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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 31, 2005 9:17 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 = 1.5 - California & 3.0 - 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 5/30 thru Sun 5/5
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   

Small Surf To Continue
High Pressure Diverts Storms to Tasman Sea


On Tuesday (5/31) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and lumpy. South facing breaks were waist high. Central California was waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were mostly flat with best break barely waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high. Southward to San Diego waves were up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high at select breaks. The South Shore was almost up to waist high. The East Shore was waist high.

No swell of interest occurring in the greater Pacific other than some fading northwest swell along Hawaii's northwest coast. But even that was fading. Windswell for California continues to be the best hope based on the models. Some small energy expected to reach Hawaii's south shores too from a large swell currently hitting Fiji. Nothing else of any real interest on the charts. 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 (5/31) a little bit of 120 kt energy was fading in the Gulf of Alaska but no troughs were present (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a weak pattern is to persist with nothing capable of supporting a good surface level storm projected.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was anchored in the Eastern Pacific producing north winds off Cape Mendocino (more details in the California Offshore Forecast) and enhanced trades off its south flank blowing into the Hawaiian Islands. A weak 996 mb low was off Northern Japan but was not generating any swell producing fetch (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the little low off Japan is expected to track east-northeast eventually reaching the dateline near Saturday (6/4). But no swell producing fetch expected from it during that timeframe.

More model data here


California Offshore Forecast
Tuesday mornings local charts (5/31) depicted solid high pressure at 1028 mbs 750 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA pushing east. Weak low pressure was starting to build over north Nevada, helping to set up the usual pressure gradient off the North California coast. North winds at 25-30 kts were building nearshore from Pt Arena to the Cape. As the high off the coast pushes east the gradient is to slowly tighten with windspeeds increasing and covering a slightly broader area. Winds expected to build to 30-35 kts by Wednesday PM (6/1) holding well into Thursday (6/2). The gradient is back down a little on Friday (6/3) but continue holding with slight variation in strength through Sunday night (6/5). Some degree of the fetch area is to push inland through it's duration, making for messy conditions.

The high is to remain stationary off the coast with some degree of northerly fetch scheduled through early next week, but backing down in intensity after the weekend.

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


South Pacific

On Tuesday (5/31) the jetstream continued with the big ridge pushing south to Antarctica just east of New Zealand then lifting only near the coast of Chile (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the ridge east of New Zealand is to continue with several instances of reinforcing energy dropping south. There is no indications of any storm supporting troughs forecast. A repeating pattern of troughs are to continue under Tasmania directing energy up into the Tasman Sea, but that will do little for the US mainland.

At the surface today strong high pressure at 1032 mbs remained positioned east of New Zealand pushing south to almost the Ross Ice Shelf, completely blocking the Antarctic storm corridor. A new storm was south of Australia with 45 kt southwest winds aimed up the Tasman Sea channel yet again (animation here). Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered near 58S 135E. This fetch is expected to push up into the southern Tasman Sea through early Thursday (6/2) with 40-45 kts winds and seas in the 32 ft range aimed well towards Fiji. This is great for them, with another potential burst of solid swell arriving on Saturday (6/4). But for our forecast area it is likely to produce only some more small utility class surf for Hawaii, and near nothing for the US mainland.

The models suggest that some of the fetch from this storm is to push across New Zealand and survive briefly just along the eastern New Zealand coast late Thursday (6/2) with pressure 980 mbs and winds 45 kts over a tiny area centered at 43S 173E aimed right up the 210 degree path to Hawaii. This low to drift east through early Saturday (6/4) with winds in the 40-45 kt range aimed well at Hawaii with seas 35 ft over a tiny area Friday AM (6/3) through Saturday AM. This is likely an over statement by the models, so we'll have to see what actually materializes. Still, it provides some more hope for Hawaii due to their relative proximity to this tiny fetch. Not much expected for California from this storm (if it even develops).

