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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 22, 2005 10:54 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 = 2.0 - 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 5/23 thru Sun 5/29
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   

Oregon Swell Pushing Down CA Coast
South Pacific Sleeps/MJO Still Active


On Sunday (5/22) Northern CA surf was head high to slightly overhead and junky. South facing breaks were chest to head high and cleaner. Central California was chest to head high and relatively clean early. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest to head high at the best breaks but waist high otherwise. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist to chest high with best breaks to head high. Southward to San Diego waves were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was up to waist high. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was up to waist high.

Hawaii continued getting small southern hemi background swell providing fun little surf at the right breaks while California was coming down from Fridays very nice large late season swell (10-12 ft faces then). The usual California summertime gradient was starting to fire up along the coast with northwest winds becoming more of an issue. Another short-lived storm generated some solid swell just off Oregon that is pushing down the coast toward North CA. Otherwise the North and South Pacific have gone into hibernation. Get what you can while it's here because nothing of interest is on the charts. See details below...

Note: Buoy 46059 has been dislodged from it's mooring and is adrift. No sea or swell measurements available from it.


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

North Pacific

At the jetstream level on Sunday (5/22) no features of interest were depicted (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a bit of a trough is forecast to develop in the Gulf of Alaska but no real energy is to be associated with it, and then pinching off late in the timeframe. Also a ridge is to set up over the dateline with winds to 140 kts, but that will only serve to increase high pressure at the surface.

At the surface today high pressure at 1024 mbs totally dominated the North Pacific. The only exception was a low off Vancouver Island - details below (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a low is to push off the Kuril Islands tracking northeast, moving north of the Aleutians near the dateline. No swell producing fetch forecast. Also a weak surface low is to form north of Hawaii but quickly track north with no winds of interest expected.

More model data here


Oregon Storm
On Friday PM (5/20) a new tiny storm developed 750 nmiles west of southern Oregon, not even a closed low yet, but producing 40-50 kt west winds over a tiny area aimed just a bit south of the 285 degree great circle path to North CA. Seas were estimated up to 18 ft centered at 37N 148W.

By Saturday AM (5/21) pressure had dropped to 989 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-60 kts over a tiny area 600 nmiles west of Oregon aimed right down the 299 degree great circle path to NCal. Seas were up to 23 ft centered at 41N 137W. By the evening this system had started fading with winds down to 40 kts over a faint area aimed 35 degrees east of the 315 degree path to NCal. Seas were up to 35 ft centered at 45N 135W. Swell from this storm hit buoy 46002 well off the Oregon coast at 6 PM with seas 22-23 ft and swell 15 ft @ 14 secs. Swell was peaking from 7-11 PM with swell 16-18 ft@ 14.6 secs. This swell also hit buoy 46006 through the days Saturday with seas 18-21 ft and swell 14-16 ft @ 11-12.3 secs. Winds were west 30-37 kts.

By Sunday AM (5/22) this system had faded away.

Expect this swell to hit North California starting at 3 PM Sunday (5/22) with period at 17 secs and size quickly building, peaking from 7-11 PM with seas 11-12 ft and swell 8-9 ft @ 13-15 secs (11-13 ft faces). 11-12 sec energy to continue on Monday, but with much less size. Swell Direction 300-310 degrees

It's seems doubtful that anything more than some 11-12 sec energy from the early start of this storm will push into Central and South CA given the steep swell angle there (311 degrees). Details in the QuikCAST's.


California Offshore Forecast
Sunday mornings local charts (5/22) depicted remnants of the Oregon storm centered just off the northern tip of Vancouver Island with pressure 992 mbs. High pressure at 1022 mbs was midway between it and Hawaii and building while ridging into the California coast. Lower pressure over Nevada was interacting with the high generating a moderate gradient along the California coast that is only expected to intensify as the inland low holds and the offshore high builds to 1028 mbs Monday into Tuesday (5/24). Local northwest winds at 15-20 kts to be the rule all day in NOrth and Central CA. The gradient is to shift north on Wednesday to Cape Mendocino and fade, providing calmer conditions through the rest of the week. A new high is to build well off Cape Mendocino by Friday, but the gradient that is to result is to remain north of Pt Reyes.

