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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 25, 2008 12:52 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 = 0.5 - 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 5/26 thru Sun 6/1
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 Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

North Pacific Asleep for the Summer
South Pacific To Try a Little


New Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.

On Sunday (5/25) Northern CA surf was waist high and glassy but weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat and foggy. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high and clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was thigh to maybe waist high and clean. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high windy early. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were thigh high and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high and clean. The East Shore was knee high.

North/Central California was seeing the last leftovers from last weeks windswell, and even that was fading fast. Southern California was seeing just a portion of that same windswell. Hawaii's North Shore was flat. The East Shore was flat. The South Shore had a little background swell coming from the south, but it was weak.

For this week a really calm pattern is forecast for the North Pacific. Virtually no swell source was indicated in either the Hawaiian or US mainland swell windows. North and Central California to descend into flatness and basically stay there. Southern CA to see a chance of background southeastern southern hemi swell Friday and Saturday (5/31). The North Shore of Oahu to remain flat for the foreseeable future. The South Shore to see a chance for background swell Wed-Fri (5/30), but small is the operative word. No windswell expected on the East Shore either. The North Pacific is shut down for the summer. The southern hemi is to try and wake up, with a gale forecast south of Tahiti mid-week generating 32 ft seas, but only over the tiniest of areas. Another broader system is forecast under New Zealand Saturday (5/31), but we have no faith in the models that far out. So for now, go to work or school and catch up on all the things you've let slip this past winter. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (5/25) for the North Pacific depicted a weak trough trying to build over the dateline with the faintest hint of 150 kt winds flowing under it. A giant ridge covered the East Pacific pushing up into Northern Canada, but it appeared to be on it's last legs. In short, there was no support for surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to dissipate by Monday and a confused pattern is to set up in the east, offering no support for surface development. The ridge in the Gulf is to pinch off and leaving a seasonal west to east flow over the width of the North Pacific on the 38N latitude, strongest in the west, but not strong enough. Beyond 72 hours a more cohesive flow is to set up pushing off Japan slowly drifting northeast pushing into Northern Canada a week out with no real troughs or ridges of interest suggested. Given the time of year, the North Pacific is likely shut down for the summer.

At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was over the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska with north winds being generated off it's eastern flank at 15-20 kts aimed well towards Hawaii's eastern Shores, but likely not strong enough to generate swell of interest. A calm pattern was off the California coast with no winds at all indicated. A weak low was trying to organize over the dateline in association with a upper trough pushing over the area. Trades remained suppressed over the Hawaiian Islands. Over the next 72 hours The north winds in the Gulf are to build a little to the 20-25 kts range Monday (5/26) but aimed more mid-way between Hawaii and Baja, into open ocean. Limited sideband northeasterly windswell at 2-3 ft @ 9-10 secs for the East Shore Wed-Fri. The low over the dateline with to build with up to 35 kts winds expected in it's eastern quadrant Mon/Tues, but all aimed due north towards Alaska. Maybe a hint of 25 kt winds are to building in it's southwest sector aimed towards Hawaii, but only for 18 hours limiting their ability to get traction on the oceans surface. No windswell expected to result.


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (5/25) a neutral pressure pattern was in control with no winds of interest occurring. Glassy conditions prevailed. No change is forecast through Wednesday (5/28). On Thursday a weak hint of high pressure is to try and get organized off Pt Conception possibly setting up a 15 kt northerly flow over the Channel Islands ruffling things up a bit there, continuing Friday then getting some legs by Saturday with 15-20 kt north winds taking hold of the entire us West Coast and up to 25 kt at Pt Conception locally down into Baja, but bypassing the relatively more protected areas of Southern CA. Chop building at exposed breaks with windswell into Baja.


No tropical systems of interest were occurring.


