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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 17, 2008 12:18 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 = 3.5 - California & 3.5 - 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 2/18 thru Sun 2/24
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 Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Slower Storm Pattern For a While
Jetstream Forecast to .cgiit Again


New Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.

On Sunday (2/17) Northern CA surf was 2-4 feet overhead and almost clean, though there was a slight onshore flow, and residuals from swell #19 were still obviously in the water, but down to a much more manageable size range. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to maybe head high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high to 2 ft overhead and clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was head high to 1 ft overhead and clean with lines to the horizon. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high and glassy. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were head high to 2 ft overhead and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to maybe chest high. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was flat.

North/Central California was getting the last bit's of swell from strong Storm #19 originating on the dateline earlier in the week but way down from Friday and Saturdays booming long period clean swell stacked up as far as the eye could see. Southern California was getting solid energy from Swell #19 too, but way down from yesterdays peak. Hawaii's North Shore was really in the calm zone, with only small waves lapping into the North Shore. The East Shore was flat. The South Shore was seasonally flat.

No swell producing weather systems of interest are occurring in the North Pacific today. The jetstream flow remains just ripping from west to east and pushing to within 1000 nmiles of the California coast but with no troughs of interest, not providing a configuration favorable for storm development. The energy is definitely there, just not the required twists and turns. At the surface maybe a gale is forecast building in the Gulf mid-week, but the models have been all over the map on this one, first suggesting a big storm pattern there a few days ago, and now suggesting maybe only a weak little series of local systems off California pushing east. Suspect the later most recent data is probably closer to the truth. A series of broad gales are forecast pushing off Japan starting late week, but there are to get shunted quickly northeast and out of the picture, perhaps offering only intermediate class surf for Hawaii and nothing for the West Coast. So we go from feast to famine in 24 hours. Hope you got your fill while the table wa full. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (2/17) for the North Pacific depicted a solid consolidated flow pushing dead flat off Japan at 190-200 kts moving over the dateline to a point just 1000 nmiles west of San Francisco then .cgiitting with the northern branch pushing hard north into Alaska and the southern branch pushing hard south then turning eat and pushing into Baja. The only thing of any remote interest was associated with the .cgiit to the north, making a weak trough there in the Gulf of Alaska. But even at that only weak support for surface level low pressure development appeared likely. Over the next 72 hours solid consolidated jetstream energy is to steam eastward reaching the California coast Wednesday (2/20) with winds at 160 kts stretching the whole wa from Japan to the US. Only the faintest hint of a trough was suggested on the dateline, but not really enough to do anything. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to fall apart, .cgiitting on the dateline late Saturday (2/23) with the northern branch pushing due north into the Bering Sea while the flow to the east continues.cgiowing into the US West Coast for a while, but that likely won't last long. Suspect upper high pressure to again build in the west.

At the surface today weak low pressure, actually two low pressure cores almost joined covered the entire North Pacific. One was centered off the Kuril Islands with another in the Western Gulf of Alaska just south of the Eastern Aleutians. They were generating a broad but unorganized fetch of 25-30 kts west winds with most fetch just some of the core of both lows. Seas to 24 ft were located where the strongest winds were, at roughly 37N 163E and 40N 170W offering maybe background swell potential for HAwaii with period in the 13 secs range, but nothing more.

Over the next 72 hours these lows are to push eat and try and congeal in the Gulf of Alaska forming a semi organized gale there Tuesday (2/19) with pressure 980 mbs and generating a tiny fetch of 45 kts winds at 43N 158W aimed towards California. It's to push east through Wednesday eventually impacting British Columbia late in the day and fading. 30 ft seas are forecast from this one Wednesday AM near 45N 145W pushing down the 300 degree path to North CA (305 SCal), then fading as the low pushes inland. Maybe limited swell for California, but weather to likely be an issue by the time it reaches the coast. No other systems of interest were forecast.

