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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: July 13, 2005 3:09 AM
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 = 3.9 - 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 7/11 thru Sun 7/17
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   

South Swell Aims at Hawaii
Then Targets CA/Solid Storm on the Charts


On Tuesday (7/12) Northern CA surf was waist to shoulder high and rideable but not much more. South facing breaks were waist high with some bigger sets. Central California was up to waist high at the best spots. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were near flat with best breaks to barely waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to waist high with a few bigger sets at the best spots. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was waist high.cgius.

Hawaii is first up with moderate southern hemi swell expected to be building today and holding into Wednesday AM then heading down slowly through the workweek and flattening out for the weekend. Northwest windswell to be the main surf source for North and Central CA into Saturday then fading. The same southern hemi swell building now in the Islands is to arrive on the mainland late Wednesday and provide fun surf into the early weekend. Further out if the models are right, a stronger storm is forecast under New Zealand. 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 (7/12) a general zonal flow was present stretching from North Japan steadily to the Central Gulf of Alaska, with just the faintest hint of a trough off Vancouver Island while a broad ridge was over the interior US. No support for storm development suggested (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a new ridge is to build north of Hawaii suggesting strong high pressure at the surface and tracking towards the US mainland by Friday (7/15). Further west a huge ridge is forecast over the Kuril Islands and Western Siberia certainly not indicative of supporting any storm development.

At the surface today high pressure was in the Central Gulf of Alaska at 1028 mbs while a weak 996 mb low was riding up it's western flank near the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutian Islands. A building pressure gradient was off Northern California centered near San Francisco with north winds in the 20-25 kt range while a second weaker fetch at 15-20 kts was blowing near the Hawaiian Islands. Some degree of windswell was being generated by both (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no dramatic change is forecast with high pressure dominating the East Pacific but starting to show signs of retrograding back to the west. Still the gradient off California and Hawaii are to hold.

More model data here


California Offshore Forecast
Tuesday mornings local charts (7/12) indicated strong high pressure at 1030 mbs building 1300 nmiles west of the South Oregon coast ridging into Washington and fueling the normal summertime gradient north winds off Cape Mendocino. Winds were confirmed at 20-25 kts off Pt Arena and expected to be on the increase. The high is to track rapidly east taking a position just 600 nmiles off the Oregon coast on Wednesday (7/13) with winds off Cape Mendocino reaching near 40 kts late in the day. Windswell on the upswing. Low pressure in the northern Gulf of Alaska is to push east late Thursday (7/14) causing the high and the winds to back off temporarily, but it is to return Friday evening (7/15) with 30-35 kt north winds forecast and windswell back on the way up. The gradient is to start fading late Saturday (7/16) as the high starts retreating to the west.

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


South Pacific

On Tuesday (7/12) the jetstream charts indicated a nearly consolidated jet flowing across the South Pacific with a trough far to the south under New Zealand pushing up it's east coast while a second trough was well south of Tahiti. A big ridge started just east of the second trough pushing south to Antarctica and approaching South Chile (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough under New Zealand is to expand east through Friday (7/15) to about 149W while a strong ridge builds from 130W into Chile shutting down any storm generation potential there. The best hope remains under New Zealand and over a limited area east of there.

At the surface today a series of three high pressure cells were present along the 30S axis stretched evenly across the South Pacific: one in the Tasman Sea at 1018 mbs, another at 1024 mbs south of Tahiti, and the third off Chile at 1028 mbs. Low pressure was sandwiched between these, one just east of New Zealand with energy merging with it from under Tasmania, and a second one well south of Tahiti at 960 mbs producing a fleeting fetch of 40-45 kt winds and 29 ft seas aimed northeast. But this one is to be short lived, and holds little promise (animation here). All interests should focus on the developing New Zealand low, part of an evolving storm co.cgiex (see details below - Potential Storm #6S). Over the next 72 hours this storm is to develop while high pressure gets a better grip on the East Pacific and upper latitudes of the West Pacific. No other swell producing systems forecast.

