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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 4, 2006 7:30 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 & 2.0 - 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 4/3 thru Sun 4/9
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   

Japan Gales Push Small Swell East
Stronger Storm to Follow


On Tuesday (4/4) Northern CA surf was 3-4 ft overhead and not too blow out early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high with sets 2 ft over. Central California surf was chest to head high and windy by afternoon. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high and up to chest high at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high with rare set near head high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to chest high and clean. The East Shore was thigh high.

Northwest windswell for California to be trending downward till the weekend when a mix of small Japan swell and possible new Gulf swell hits. Southern hemi energy from a series of small early season gales under New Zealand a week ago to continue providing some rideable surf at better locations mixed with the above North Pacific swells. And yet more small southern hemi swell is expected in California next week from a pair of gales last weekend in the far southeast Pacific. Hawaii's North Shore is set to stir a little thanks to a solid gale that formed off Japan last weekend pushing northwest swell towards the Islands with another right behind. The South Shore has had it's early season pulse with nothing else expected anytime soon. Fortunately more activity is charted in the North Pacific, so rideable surf remains forecast for the usual north facing spots both on the Islands and the mainland. Nothing large, just 'rideable'. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream (4/4) was trying to hold on. Today two troughs of interest were depicted, one off North Japan with 150 kt winds flowing into it then the whole jet lifted sha.cgiy north rising into the Bering Sea before even hitting the dateline. From there it generally tracked east into Canada before reversing direction and diving southwest feeding the second trough positioned just off California with 120 kt winds flowing under it. From there the jet tracked into California near Pt Conception. The two troughs mentioned above are the best areas for surface level low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (4/7) the pattern is to become a bit less abrupt, with the Japan trough loosing definition while lifting north but not fading away all together. Instead a mild trough to remain off the Kuril Islands with 130 kt winds flowing under it rising gently and crossing the Aleutians just east of the dateline. Some surface level gale support likely. Also some degree of a loosely defined trough to remain in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska but winds are to remain below the 120 kt mark. The jet is to basically look like an inverted 'v' with it's apex on the Aleutians just east of the dateline. Beyond 72 hours no big change forecast other than the concentration of winds energy currently isolated to the West Pacific is to flow over the Aleutian peak and is to start dropping into the trough on the Gulf side of the jet with winds theoretically to the 160 kt mark early next Tuesday. This bodes well for gale development there.

At the surface on Tuesday (4/4) a weak 1004 mb low was off the Central California coast nestled in the upper level trough there producing 30-35 kt northwest winds aimed a bit south of the Southern CA coast, expected to push inland on Wednesday. This low is the remnants of a gale that was in the Gulf last weekend. See details below (California Gale). Swell from a low that was off Japan last weekend is in the water tracking east towards Hawaii and to a lesser extent, California (see 1st Japan Low). Also 980 mb low was off North Japan lifting northward (see 2nd Japan Low).

Over the next 72 hours a 972 mb storm is forecast to develop off north Japan late Wednesday (4/5) producing 55-60 kts winds over a small are aimed well at Hawaii and tracking northeast. By Thursday AM pressure to drop to 968 mbs with 60-65 kt winds over a small area aimed due east or right up the 312 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas to 30 ft over a tiny area. This system to lift northeast with 65 kts winds continuing in the evening but aimed more to the northeast up the 303 degree path to North CA with only minimal energy still aimed towards Hawaii and from a very indirect angle. 37 ft seas forecast at 47N 172E. By Friday AM the core of the storm to be impacting the Aleutians on the dateline with residual 50 kts winds aimed well north of the 306 degree track to North CA, focused more on Washington and point north. 39 ft seas modeled at 50N 78E. This storm to be gone by nightfall.

California Gale
Another gale developed in the northeast Gulf of Alaska late Saturday (4/1) with pressure 992 mbs and winds to 40-45 kts aimed well down the 306 degree great circle tracks to North CA (on the northern edge of the swell window). 40-45 kts northwest winds persisted through Sunday aimed like before with seas building to 27 ft late (at 42N 143 - a bit west of buoy 46006) while the core of the low tracked southeast. The low was positioned just off San Francisco Monday with 26-28 ft seas and 30-35 kt northwest winds blowing parallel to the coast, but well offshore and fading. There was some resurgence of the low off the South California coast on Tuesday with 35-40 kts northwest winds and 22 ft seas being regenerated, but aimed too far to the south to have much impact. This swell has already hit North CA and is to slowly fade through Wednesday. Central and South CA could see something bigger with swell in Central CA hitting Tuesday 6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.0-7.5 ft faces) building Wednesday AM to 7.8 ft @ 13 secs (9-10 ft faces) but fading fast as the core of the low moves onshore in the evening. Exposed breaks in Southern CA to reach 4.8 ft @ 12 secs late Wednesday (5.5-6.0 ft faces).