No other swell producing fetch forecast.

More model data here


Fiji Storm
(We're including this mainly for the benefit of Fiji and because there's nothing else to forecast.)
Storm History
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 was tracking east, away from the high and the tight gradient that was generating the winds started to relax. Wind 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 continued tracking east with pressure 948 mbs but no wind of interest was being generated. Secondary fetch started to develop as a kink in the isobars from remnants of the storm start interacting with high pressure still south of Australia. Pressure was 976 mbs. Winds were confirmed at 50 kts centered at 50S 139E. Decaying 33 ft seas were modeled at 48S 148E (just south of Tasmania).

By Friday AM (5/27) weak secondary fetch continued pushing into the Tasman Sea. Pressure was 976 mbs. Winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts centered at 45S 150E 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 were acting on already well agitated seas from the previous days fetch, getting good traction an quickly re-generating 35 ft seas centered at 49S 142E. In the evening the low tracked northeast with pressure 980 mbs and winds confirmed at 40-45 kts through the evening but loosing size, centered at 46S 155E, aimed just like before. 31 ft seas were tracking northeast centered at 46S 147E and impacting Tasmania with some slipping east heading up into the Tasman Sea.

On Saturday AM (5/28) the low held if not organized a little better, positioned just off the southwest tip of New Zealand with pressure 980 mbs with winds holding at 35-40 kts over a small area centered at 43S 152E, down considerably from previous forecasts. These winds to be aimed right up the rare 230 degree path to California and the 215 degree path to Fiji and Hawaii. 29 ft seas were centered at 43S 155E pushing northeast and decaying as the winds held at rather meager levels. In the evening the low continued drifting east right over the southern tip of New Zealand with pressure 980 mbs while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs held over Southeast Australia. The gradient between these two systems continued generating moderate gales with wind confirmed at 35-45 kts over a moderate area aimed northeast in the Tasman Sea. These winds were centered at 37S 159E aimed at NCal up the 331-233 degree path and out of the Fiji shadow but just barely outside the Southern CA swell window. Also these winds were aimed at Fiji and Hawaii up the 214 degree path. 29 ft seas modeled at 40S 155E and heading right towards Fiji.

By Sunday AM (5/29) the last bit of energy is expected to be produced from this system before it fades. The low itself is to be over New Zealand at 980 mbs but fetch is to hold in the Tasman Sea aimed northeast. Winds forecast up a little to 30-35 kts centered at 35S 165E aimed right up the 233 degree path to California and just a bit east of the 212 degree path to Hawaii and Fiji. These winds are to be out of the Fiji Island shadow for California. Seas forecast at 29 ft centered at 35S 162E. By evening residual winds of 30-35 kts are forecast off the northern tip of New Zealand at 32S 177E aimed east northeast or right up the 229 degree path to California and 30 degrees east of the 207 degree path to Hawaii and not aimed at Fiji anymore. Seas fading fast, at 27 ft centered at 32S 168E, decaying remnants of the previous days fetch.

On Monday (5/30) this system is to be dead. The resulting swell hit Fiji about as forecast, with 12-15 ft sets (faces) arriving mid-afternoon.

On Tuesday (5/31) swell continued at Fiji with waves still in the 12-15 ft+ range (faces).

Swell Generation Potential
This started out as a really impressive storm under Australia but quickly faded, and by the time the oceans surface started getting really agitated the core winds had already dropped off. But the models suggested those seas were to track north into the Tasman Sea with additional fetch acting on them to add more energy, though not as strong as the initial fetch. That sort of was happening, but nowhere near as strong as was originally forecast. Based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data, a good amount of swell is to track northeast up through the Tasman Sea towards Fiji. Fiji will get some solid surf, but most of this energy is is expected to be shadowed from Hawaii and California by the South Pacific Islands. Hawaii might get some fun size surf from whatever survives the shadow. 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 there.