More model data here


Mid-Pacific Storm
On Tuesday (7/5) a new storm developed just east of New Zealand with pressure dropping to 972 mbs while high pressure held at 1032 mbs over Australia, setting a a gradient between the two aimed northeast. Winds were confirmed at 40 to near 50 kts over a broad area centered near 57S 162W aimed northwest generally up the 203 degree path to California and 30 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii. On Tuesday PM winds continued at 40-50 kts over a moderate area centered at 53S 156W aimed like before. Seas built to 30 ft over a small area centered at 53S 160W.

The same pattern started to break down Wednesday AM (7/6) with a moderate area of 35-40 kt winds remaining centered near 45S 147W aimed 25 degrees east of the 195 degree path to California and 70 degree off any track to Hawaii and outside their swell window. Seas were modeled 35 ft centered at 50S 150W. The gale actually expanded northeast while loosing definition Wednesday PM, with winds down to 30-40 kts centered 1800 nmiles south of Tahiti. Seas dropped to 32 ft centered at 48S 142W.

A broad but unorganized fetch of 30-45 kt west winds continued Thursday AM (7/7) and held into Friday (7/8) south of Tahiti but aimed mostly at Peru. Seas were modeled at 30 ft Thursday AM at 45S 138W dropping to 29 ft that evening at 42S 132W. A new low developed from the remnants of this systems front late Friday (7/8) with pressure down to 960 mbs and winds back up to 50-55 kts centered near 54S 135W. Seas were up to 30 ft over a tiny area centered at 51S 138W.

On Saturday AM (7/9) the new fetch continued with 50 kt winds centered near 53S 125W, aimed generally 30 degrees east of the 185 degree path to California and well outside the Hawaiian swell window. Seas were back up to 35 ft at 51S 130W. By the evening this pulse was really winding down with only some weak 40 kt winds remaining and aimed outside the California swell window though Central and South America with see good energy from this one. 35 ft seas held at 50S 120W but were fading on Sunday (7/10).

This swell hit buoy 51028 on the equator on late Sunday (7/10) and peak late Monday afternoon with pure swell 3.6 ft @ 15 secs.

The models were interesting with sea heights indicated higher than what one might expect based on wind speeds alone. But the fetch area (specifically length) was long on this systems initial incarnation and blew over the same area of water for 108 hours (4.5 days) which accounts for the bulk of the swell generation capacity. A rather long stretch of 14-16 sec energy is suggested with peak period in the 18-19 sec range pushing well into Peru and Central America. Solid utility class swell generation potential also indicated for California with lesser energy moving north over a short window towards Hawaii from early in the storms life. Swell to arrive starting Tuesday (7/12) in Hawaii with period at 18 secs and size building, peaking early the following day with swell 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell arriving in Southern California on Wednesday (7/13) with period at 19 secs and peaking late Thursday through Friday (7/15) with swell 3.3-4.0 ft @ 15-17 secs (4-5 ft faces with sets into the 6 ft range). Breaks with good southern hemi bathymetry could do better. Note: These sizes are based on our normal conservative manual calculations. Some automated sources suggest slightly higher swell heights, but these are somewhat suspect. Details posted in the QuikCAST's.


Potential Storm #6S
Forecast History
Of most interest is the development of a new storm late Tuesday (7/12) under New Zealand. An existing 960 mbs low was fading in the morning just southeast of New Zealand producing residual 35-40 kt winds aimed northeast towards the Northern Hemisphere while new energy at 972 mbs was tracking under Tasmania and starting to merge with it. By the evening core pressure is to be down to 956 mbs with a small but developing 45-50 kt fetch of southwest winds centered near 51S 165E aimed well up the 218 degree path to California and the 210 degree path to Hawaii. Sea forecast at 30 ft centered at 53S 160E.