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


South Pacific

On Sunday (5/22) the jetstream in the South Pacific showed no indications of any ability to produce a swell generating storm. A big ridge was positioned southeast of New Zealand totally blocking the corridor from the Indian Ocean into the South Pacific. (animation here). Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (5/25) no significant change forecast, with the upper high pressure remaining in control.

At the surface today strong high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned just east of New Zealand pushing south to almost the Ross Ice Shelf. No other swell producing systems were evident or forecast (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the dominant high is to build to 1032 mbs but lifting a little north, opening up the New Zealand swell corridor a little. still no swell producing system are forecast to develop.

More model data here


Tiny New Zealand Storm
Of most interest was a 972 mb low starting to push east under New Zealand on Thursday PM (5/14). QuikSCAT imagery indicated 40-45 kts winds were circulating around it's north quadrant with a tiny area to 50 kts in it's west quadrant aimed well up the Tasman Sea channel towards Hawaii.

On early Friday AM (5/13) the low developed nicely with pressure down to 964 mbs and a thin sliver of 50-55 kt winds were centered at 56S 168E aimed northeast up the 215 degree great circle path towards California and the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 30 ft centered at 53S 170E. But already the balance of the wind in this storms north quadrant were taking aim at Antarctica as the affects of high pressure aloft and at the surface were having a significant influence over this system. By the evening pressure was down to 956 mbs with winds down to 40-50 kts over a tiny area centered at 56S 175E, not even to the dateline and tracking southeast rather than the optimal northeast direction. These winds were aimed 40 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California (shadowed by Tahiti) and 70 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 54S 174E but covered only a tiny area.

By Saturday AM (5/12) the storm was fading fast with pressure 960 mbs and winds 35-40 kts and on the way down. Residual seas from previous days fetch down to 32 ft at 56S 179W and pushing towards Antarctica. This system was functional gone. Continued 25-30 kt fetch is forecast through Monday (5/16) providing energy pushing towards Tahiti, but of too short a period to survive with any size up to Hawaii and California.

With luck, a small swell will push north providing a short lived shot of something to ride, but not much else. This storm was 4784 nmiles from Hawaii and 6289 nmiles from California. Expect swell arrival on the South Shore starting Saturday (5/21) with period at 17 secs and size minimal but building, maxing Sunday afternoon (5/22) with residual energy continuing through Monday (5/23). Whatever is going to arrive in California will hit starting late Monday evening (5/23) with period 17-18 secs and maxing midday Tuesday (5/24). Remnants to continue through early Thursday (5/26).



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

North Pacific

Sundays upper and surface models models (5/22) indicated that beyond 72 hours no swell producing systems are forecast.


MJO Note
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) took a dive starting Saturday (5/14) and has remained in the solidly negative range ever since, at -26 today and up some from the -43 reading on Tuesday (5/17). The SOI measures the difference in surface pressure between Darwin Australia and Tahiti. Consistently positive values signify La Nina and negative one signify El Nino. El Nino conditions support the development of stronger, larger and more consistent winter storms in the North Pacific and decreased Atlantic tropical storm activity. This dip is associated with the next active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation, currently pushing along the equator from the Indian Ocean into the West Pacific, centered near the dateline. This had been forecast and actuals are tracking well to the projections. As would be expected, trades winds have dropped to near calm across the equator eastward to 170W, but no Westerly Wind Burst is evidenced (WWB's can produce a Kelvin Wave). If one is going to develop from this phase of the MJO it likely should have happened by now. It has only been 15 days since the end of the last active MJO pulse. Overall the 30 day average SOI is -11 and the 90 day average is at -10. This is but one indicator of mild El Nino conditions, but not conclusive by itself, though there has been a steady push towards such a state. You can monitor the state of El Nino and the MJO here:


South Pacific

On Sunday (5/22) beyond 72 hours out the jetstream is to continue ridging rather strongly under and southeast of New Zealand . Towards the end of the model run there is suggestions of a more zonal flow taking control, but even that isn't to be of much use.

At the surface 72 hours out there is suggestions that two storms could develop in tandem, one under New Zealand tracking southeast and a second in the mid-South Pacific tracking northeast. 50 kt winds and seas in the 35 ft range are possible starting Friday (5/27) and continuing through late Saturday (5/28) from both. The mid-Pacific storms looks to be the better producer at this time, with swell expected to push towards California and Central America. Hawaii might get some sideband energy from the other system, but will be out of the swell window for the better of the two storms.

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:

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

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