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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 9, 2006 7:44 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   

Pacific is Sleepy
Models Tease But Confidence Low


On Tuesday (5/9) Northern CA surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and junky. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high with near head high sets. Central California surf was waist to chest high in the Morro Bay area. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to maybe chest high at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high with sets maybe head high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist to chest high.

The last little bits of Swell #1S are limping into Southern California and fading. From here on out it's northern windswell for California with a hint of southern hemi swell coming from the weekend. Hawaii has a small pulse of northwestern windswell hitting with one more forecast in a few days. At this time of year we start looking south for storm development but nothing of any real interest is suggested. A gale is developing heading fast towards the Southeastern Pacific, but it's strength is much less than what was modeled a few days ago, with only a moderate pulse of utility class energy expected to push north towards California. Beyond that some activity is suggested under New Zealand by the weekend, but that will likely weaken to nothing as we approach that date. Also in the North Pacific a gale low is forecast off the Pacific Northwest this weekend with fetch aimed towards both California and Hawaii, but this too will likely weaken over subsequent runs of the models with nothing of interest forecast, but we'll monitor just the same. See details below...



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

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream charts (5/9) indicated a flat/zonal flow over the Eastern Pacific while a big ridge was developing over the Kuril Islands likely to push the jet north into the Bering Sea in the days ahead. In short, no support for surface level gale development was suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (5/12) a huge ridge is modeled for the Central North Pacific pushing well north of even the Bering Sea then crashing south into the Gulf of Alaska with a bit of a trough forming there capable of supporting some weak surface circulation, though winds are to be light (100 kts at jetstream level). Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to hold in the west while the trough steepens in the Gulf of Alaska over the weekend with winds up to 130 kts flowing into the trough, possibly supporting low pressure development there. The jet is to then turn and push northeast over Vancouver Islands. A second pulse of this trough is to build by Tuesday (5/16) with winds up to 150 kts flowing into it, again supporting low pressure development at the surface. This all looks great at this time, but confidence remains low that it will all come to pass as modeled.

At the surface on Tuesday (5/9) moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs stretched from Kamchatka southeast to a point north of Hawaii, then right up to but not over the California coast. Weak low pressure continued in the Gulf of Alaska at 1008 mbs with no swell producing fetch in evidence. Also northwest winds were pushing down the California coast at 30-35 kts centered near Cape Mendocino-Pt Arena caused by the interaction of this high pressure center and lower pressure inland, generating moderate windswell pushing south. Moderate trades were in effect for the Hawaiian Islands. Otherwise no swell producing fetch was indicated.

Over the next 72 hours through Friday (5/12) no real change in the pattern is forecast with high pressure in control. the only swell producing fetch is to remain being the gradient off the North California coast producing north winds at 25-30 kts and steadily shrinking in areal coverage.

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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/9) high pressure to remain the dominant force in the Northeastern Pacific. This is resulting in a brisk northwesterly flow over offshore waters of North and Central CA centered near Cape Mendocino at 25-30 kts with short to moderate period windswell the result. The gradient is to slowly fade through Saturday, then be gone by Sunday with windswell drifting downward on a day-to-day basis. Winds from the gradient to generally remain away coastal locations in the early mornings (except for Saturday), then coming onshore late morning into the afternoons. Southern CA to see a weak southwesterly eddy flow through the week and into the weekend.

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


South Pacific

On Tuesday (5/9) the jetstream continued ridging strongly south of New Zealand pushing over Antarctica continuing east to 140W then lifting north with 120 kts winds there. There was only minimal suggestion of any support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours this semi-trough to continue drifting east relatively unchanged through Thursday (5/11) then pushing out of the California swell window. Otherwise a .cgiit jet flow expected over the remainder of the South Pacific. Beyond the next 72 hours a small pinched trough is to open up under New Zealand Fri/Sat (5/13) trying to make some headway in to the greater South Pacific but not really making it. No support for gale development east of New Zealand forecast.

At the surface on Tuesday (5/9) a 960 mb gale was tracking east just over the Ross Ice Shelf with 55 kt southwest winds confirmed just barely pushing over open waters at 150W. 29 ft seas modeled at 65S 150W, free and clear of ice. By Wednesday the low to be at 948 mbs just off Antarctica and well east of the actual fetch with a broad fetch of 35-40 kt winds arching northeast aimed well at California and targets southward positioned on the eastern edge of the CA swell window. Seas forecast at 25-27 ft through the day [far less than previously forecast] at 58S 131W holding through the evening at 55S 125W, then dissipating some Thursday. A brief resurgence is expected late Thurs/early Friday 5/12 (actually a new tiny 972 mb low) producing 50-55 kt fetch aimed north producing 35 kt seas at 45S 110W possibly sending some more energy towards Southern CA but outside the swell windows for North CA or Hawaii. If this system comes to pass a small to moderate utility class class swell could push into California a week beyond with period in the 14 sec range with 17 sec energy into South CA. No energy expected for Hawaii. 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




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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure is to break up in the Northeastern Pacific as the jet dives south, supporting the development of weak low pressure initially in the Gulf late Saturday (5/6) generating a broad fetch of 20-25 kts north winds aimed reasonably well towards Hawaii. A closed 1004 mb low to evolve Sunday generating 35-40 kts winds and 20 ft seas aimed well towards Hawaii then moderating to the 30-35 kts range taking aim on both Hawaii and California by Monday. 25-30 kt north winds and 15 ft seas to continue into early Wednesday aimed primarily at Hawaii. Solid north to northeast windswell possible for Hawaii with lesser energy pushing towards California.

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.

A small 954 mb storm is to form just southwest of New Zealand on Friday (5/12) with 55-60 kt winds pushing northeast targeting New Zealand. The storm to track east, south of New Zealand, then beginning to feel the effects of an adverse jetstream flow aloft on Saturday, but not before more 55 kt winds build seas to near 42 ft over a tiny area at 52S 162E, possibly sending a burst of energy directly into New Zealand but still just barely outside the Hawaiian swell window (shadowed by New Zealand). Winds to fade but continue in the 40-45 kt range barely in the Hawaiian swell window (201 degrees) Sunday (5/14) as the gales moves east from under New Zealand with seas 30-37 ft. Seems like a long shot at this time.

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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