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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 10, 2005 7:32 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 = 1.0 - California & 1.0 - 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 5/9 thru Sun 5/15
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 Pattern Fades N and S
Windswell Best Bet


On Tuesday (5/9) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and junky. South facing breaks were waist high with chest high sets from the southern hemi. Central California was waist to chest high and blown out in the afternoon. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were about waist high with best breaks to chest high. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high with chest high sets.cgius sets from the southern hemisphere. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high with up to chest high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was maybe up to waist high. The South Shore was up to waist high. The East Shore was thigh high northeast windswell.

The last remnants of southern hemispheric energy was fading along the California coast. Hawaii was even smaller. The models are not very helpful in that that they don;t provide any indications of noteworthy swell in the next few weeks. There was a solid storm under New Zealand on Thursday of last week, but all it's fetch was aimed towards Antarctica and Chile. Another storm is fading fast under New Zealand, getting mashed before it really even moved into the California swell window and shadowed from Hawaii by Fiji. Nothing else is forecast. See details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (5/10) the jetstream remained weak. A big ridge was set up over the dateline with a weak trough in the Gulf of Alaska (animation here). Over the next 72 hours through Friday (5/13) the Gulf trough is to push further east to nearly Canada with a a flat zonal flow settling in the whole way back to Japan. No evidence of anything that would support gale development other than the weak trough in the Gulf.

At the surface today a weak 992 mb low was in the western Gulf of Alaska with a tiny area of 25 kt winds aimed towards the Us west coast. No swell generation potential. A new 988 mb low was developing over the Central Kuril Islands pushing east (animation here). This low is to move into clear water Tuesday night into Wednesday (5/11) with 35-45 kt westerly winds aimed well towards Hawaii, fading fast by night fall. Seas building to 25 ft, but they will decay alot over the long journey to Hawaii. This looks good for a slightly bigger pulse of 11-13 sec tiny swell for the Islands early next week.

Otherwise the North Pacific is really winding down. Will start monitoring this hemisphere on an exception basis.

More model data here

South Pacific

On Tuesday (5/10) the jetstream in the South Pacific remained somewhat .cgiit, but the southern branch was dominant. It had a mild trough under New Zealand supporting some storm activity at the surface but the bulk of the energy was tracking southeast into Antarctica (animation here). Over the next 72 hours through Friday (5/13) a big change is forecast, but not for the better. The northern branch is to start diving south with a huge ridge developing and growing through the forecast period, totally driving any energy tracking east from Australia into Antarctica. A small trough is to persist under New Zealand, but anything developing there is likely to get caught in the ridge and driven south over the Ross Ice Shelf.

At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned in the Southeast Pacific driving anything the tried to emerge from under New Zealand southeast into Antarctica. A 960 mb low was under New Zealand (see details below) but fading. Also fetch was present off Chile aimed due north starting Monday AM (5/9) in the 45-55 kt range and tracking northeast. But for the most part it was outside the Southern California swell window. Definite swell energy is tracking north from this system, but on a path towards Central and South America (animation here).

Over the next 72 hours starting Thursday (5/12) a new 976 mb low is forecast to develop under New Zealand. On Friday pressure is to drop to 972 mbs with a small area if 45-50 kt fetch expected in it's northwest sector, but the fetch is to essentially be impacting the New Zealand coast. By Saturday (5/14) the storm is to follow the route of others before it, south into Antarctica. No swell of interest is expected from this system.

More model data here


Another New Zealand System
On Thursday AM (5/5) a new 956 mb low developed south of New Zealand while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was sitting just east of New Zealand forming a tight gradient between the two systems. Winds were confirmed at 50 to near 60 kts centered at 59S 166E, but they were all aimed mostly southeast towards the Ross Ice Shelf, the high pressure system having the upper hand. The same situation occurred in the evening with seas building to 40 ft late over a small area centered at 63S 177E.

On Friday (5/6) pressure dropped to 952 mbs with the gradient holding producing more 50-55 kt west to southwest winds at 65S 173W blowing mostly over sea ice. 32 ft seas were over a tiny area right off the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf at 65S 170W. By evening the low pushed farther east, but the high kept pace with it and the gradient eased some. Winds down to 45-50 kts centered near 65S 150W, all over the Ross ice Shelf. No seas were being produced. Swell generation potential was over.

On Saturday AM (5/7) the low tracked further east and was starting to reemerge from the Ice, getting some traction on the oceans surface. But it was pretty far east, moving towards the eastern edge of the US swell window. Maybe some energy eventually for South America.

Based on confirmed data, the vast majority of the fetch in this system was aimed too far south towards Antarctica and too far away from the US to have much hope of producing any decent swell. Background energy might make it up towards Hawaii, but even that is wishful thinking. At this time we suspect no swell of interest will result.


Yet Another New Zealand Storm
A broad 952 mb low developed under Australia on Monday (5/9) tracking east generating 30-40 kt west winds aimed poorly into the Tasman Sea. It held into Tuesday (5/10) with 30 to near 40 kt southwest winds pushing somewhat up into the Tasman Sea but not ideal. Seas were modeled into the 29 ft range through Monday (5/9), but again not aimed well up the Tasman Sea Channel. A quick decline is expected through this evening into Wednesday AM (5/11).

