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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 15, 2005 3:12 AM GMT
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 = 3.0 - 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 8/15 thru Sun 8/21
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   

S. Hemi Swell Pushes Towards CA
South Pacific Dormant


On Sunday (8/14) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high. South facing breaks were nearly. Central California surf was thigh high or less. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high. Southward to San Diego waves were thigh to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was maybe waist high. The East Shore was flat.

The only swell of interest is a moderate one from the Southeastern Pacific traveling towards California. Unfortunately no energy from this one is expected to push towards Hawaii. Further out the Southern Hemi is to remain locked down in high pressure with no swell producing fetch forecast. The North Pacific is starting to show signs of stirring from it's long summers nap, with the first in a series of lows there producing small but fun surf for North CA today. More low pressure is forecast for the North Pacific but it's really too early to expect anything rideable from any of these systems. So other than a short bit of southern hemi swell for CA, the outlook remains generally poor. See details below...


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

North Pacific

At the jetstream level on Sunday (8/14) the ridge than has dominated the North Pacific appears to have broken down with the jet making a nice dip starting at the dateline and tracking east into the Gulf of Alaska. Winds were up to 120 kts in one pocket on the dateline suggesting potential for some surface level low pressure development, but not much. Still, it was much more supportive than it's been in weeks past (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the focus is to shift a bit to the west, with two weak troughs scheduled off Japan and north of Hawaii with a big ridge building in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska. Winds to be generally light in the troughs suggesting no surface level development, which winds build to 120 kts in the ridge, suggesting a moderate high pressure system developing in the eastern Gulf by mid-week.

At the surface today a weak pressure pattern was in.cgiace with high pressure at 1020 mbs was just northeast of Hawaii and a fragmented pool of low pressure at 1004 mbs filling the area from the Kuril Islands west to the Central Gulf of Alaska. A weak stream of 20 kts westerly winds marked the boundary between the low pool in the northwest and weak high pressure near Hawaii. No swell generation potential was noted (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no big change is forecast with low pressure maybe getting a little more defined near the dateline at 1000 mbs but no real swell producing fetch expected and high pressure building some well off California ridging into Cape Mendocino generating some near 25 kt north winds there with weak windswell generation. In all pretty benign though.

More model data here


2 tropical systems were present in the Southeast Pacific:

Fernanda has been downgraded to tropical storm status with sustained winds 60 kts positioned 1200 nmiles due east of Hilo Hawaii tracking west-southwest at 8 kts. Fernando is expected to hold at tropical storm strength (50 kts) for the next 5 days as is approaches the waters south of the HAwaiian Island. Maybe some windswell to precede it pushing in to the Big Island, but it's really too far away to know with any certainty. .

Greg has been downgraded to a tropical depression with winds at 30 kts meandering 1080 nmiles south-southeast of Southern California. No change in strength is forecast for the next 5 days holding stationary. Maybe some minimal windswell to radiate north towards exposed breaks in Southern CA, but no waves bigger than 2 ft expected, and those to be buried in an approaching southern hemi swell.


California Offshore Forecast
Sunday mornings local charts (8/14) indicated that high pressure has become much less entrenched than weeks previous and that is to be the new pattern for quite some time. That means pretty much the death of Cape Mendocino produced north winds and local windswell. One small exception is a minor burst of weak high pressure scheduled for late Tuesday (8/16) holding through maybe Thursday morning (8/18) with winds 20-25 kts off Cape Mendocino, then all north winds are to be gone. So some weak windswell for those days, then all swell sources to be much further away from the state.

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


South Pacific

On Thursday (8/14) the jetstream charts indicating a continuation of a fully .cgiit jet tracking across the Pacific, with both the north and southern branches reasonably well separated and tracking due east parallel with each other. Minor undulations were in both, but nothing suggestive of supporting any storm development at the surface (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the southern branch is to continue blowing over the Ross Ice Shelf with no change suggested. No support for surface level storm development suggested.

At the surface today high pressure did not appear to have a commanding control ar the surface of the South Pacific, but neither did low pressure. Generally an anemic pattern was in.cgiace with the fading remnants of the weekends storm in the deep Southeast Pacific making a quick exit into South Chile while moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs sat in the center of the South Pacific (animation here). Over the next 72 hours that high is to build to 1036 mbs moving east while a 988 mb low forms to it's northwest, generating strong sough winds blowing over a large area due south into Antarctica and pretty much scouring the oceans surface clean of any swell pushing north towards the Americas.

More model data here


2nd SE Pacific Storm
On Monday (8/8) a 960 mb low develop off Southern Chile with a gradient in.cgiace between it and much higher pressure back towards New Zealand. A broad fetch of 40-45 kt south to southwest winds was confirmed in the morning along the border of these two systems near 55S 129W aimed well at California into Central America. Seas were modeled at 27 ft centered at 52S 129W (pretty weak). Winds built to 40-50 kts in the evening centered at 50S 129W, essentially over the same area as in the morning. Seas held but were covering a larger area.