On Wednesday AM (7/13) the consolidated storm is to have pressure at 952 mbs with 45-50 kts winds aimed a bit north of due east imbedded in a broad area of 35 kt+ fetch centered at 51S 179W. High pressure at 1020 mbs is to be just north helping to fuel a gradient between these two systems and generating the winds. These winds are to be aimed right up the 213 degree path to California and 30 degrees east of the 193 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 30 ft centered at 50S 175E. In the evening pressure is to drop to 948 mbs as the fetch expands with a rather large elongated area of 40-50 kts winds centered near 51S 170W aimed mostly due east. These winds are to be aimed 35 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and 50 degrees east of the 183 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 32 ft centered at 52S 175W.

On Thursday AM (7/14) continued 40-45 kt fetch is to be centered at 52S 170W while the core of the low dives south at 940 mbs. These winds to be aimed due east or 30 degree east of the 210 degree path to California and 70 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast up to 37 ft centered at 53S 170W. In the evening the gradient is to start fading with winds down to 35-40 kts centered at 50S 155W aimed east. Seas from previous days fetch forecast at 38 ft centered at 52S 158W.

On Friday AM (7/15) a new 972 mb low is to develop in the wake of this storm producing a tiny fetch of 40-45 kts winds centered at 50S 175E and aimed northeast, right up the 213 degree path to California and 10 degrees east of the 191 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 35 ft centered at 52S 148W from the moan storm and 30 ft centered at 49S 175E from the new fetch. In the evening winds are to peak at 50-55 kts over a tiny area centered at 50S 172W aimed just like before. But this fetch is to fade overnight with little left in the morning as high pressure starts taking over. Seas fading.

Swell Generation Potential
This system is to be just of average strength, but the fetch area is to be much broader than most this season and it is to hold together over the same area of the oceans surface for a reasonably long time frame (96 hrs). It is to be rather far away from the US mainland and at an oblique angle for Hawaii, but Tahiti looks to be closest and reasonably well on the main swell track compared to any other nearby location. Still the main focus looks like Peru. This storm looks to have significant class swell generation potential for targets in South America and Tahiti (if you like long period groomed lines) and possibly up Central America into California with utility class potential for Hawaii. Detailed forecast to be posted once the storm has completed most of it's life.



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

North Pacific

Tuesdays upper level models (7/12) indicate that beyond 72 hours the ridge off the US west coast is to track east moving onshore over the West Coast late Sunday (7/18) while the monster ridge in the west tracks over the Pacific and Bering Sea.The jet is to be totally out of the Pacific picture a week out. High pressure to be firmly in control.

At the surface high pressure is to expand it's coverage with the core drifting west from off California to near the dateline by late Saturday (7/16). The gradient off California is to start showing signs of weakness while the one off Hawaii is to hold. By Tuesday (7/19) the huge high at 1032 mbs is to be centered just east of the dateline at 45N filling the North Pacific.


South Pacific

Tuesdays upper level models (7/12) indicated that beyond 72 hours a new ridge is to push south under Tasmania on Saturday (7/16) pushing east over the Ross Ice Shelf. Strong ridging to persist in the East Pacific too. As the two ridges join forces on Sunday a a fully .cgiit jetstream pattern is to develop across the entire South Pacific, resulting in a pattern that is not supportive of storm development at the surface.

At the surface high pressure is to start taking over driven by the southward diving jetstream in the upper levels of the atmosphere. By Saturday (7/16) strong high pressure under Tahiti at 1032 mbs is to be building an ridging south to the Antarctic Ice, shutting the storm corridor off in the Southeast Pacific. While that's happening a second high is to develop just east of New Zealand at 1020 mbs and sinking southeast. By Sunday (7/17) most of the South Pacific is to be covered in high pressure with most energy traveling from the Indian Ocean east being redirected northeast up into the Tasman Sea. two weak system are forecast to follow that track on Sunday and Tuesday (7/17) with the greater PAcific going relatively stagnant.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link 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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