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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: July 7, 2013 12:38 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
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 7/8 thru Sun 7/14
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   

South Angled Swell Mainly For Southern CA
Models Hint at a Broader Gale for Central South Pacific

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

The Jason-1 Satellite has officially been decommissioned. It's last working transmitter failed on 6/21. All efforts have been made to get a response to no avail. The satellite has been.cgiaced in a parking orbit with it's solar panels turned away from the the sun. It's batteries are to discharge in the next 90 days. No additional data is expected from this satellite. We are working to start capturing data from the Jason-2 satellite, but that will take some time. More information to follow.

Current Conditions
On Sunday
(7/7) North and Central CA had surf at waist to maybe chest high and clean at select spots with wind light from the south. Down in Santa Cruz surf was near flat with the occasional thigh to waist high sets and clean. Southern California up north was maybe thigh high on the sets and and clean and weak, pure windswell. Down south waves were about waist high and weak coming from the south and clean with no wind early. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was knee high and clean with no wind blowing early. The East Shore was flat and fairly clean early.

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
In the North Pacific no large scale swell producing fetch of interest is occurring or has occurred to produce swell, typical for the time of year. North winds near Cape Mendocino were still producing small northerly windswell for the Central CA coast. Relative to the Hawaiian Islands e
asterly tradewinds remained suppressed with no easterly tradewind generated windswell hitting east facing shores.

Beyond high pressure is to hold in the Gulf of Alaska for the work week ridging into the North CA coast generating the typical fetch of north winds there to 25 kts through Monday then starting to fade in coverage Tuesday (7/9) and down to 20 kts only to return on Wed again back at 25 kts resulting in north windswell fading for North and Central CA then rebuilding mid-week. For Hawaii the same high pressure system is to start building south some by early Tuesday (7/9) with tradewinds returning at 15 kts pushing 20 kts Wednesday with the potential for easterly local tradewind generated windswell resulting.

Down south a small but potent storm developed in the East Pacific on Sat (6/29) with 48-52 ft seas over an infinitesimal area traveling due east. It faded some Sunday with seas falling below 40 ft and tracked east of the California swell window. Next to nothing is expected up into California except for exposed breaks in Southern CA for Mon-Wed (7/10) and then only 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5 ft). This system was well east of the Hawaiian swell window.

Otherwise a pair of tiny small gales developed with the first tracking east under New Zealand Tues-Wed (7/3) into the Central Pacific with seas to 36 ft but heading flat east with the second following behind Wed-Fri (7/5) with seas in the 30 ft range but tracking a little more to the northeast. No swell expected for Hawaii given the storm headings and nothing for California either from the first with maybe with only bare minimal swell from the second for California.

Also a small but fairly powerful storm developed off Chile on Thurs-Fri (7/5) with seas to 39 ft aimed due north. Modest swell possible for Southern CA.

Fortunately the models are hinting at a better storm system for the South Central Pacific on Wed-Thurs (7/11) with a modest sized area of seas in the 36-38 ft range aimed well to the northeast. But this system has come and gone on the models, so nothing is certain yet.

Details below...

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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis  -  On Sunday (7/7) weak high pressure at 1028 mbs was holding in the Gulf of Alaska ridging into the Pacific Northwest Coast generating 20 kt north winds from off Vancouver Islands pushing southward and peaking near Cape Mendocino at 25 kts generating more of the standard north windswell mainly for Central CA. The high was well north of the Hawaiian Island resulting in no easterly tradewinds and no easterly local windswell of notice along east facing shores.

Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to hold and build south some A limited fetch of 25 kt north winds is forecast over Cape Mendocino on Monday fading to 20 kts Tuesday then rebuilding Wednesday (7/10) to 25 kts holding into Thursday but impacting the Central Coast Wednesday and beyond with the local eddy flow dissipating. But relative to the Hawaiian Islands the high is to start building south some late Monday and by Tuesday 15 kts east trades are to be in full effect pushing near 20 kts Wed (7/10) then backing off to 15 kts Thursday. Tradewind generated east windswell is to be on the increase Tuesday peaking Wednesday then backing off some on Thursday.

Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.


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


On Sunday (7/7) hurricane Erick was 120 nmiles southeast of Puerto Vallarta mexico tracking northwest with winds 70 kts but not in the US swell window. It is to continue on this heading while fading passing maybe 80 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas on Monday (7/8) with winds down to 55 kts and fading fast then taking a more westerly track Tuesday (7/9) and all but gone before it moves into the Southern CA swell window.

