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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 12, 2006 5:53 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 = 2.8 - California & 3.2 - 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 2/6 thru Sun 2/12
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   

One Storm Modeled - One Swell in the Water
Calmness to Follow


On Sunday (2/12) Northern CA surf was 2-4 ft overhead and clean but disorganized with strong north winds just off the coast. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high with sets 1-2 ft overhead. Central California surf was head high to 2 ft overhead. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to head high to 1 ft overhead at the best breaks with most waist to chest high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high. The North Shore of Oahu was 3-5 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was flat.

Swell is fading in Hawaii and starting to hit North California, expected to push south over the coming 24 hours. Nothing particularly remarkable about this one other than it is likely the last semi real swell we'll see for quite some time, so make the most of it. Another storm is modeled for the dateline Monday and Tuesday with some fetch aimed midway between Hawaii and California, but the models have had some difficulty determining exactly how this one will.cgiay out, so confidence isn't real high. Nothing on the charts behind it with the trend definitely looking to be on the downward swing. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays (2/12) jetstream had a strong consolidated flow pushing off Japan with a bit of a trough centered over the Southern Kuril Islands with winds up to 220 kts flowing under it, but that's to be short-lived. The stream started to .cgiit even before it reached the dateline with the southern branch tracking over Hawaii and towards the equator while the northern branch pushed northeast over the Aleutians, then dipped south in the Gulf of Alaska only to return to the north pushing over Northern Canada. In all it looked rather inhospitable to storm development expect for the trough off Japan. Over the next 72 hours the Japan trough is to work it's way east reaching the dateline early Tuesday morning but with winds a mere shadow of what they were before, down to 130 kts in limited pockets, with most energy flowing due north in to the Bering Sea. A massive .cgiit is to be in.cgiace just east of the dateline with no energy pushing in to the Eastern Pacific. No change expected through Wednesday with winds only 110 kts pushing off Japan. Beyond 72 hours the .cgiit point is to push even further west, reaching 160E. Wind energy to 150 kts is forecast pushing over Japan but it's to .cgiit with the northern branch heading due north in to the Bering seas before even reaching the dateline and the southern branch tracking directly over Hawaii with the Eastern Pacific totally cut out of any energy. This pattern is no favorable for storm development in the North Pacific whatsoever.

At the surface today high pressure was in complete control of the Eastern Pacific at 1032 mbs, covering from just east of the dateline into the California and the Pacific Northwest. No swell producing fetch was evident. In the Western Pacific a storm was starting to form with pressure 980 mbs midway between the southern Kuril Islands and the dateline tracking northeast, though no swell producing fetch was evident yet. By Monday AM (2/13) pressure is to drop to 956 mbs as the storm lifts north with 55 kt winds forecast over a tiny area in the storm south quadrant aimed a bit north of Hawaii and a long way away from California at 45N 170E. Seas to 28 ft here. Also a large fetch of 55 kt winds are to the in the storm east quadrant as it forms a gradient with strong high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska at a whopping 1044 mbs. All that fetch to be aimed north at the Aleutian Islands. The whole mess is to lift north by Monday evening with 55 kt winds still pushing in to the Aleutians and a small 50 kt fetch still aimed east in the storm south quadrant near 45N 180W. Seas to 32 ft. By Tuesday AM the storm is to be totally landlocked in the Bering Sea while high pressure holds in the Gulf of Alaska at 1044 mbs and weaker high pressure at 1024 mbs sets up southeast of Japan. Maybe some 30 ft seas hanging south of the Aleutians, but odds low. No significant change forecast after that through Wednesday, the end of the 72 hour window.

The active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation continues to erode as expected, with no evidence of it to be left by late in the week (2/17). La Nina conditions to become reestablished, but not as strong as suggested earlier. Of interest, a small Kelvin Wave (warm water traveling west to east on the equator about 200 meters under the oceans surface) appears to have been generated by a short-lived Westerly Wind Burst that occurred during the height of the MJO's active phase about 2/5. A small pool of water temps 2 degrees C above normal are located near 160E tracking east. This will have no effect on storm generation potential, but it's an interesting and expected artifact of the MJO. If more MJO pulses were to occur and Kelvin Waves to result, we might see a source to ending the existing La Nina regime, but that does not appear likely. So La Nina conditions and depressed storm generation potential still seems the likely outcome.


