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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 31, 2006 8:30 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 = 4.2 - California & 4.8 - 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 1/30 thru Sun 2/5
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   

3 Storms on the Charts
Jetstream Consolidation Occurring


On Tuesday (1/31) Northern CA surf was 3 ft overhead up to double overhead at the better breaks but a bit lumpy. South facing breaks were chest to head high and clean. Central California surf was chest to head high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to chest to head waist at the best spots north with most south in the waist high range or less. The LA area southward to Orange County was waist high with best spots to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high.The North Shore of Oahu was head high to 2 ft overhead. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was waist high.

Sizeable mixed swell continued in North California with more on the way. Southern CA was rideable, up just a bit from days earlier. Hawaii continued rideable too, but nothing in any location was anything to get excited about, but that might change in the next few days as a improving jetstream pattern starts putting some push into the surface level storm pattern. 1 moderate storm (really a gale) was over the dateline setting up significant class surf for Hawaii. And by Friday a solid storm is to be just off California (Storm #13) while a strong storm pushes over the dateline (Storm #14). If all this.cgiays out a string of rather large swells could be headed for both Hawaii and California. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays (1/31) jetstream was nearly consolidated into a single flow tracking from Southern Japan east-northeast to within 300 nmiles of the Oregon coast then .cgiitting with the south branch diving south to near the southern tip of Baja then flowing inland. Winds were up to 190 kts running through the Gulf of Alaska with a second pocket of 150 kt winds off Japan. A mild trough was centered in between these two energy pockets over the dateline. In all this has the best potential for surface level storm development we've seen fin weeks. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to dig a bit deeper and track east but wind speeds/energy levels are to decrease some. This is to result in a steep trough off the US West Coast by Friday disintegrating by Sunday with a possible re-emergence of the dreaded .cgiit jet in the East Pacific, but not before supporting storm development at the surface. And back to the west a new pocket of energy is to be organizing off Japan with winds building to 170 kts, and just getting started. This is the area to watch long-term. Beyond 72 hours this pocket is to continue building with winds up to 190 kt late Saturday (2/4) pushing over the dateline then .cgiitting north of Hawaii. Wind to be pushing 200 kts Monday while a steep trough sets up in the Gulf with a major .cgiit occurring on the troughs eastern side with the northern branch pushing up into north Canada and the southern branch tracks south over Hawaii towards the equator. This to result in much protection for the US west coast while storm energy rages out by the dateline.

At the surface today a high pressure at 1024 mbs was positioned off South California influencing weather back west to Hawaii and north to Northern California much like it has for the past several days. A broad but weak low at 972 mbs was in the Gulf of Alaska connected to a second low at 984 mbs just east of the dateline headed for the Gulf. The second low was the remnants of Storm #12 (see details below), really just a gale. A weak fetch of 35 kt winds was flowing along their southern perimeter aimed generally towards the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. But in general nothing of real interest was occurring just yet.

Swell from a gale in the Gulf is pushing south towards North California expected to impact the coast Wednesday AM with pure swell 7-8 @ 17 secs (13-14 ft faces), holding for a few hours then dropping off.

Two system of interest are forecast over the next 72 + hours, both likely in the significant class category. The first is Storm #13, scheduled off California nd the Pacific Northwest late Thursday (2/2) into Saturday (details below). The second is monster Storm #14 scheduled pushing off North Japan late Wednesday (2/1) then tracking across the dateline late Friday before dying in the Western Gulf of Alaska (details below).

What appears to be driving this forecast spurt of storms is a solid pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation, causing a break in the La Nina conditions that have gripped the North Pacific so far this season. Anomalous winds blowing west to east are pushing out over the equatorial Pacific from Asia with an apparent increase in cloud cover following the winds. The Southern Oscillation Index has dropped back to neutral after running strongly positive for the past 2 weeks. No major change in La Nina is expected, but just enough of a break to enable some pent up energy to e.cgiode before the likely return to cold and less stormy conditions.


Dateline Storm #12 (Hawaii)
On Sunday (1/29) a 973 mb low was on the dateline dropping to 972 mbs in the evening. A tiny fetch of 45-50 kts winds persisted through the day at 43N 177E aimed initially at Hawaii up the 320 degree path then turned more towards California up the 298 degree path. Seas to 32 ft were over tiny area of no real consequence at 43N 177E by nightfall.

On Monday (1/30) the low expand it's fetch but lost velocity with pressure 972 mbs over the dateline. A broad area of 35-45 kt winds were modeled in it's south quadrant looking OK by nightfall at 40N 180W with seas building to 27 ft at 35N 178E bound best for Hawaii. The Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 27 ft. The fetch was aimed generally 30 degree east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii and 15-20 degrees south of the 290 degree path to North California. It looked reasonably, but certainly not great.

By Tuesday (1/31) the low became elongated stringing into the Gulf of Alaska to almost the Pacific Northwest coast with a long fetch of 30-35 kts winds aimed northeast. Winds still continued in association with the original low at 35-40 kts at 39N 170W with seas to 30 ft at 38N 173W. This fetch was aimed all to the east towards California up the 290 degree path but sideband energy was likely spreading south towards Hawaii. By nightfall the storm per se is to be gone with residual 27 ft seas forecast at 38N 165W and rapidly fading.