A tropical low was pushing east through the far West Pacific on Sun (7/7) expected to build through the workweek while maintaining a straight west heading moving between the Northern Philippines and extreme Southern Japan early next weekend. No fetch is to be aimed at out forecast area with no swell forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (7/7) a light eddy wind flow was in effect for the California coast nearshore other than 20-25 kt north winds limited to extreme Northern CA. More of the same is forecast Monday (7/8) with a light northerly flow 5 kts over the entire coast in the afternoon. North winds to hold over Cape Mendocino at 20 to barely 25 kts Tuesday with the eddy flow fading out for the Central Coast and north winds 5 kts forecast. Wednesday the gradient is to hold at 25 kts over Cape Mendocino with 5 kt north winds nearshore coming up some in the afternoon. Thursday the gradient is to fade with north winds 20 kts falling south to Pt Arena and 15 kts along the rest of the Central Coast. Southern CA to remain in a weak eddy flow. This same pattern with north winds 20 kts over Cape Mendocino down to Pt Arena if not Bodega Bay and 15 kt north winds from there down to Pt Conception and the Channel Islands is to hold into Friday through Sunday (7/14).     

South Pacific

Jetstream  -  On Sunday (7/7) most energy in the jet was consolidated in it's northern branch with winds 150 kts tracing east-southeast pushing over New Zealand and aimed towards the Central Pacific. East of there the jet continued on it's southeastward trajectory eventually pushing into and just south of southern South America. A weak ridge associated with the southern branch of the jet was pushing under New Zealand and south into Antarctica. In all no support for gale development in the lower levels of the atmosphere was evidenced. Over the next 72 hours the ridge is to dissipate and a nice northward tracking pulse of wind energy is to emerge east of New Zealand early Wed (7/10) with winds 150 kts, setting up a trough there and slowly fading but holding well enough into late Thurs (7/12) offering support for gale development then.
Beyond 72 hours the southern branch of the jet is to be .cgiit over New Zealand but consolidated east of there with some form of weak trough like structure holding over the Southeast Pacific into Sat (7/13). But no solid winds of interest are forecast so no clear support for gale development is indicated.

Surface  -   On Sunday (7/7) additional sideband swell from a small but powerful storm that was previous in the Southeast Pacific targeting primarily South America (see Southeast Pacific Storm below) was supposedly pushing towards Southern CA from a very southeasterly direction. Two other systems formed in the Southwest Pacific last week but there impact on Hawaii is to be nonexistent and on California only slightly better (see 1st and 2nd Southwest Pacific Gales below). A stronger storm formed in the extreme Southeast Pacific off Chile Fri-Sat (7/6) pushing north and having some odds for pushing swell into Southern CA (See Southeast Pacific Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is forecast building in the Southwest Pacific on Tues (7/9) with winds to 45 kt over a tiny area aimed well northeast resulting in seas of 28 ft at 58S 169W. By Wed AM (7/10) winds to be down to 45 kts over a tiny area but imbedded in a rather broad area of 35 kt southwest winds resulting in seas of 32 ft at 57S 160W but 28 ft seas over a broad area up to 46S 167W. By evening 45 kt southwest winds are to building in the core of the broad area aimed northeast with seas building to 36 ft at 48S 162W. Residual 40 kt fetch is to be pushing northeast Thurs AM (7/11) building seas to 36 ft at 43S 152W. additional 40 kt southwest fetch is to hold in the gales core resulting in seas of 36 ft at 48S 148W. 40 kt west fetch is to be fading Fri AM with seas dropping from 34 ft at 43S 140W. If all this develops as forecast perhaps some degree of decent swell to for Tahiti, Central America, Mexico and the US West Coast with sideband swell up into Hawaii. It's something to monitor.


Southeast Pacific Storm
A strong but tiny storm developed in the Southeast Pacific Sat AM (6/29) generating 60 kt west winds with seas pushing 52 ft at 44S 137W tracking due east targeting primarily South America. No fetch was aimed up at the US Mainland. 55 kt east winds held into the evening with seas 50 ft at 42S 128W, barely in the California swell window but with most energy pushing due east towards South America. By Sunday AM (6/30) the gale developed a small fetch of 45 kt south winds along with 45 kt west winds but positioned barely in the Southern CA swell window. 45 ft seas were modeled over a tiny area at 40S 120W pushing mostly east. By evening the storm was east of even the California swell window with 45-50 kt southwest winds positioned off the coast of Chile generating 38 ft seas at 39S 111W targeting only Chile and Peru. Fetch held while the gale pushed east into Monday AM (7/1) with 42 ft seas at 43S 104W, again targeting only South America. By evening wind was fading from 40 kts but covering a decent sized area finally with seas 39 ft at 39S 95W. Fetch was fading from 35 kts Tues AM (7/2) with seas fading from 36 ft at 38S 88W targeting Chile and Peru.