At this time suspect most energy from this storm is to slam directly into western New Zealand. Seas height hindcasts have fallen well behind original estimates too and positioned a long ways from either Hawaii or California. This system was best positioned to drive some swell towards Hawaii, but there is serious doubts as to how much energy will actually reach the Islands due to blockage from Fiji which is sitting right in the middle of the swell window. At this time only background energy is expected to reach the Islands with nothing into California.


California Offshore Forecast
Tuesday mornings local charts (5/10) depicted high pressure at 1022 mbs 500 nmiles west of Pt Conception ridging strongly into North and Central CA. This is to be the major weather feature in the coming days. Through Thursday (5/12) it is to push into Oregon forming a local north wind gradient along the North and Central CA coasts and persisting with less intensity through Friday (5/13). A 992 mb low is to push into the Gulf of Alaska starting on Friday through the weekend with 25-30 kt west winds aimed well at Oregon and likely generating 15 ft seas pushing towards the coast of North CA and points north.

Today's infrared satellite imagery depicted the start of low pressure pushing in to the Gulf of Alaska, but not well organized. For the first time in a long time clear skies prevailed between California and Hawaii. QuikSCAT imagery indicated northwest winds 10-15 kts in the north but up to 25 kts further south near Pt Conception. Southern CA was imaged with northwest winds nearshore up to 20 kts in the afternoon and 25 kts over the Channel Islands. Buoy and nearshore reports indicated northwest winds 18 kts with seas 6 ft @ 9-10 secs. In Southern CA winds were west at 10 kts with seas 5 ft @ 6 secs.

The 5 Day local overview looks like this:

  • On Wednesday (5/11) the local gradient fires up with north to northwest winds 15 kts early building to 20 kts+ in the afternoon as high pressure sits off the coast.
  • On Thursday (5/12) northwest winds 15 kts all day as locations.
  • On Friday (5/13) northwest winds 15 kts early in the north building to 20 kts in the afternoon. calm in the south building to 10 kts late.
  • On Saturday (5/14) light northwest winds all locations early building to 20 kts in the afternoon in the north.
  • On Sunday (5/15) light northwest winds all locations early building to 20 kts in the afternoon in the north.

See QuikCAST's for swell details.



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

North Pacific

Tuesdays upper level models (5/10) indicate that beyond 72 hours the zonal flow is to moderate some with another very weak trough developing in the Gulf and a pinched trough off north Japan by Monday (5/16). Nothing impressive.

At the surface the low forecast off the Kurils is forecast to get pulled apart as it tracks rapidly east, reorganizing in the Gulf by Friday (5/13). A small area of 30-35 kt westerly winds and 15 ft seas are forecast off Oregon through the weekend, providing some windswell potential for North CA into the Pacific Northwest starting late Saturday (5/14) and for several days beyond.

The models suggest additional weak energy to develop off the Pacific northwest by Monday (5/16) and in the days to follow, possibly continuing the opportunity for windswell development.


South Pacific

Tuesdays upper level models (5/10) indicated that beyond 72 hours a huge upper ridge is to persist, scooping out the entire South Central Pacific and driving all energy due south into Antarctica. The eastern edge of the ridge is to terminate just off the coast of Chile, opening up a window there for some storm development, but outside the California and Hawaiian swell windows. Also a trough is to persist under New Zealand drifting east and getting a little better defined by early next week. But no energy (i.e. fast moving winds) are forecast there, likely limiting development of anything at the surface. Let's check the surface models now.

At the surface 72 hours out a broad area of low pressure (remnants of the last New Zealand low) is to persist under New Zealand and west of the ridge, tracking slowly east. But weak is the operative word with only fragmented areas of 35 kt south winds in.cgiace aimed towards Hawaii and fading. In general, the upper level high is to overshadow anything at the surface.

No swell producing systems forecast.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: Check out all the latest indicators to get a handle on how the Summer and Fall seasons could unfold.

Big Florida Swell: A strong gale pushed off Cape Hatteras on 4/15 generating solid seas and a 70 ft rogue wave that hit a cruise ship before proceeded south to make solid waves for the Southeast US coast. Matt Kechele was there to catch it. Take a look here:

Stormsurf Weather Models Updated Again: Yes, we've been at it again this weekend getting another batch of weather models running. Global coverage is now provided for jetstream forecasts and surface pressure and winds. Zoomed in data is also available for such locations as the Mentawai Islands to Western Australia corridor, Tahiti, South America, Europe and Norwegian Sea. So now you can get local wind forecasts for these and more locations with one click. Take a look here: - New Surf Forecast Website: Read this teaser about something new on the scene.

Ghost Tree 3/9/05: Check out the pics of Don Curry and others on Monster Swell #16 in Monterey.

SURFRIDER Web Site:  The San Mateo County Chapter of SURFRIDER can be found at:  Take a minute to visit and find out what's happening to your coast.

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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