set up a potential north wind event along the entire California coast starting late Wednesday (north) holding through Friday afternoon (12/12) before it moderates and starts seeping inland over the Pacific Northwest, possibly signaling and end to the record breaking wet pattern that has taken root there. A tiny fetch of 35-40 kt west winds to develop over the dateline Friday (12/12) in association with a newly developing weak 996 mb low there with seas modeled to 23 ft late and holding into mid-Saturday. This might be good for some 13 sec energy for Hawaii a few days out, but nothing noteworthy. Otherwise nothing of interest indicated.


Japan Storm #11
A large storm developed late Saturday (1/6) over Japan with pressure 972 mbs and 50-55 kt west winds starting to push off the coast.

By Sunday AM (1/7) pressure was 968 mbs as the core of the storm pushed just off the Southern Kuril Islands with a large but somewhat fragemented area of 50-55 kt winds at 35N 155E aimed right up the 298 degree path to Hawaii with secondary fetch pushing up the 299 degree path to North Ca (304 SCal). 30 ft seas were modeled pushing east off Japan from 34N 148E. By evening pressure was down to 950 mbs with 50-55 kts west to southwest winds centered at 40N 157E aimed well towards Hawaii up the 305 degree great circle path and right up the 299 degree path to North CA (304 SCal). Seas were modeled at 36 ft at 37N 155E.

The storm was lifting north Monday AM (1/8) with pressure holding while the core tracked just barely clear of the Kuril Islands with 50-55 kt winds centered at 44N 159E aimed a bit east of the 313 degree track to Hawaii and just 10 degrees south of the 304 degree track to North CA (309 SCal). Seas modeled at 41 ft at 40N 160E. In the evening the storm started fading with a large fetch of 40-45 kt west winds centered at 45N 165E aimed 30 degrees east of the 315 degree track to Hawaii and just south of the 304 degree path to NCal (309 Scal). Seas pushing up to 44 ft at 45N 165E.

The core of the low was just off central Kamchatka Tuesday AM (1/9) and just south of the western most Aleutians with pressure 968 mbs and winds fading from 40-45 kts aimed east to northeast at 45N 170E aimed 45 degrees east of the 318 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 303 degree path to North CA (308 SCal). Seas were modeled at 39 ft at 47N 169E tracking right up great circle paths to the US west coast. Residual 35-40 kts winds forecast in the evening near 48N 170E and fading providing only lesser period energy to add to the tail end of whatever swell results. Seas 35 ft at 47N 172E again pushing well towards the US West Coast.

30-35 kt winds are expected to fade through the day Wednesday (1/10).

These winds were aimed generally right up the 299-304 degree great circle paths to North CA (304-309 SCal) through the storms life but sweeping over a less static arc for Hawaii over the 298-318 degree paths. Peak seas were modeled in 39-44 ft range but most of this energy was pushing rather northeast than due east, limiting the swell generation capacity for Hawaii and putting more energy up paths to the US mainland. The issue here though is that it was 2860-4168 nmiles away from the US allowing for lot's of swell decay over it's travel east. Hawaii, though closer at 2133-2943 nmiles and not suffering as much ill effects of decay, was a bit off the main energy track. In all, long period large utility class/minimal significant class energy expected for both locales.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Thursday (12/11) at 2 AM with period 21 secs with size tiny but pushing up. Swell to be reaching near peak size at sunset with swell 6 ft @ 18 secs (10-11 ft faces). Swell to be peaking from 1 AM Friday (12/12) through 10 AM with swell 8 ft @ 17 secs (12-13 ft faces) then drifting down to the 15-16 sec range by sunset but effectively holding size with better consistency. Swell slowly filtering down Saturday (12/13) with swell 8.0-8.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (11-13 ft faces). Swell Direction: 303-318 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival Friday (1/12) at sunrise with period 24 secs and size tiny and inconsistent but slowly building. Period reaching 20 secs near sunset with swell 3 ft @ 20 secs (6-7 ft faces). Swell to peak starting Saturday (1/13) morning and holding through daylight hours with swell 6-7 ft @ 17-18 secs (10-13 ft faces). Swell 7 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) Sunday fading to 14 secs Monday (1/15). Swell Direction: 298-303 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Friday (1/12) at sunset with period 24 secs and size tiny and inconsistent but slowly building. Period reaching 20 secs near sunrise Saturday (1/13) with swell 1 ft @ 20 secs (2 ft faces). Swell to start peaking near sunset with swell 2.5-3.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5-5.5 ft faces). Swell continuing at about 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Sunday morning starting to fading through the day. 14-15 sec residuals Monday (1/15). Swell Direction: 303-309 degrees


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (1/9) a light to moderate offshore wind pattern remained in control of California coastal waters expected to hold through Tuesday. But low pressure was to the north just inland of Vancouver Island generating a pressure gradient with a much stronger 1040 mb high pressure center in the Gulf. This was generating northwest winds of 30-35 kts off Vancouver Island. The low is expected to track inland and southeast while the high in the Gulf sinks southeast too, driving the northerly winds down the US West Coast reaching the San Francisco area Wednesday (12/17) and building in strong late and continue south reaching the Channel Islands early Thursday. This to hold into Friday making for very messy unmanageable conditions over the entire California coast (including Southern CA). Fortunately the high to start ridging inland Saturday with an offshore flow taking over at the surface first in SCal building northward through the weekend. High pressure and light offshore winds to continue through mid-next week continuing the run of favorable conditions.


South Pacific

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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another little gale to set up well west of dateline Sunday (12/14) fueled by the jetstream as it builds further east. Pressure to be only 996 mbs with winds modeled at 40-45 kts aimed well at Hawaii and taking a rather southern route along the the 47N latitude line. Winds forecast up to 45-50 kts late holding into Monday then dissolving upon reaching the dateline with seas briefly reaching 30 kts. Something for Hawaii might result. Another similar if not slightly larger system to follow mid-way between Japan and the dateline Tuesday (12/16), but still not enough to get anyone's attention.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.

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:

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:

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:
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:

Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management.cgian 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.

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:

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 i.cgiications 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 exa.cgie of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disc.cgiines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here:

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.cgius the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here:

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer 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! .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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