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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 26, 2005 9:19 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   

Storm For Tasman Sea
South & North Pacific Proper Quiet


On Thursday (5/26) Northern CA surf was knee to waist high and unrideable. South facing breaks were flat. Central California was up to waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were basically flat. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to waist high at the best breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was up to waist high. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist high and some more.

Things were pretty dismal today with no swell of interest hitting either hawaii or the US mainland. Just some weak background swell along Hawaii's southern shores was the best there was. And nothing of interest is on the way immediately. Of most interest is a storm under Australia forecast to push up through the Tasman Sea generating solid seas headed for Fiji. But it's fairly doubtful that much size will make it beyond there. Hawaii has the best chance for some rideable surf. Nothing else is on the charts in the prime US swell window, though the area under Australia is to remain most active. See details below...


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

North Pacific

At the jetstream level on Thursday (5/26) a thin bit of energy was centered over the dateline with peak winds at 170 kts but it was all aligned zonally with no trough present (animation here). Over the next 72 the core of that energy is to move to the Gulf of Alaska, loose much energy and remain zonal (flat) with no defined troughs or ridges forecast. The pattern remains very weak.

At the surface today weak low pressure at 984 mbs was over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians generating some 25 kt west winds blowing towards Canada, but too far away to have any real impact on any coastal location. High pressure at 1024 mbs was filling the Gulf of Alaska and another was off the Kuril Islands. No real swell producing fetch was evident (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the Aleutian low is to hold it's position, going stationary. Varying degrees of 20-30 kt west winds are forecast to blow south of the Aleutians, too far away from Hawaii, Canada or the US mainland to have any swell generating impact.

More model data here


California Offshore Forecast
Thursdays mornings local charts (5/26) depicted high pressure at 1026 mbs north of Hawaii pushing east. Weak low pressure was trying to nose into the Gulf of Alaska but not making much headway. By Saturday (5/28) low pressure is forecast to start building over north Nevada, helping to set up the usual pressure gradient off the Oregon and North California coast. North winds at 20-25 kt building over the outer waters. As the high off the coast pushes east the gradient is to slowly tighten and push closer to shore. By Monday (5/30) the gradient is to become focused off Cape Mendocino with 30 kt north winds there building to 35 kts on Wednesday (6/1). For the most part the fetch is to remain offshore from Pt Reyes southward. The gradient is forecast to start fading by Thursday (6/1).

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


South Pacific

On Thursday (5/26) the jetstream continued with a big ridge pushing south over Antarctica starting almost due south of New Zealand then lifting some as it tracked east towards Chile. A solid trough was under Australia near Tasmania supporting a strong storm there, but no storm supporting activity was present across the greater South Pacific (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the ridge under New Zealand is to only get stronger pushing deep into Antarctica. There is no indications of any storm supporting troughs forecast.

At the surface today strong high pressure at 1032 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. A strong storm was under Australia forecast to push up into the Tasman Sea, but no activity was indicated in the grater South Pacific Ocean (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a new 1028 mb high is forecast to set up just north of the Ross Ice Shelf choking off the storm corridor even more. No swell producing fetch forecast.

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) pressure was a very deep 944 mbs and in close proximity to a strong 1032 mb high under New Zealand. Hurricane force winds of 60-80 kts were confirmed in the tight pressure gradient between these two weather systems in the storms west and northwest quadrants centered at 57S 137E. These winds were aimed 30 degrees north of the 220 degree great circle path to California and 20 degrees north of the 210 degree path to Hawaii and Fiji. Seas were building. By evening things continued very strong, though not as quite over the top as earlier. Pressure was up to 946 mbs with winds confirmed at 55-65 kts centered at 57S 140E aimed just like before but moving almost to the eastern edge of the Fiji/Hawaii swell window. Seas were modeled at 36 ft over a tiny area centered at 56S 138E.

On Thursday AM (5/26) storm pressure held at 946 mbs but it's was tracking east, away from the high. Winds forecast down to 50-55 kts aimed north northeast, centered at 57S 143E. These winds are to be aimed 30 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 Hawaii, cut off by the northern heel of New Zealand. Seas were modeled at 38 ft centered at 52S 140E. By evening this system is to be gone as it hits an impenetrable wall of high pressure in the Southwest Pacific. Decaying 34 ft seas forecast centered at 48S 148E.

