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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 9, 2007 8:26 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
Click Here to Visit Killer Dana!
Swell Potential Rating = 2.2 - 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 2/5 thru Sun 2/11
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   

California Waits for Swell #16
'Riding Giants' on the Discovery HD Channel - Sunday 8 PM PST


On Thursday (2/8) Northern CA surf was head high to a few feet overhead and reasonably clean early, but that was short lived. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were a thigh to waist high on the sets at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high on the sets at the best spots. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high with head high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was tr.cgie overhead and pretty messy. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was head high at north exposed breaks.

North California was heading up with energy from Swell #14 moving in. Southern California was tiny except for select spots down south, but all to be getting small energy from Swell #14 by Friday AM. Hawaii was getting the core of Swell #15 with solid energy in the water along with more Kona winds. The pattern is temporarily shifting east with the development of Storm #16 between the Islands and California, focused mainly on Central CA southward. This to provide a solid dose of somewhat raw energy on the California coast this weekend with a wet and windy pattern in charge locally. Hawaii conversely to be in the back seat, with thing heading down into a lull after Swell #15 fades. But that's not to say no more is coming, just a bit of a break until the next dateline storm is forecast early next week. This one, which has come and gone from the models several times as of late is expected to be very similar to it's predecessors, being strongest approaching the dateline, then fading as it moves east of that point. This pattern favors Hawaii. In parallel a tiny little gale is to push through the Gulf of Alaska early next week, providing a morsel of energy pushing into North Ca and the Pacific Northwest. In all nothing outstanding indicated, but neither is to to be flat. Given the possibilities and the time of year, we should be thankful for everything we get. See details below...



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

North Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (2/8) depicted a reasonably cohesive flow of wind energy to 170 kts pushing off southern Japan tracking due east over the dateline and north of Hawaii on the 30N latitude, then continuing east though a bit weaker to a point 650 nmiles west of north Baja. There the jet .cgiit with the southern branch pushing into Cabo while the dominant northern brach pushed just north of San Francisco, ushering in the first taste of surface moisture there in a very long time. The faintest hint of a .cgiit was still pushing a dribble of energy north from the dateline up to the Aleutians, but it dissipated there. Two weak troughs were present in the overall flow. one off the kuril Islands and the second between Hawaii and California. These locations were the best hopes for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (2/11) that weak little flow pealing north at the dateline is to finally dissipate completely, a very good thing. This has been the real source of problems so far this winter. An increase in the energy flow is expected off Japan with winds building to 190 kts there ridging some towards the dateline. A weak barely .cgiit flow to continue east of the dateline pushing into California but not too bad. Best bets for surface level gale or storm development is to be above that pocket of energy off Japan. Beyond 72 hours unfortunately overall energy levels to slowly fade with winds down to 140 kts in one small pocket west of the dateline next Thursday (2/15).The weak .cgiit pattern to continue in the east still pushing into California and Baja. In all not alot of support for surface level storm or gale development.

At the surface today the Storm #16 was positioned northeast of Hawaii falling to the southeast (details below) with energy from it's leading edge already pushing south winds and rain into California. Hawaii was in a dead zone with neither high or low pressure in the immediate area. A generic weak low pressure system covered the Western Pacific, not strong enough to generate and swell producing fetch. In all pretty laxidazical Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (2/11) Storm #16 to fade slow and disintegrate while pushing northeast up in the the Pacific Northwest coast. A weak closed low to coalesce out of the generic low pressure over the West Pacific, tracking towards the Gulf of Alaska Sat/Sun, but not generating any real fetch and getting no real traction on the oceans surface. Only 23 ft seas forecast. A new low is theoretically to try and develop just off the coast of Japan on Sunday, possible making something out of itself (see long term forecast). But in all, a bit of a downward slide is expected with no real gales of interest forecast. High pressure to try and get a hold over Hawaii late in the weekend, possibly signaling the return of trades to the Islands.