Surf Forecast
Fiji: Swell to slowly decline on Wednesday (6/1) with swell 6-7 ft @ 13 secs with sets 9 ft @ 13 secs (8-9 ft faces with sets to 11 ft). Swell on Thursday (6/2) down to 5-6 ft @ 12 secs (6-7 ft faces) and down to 4.7 ft @ 11-12 secs on Friday (6/3) producing 5-6 ft faces. Swell Direction 212-219 degrees

The latest local wind forecast indicates southeast winds down to 10 kts Wednesday AM (6/1) continuing through the week into Saturday (6/4) with definitely not as much of a due southern component as was experienced Monday (5/31).

Next up is Hawaii, which is also on the right path. It is to be 4120-5722 nmiles away giving it.cgienty of distance for the swell to even out. But there is a much greater 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 (assuming that energy makes it through the shadow) and peaking by late Friday (6/3) through the day Saturday (6/4) with swell 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3-4 ft faces). Swell solid on Sunday (6/5) up to 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces). Swell slowly backing down with swell 2.6 ft @ 14 secs on Monday early (6/6) (3.0-3.5 ft faces) fading through Wednesday (6/8) as period drops to 11 secs. 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 (6035-7509 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 evening (6/7) with swell 1.0-1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs. Residuals through Thursday (6/9) with period at 14 secs, then fading on Friday (6/10) with period down to 13 secs. Luck if it's rideable. Swell Direction 228-235 degrees


Chilean Pulse (South CA)
On Saturday AM (5/28) a new 944 mb storm developed in the far Southeastern Pacific off Chile sitting in the upper trough there. It had confirmed winds of 40-45 kts aimed north but poorly organized by the evening and was looking even less organized Sunday AM (5/29). By Monday AM (5/30) pressure was 952 mbs with confirmed winds surprisingly up to 50 kts at 58S 103W aimed north-northwest up the 175 degree great circle path to Southern CA. But by the evening it faded to 35-40 kts. Seas built briefing to 27 ft at 55S 107W. This might be good for a small pulse of south-southeast swell at the right breaks in Southern California arriving before sunrise on Saturday (6/4) with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and holding through the day. Minimal remnants on Sunday (6/5) at 2.6 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft early) and fading. Swell Direction 175-180 degrees.




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

North Pacific

Tuesdays models (5/31) indicated that beyond 72 hours a very weak upper flow is to persist tracking generally south of the Aleutians. A weak trough is to set up over the dateline for the weekend. The low that is currently tracking off Japan is to reach the dateline with pressure at 992 mbs and starting to produce some 30-35 kt northwest winds aimed reasonably well at Hawaii by Sunday (6/5). Also a weak upper trough is to push out of eastern Gulf of Alaska south over Northern CA early next week, providing some reinforcements for northern windswell at best. Will be surprised if either of these features actually develops.


MJO Note
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) started going negative on Saturday (5/14) and has slowly been creeping up since then, though still remained in the solidly negative range. It's started at -43 reading on Tuesday (5/17) and creeped up to -10 by 5/27, but has since gone back down to -25 today (5/31). That's 18 days in the negative range. 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. We have been watching for development of a Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) capable of producing a Kelvin Wave and had written that off. But the latest dip in the SOI and slowly developing weak westerlies in the far Western Equatorial Pacific are becoming a.cgiified, with what appears to be the start of a weak WWB occurring today and extending east to 160E. QuikSCAT imagery indicated west winds at 15 kts to 155E, not much, but a start. Will continue to monitor. Models suggest return to near normal conditions over the next few days as the inactive phase of the MJO takes hold, continuing through mid-June. Overall the 30 day average SOI is -13 and the 90 day average is at -8. This is but one indicator of very 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 (5/31) beyond 72 hours out the jetstream is to continue ridging strongly south into Antarctica covering most of the South Pacific. No indications of any support for storm development suggested.

At the surface no swell producing fetch is 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:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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