South Pacific

On Sunday (5/25) the jetstream over the South Pacific remained heavily .cgiit with energy equally shared between the north and south branches. The southern branch remained di.cgiaced well to the south flowing more-or-less flat west to east over the 65S latitude, offering no support for low pressure development. Over the next 72 hours the southern branch is to weaken a little and sink further south, down to the 70S mark mid-week and offering even less hope. develop a bit of a troughing pattern (pushing north) by Sunday (5/25) but still di.cgiaced well to the south and over Antarctic Ice. Beyond 72 hrs more of the same is forecast if not worse with the southern branch of the jet sinking to 75S and over Antarctica., though a trough is forecast trying to work it's way east under New Zealand by the weekend (Sat/Sun 6/1) offering a smidgeon of hope there. In all a pretty quiet pattern suggested.

At the oceans surface no swell producing weather systems were indicated, and if anything, 40 kt fetch that was in.cgiace over the Central South Pacific was aimed almost due south at Antarctica pushing swell in the opposite of the required direction. Not good. But an interesting cutoff low is forecast setting up south of Tahiti Tuesday (5/27) with 40-45 kt south winds at 40S 145W building to 45 kts Wednesday but sinking to 45S 140W but still aimed north towards Tahiti, Hawaii and somewhat at the US West Coast. Seas projected to 32 ft over a tiny area at 43S 143W Wednesday aimed the same way. It's forecast to be gone by Thursday first light though. Some limited hope for swell for Hawaii and the US West coast, and much more for Tahiti if this comes to pass.


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 no swell producing fetch of any kind is forecast.

Madden-Julian Oscillation Note: The MJO remains in the active phase, and strongly so, with daily SOI values still negative as of 5/22, rebounding from -48 to -11 today , making it 7 days in a row in the negative range, with the larger 30 day trend now at -1. The 90 day trend is dropping quickly too, down from +20 in April to +6 as of today. This is interesting in that it is the first time the 30 day average has been at 0 or less since July of 2007, when it was coming out of the weak 2006 El Nino. Anomalous 850 mb westerly winds remained entrenched over the entire equatorial Pacific with the core stretched from the Philippines to mainland Mexico, and expected to hold till about 5/26 , then start dissipating as the inactive phase of the MJO builds into the Pacific from the Indian Ocean near June 1. No significant support for low pressure development likely from this pulse of the active phase of the MJO, except in the West Pacific tropics if at all. But of more interest is to see if this pulse of the MJO helps to start wiping cool waters associated with La Nina out of the central equatorial Pacific, possibly opening the door just a nudge towards El Nino, or at least towards a neutral pattern.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hrs a 956 mb low pressure system is forecast building under New Zealand on Saturday (5/31) generating 55 kt south to southeast winds aimed well up the Hawaiian swell window at 58S 165E early. This system to track east through the day and dissipate late. A second fetch is to follow right behind that evening generating 50 kt southwest winds over a small area at 55S 165E fading into early Sunday AM. 32 ft seas forecast for the area Saturday into Sunday, if the models are right.

Details to follow...


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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Local Interest

Time Zone Converter - Finally! By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here:

Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will r.cgienish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details here:

Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here:

Grib File Switchover: The old grib1 format wave model datafiles that have been the mainstay of the National Weather service for years now are scheduled to be retired on 1/26. We switched over to the new grib2 files starting with the 00z run of Thurs 1/17. All appears to be running fine. There is no functional change to the content of the models, just that files we receive are now smaller due to improved compression of grib2. But this sets us up to start processing new higher resolution files and building new products in the months ahead. So in all it's a good maintenance level change.

Sharkwater: There's a new feature film called Sharkwater that is hitting theaters November 2nd. Sharkwater is an award winning documentary (22 international film awards including the UN and Cannes) that broke box office records in Canada, opening to bigger numbers than any documentary in history save Fahrenheit 911 and Supersize Me. It is a conservation film that demonstrates that the biggest influence on the air we breathe, and global warming is life in the oceans except life in the oceans is being wiped out. Shark populations have dropped 90% in the last 30 years alone, and the oceans continue to be destroyed because nobody knows that it's happening Learn more here:

Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here:

Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit Submit online at

Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists.

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way! .xml

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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