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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 24, 2005 7:48 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 = 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   

Only Windswell
South & North Pacific Sleep/MJO Still Active


On Tuesday (5/24) Northern CA surf was head high to slightly overhead and just slightly textured early. South facing breaks were waist to chest high clean. Central California was chest high and relatively clean at the best spots. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to chest high at best breaks. 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 with some bigger sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was flat.

Hawaii southern shores continued getting small southern hemi background swell providing something rideable while California received larger windswell. Two systems of interest are on the charts for this week, one under Australia and another possibly in the Southeast Pacific. Both have issues that could limit their swell generation potential for US territories though. See details below...


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

North Pacific

At the jetstream level on Tuesday (5/24) a bit of energy was tracking off Japan to the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians with peak winds at 140 kts (animation here). Over the next 72 the core of that energy is to move over the dateline and go zonal (flat) with no defined troughs or ridges forecast. Weak upper low pressure is forecast to take up shop directly over the Aleutians just east of the dateline. In all the pattern looks weak.

At the surface today weak low pressure at 992 mbs was moving along the jet over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutian Islands. High pressure at 1028 mbs was filling the Gulf of Alaska while a weak 1014 mb low was trying to make some inroads into it from the south. No swell producing fetch was evident (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the Aleutian low is to holds is position, going stationary. Varying degrees of 25-30 kt west winds is forecast to blow south of the Aleutians, to far away from Hawaii, Canada or the US mainland to have a swell generating impact.

More model data here


California Offshore Forecast
Tuesday mornings local charts (5/24) depicted a double barrelled 1030 mb high in the Gulf of Alaska with one core northwest of Hawaii and the second over the Western Canadian coast. A weak low at 1010 mbs was tracking north trying to .cgiit the two cells with a second low inland over Nevada. As the first low interacted with the highs it was generating some 20 kt fetch aimed south at Hawaii. But of marginally more interest was the activation of the Cape Mendocino gradient (first of the summer season) produced by the interaction of the Canadian high and the Nevada low. North winds of 30 kt were indicated by the QuikSCAT satellite producing seas off the California coast in the 18 ft range. the models suggest the gradient is to start fading fast on Wednesday as the high fades off Canada. Winds down to 20 kts off Cape mendocino and dissipating on Thursday. The high that was northwest of Hawaii is to move up the California coast on Friday (5/27) generating a much milder gradient of only 20 kt north winds through the weekend. A continuation of windswell is expected, but with lesser size and shorter period (down to 7 secs over the weekend).

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


South Pacific

On Tuesday (5/24) the jetstream continued with a big ridge pushing south over Antarctica in the mid-South Pacific. There were troughs on either side of the ridge, one under New Zealand and the other off Chile, but no real solid wind speeds were associated with either rendering them incapable of providing any real support for surface level storm production (animation here). Over the next 72 hours another strong and more energetic ridge in the Indian Ocean south of Western Australia is to have it's termination near Tasmania, opening up a big trough there before diving south again in association with the next ridge in the mid-South Pacific. This trough is to have a broad area of 150 kt winds associated with it late Friday, capable of supporting storm development.

At the surface today strong high pressure at 1028 mbs remained positioned just east of New Zealand pushing south to almost the Ross Ice Shelf and east to the edge of the California swell window off Chile. Weak low pressure was tracking under it with no swell producing fetch indicated (animation here). Over the next 72 hours and beyond no change in the basic pattern is forecast, with any action limited to the areas in the upper troughs under Tasmania and off Chile.

More model data here


Fiji Storm
Of most interest is a very strong storm co.cgiex forecast to develop south of Tasmania on Wednesday AM (5/25). A 944 mb low is forecast to develop in close proximity to a strong 1032 mb high under New Zealand. By evening hurricane force winds of 65-70 kts are forecast in the tight pressure gradient between these two weather systems in the storms west quadrant centered at 58S 137E. These winds are to be aimed 90 degrees north of any great circle path to California (outside the NCal swell window) but aimed 30 degree north of the 210 degree path to Hawaii and Fiji. Seas forecast building to 39 ft over a tiny area centered at 57S 137E.