1st Japan Low
On Tuesday (2/28) a broad 988 mb low started to develop in the Sea of Japan but remained landlocked there. But by Thursday (2/30) it nudged east into the open waters of the Western Pacific but unorganized. By Friday evening (3/31) pressure dropped to 980 mbs with winds building briefly to 50 kts at 37N 153E and seas to 21 ft over a small area aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii then expanding on Saturday as pressure held in the 984 mb range. Winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts with seas 30 ft (Sat PM at 36N 162E) aimed much better towards the Islands while tracking east. The low was still a bit west of the dateline Sunday (4/2) with 35-40 kts winds and 25-27 ft seas continuing in it's south quadrant aimed well at Hawaii, fading mid-Monday as the swell vector takes aim more the east and beyond Hawaii's swell window. 20 ft seas modeled. A moderate utility class swell is expected to push into the Hawaiian Islands Wednesday (4/5) into Thursday with swell 4.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (7 ft faces). Swell will be fairly well decayed given the relatively long swell travel distance but still quite rideable compared to the surf of late. Much smaller well decayed energy to limp into exposed north facing breaks in North/Central California Friday peaking Saturday (4/8) at 3.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (4-5 ft faces).

2nd Japan Low
A low started to
formed over Japan on Sunday (4/2). By Monday it pushed off Japan with pressure 980 mbs generating 45-50 kts winds pushing a bit south of the great circle rays to Hawaii and 32 ft seas following that path (at 35N 152E). The low made a little headway east on Tuesday but is expected to start lifting north with 35-40 kt winds aimed well at Hawaii in the evening and seas holding in the 30 ft range (near 32N 160E) pushing well towards Hawaii. This system to decay fast by Wednesday AM with no additional seas being generated. More small to moderate utility swell to push towards and into Hawaii by late Saturday (4/8) with swell reaching 4.2 ft @ 15 secs (5.5-6.0 ft). Some degree of well decayed energy likely to push into California and the US west coast 2-3 days later.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/4) the models suggest the wet pattern is to remain intact for a bit longer, though the swell producing fetch of the earlier systems is to not be as pronounced. A short burst of strong high pressure is to move in Wednesday (4/5) bringing brisk northwest winds for the entire coast. A break is scheduled Thursday while another weak low sets up more south winds for North CA by Friday (4/7). Light winds Saturday and Sunday all locations while yet another front moves in bringing southwest winds to North and Central CA Mon/Tues.

The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.


South Pacific

This area has been reasonably active with one more gale in.cgiay before everything shuts down. Here's the details:

A third low started Sunday (3/26) off the edge of the well receded ice of the Ross Ice Shelf. Winds were initially only 35 kts but reached 45-50 kts Monday aimed northeast towards Hawaii and California with seas building to 30 late. this system faded Wednesday while tracking fast to the east. Some small background swell to be the likely result for Hawaii by Wednesday (4/5) with swell 1.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (2 ft). Even less energy to reach Southern California peaking Friday morning (4/7) at 2 ft @ 16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft)..

A new 968 mbs low formed in the Southeastern Pacific on Friday (3/31) well outside the Hawaiian swell window producing 45-50 kt confirmed winds late aimed northeast somewhat towards California and Central America. This fetch held if not built to 55 kts early Saturday (4/1) at 56S 119W aimed due north while traveling east and fading generating 30 ft seas at 52S 121W, fading out by Sunday morning. This system was right on the edge of the California swell window and aimed best at targets south of even Central America. Southern CA the best spot in the continental US to receive any energy from this one. Possible small swell to result on Sunday (4/9) with swell 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) from 180 degrees building to 2.6 ft @ 15 secs on Monday (3.5-4.0 ft faces).

Also another stronger one was developing in the far Southeastern Pacific on late Saturday (4/1) with pressure 956 mbs and 50 kt winds pushing northeast. Seas were modeled to 35 ft over a small area at 65S 155W. By Sunday (4/2) 45-50 kts winds were generating 37 ft seas at 63S 142W expected to hold through the evening but traveling fast to the east. By Monday this system was well outside the CA swell window. This system to perhaps generate some small south angled background swell for Hawaii (1 ft @ 15-16 secs) with decent swell expected to track into California favoring the south end of the state again, with Southern California to see swell of 2.6 ft @ 17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Tuesday (4/11) from 180-185 degrees.

No other swell producing system forecast.

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 yet another 1000 mb gale is to develop in the Northern Gulf of Alaska Sun/Mon (4/10) pushing east generating 35 kts winds and perhaps 25 ft seas on the northern edge of the North CA swell window then sitting there for a few days, possibly setting up another does of moderate north windswell.

Also a small but intense storm is forecast Tuesday (4/11) well north of Hawaii tracking east with most fetch aimed even north of North CA. This is a big reach for the models, but something worth watching.

Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a much calmer pattern to follow with no swell producing systems forecast. The models suggest perhaps a storm developing in the Tasman seas over the coming weekend, but confidence is very 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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