On Tuesday AM (8/9) the low held but winds were on the wane and slowly migrating east, confirmed at 40 kts near 48S 126W and fading fast. Seas built (mostly from previous days fetch) to 30 ft near 47S 126W. Residual 29 ft seas forecast at 44S 123W Tuesday evening (8/9) and fading out.

In all this was a very weak system with only 36 hours of functional winds and seas reaching barely 30 ft for 12 hours. At least it was in the California swell window with winds aimed generally right up the 180-190 degree great circle paths towards the state and locations east of there (Central America). The fetch was positioned fairly well to the north too, helping to reduce swell decay as it migrated away from the swell source.

A short bit of utility class swell with period in the 14-17 secs range is expected for North and South California, arriving first in the south on Tuesday AM (8/16) with period at 17 secs and size peaking on Wednesday (8/17) near 2.9 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces with sets at best breaks to 5.5 ft). Swell to reach the north Tuesday evening peaking 24 hours later with similar size, but only at the most exposed south facing breaks.


Southeast Pacific Storm
On Friday (8/12) a minor dent in the southern branch of the jet stream aloft allowed some activity at the surface. A 948 mb storm developed well east of the Southern CA swell window over Antarctic Ice with some fragmented areas of 40-45 kts west winds north of the iceshelf near 58S. They blew from Friday AM through Sunday morning (8/14) with seas modeled at 32 ft late Friday and again late Saturday on the very edge of the Southern CA swell window and 5280 nmiles away. But the winds and seas were tracking fast to the east aimed 70+ degree east of any great circle path to Southern CA. Maybe some hope for small utility swell focused on Southern CA starting mid-day Sunday (8/21) through Wednesday (8/24), but sizes that large are probably wishful thinking. Expect 2.0-2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces) only at the most exposed south facing Southern CA breaks. Swell Direction 180 degrees.




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

North Pacific

Sundays upper level models (8/14) indicate that beyond 72 hours the upper level high in the Gulf is to quickly push inland while the low pressure troughs in the West Pacific push east into the Gulf by early weekend. No energy to be associated with them, so no surface level low pressure forecast to develop. A big ridge is to build in the West Pacific over the dateline with a cut off upper low developing under it south of the Aleutians. All looks pretty boring though.

Beyond 72 hours at the surface and out towards the weekend the weak high off California is quickly retreat west to the dateline at only 1020 mbs doing nothing for either California or Hawaii's ability to see any windswell. Weak low pressure is forecast to fill the void in the Gulf of Alaska at 1008 mbs with no swell producing winds forecast to result. Most boring, but in all it suggests that high pressure has lost it's commanding edge, meaning that the winter season is starting to put it's toe in the waters of the North Pacific.


MJO Update
On Tuesday (7/27) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) dropped to -14 and has held in that range steadily through Thursday 8/4 with a -16 value posted. Then it started gave up ground with values bouncing from near 0 to -16 with the average hovering near -6 through today (Sunday 8/14). A negative SOI is conducive to the development of El Nino and prolonged negative readings (2 weeks.cgius) is evidence that the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was occurring. A reversal of tradewinds over the Pacific equator typically accompanies such events. The first signs of such a breakdown developed west of the dateline starting Thursday (8/4). By Saturday (8/6) west wind were clearly evidenced to 160E and building eastward reaching 170E by Tuesday (8/9) then holding. But by Sunday (8/14) the trades dropped to near neutral and were likely poised to return to normal (blowing from east to west). Subsurface waters temperatures were 1 degree above normal in the West Pacific pushing towards the dateline, suggesting a minor Kelvin wave was trying to organize. But it will impact a pool of 4 degree cooler than normal water southeast of Hawaii likely resulting in it's demise. Forecast models suggest this Active Phase of the MJO is over, with the inactive (cool phase) of the MJO forecast to build in, but then quickly fade by 8/23. Though it is too late in the year for a full blown El Nino to start forming, a series of active MJO's can help to improve the chances for winter season storms and are a catalyst for development of strong tropical systems in the West Pacific (look for them to turn extratropical and curve northeast in the fall). This minor bout of the MJO appears to have influenced the North Pacific jetstream and improved the potential for early season low pressure development in the Gulf of Alaska. Unfortunately that has come to an end.

South Pacific

Sundays upper level models (8/14) indicate that beyond 72 hours a strong ridge is to persist in the southern branch of the jetstream with winds up to 140 kts on Friday (8/19) blowing west to east across the Ross ice Shelf. No support aloft for any surface level storm development suggested.

At the surface beyond 72 hours out the models suggest that on Saturday AM (8/20) a sub-tropical low is to drop south and rapidly intensify to 980 mbs with 40 to near 50 kts winds building in it's west quadrant aimed north towards Hawaii and Tahiti for 24 hours, then fading just as fast as it formed. Odds low of this occurring. And even if it does the winds it produces will not have sufficient time to get good traction on the oceans surface to produce any seas of interest. No other swell producing sources forecast.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Proposed Senate Bill To Restrict Free Weather Data Giving it only to Private Companies for re-sell to the Public. If you view the free info from buoys, wind, and weather currently provided on this and other sites, prepare to see it end if this bill gets passed. Read more here.

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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