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 Australia pushing over Tasmania. Pressure 978 mbs. Winds back up to 45-50 kts centered at 47S 143E aimed right up the rare 230 degree path to California (through the Tasman Sea) and aimed right at Fiji and Hawaii up the 215 degree path. These winds are to act on already well agitated seas from the previous days fetch, getting good traction an quickly re-generating 37 ft seas centered at 49S 141E. The low is to track northeast with pressure 982 mbs and winds 45-50 kts through evening but loosing size, centered at 46S 153E, aimed just like before. 36 ft seas are to be tracking northeast centered at 45S 148E and impacting Tasmania with some slipping east heading up into the Tasman Sea.

The low is to hold if not organize a little better on Saturday (5/28), positioned just off the southwest tip of New Zealand with pressure 984 mbs with winds holding at 45-50 kts over a small area centered at 44S 157E. These winds to be aimed right up the rare 230 degree path to California and the 213 degree path to Fiji and Hawaii. 36 ft seas in the AM centered at 43S 157E pushing northeast and decaying as the winds die. In the evening the low is to continue drifting east right over New Zealand with pressure 988 mbs while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs holds over Southeast Australia. The gradient between these two systems to continue generating 45-50 kts winds over a moderate area aimed northeast. These winds are to be centered at 42S 162E aimed at NCal up the 329 degree path but just outside the Southern CA swell window. Also these winds to be aimed at Fiji and Hawaii up the 210 degree path. 32 ft seas forecast at 40S 162E and heading right towards Fiji.

By Sunday (5/29) this system is to be really winding down with no real swell producing fetch forecast.

This started out as a really impressive storm but that was short lived, and by the time the oceans surface started getting really agitated the core winds started dropping off. But those seas are tracking north and additional fetch is to act on them providing a good opportunity for additional energy to be intermixed, though not as strong as the initial fetch. Based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data, a fairly impressive swell 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 Hawaii and California by 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.

First up and of most interest is Fiji, which is dead center in the middle of the target for this swell. It is 1512-2858 nmiles away from the projected storm track providing good opportunity for the swell to unwrap, but getting a bit too close, allowing a fair amount of short period warble and lesser period energy to reach the Island chain. The first forerunners expected Sunday mid-day (5/29) with period at 20 secs and size on the increase. Swell to peak Monday (5/30 UTC) mid-day and holding through sunset with pure swell 12 ft @ 17-18 secs (20 ft faces?). Swell Direction 212-219 degrees

Next up is Hawaii, which is also on the right path. It is to be 4376-5722 nmiles away giving it.cgienty of distance for the swell to even out. But there is a much grater problem. That is that 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. Swell arrival expected late Thursday (6/2) with period at 20 secs and peaking late Friday (6/3) through most of Saturday (6/4) with period in the 16-17 sec range. Swell Direction: 216-220 degrees

California is well down the road and will suffer a variety of setbacks including a small window to shoot the swell through (Tasman Sea), then getting shadowed by the Fiji Island chain, and then what survives that has a very long journey to cover before reaching the coast (6220-7509 nmiles). Forerunners expected to hit starting early Sunday (6/5) with period at 20 secs building slowly and peaking late Monday (6/6) through Tuesday mid-day (6/7) with period at 16-17 secs. Residuals through Thursday (6/9). Swell Direction 228-235 degrees




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

North Pacific

Thursdays models (5/26) indicated that beyond 72 hours a very weak upper level zonal flow is to persist tracking just south of the Aleutians with no storm support indicated. At the surface generally high pressure is to prevail with no swell producing fetch indicated.


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 holding at -22 today (5/26). 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. The current dip is associated with the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation, currently pushing along the equator 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 -12 and the 90 day average is at -9. 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 Thursday (5/26) beyond 72 hours out the jetstream is to continue ridging strongly south into Antarctica covering most of the South Pacific. Only a little letup is forecast in the far eastern South Pacific. No clear support for storm development suggested.

At the surface the models have been hinting at a storm of rather moderate magnitude developing on the eastern edge of the California swell window off Southern Chile. It's been a non-again off-again scenario, looking more off lately. Current data suggests it's formation on Saturday (5/28) with pressure 972 mbs and a broad area of 30-35 kt winds forecast aimed north up the 182 degree great circle path to South CA. Seas building some but not enough. On Monday (5/30) some additional 45-50 kt fetch is to develop in the lows south quadrant (you read that right) wrapping around and aimed best at Hawaii then swinging quickly towards California through Tuesday (5/31). But the winds are to not be positioned over any one part of the oceans surface for enough time to generate any seas exceeding the 28 ft threshold. No swell generation potential.

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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