This was not much of a storm, in fact it never reach storm strength (50 kts). But it's close proximity to the Hawaiian Islands and moderate 27-30 ft seas are probably enough to send solid energy south towards the North Shore likely generating significant class surf there. Much less size to reach California, decayed from the long journey east.

Hawaii: Expect Swell #12 arrival Thursday (2/2) at 2 AM building to 9.4 ft @ 15-16 secs at sunrise (14-15 ft faces) and holding through the day. Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees


Potential Storm #13 (California)
On Thursday PM (2/2) a 988 mb low is to start winding up just northeast of Hawaii tracking fast to the northeast with 55 kt winds at 34N 150W building in it's south quadrant aimed east-northeast towards the mainland up the 270 degree path to NCal (280 SCal).

By Friday AM (2/3) pressure to drop to 972 mbs with 50-55 kt winds continuing in the storms south quadrant at 37N 145W aimed at NCal up the 275 degree path (SCal 287 degrees). Seas modeled at 32 ft at 36N 143W. In the evening pressure to drop to 968 mbs with 55-60 kts winds in the storms south quadrant 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino at 42N 135W aimed right at NCal down the 295 degree path and at SCal down the 301 degree path but tracking fast northeast, getting little traction on the oceans surface. 36 ft seas forecast at 41N 135W.

By Saturday AM (2/4) this system to be moving inland over Vancouver Island with 45 kt winds. 32 ft seas to be lingering at 42N 133W tracking east towards locations from San Francisco northward.

This to be an intense but short lived system in close proximity to the California coast. It's fast forward speed is somewhat problematic, but will likely be offset by it's rather intense wind speeds. If this.cgiays out as modeled at rather large and very ugly, lumpy and warbled swell will push into the California coast, perhaps with less size but better quality inside of the Channel Islands.

North CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival late Saturday afternoon (2/4) with swell up to 14 ft @ 15-16 secs (20-22 ft faces) from 280-290 degrees

South CA: Rough data suggests swell arrival late Saturday afternoon (2/4) peaking near 10 PM with swell up to 10 ft @ 15-16 secs (13-15 ft faces) at exposed breaks in San Diego and Santa Barbara but mostly 7.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (9-11 ft faces) at other exposed breaks. Solid size holding into early Sunday AM then fading fast. Swell Direction: 287-301 degrees


Potential Strong Storm #14 (Hawaii and California)
On Wednesday PM (2/1) a 976 mb low is to be winding up just off North Japan 55 kt winds building in it's south quadrant aimed east.

By Thursday AM (2/2) pressure to be down to 958 mbs with solid hurricane force winds of 65-70 kts projected in it's south quadrant at 43N 160E aimed due east or 20 degrees south of the 302 degree path to North CA and 15 degrees east of the 311 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 40 ft at 43N 158E. In the evening the storm to track east with pressure 960 mbs and winds still 60-65 kts at 43N 170E aimed 15 degrees south of the 297 degree path to North CA and 25 degree east of the 317 degree path to Hawaii. 49 ft seas forecast at 43N 167E.

On Friday AM (2/3) the storm to be on the dateline with pressure 956 mbs. Winds 55-60 kts at 43N 179E aimed right right up the 297 degree path to NCal and 40 degrees east of the 326 degree path to Hawaii. 52 ft seas forecast at 43N 175E. In the evening the storm is to move in to the western Gulf of Alaska with pressure 952 mbs and winds down to 50 kts at 43N 172W aimed 45 degrees east of the 336 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees south of the 297 degree path to NCal. 49 ft seas forecast at 43N 175W.

On Saturday AM (2/4) the storm is to be fading fast with pressure 964 ms and the core in the Bering Sea. Residual 40-45 kt winds forecast at 48N 162W aimed at NCal up the 305 degree path. 42 ft seas from previous days fetch forecast at 43N 167W. This storm to be gone by nightfall with residual 35 ft seas fading at 43N 159W.

If this system develops as forecast is will be most impressive, generating 24 hours of hurricane force winds and a total of 60 hours of fetch in excess of 50 kts aimed well at California with the strongest fetch better at Hawaii. Seas of 50 ft are rare and to get them for 36 hours (49+ ft) even better. A very long period reasonably large and groomed significant class swell seems possible for Hawaii and California, but much could change over the next few days before it max's out. Will monitor.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday(1/31) the models continue to suggest protective high pressure to remain in control, giving up little ground over the coming days and if nothing expanding as the jetstream .cgiits off the coast into early next week. Another possible weak front to pass over San Francisco late Wednesday then fizzle out fast followed late Saturday (Saturday 1/4) by an equally weak front then strong high pressure building in behind setting up a Cape Mendocino like north wind gradient with brisk north winds over exposed waters south through Pt Conception Sunday, fading Monday. Light winds to follow.

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


South Pacific

No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.

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 2 more system are forecast, one just north of Hawaii mid-next week looking to take a similar track to the northeast up the California coast while another system sets up approaching the dateline with 55-60 kt winds. It isn't going to shut down too quickly.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

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El Nino Forecast Updated: The Stormsurf El Nino forecast was updated on 12/30/05. Check out all the latest details concerning El Nino and it's impact on the winter surf season. Details here

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:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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