This will be a good swell producer for Chile and Peru, with decent sideband swell working it's way up into Central America and Southern Mexico. But only weak background sideband swell is forecast for California - mainly Southern CA, arriving on Fri (7/5) with period 20 secs and barely even noticeable. The issue is the the fetch was exceedingly small while the storm was in the CA swell window, and the fetch was all aimed due east or 90 degrees east of any great circle path up into California.

Southern CA:  Expect more sideband energy to arrive Mon (7/8) at 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5 ft) 175 degrees. Swell fading Tues (7/9) from 2 ft @ 15-16 secs (3 ft) . Swell fading Wed (7/10) from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3 ft) . Swell Direction: 175 degrees.


1st Tiny Southwest Pacific Gale
A tiny gale developed southeast of New Zealand Mon PM (7/1) building Tues AM (7/2) with winds barely 55 kts over a tiny area and seas up to 36 ft at 55S 168W tracking flat east and tiny in areal coverage. This system to continued east in the evening with southwest winds 45 kts and seas 36 ft at 55S 155W. This system was all but gone Wed AM (7/3) with seas fading from 32 ft at 57S 145W.

No odds of any swell reaching up into Hawaii or the US West Coast given this storms tiny footprint and due east trajectory.


2nd Tiny Southwest Pacific Gale
A second smaller gale developed in the same area starting Tues PM (7/2) with a tiny area of 45 kts west winds. By Wed AM (7/3) with 45 kt west winds were holding with 36 ft seas over a tiny area at 56S 177W, then winds fading by evening with seas 30 ft at 55S 172W moving slightly northeast. This system redeveloped some Thursday with 32 ft seas at 54S 163W fading from 30 ft in the evening at 52S 153W. Given this system slightly northeast trajectory, limited odds for swell pushing up into California (but not Hawaii).

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (7/12) with swell to 1.6 ft @ 18 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell to peak on Saturday (7/13) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft) fading Sunday from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (7/12) with swell period at 18 secs late but not rideable. Swell to peak on Saturday (7/13) at 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft) fading Sunday from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees


Southeast Pacific Storm
On Thurs PM (7/4) a storm rapidly developed off the Chile coast with 50 kt south winds aimed due north. Seas were barely 36 ft over a tiny area at 40S 108W. 45 kt south winds held into Fri AM (7/5) generating seas to 39 ft at 35S 105W pushing due north. 40 kts south winds held into the evening generating 36 ft seas at 31S 101W. This system faded thereafter.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival late on Wed (7/10) reaching 2 ft @ 20 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell to peak on Thurs (7/11) at 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading some Fri (7/12) at 3.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (5 ft). Residuals fading on Saturday (7/13) from 3 ft @ 14 secs early (4 ft). Swell Direction: 169 degrees


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 high pressure is to continue weakly ridging into the California coast centered on Cape Mendocino Friday and Saturday (7/13) generating 20-25 kt north winds there over a small area producing short period north windswell down into Central CA, but with some of that fetch also impacting the coast with no coastal eddy forecast. Still rideable windswell for Central CA is likely.   

Relative to Hawaii the high is to start breaking up with fetch fading from 15 kts on Friday (7/12) and all but gone by Sat (7/13) with small short period easterly windswell fading. 

No other swell sources projected.       

Note: The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by& enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

As of Sunday (7/7) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was up to 18.53. The 30 day average was down to 7.40 with the 90 day average down to 5.81. Overall this is holding in weak La Nina territory and not indicative of El Nino and clearly illustrative of a dominance of the Inactive Phase of the MJO.  

Current equatorial wind analysis indicated light easterly anomalies over the Maritime Continent and dateline regions fading to neutral anomalies east of there and continuing the whole way to Central America. A week from now (7/14) weak easterly anomalies are forecast over the western Maritime Continent turning moderate.cgius strength over the dateline, and holding to a point southeast of Hawaii. Neutral anomalies are forecast from there into Central America. This suggests that the Inactive Phase is to build some over the Central Pacific consistent with previous forecasts from the models.    