Storm #16 (updated Fri PM)
On Wednesday AM (2/7) the residuals of Storm #15 (above) passed 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii and tried to reorganize with pressure 988 mbs. Winds of 40 kts were confirmed via the QuikSCAT satellite in it's south quadrant at 39N 155W aimed 30 degrees south of the 285 degree path to North CA (294 Scal). Nothing was aimed at Hawaii. Seas were rebuilding. In the evening winds were up to 50-55 kts terminating at 39N 160W aimed 30 degree south of NCal down the 285 degree path (294 SCal). Pressure was down to 978 mbs. Seas built to 25 ft at 38N 160W.

On Thursday AM (2/8) the low was tracking southeast with winds verified at 40 kts at 35N 153W aimed 30 degrees south of the 273 degree path to NCal (283 SCal). Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 37N 155W. In the evening the low took a more easterly path and faded with 35-40 kt winds confirmed at 30N 150W aimed a mere 15 degrees south of the 270 degree great circle path to NCal (280 SCal). Seas peaked at 36 ft at 34N 153W.

On Friday AM (2/9) the last little bit of 35 kt winds were confirmed at 30N 145W aimed 15 degree off the 260 degree path to NCal (270 SCal). Seas were modeled at 31 ft at 30N 148W.

This was by no means a potent storm, and in fact was mostly just a gale other than that one burst of 50 kts winds. The fetch was rather small too, but it was traveling on a fairly direct path to California and of most importance, it was relatively close to the coast (1285-1758 nmiles) significantly reducing swell decay. No fetch was aimed at Hawaii through this systems life. Given the relatively high seas and close proximity to the coast, a minimal significant class swell is expected for California from a rather westerly direction, suggesting good energy will make it into Southern CA through the Channel Islands.

North CA (centered on San Francisco): Expect swell arrival starting Saturday (2/10) around noon with period 20 secs and size tiny but building reaching 7.8 ft @ 17 secs near sunset (11-13 ft faces). Swell to peak overnight, then hold while period drops before sunrise Sunday. Swell expected at 8.5 ft @ 15 secs by sunrise (12-13 ft faces) then slowly simmering down through the day. Swell Direction: 270-280 degrees

Southern CA (Centered on Dana Point): Expect swell arrival starting Saturday around 11 PM with period 20 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to peak starting Sunday (2/11) at 8 AM through 2 PM at 3.8-4.4 ft @ 17 secs (6.5-7.5 ft faces) but possibly to 6-7 ft @ 17 at best exposed breaks (10-12 ft faces). Lesser size through sunset while period drops. Swell Direction: 281-291 degrees


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (2/8) the leading edge of a co.cgiex conglomeration of mostly weak low pressure systems was stretched from north of Hawaii into the California coast, ushering in a much heralded wetter pattern over the Golden State. But it wasn't getting much penetration, with most moisture isolated to the coast and nearby regions while the bulk of the energy remained offshore. South winds were in control north of Point Conception and that pattern to continue Friday and stronger Saturday as another wave of moisture pushes onshore. The faintest hint of a break is suggested Sunday with weak winds and a clearing pattern forecast while high pressure builds over Hawaii, ridging eastward towards our coast. Monday into Tuesday winds to be held at bay as high pressure continues to push east, not quite reaching the coast but close enough to hold a rather wet and windy pattern off, redirecting a bit north of our area permitting only fractured remnants of it to pass over our area (north of Pt Conception). A slowly building northwest wind pattern forecast Wed/Thurs (2/15) as that high finally starts influencing coastal weather.


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 a decent low is forecast to organize off Japan late Sunday (2/11) with pressure 980 mbs and winds to 50-55 kts targeting Hawaii. This low to push a bit east Monday though mainly stationary west of the dateline with 45 kt west winds continuing in it's south quadrant producing 32-35 ft seas targeting Hawaii and California, though a long ways away from the latter. Tuesday (2/13) a bit of a resurgence is forecast as the gale pushes to nearly the dateline with 45-50 kt winds forecast in it's south quadrant targeting the same sites as before. Seas building to 37 ft. By Wednesday this one to start really fading over the dateline with only 35 kt fetch remaining and seas fading from 32 ft, fading out completely Thursday (2/15). This one is looking to provide potential significant class surf for Hawaii due mainly to their relative close proximity to the fetch, with only utility class potential for the mainland. At the same time yet another low is forecast developing midway between Japan and the dateline.


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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