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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 7, 2006 6:04 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 = 1.5 - California & 0.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' 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 5/8 thru Sun 5/14
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   

Swell 1S Fading in CA
Another Southern Hemi Storm on the Charts


On Sunday (5/7) Northern CA surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and blown out at exposed breaks. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high with head high sets. Central California surf was chest high with head high sets in the Morro Bay area. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to chest high at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest to head high at the better breaks with maybe a few larger sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were head high to 2 ft overhead with most waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist to chest high.

Swell #1S has peaked out in California with size right about as expected. A downward trend is forecast from here with northern windswell becoming the only swell source for the next 5 days, with size at times north of Point Conception. Hawaii has nothing of any size forecast, just the fading remnants of Swell #1S through the early part of the workweek. Next weekend a small pulse of southern hemi swell is forecast for California, but size is to be minimal. Even less size for Hawaii. Fortunately another storm is modeled in the far Southeastern Pacific mid-week, outside the Hawaiian swell window but targeting breaks from California southward. We'll monitor this one, especially since there isn't anything else to track as we fall headlong into the doldrums of summer. See details below...



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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (5/7) indicated a flat zonal flow of the jet off Northern Japan tracking due east impacting over Vancouver Island. Winds were 130 kts in pockets, but no troughs of interest were indicated. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (5/10) no change was suggested. Beyond 72 hours a huge ridge is to build in over the West Pacific with the jet tracking well up into the Bering Sea, then tracking southeast through the Gulf of Alaska forming a weak trough off Canada there before pushing into Washington. Winds up to 140 kts there next weekend, maybe supporting some form of low pressure off Vancouver Island, but that's a bit of a reach. So for now, a generally inactive pattern is settling in.

At the surface on Sunday (5/7) moderate to strong high pressure at 1028 mbs stretched from just off North Japan east over the dateline, north of Hawaii, then right up to but not over the California coast. Weak low pressure continued in the Gulf of Alaska at 996 mbs producing 25-30 kt westerly winds targeting Vancouver Island, with windswell likely pushing towards there. Also northwest winds were pushing down the California coast at 20-25 kts generating short period windslop there with the same occurring along Hawaiian eastern shores, all driven by the clockwise flow of wind around the big high pressure system holding down the core of the North Pacific Ocean. Otherwise no swell producing fetch was indicated.

Over the next 72 hours the bulk of the high pressure is to drift east increasing the pressure gradient along the California coast near Cape Mendocino with up to 30 kt north winds forecast there, increasing the size of the local windswell Tues/Wed, but the gradient over the Hawaiian Islands is to conversely fade, with windswell dropping there. More high pressure is to be building off Kamchatka dropping southeast.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (5/4) high pressure remained the dominant force in the Northeastern Pacific though expected to back off over the weekend. This to result in a decreased northwesterly flow over offshore waters of North and Central CA (south of Pt Reyes) especially by Friday evening. South eddy flow winds forecast for all of CA Friday. But by Saturday more high pressure to be moving east and centered further south generating northwesterly winds north of Pt Conception and slowly building, with pronounced buildup starting Tuesday of next week with winds 35-40 kts again off Cape Mendocino through Wednesday. Larger windswell expected then. Southerly eddy flow to continue in South CA through the weekend and into next week but north of Pt Conception a northwesterly flow to prevail, light in the mornings and coming on near noontime each day.

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


South Pacific

On Sunday (5/7) the jetstream was ridging strongly south of New Zealand nearly over Antarctica continuing east to 110W, outside the California swell window. There was no suggesting of any support for gale development. On Tuesday (5/12) a tiny trough, or dip in the jetstream northward, is forecast in the Central Pacific just off Antarctic Ice with 130 kt winds flowing over it. This trough to build through Wednesday while tracking east with 140 kt winds forecast to be flowing up the troughs western side aimed north, possibly supporting developing of low pressure at the surface on the edge of the California swell window. The trough to push east out of the window 24 hours later with a weak ridge in.cgiace over the rest of the greater South Pacific. That pattern to become even more engrained through the end of next weekend with a huge ridge pushing strongly over Antarctica in control of the Central Pacific. No support for surface level low pressure development suggested aloft.

At the surface on Sunday (5/7) strong high pressure was in control of the Central Pacific centered well east of New Zealand at 1032 mbs riding south to nearly Antarctica completely blocking the storm corridor there. No low pressure of interest was present anywhere in the South Pacific though a gale was trying to develop south of Tasmania.