The longer range models (dynamic and statistical) run on 7/4 are in agreement suggesting the Inactive Phase was pushing east of the Philippines and West Pacific into the Central Pacific but di.cgiaced some north of the equator arching up into Hawaii. Both models are in agreement suggesting a fragment of the Active Phase of the MJO is holding on the intersection of the dateline and the equator for the next 10 days, while the Inactive Phase of the MJO tracks just north of it. A new Active Phase is building in the Central Indian Ocean. But, the part of the ocean that really matters, and the part where anomalous winds move warm and cold water around, is on the equator. If neutral winds hold on the equator, regardless of what happens north of there, then the neutral to warm water that is trying to build in the East Pacific off Ecuador will be preserved. For now there models suggest this is to be the case for the next 10 days. 15 days out the Inactive Phase is to be gone over the West Pacific with a greatly weakened Active Phase trying to push into the West Pacific and likely having no impact but to beat back the Inactive Phase. Longer range models suggest a weak Active Phase is to move over the West Pacific late in July. Interesting that the short range models suggest the Inactive Phase is to rebuild while the longer range models say otherwise.

The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. As of now (7/4) a La Nina like pattern continues fading in the East Pacific over the equator, almost gone, but not completely. This is good news. Cooler water continues to significantly reduce it's footprint off the South American Coast. No pockets of what would be called cold water exist. The cold pool has been steadily shrinking over the past 33 days. But the cool pool off West Africa , though eroding some, is till in.cgiace and not completely dispersed. It had previously built almost to the coast of South America. but as of now it's limited to the immediate West Africa coast and appears to be fading. This was a direct reflection of what was occurring in the Pacific, a global teleconnection. But with the East Pacific cold pool continuing to erode, and the African pool eroding too, maybe all hope is not lost. A.cgiume of slightly cooler than normal water that has been radiating southeast off California for 2 years closed off mid-May, returned in June when the cold pool emerged off Peru, but is now fully closed off again. The teleconnection suggests this cold water pattern (driven by high pressure aloft) has a global component. With the cold pool fading down south, it make sense the cold pool off CA is fading too. Another interesting tidbit is last year at this time an almost El Nino like pattern developed, only to collapse late summer. So it is possible this La Nina teaser could fade as well late in July. We are continuing to monitor this situation.

Subsurface waters temps on the equator indicate a mainly neutral temperature pattern. Warm water from the West Pacific has migrated east over top of a previous cold pool - eliminating it's impact. +1.0 deg C water is generally in control over the entire equatorial Pacific down 50-100 meters below the surface. Temperatures on the surface appear to be warming some with the subsurface blocking pattern gone. Still of concern is the fact the Atlantic responded to the cold push in May, in what could have been a global pattern that is still not totally dislodged. And the models are now suggesting perhaps some flavor of weak Inactive MJO is going to set up. At this time it looks like were in some neutral pattern biased Inactive.    

Projections from the CFSv2 model run 7/7 indicate water temps bottomed out (in May) near normal (-0.1 degs C). A gradual rebound to the +0.1 degree C level is possible later in July and holding in the +0.1-+0.2 range into Nov before fading to neutral if not diving slightly negative in Jan 2014 -0.2 degs C. A consensus of other ENSO models suggest a less wide spread of outcomes compared to earlier projections all centered near neutral to just a bit cooler than that into Summer and early Fall 2013. The dynamic models favor slight warming, while the statistical models favor slight cooling. We are out of the Spring Unpredictability Barrier and the models are starting to get a better handle on the long term outlook. That said, the outlook remains nothing stellar, not trending towards anything that would be considered warm, but not anything particularly cold either. Historically, if a warm water buildup indicative of any significant El Nino pattern were to occur, it would be starting to happen by now (normally would start building in Feb-Mar). That is clearly not the case for this year. Expect a neutral pattern for Winter of 2013-2014 if not bordering weakly on La Nina.

We are in a neutral ENSO pattern with neither a solid El Nino or La Nina imminent. But that is a far better.cgiace than previous years (2010-2011 and 2011-2012) under the direct influence of La Nina. We had expected a normal number of storms and swell for the 2012-2013 winter season, but that did not materialize with the pattern looking more like La Nina than anything. This past season was more of a 3 rating than the 5 that was predicted. That said, there was good consistency, with the west dateline area very productive and almost machine-like. But the storms were very small in areal coverage and rarely made enough eastern headway to reach over the dateline. The result was very westerly but reasonably sized utility class swells for the Islands with far smaller and more inconsistent swell energy for the US West Coast. Longer term the expectation there will be at least one year of neutral to slightly warmer temps (2013-2014) ultimately converging in a stronger warmer pattern and possible El Nino 2-3 years out (2014 or 2015). And historically, this is the 'normal' pattern (a few years of false starts post La Nina before a legit El Nino forms).

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Last Updated 10/6/12 


South Pacific

Beyond 72 no swell producing weather system are forecast.

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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Time Zone Converter 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.

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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