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


California Nearshore Forecast
As of Sunday (2/17) weak high pressure at 1024 mbs sitting 400 nmiles off Southern CA and ridging north making for only a light northerly flow pushing down the coast, but nothing too bad. Low pressure was building in the Gulf of Alaska impacting winds over the Hawaiian Islands and bound for California. A light flow is expected for California Monday then the front for the leading edge of eastward traveling low pressure was to just about reach the coast Tuesday (2/19) but falling apart before pushing onshore. The net result is maybe some light south winds in North CA then, but rain is forecast to push all the way down into Southern CA through the day Wednesday. High pressure to try and get a foothold later Wednesday but is to be too weak to have any real impact on local winds while the next low/front tries to build offshore. It's to push into North and Central Ca late with south winds and rain forecast in Central CA pushing into Southern CA on into Thursday, followed by another tiny low building just off the coast Friday (2/22) pushing onshore late and tracking the whole way into Southern CA with more rain and south wind. Yet another low to be building just off Central CA Saturday (2/23) pushing onshore late with more south wind and rain into Sunday.


No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.


South Pacific

An unusual mid-winter southern hemi gale at 960 mbs is passing under New Zealand on Sunday (2/17) generating 45 kt southwest winds at 55S 170E aimed well up the 210 degree path to Hawaii with seas to 36-38 ft there. It's to seep slowly east into Monday with winds slowly fading and 36 ft seas fading from 50S 172W but aimed almost right up the 190 degree path to the Islands through the period. Some form of off season southern hemi swell for the Islands looks likely starting Sunday (2/24) reaching near 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft faces) Monday (2/25) from 190-195 degrees.


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 hrs a broad gale is to form off Japan on Thursday (2/21) with pressure 992 mbs and winds 45 kts in it's core over a tiny area building late with up to 50 kt winds at 43N 160E aimed well towards Hawaii down the 312 degree path while lifting northeast. Seas building from 25 ft. 45 kt winds to continue Friday (2/22) near 45N 162E aimed towards the Islands down the 315 degree path the fading as the low pushing up into the western Bering Sea. A tiny area of 30 ft seas are forecast at 40N 168E Friday, the fading out. Limited hope for Hawaii for some small 15-16 sec period swell.

Another gael to follow right behind with even less potential, and all getting shunted quickly northeast into the Bering Sea as the jetstream starts .cgiitting directing a good energy north and out of the picture.


MJO Note: The active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation was pushing fully over the dateline Sunday (2/17) and expected to seep east over the equatorial Pacific through the end of the month on into the first week of March, likely helping to fuel some degree of limited storm development through the period. SOI values remain positive in the 10 range, though down from the 25 range last week (2/10). These are still expected to drop into the negative range a week out. Will see if this one has some impact on the North Pacific storm track, though one could already i.cgiicate it in Storms #16-19. But with the jetstream expected to .cgiit heavily, it has likely done all it can.


South Pacific

No swell producing systems of interst are forecast.

Details to follow...


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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Local Interest

Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here:

Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will r.cgienish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details here:

Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here:

Grib File Switchover: The old grib1 format wave model datafiles that have been the mainstay of the National Weather service for years now are scheduled to be retired on 1/26. We switched over to the new grib2 files starting with the 00z run of Thurs 1/17. All appears to be running fine. There is no functional change to the content of the models, just that files we receive are now smaller due to improved compression of grib2. But this sets us up to start processing new higher resolution files and building new products in the months ahead. So in all it's a good maintenance level change.

Sharkwater: There's a new feature film called Sharkwater that is hitting theaters November 2nd. Sharkwater is an award winning documentary (22 international film awards including the UN and Cannes) that broke box office records in Canada, opening to bigger numbers than any documentary in history save Fahrenheit 911 and Supersize Me. It is a conservation film that demonstrates that the biggest influence on the air we breathe, and global warming is life in the oceans except life in the oceans is being wiped out. Shark populations have dropped 90% in the last 30 years alone, and the oceans continue to be destroyed because nobody knows that it's happening Learn more here:

Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here:

Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit Submit online at

Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists.

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

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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