Over the next 72 hours the Tasmanian gale is to get shoved very far south but is to somehow continue developing with pressure 960 mbs on Monday (5/8) with 55 kt west winds forecast developing over a tiny are in it's north quadrant as it interacts with high pressure at 1024 mbs sitting right on top of it, mostly over the Ross Ice Shelf with bits' of 30 ft seas free and clear. By Tuesday (5/9) this system to lift a little north around the eastern edge of the high pressure system off New Zealand with a broader fetch of 50-55 kt winds pushing over exposed waters taking aim northeast while the low itself tracks rapidly east. 32 ft seas forecast at 62S 138W, free and clear of ice. By Wednesday the low to be at 948 mbs just off Antarctica with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt winds arching northeast aimed well at California and targets southward positioned on the eastern edge of the CA swell window. Seas forecast at 37 ft in the morning at 58S 129W holding through the evening at 55S 121W, then dissipating Thursday. If this system comes to pass a moderate significant class swell could push into California a week beyond. Next to no energy expected to push into Hawaii though. Will monitor.

Small California Pulse
Also a small gale developed in the Southeastern Pacific on Wednesday (5/3) at 960 mbs producing south winds at 35-40 kts continuing through late early Saturday. 25-26 ft seas were modeled in the vicinity of 60S 135W thru 49S 129W pushing due north. The Jason-1 satellite made mult.cgie passes over this area reporting seas in the 23-25 ft range. Most energy was pushing towards California with just a little sideband fetch directed towards Hawaii. Hawaii to see tiny background swell of 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs late Friday-early Sat (5/12) (2.0-2.5 ft faces - 170 degrees). Small swell to push into South California Saturday AM (6/13) with swell 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs late (4 ft faces) and 3.3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees. This swell to arrive in North California late Saturday (5/13) with swell 2.3 ft @ 16 secs late (3.5 ft faces) pushing 3 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 185 degrees.

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


Storm 1S (California)
Storm History
On Tuesday AM (4/25) a 972 mb gale was developing well south just above the Ross Ice Shelf producing 45 kt south winds at 60S 180W aimed towards Hawaii and California while the low itself tracked east. By nightfall the fetch had increased size with 45-50 kts winds confirmed at 57S 167W aimed right up the 186 degree path to Hawaii and the 202 degree path to California (clear of the Tahitian swell shadow).

By Wednesday AM pressure was down to 964 with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt winds in.cgiace at 54S 159W pushing north towards Hawaii up the 181 degree path and towards California up the 200 degree path. Seas modeled at 30 ft at 54S 165W. In the evening pressure dropped to 948 mbs with a decentralized fetch of 45-50 kt winds building at 50S 144W aimed more to the east, or northeast at California up the 195 degree path and with sideband energy still pushing 40 degree east of the 180 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas building to 35 ft at 53S 155W. Seas modeled at 30 ft at 53S 155W, and the Jason-1 satellite passed over the outer fringes of the fetch near 06Z Thursday reporting seas 30 ft, consistent with the wave models expectations.

On Thursday AM pressure dropped to 932 mbs with fetch confirmed ramping up to 50-55 kts over a small area at 54S 132W aimed over a arch from California (188 degree) east to South America and moving to the eastern edge of the California swell window by nightfall. Seas 32 ft at 51S 152W in the AM. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch Thursday AM confirming seas at 34 ft at 51S 148W, right on track if not better than what the models suggested. Winds were still be holding in the 50-55 kt range at 55S 127W aimed up the 183 degree path to California by nightfall with seas modeled to 40 ft at 54S 122W.

Contrary to previous model runs, the low went stationary there and spun out through Saturday (4/29) with winds fading to the 30-35 kts range and 37 ft seas at 54S 121W on the edge of the swell window Friday AM fading fast afterward (below the 30 ft threshold by nightfall) as all fetch was targeting Antarctica.

Swell Generation Potential
This has not been a great storm by any summertime standard, mainly because it's tracking fast to the east not allowing it's fetch to get good purchase/traction on the oceans surface, limiting swell production capacity. Still it generated a broad area of decent sized seas pushing towards Hawaii, but not enough to reach the significant class threshold. The expected reorganization of the storm in the Eastern Pacific occurred as expected sending another larger pulse of energy north and east, with California and South/Central America the expected recipients. Significant class size with solid period expected, earning this one the title of first significant class swell of the summer.

Surf Forecast
South California (Orange County): Swell 3.6 ft @ 14 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Monday AM and fading. Swell Direction: 190-195 degrees

North California (Santa Cruz): Swell fading Monday from 3 ft @ 13-14 secs (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 185-192 degrees




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the next batch of high pressure is to track east targeting the California coast with pressure up to 1036 mbs. this to reinvigorate the pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino with 30-35 kt north winds forecast there late Friday (5/12) and short period windswell on the rise. Tradewinds along Hawaii's eastern shores to be on the increase too to 20-25 kts, with windswell building some there through the weekend. But Sunday low pressure is to suddenly try a develop off the Pacific Northwest in response to a strong dip in the jet there, but no swell producing winds are currently forecast. So in short, windswell is the only thing expected from the North Pacific .

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure at 1024 mbs is to continue holding control of waters of the Central Pacific eliminating any chance for storm development.

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

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

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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