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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: March 19, 2006 12:02 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 = 1.9 - California & 1.0 - 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 3/20 thru Sun 3/26
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   

2 Weak Gales for the Gulf
Pattern Fading


On Sunday (3/19) Northern CA surf was head high and blown out early at most locales. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high. Central California surf was chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist to maybe chest high at the best breaks and blown out early, with most thing high or less. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high and clean. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high. The South Shore was flat high. The East Shore was waist to chest high.

The last vestiges of winter are expected this week in the form of 2 gales in the Gulf of Alaska. The first is to have impact only for California but if the second one develops as forecast, some energy is likely for both Hawaii and CA. But set your sites low, because the best hope at this time is for what is considered just windswell. Otherwise a quiet pattern to settle in over the North Pacific with the South Pacific trying to get jump started, but it's just too early just yet. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream (3/19) was poorly organized with a .cgiit flow remaining in-control. The southern branch was weak, flowing generally over a southern arc just south of Hawaii then up into Central Baja. The northern branch was a bit more active flowing up the Kuril's over the Aleutians and down the Pacific NOrthwest coast into California with a steep trough in the Gulf of Alaska. Upper high pressure filled the balance of the North Pacific basin in between the north and southern branches of the jet. No winds of interest were noted anywhere. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (3/22) a broad trough is forecast to open up in the Gulf of Alaska starting Monday with up to 140 kt winds pushing southeast from the intersection of the Aleutians and Alaska pushing towards and into North California, setting up a conveyor belt of energy pushing into the mainland. This to hold through the period and provide opportunity for surface level gale development. Beyond 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to hold though taking on a more north-to-south axis but wind energy levels are to be falling with the only energy expected just off North California and pushing up into Southern Oregon by the weekend. Maybe some hope for ongoing surface level low pressure activity. An upper level low is forecast to develop northwest of Hawaii next weekend too, providing a ray of hope for surface level development near the Islands.

At the surface today a gale was trying to organize over North Japan and extending out into the Pacific a bit, but this to be short lived. Pressure to drop to 968 mbs Monday producing only 18 hours of 35-45 kt west winds forecast over open waters generating 29 ft seas late evening into early Tuesday. The low to track north and remain mostly landlocked, pushing west of the Kuril Islands Tuesday. This might be good for some small 13-14 impulse class swell pushing into Hawaii next weekend, but that's it. Otherwise strong high pressure was in-control over the bulk of the North Pacific centered 900 nmiles north of Hawaii at 1036 mbs ridging west tot he dateline and connecting with another high at 1024 mbs off the California coast.

Over the next 72 hours the Gulf of Alaska to be the focus. A tiny weak 1004 mb low forecast off South Oregon Monday to generate 30-35 kt northwest winds and 20 ft seas for 18 hours pushing into California Tuesday/Wednesday with swell up to 10 ft @ 12 secs (Tuesday AM) fading out through Wednesday.

Meanwhile a somewhat more organized low at 992 mbs is to be organizing in the Northern Gulf late Monday into Tuesday generating a broader fetch of 30-35 kts northwest winds aimed again at the Pacific Northwest and California. On Wednesday up to 35-40 kts winds forecast as the low starts interacting with building high pressure near the dateline, sending some of this energy south towards Hawaii. Seas 20 ft initially building to 25 ft late Wednesday. This system to hold on, but take aim more directly on California thereafter (see longterm forecast).

No other swell sources forecast.

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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (3/19) the models suggest more rain and winds for the North Coast, but not as bad as the past few weeks and with the worst of it limited north of Pt Reyes. A front is forecast pushing through mid-Monday providing an onshore flow at 15-20 kts that day, quickly fading. A light wind regime expected Tuesday into early Wednesday with a new front set up from Bodega Bay northward late afternoon into Thursday and Friday, finally sagging into the San Francisco area on Saturday into Sunday. Otherwise relatively light winds to be in effect over Central and South CA.

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 low pressure at 992 mbs is to continue holding off California and Oregon on Thursday (3/23) producing a less defined area of 30-35 kt winds and 20 ft seas aimed at the coast. This low to lift north on Friday and fade, with the swell it produces dissipating.

A 1000 mb cutoff low is to form northwest of Hawaii late Friday (3/24) driving a short lived fetch of 30-35 kt winds and 20 ft seas aimed towards Hawaii on Saturday then slowly fading. Windswell to result for the Islands if this system materializes.

But after that no obvious swell source is suggested with a calm pattern taking hold.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours two small lows are forecast to push under New Zealand, the first late Wednesday (3/22) at 968 mbs producing 45-50 kt winds and 34 ft seas and the second on Friday (3/25) producing 40-45 kt winds and 32 ft seas aimed on a more northerly route. Odd's low for either system actually developing are low.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here

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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

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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