Dateline Storm
On Tuesday PM (2/7) a 976 mb low developed just west of the dateline generating 50 kts winds in the storms south quadrant at 42N 165E aimed right up the 298 degree great circle path to North CA and 40 degrees east of the 309 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were on the increase.

By Wednesday AM (2/8) pressure dropped to 968 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-60 kts at 43N 175E aimed right at North CA up the 298 degree path and 40 degrees east of the 318 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building. In the evening pressure dropped to 964 mbs as the storm crossed the dateline with winds were confirmed down to 50-55 kts at 43N 173W aimed at North CA up the 297 degree path and 55 degree off the 331 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 29 ft centered at 43N 175E.

By Thursday AM (2/9) pressure was 964 mbs as the storm pulled in the the northwest Gulf of Alaska with 50 kts winds over a small area confirmed at 47N 165W aimed right at California up the 300 degree path. Seas were modeled at 32 ft at 44N 172W. By evening this pressure to be up to 968 mbs with winds 45 kts over a fading area at 49N 162W aimed towards California up the 306 degree path. Seas forecast at 34 ft centered at 47N 163W.

This storm was gone by Friday AM (2/10).

Swell from this storm hit buoy 46006 8 AM Saturday (2/11) with pure swell about 6 ft @ 20 secs and built to 11.7 ft @ 17 secs by 4 PM, holding till midnight then dropping off. The swell also hit Waimea Bay Saturday at 6 AM with pure swell 5.6 ft @ 17 secs maxing near noon at 6.2 ft @ 15.5 secs, a bit smaller than expected.

There was nothing special about this storm, though wind speeds were decent. It was moving fast to the northeast and was relatively small in total areal coverage, limiting swell generation potential. It was 1856-2807 nmiles from North CA and 1537-1856 nmiles from Hawaii, but fetch was not aimed well at the Islands.

North California: Expect swell arrival Sunday (2/12) at noon with swell period 19 and size ramping up fast. Swell to peak near 6 PM with pure swell 6.7-7.7 ft @ 17 secs (11-13 ft faces) holding through early Monday AM , and on the drop by sunrise. Swell Direction: 296-300 degrees

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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (2/12) the models indicate high pressure to be in control for the coming week (and likely many months more) reaching 1044 mbs by Monday in the Gulf of Alaska and staying there through next weekend. Winds over outer waters to be generally offshore though the Cape Mendocino gradient is modeled to fire up on Tuesday (2/14) producing a short burst of 35 kt north winds and maybe some short period windswell for North CA during that timeframe. But those north winds are to sag south into Central CA Wed/Thurs before fading out, likely making for chopped out conditions. Otherwise light winds to be the norm.

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 high pressure to remain in control of the Eastern Pacific with nary a breath of swell producing fetch suggested. If anything the predominant wind direction is to be east-to-west aimed towards Japan driven by strong high pressure at 1044 mbs that's to totally lock down the Gulf of Alaska through next weekend. Two pulses of low pressure are to try and emerge off Japan but they are to get shuttled quickly north with only 12-14 hours of 35 kt west winds suggested, and even that is to get zero traction on the oceans surface. So the extended outlook is the least positive we've seen since, well maybe last summer. Get what you can now.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Mavericks Surf Contest and Stormsurf
- Science hangs 10 at Surf Contest: CNET - Read it Here
- Pillar Point Unique Conditions swell Mavericks Monsters: Rough seabed, winds and seas currents to create California biggest surfing challenge; San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here
- Tyler Smith's Quest: Chasing the Moby Dick of the Surfing World: San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here

MV Indies Trader Returns to Sumatra
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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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