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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 14, 2007 5:49 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 & 2.8 - 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 1/15 thru Sun 1/21
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 Pattern Fades
Dateline Gales Forecast


On Sunday (1/14) Northern CA surf was 1-3 ft overhead and clean but inconsistent. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high with some slightly bigger sets. Central California surf was chest high too. 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 effectively flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high, maybe chest high down south. The North Shore of Oahu was 1-2 ft overhead. The South Shore was waist high with chest high sets. The East Shore was thigh high.

California was getting very inconsistent energy from Storm #11, but it wasn't as much as hoped for and was limited mostly to north of Pt Conception. Hawaii was seeing the last bit's of energy from Storm #11 and still fun, but way down from days before. Looking forward a rather anemic trend is expected. A series of generally weak to moderate gales are to set up on the dateline pushing northeast into the Gulf of Alaska and fading. None are expected to generate anything serious wind and seas-wise ( generally less than 30 ft) and all are to be small and not really well organized. This suggests nothing more than 14 sec energy and small to moderate size even at the most exposed breaks in Hawaii and California. The real head-scratcher here is that we're in the core of winter with a moderate El Nino in effect and the Madden-Julian oscillation moving into the active phase. One would expect a more active pattern, but the models aren't picking up on that. We'll be watching the next 2-3 weeks very closely, but if a more active pattern doesn't emerge soon we're inclined to think it might not happen at all possibly setting this winter as one of the calmest in recent memory. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (1/14) depicted a reasonably strong consolidated flow pushing flat off Japan on the 33N latitude reaching as far east as the dateline with winds to 170 kts. It continued east in a cohesive flow but weaker to a point north of Hawaii, then finally .cgiit with 2 equivalently strengthened flows, one tracking into Baja and the other towards British Columbia. Reasonable support for gale development west of the dateline trying to reach into the western Gulf of Alaska. Over the next 72 hours absolutely no significant change is modeled other than a hint of a trough suggested over the dateline next weekend perhaps aiding gale development there. In all there just isn't enough energy in the jet and no significant troughs projected to really fuel surface level storm development.

At the surface today the remnants of a gale was spinning in the Western Gulf of Alaska while a second was trying to organize west of the dateline. High pressure help control of the Eastern Pacific centered 500 nmiles west of San Francisco ridging into Washington and generating a light offshore flow over the Golden State and trades into Hawaii. The gale in the Gulf actually formed on Friday (1/12) over the dateline but didn't even have a closed low pressure center to start with and winds were only barely 35 kts over a tiny area aimed towards Hawaii down the 328 degree path. It got a bit better organized on Saturday (1/13) with 40 to near 50 kt winds moving into it's south quadrant aimed away from Hawaii at 45N 170W and towards N. California right up the 297 degree path then fading to 40 kts in the evening. Seas finally built to 27 ft late at 45N 168W favoring California and the mainland. Sunday revealed a weaker flow positioned in the western Gulf of Alaska with winds 35-40 kts and that was expected to fade through the day. Seas peaked at 28 ft at 45N 165W in the AM and were to push a bit further east before fading out at sunset Sunday. This to result in swell of 6.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7-8 ft faces) along Hawaiian northern shores Tuesday (1/16) and swell of 6.6 ft @ 15 secs at sunset Wednesday (1/17) in North CA (8-9 ft faces) from 297 degrees fading through Thursday. Southern CA to see swell of 2.8 ft @ 13 secs Thursday (3.0-3.5 ft faces).

Over the next 72 hours the next gale is to try and organize while tracking northeast to the dateline Monday (1/15) providing a sweep of 35-40 kts winds over a small area aimed towards Hawaii up the 305-315 degree path with seas 22-23 ft over a small area. This system to get a little bit better organized monday while lifting north over the dateline with pressure 980 mbs and winds 40-45 kts late Monday into early Tuesday aimed towards NCal up the 300-305 degree paths generating near 30 ft seas. Additional 30 kts winds to follow in this area through early Thursday aimed east towards the Pacific Northwest. This one ought to be good for a little 13 pulse for Hawaii on Thursday (1/18) and equally small pulse for California Saturday (1/20).


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (1/14) high pressure at 1032 mbs was ridging into the Pacific Northwest coast making for a generally light offshore flow over California expected to hold through Monday. A quick little weak low to push into British Columbia Wednesday with new high pressure at 1034 mbs right behind it setting up north winds at 30-35 kts over outer California coast waters at the same time. That to quickly moderate though with a near offshore flow in.cgiace late Thursday calming Friday (1/19). Yet another high at 1036 mbs is forecast Sat/Sun generating near 40 kt north winds off the San Francisco area pushing down towards Southern CA and likely making a mess out of the weekend. It's starting to look like February, only a month early.


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 yet another small gale is projected developing west of the dateline Thursday (1/18) pushing east and starting to get a little better organized Fri/Sat (1/20) with 35-40 kts winds suggested aimed towards Hawaii and California. But it's to never really make the grade as strong high pressure at 1036 builds off the coast of southern Oregon driving the system northeast into Alaska and shearing it. The high itself to set up strong north winds down the entire California coast Sat/Sun making for a choppy mess there. No other swell producing system modeled.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Surf Comics: If you like surf comics take a look at this little gem. A new comic weekly with a nice archive. See it here:

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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