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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: March 22, 2006 9:18 AM
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   

Gale Pattern To Continue
But Steadily Weaker


On Tuesday (3/21) Northern CA surf was 2-3 ft overhead with bigger waves at elect spots to 4 ft overhead and ugly with southwest winds in effect. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and a bit bigger on the sets to shoulder high. Central California surf was chest to head high and lumpy. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high at the best breaks and blown out with most thigh high or less. The LA Area southward to Orange County was near flat. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to maybe one foot overhead. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was chest high.

It isn't over just yet for exposed breaks in California, with windswell providing a steady diet of something rideable and then some. And further out Hawaii is to get in on the action too. The source of swell at both locations is to be a series of gales dropping through the Gulf of Alaska with another developing just north of Hawaii tracking northeast into the Gulf. Just minimal gale force winds expected from all these, but it's sure better than flatness. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream (3/21) remained poorly organized with a .cgiit flow in-control. A reasonably consolidated flow was pushing off Japan at 140 kts, but .cgiit a bit west of the dateline (at 170E). The southern branch was weak, flowing over Hawaii then east past the southern tip of Baja. The northern branch arched ste.cgiy north pushing beyond the Aleutians at the dateline then dipped south hard, flowing over the Gulf of Alaska at 150 kts recurving east and weakening while flowing into North California. The pocket off the Pacific Northwest and Canada was the only favorable area for surface level low pressure development in the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/24) the broad trough currently positioned in the Gulf of Alaska is to hold though winds are to gradually diminish, reducing this areas ability to support surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to slowly move inland over the Pacific Northwest by Saturday (3/25) but a secondary trough is to set up in the same area on Sunday though with lesser energy, slowly pushing east and inland over North CA late Tuesday (3/28). Some weak support for surface level low pressure development expected. Otherwise a .cgiit flow to remain over the balance of the North Pacific.

At the surface today another gale was trying to organize in the Gulf. Pressure was 988 mbs with 30-35 kt north west winds confirmed pushing from the eastern most Aleutian Islands southeast towards Oregon and California. Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned 1200 nmiles north west of Hawaii ridging north over the Aleutians and southwest to nearly Baja. The remnants of a broad gale inland of the Southern Kuril Islands was fading out there (see Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours the Gulf of Alaska to be the focus. The gale in the Gulf on Tuesday is to continue Wednesday through Thursday producing a 30-35 kt fetch of northwest winds dropping southeast towards and over Oregon. Seas 20 ft building to 25 ft late Wednesday then fading to the 20 ft range late Thursday pushing southeast into California hitting Thursday through Saturday with swell averaging 5.8-7.0 ft @ 12 secs (7-8 ft faces at exposed breaks in North CA), 5.2-7.3 ft @ 12 secs (6.5-8.5 ft faces Central CA) and 2.3-3.4 ft @ 12 secs (3-4 ft faces South CA).

Also on Thursday (3/23) a tiny 1000 mb cutoff low is forecast to develop just northwest of Hawaii lifting north with 35-40 kts winds and 20 ft seas aimed back at the Islands through Saturday. This to produce north windswell for north facing shore of the Hawaii Islands estimated at 4 ft @ 11 secs (4-5 ft faces) starting late Saturday (4/25) through Sunday and into Monday.

Japan Gale
On Sunday (3/19) a low was over North Japan extending out into the Pacific a bit. Pressure dropped to 968 mbs Monday producing about 18 hours of 40-45 kt west winds over open waters just off Northern Japan, in turn generating 25-26 ft seas late evening into early Tuesday. The low tracked north and remained mostly landlocked, pushing west of the Kuril Islands Tuesday. This should produce some small 2 ft @ 13 sec impulse class swell pushing into Hawaii late Saturday (3/25).

No other swell sources forecast.

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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (3/21) the models suggest a mostly light winds flow through Monday of next week with the only perturbation being a front pushing through North and Central CA on Friday (3/24) with perhaps some secondary frontal action Saturday. 20 kts south winds and rain accompanying the front Friday then drying our and calming down. No luck by Tuesday though if the Hawaiian cutoff low forms as forecast and pushes in the CA, with brisk south winds and a fair amount of moisture expected all locations. But that's alot of guesswork this far into the future.

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 the cutoff Hawaiian low pressure system is to push far enough north and start tapping jetstream energy in the Gulf of Alaska. Pressure to drop to 988 mbs Monday (3/27) and expanding in areal coverage while 600 nmiles off San Francisco with winds up to near 50 kts but aimed due south, missing Hawaii and passing much of California. Still wrap around fetch to build in the systems south quadrant early Tuesday at 40-45 kts generating 27 ft seas and possibly sending a shot of solid raw swell energy towards Central and South CA from a rather westerly direction and North CA from an almost southwesterly direction. The core of the low to push onshore over North CA late Wednesday.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours two small lows are forecast to push under New Zealand, the first late Wednesday (3/22) at 972 mbs producing 45 kt winds and 32 ft seas and the second on Friday (3/25) producing 40-45 kt winds and 32-24 ft seas aimed on a more northerly route. Yet a third broader one forecast for Sunday (3/26) producing 40-45+ kt winds and 37 ft seas. All three to provide some energy for Hawaii to California, assuming the models are accurate. there hasn't been much deviation over the past few days, so odds are improving for a favorable outcome.

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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