On Thursday AM (5/26) storm pressure to hold at 944 mbs but it's to be tracking east, away from the high. Winds forecast down to 55 kts aimed north northeast, centered at 57S 147E. These winds are to be aimed 35 degrees north of the 218 degree path to California (N & S) but right up the 209 degree great circle path to Hawaii and Fiji. This is just outside the swell window for both, cut off by the northern heel of New Zealand. Seas forecast building to 42 ft centered at 55S 145E. By evening this system is to be gone as it hits an impenetrable wall of high pressure in the Southwest Pacific. Decaying 39 ft seas forecast centered at 55S 149E.

By Friday AM (5/27) secondary fetch is to develop as a kink in the isobars from remnants of the storm start interacting with high pressure still south of New Zealand. Winds back up to 45-50 kts centered at 54S 143E totally shadowed from California but aimed right at Fiji and Hawaii up the 211 degree path. Theses winds are to act on already well agitated seas from the previous days fetch, getting good traction an quickly re-generating 36 ft seas centered at 54S 142E. The fetch is to track northeast at 45-50 kts through evening but loosing size, centered at 46S 153E, aimed just like before. 39 ft seas are to be tracking northeast centered at 48S 150E.

Fetch to decay to nothing on Saturday (5/28). 37 ft seas in the AM centered at 44S 157E pushing northeast and decaying as the winds die.

Current data suggests a fairly impressive bit of swell energy is to try and track northeast up through the Tasman Sea towards Fiji. Most of this energy, impressive as it is to be, is expected to be shadowed from California by New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands. If anything North California has a better chance of seeing some swell than South CA, but even that is .cgiitting hairs. Impulse class potential at best.

Of most interest is Fiji, which is dead center in the middle of the target for this swell. Pure swell of 12 ft @ 18-19 secs could be possible if this system.cgiays out as forecast. Hawaii, which is also on the right path, has a problem though. And that is Fiji and it's associated islands are sitting right in the the middle of the swell corridor. Most energy from this swell is expected to be significantly clipped off as it travels northeast. Maybe some minimal utility class potential, and even that is 'iffy' seeing how this storm hasn't even formed yet. Monitor this system.




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

North Pacific

Tuesdays upper and surface models models (5/24) indicated that beyond 72 hours a weak upper level zonal flow is to persist south of the Aleutians centered on the 40N parallel pushing into the Cape Mendocino area. Weak 25 kt west winds are forecast to continue in some capacity in association with low pressure over the Aleutian Islands near the dateline drifting east, but whatever windswell is generated to to be fully decayed before reaching land. No swell generation potential expected.


MJO Note
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) took a dive starting Saturday (5/14) and has remained in the solidly negative range ever since, but slowly fading. It's started at -43 reading on Tuesday (5/17) and was up to -20 today (5/24). 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. Models suggest a return to neutral conditions with even slightly enhanced trades as the inactive phase of the MJO takes hold in the first week of June. 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 Tuesday (5/24) beyond 72 hours out the jetstream is to continue ridging south rather strongly over the mid-South Pacific with a trough in the east off Chile.

At the surface the models have been continually hinting at a storm of rather moderate magnitude developing on the eastern edge of the California swell window and somewhat to the north of normal near 50S 120W off Southern Chile. Current data suggests it's formation on Saturday (5/28) with pressure 960 mbs and a tiny area of 50-55 kt winds aimed north up the 182 degree great circle path to South CA. Seas building. That is to fade and track east some on Sunday (5/29) while additional 35-40 kt fetch builds on the edge of the swell window. Seas forecast to 28 ft pushing north. Winds to 45-50 kts are forecast on Monday (5/30) into Tuesday with seas 35 ft pushing north before this system fades out. If it develops, this system could be decent, especially given it's somewhat northern position reducing swell decay.

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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