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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 19, 2006 12:42 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 = 4.1 - California & 3.3 - 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 8/21 thru Sun 8/27
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   

Waiting for Swell #6S
Nothing to Follow


On Saturday (8/19) Northern CA surf was thigh high and gutless. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was flat. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County were near waist high on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was thigh high on the sets. The East Shore was thigh high.

California was flat except for a few sets pushing into the far southern end of the state. Hawaii was basically flat with no decent surf hitting. So our big hope is pinned on swell from a gale that tracked through the Central South Pacific earlier this week. The belief is that swell is pushing north towards both Hawaii and California, but that it is to not be remarkable, just your average rideable summer surf. Two more storms are to follow, but as reported before, most of the energy from them is to be aimed south towards Chile and Antarctica, rather than north towards Hawaii and CA. So no real hope here. Maybe a third to follow with a hint of energy pointing north, but that's just a guess by the models now. So take whatever comes your way and make the most of it, cause the southern Hemi is unproductive and winter isn't starting just yet. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Saturdays jetstream charts (8/19) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days. A bit of energy is tracking west to east directly over the Aleutian Islands with the ever so slight hint of a dip into the Gulf of Alaska a week out, but that's far from certain at this point.

At the surface High pressure was still in control of the North Pacific, but not as dominant as in weeks past. On pocket was just off the PAcific Northwest at 1028 mbs with a second one over the northern dateline region at 1024 mbs. The usual north winds off Cape Mendocino were suppressed to near nothing while trades over the Hawaiian Islands were in the normal range, from the east at 15-20 kts. No sure source for windswell was indicated for either locale. Tropical low pressure was pushing swell south of Hawaii increasing trades south of the Islands. Of interest was two other tropical lows straddling the dateline and interacting with high pressure to the north, generating fetch aimed towards Japan. They were putting pressure on the high and trying to make inroads, but unsuccessful so far. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (8/22) high pressure over the dateline is to weaken and drift east while more diffuse low pressure tries to organize in the tropical West Pacific, but not quite getting there yet. High pressure is to sink a little south off the US mainland boosting the north winds flow along the north and central California coast to 15 kts, while trades falter over the Islands. Still no windswell generation potential suggested with no other swell source in the picture either.


Hurricane Hector continues tracking west-northwest on Saturday (8/19) with sustained winds 85 kts confirmed mainly in the storms north quadrant aimed west and positioned 1429 nmiles east-southeast of Hilo Hawaii. Seas to 26 ft. No swell generation potential for California and the storm is too far east to have any direct impact yet on Hawaii. Models suggest this system to start decaying steadily over the next 48 hours dropping to tropical depression status by Monday AM and still 700 nmiles east of Hilo. Perhaps some well decayed swell at 3-4 ft @ 14 sec (4 ft faces) to result for the Big Island starting Monday at sunset continuing into Tuesday from 96 degrees.

Tropical Depression Wukong was pushing inland over South Korea and dissipating.


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


California Offshore Forecast
High pressure off the coast of Oregon at 1028 mbs was generating a weak fetch of 20 kt north winds off the coasts of Washington and Oregon, shadowed from any breaks south of Cape Mendocino. These winds are modeled to fade through early Monday, then a new fetch of 15 kt northwest winds to start building over all local waters of California that evening into Tuesday, making for local chop but not much else. Those winds to become centralized off Cape Mendocino Wednesday (8/23) with speeds up to 25 kts pushing 30 kts Thursday into early Friday improving the chances for windswell development then for North and Central CA while local winds stay near calm through Saturday.

The detailed 5 Day Wind Forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.


South Pacific

On Saturday (8/19) the jetstream continued to be consolidated with the southern branch joining forces with the northern branch over the balance of the South Pacific, though a little ragged. The co-joined flow tracked roughly east off Northern New Zealand with a little tilt to the north with winds 130 kts to a point just under Tahiti, then started a steady dive southeast into the far Southeast Pacific with winds 170 kts. This pattern supports storm development but drives the strongest winds in the storm towards Antarctica. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (8/22) the same basic pattern to hold through steadily shifting east with the jet attempting to .cgiit near 160W on Tuesday. This should continue the generally favorable trend towards surface level storm development, but the issue with all energy being directed south to continue. Beyond 72 hours the southern branch is to separate and being flowing over the eastern Ross Ice Shelf leaving only a small pocket favorable to storm development southeast of New Zealand. That pocket to continue through the end of the week and drifting east with 120 kt winds pushing up the troughs western flank, better for directing surface level storm winds to the north, but not very strong.

At the surface today a storm was trying to organize in the northern reaches of the Central Pacific, but not impressive by any means. A fetch of 25-30 kts winds has been blowing due north towards Hawaii for 24 hours generating 20 ft seas, but that's not much and is to fade fast. Most of the energy has been aimed southeast towards Chile and Antarctica with no swell producing fetch aimed towards any northern location. Over the next 72 hours this system to sink southeast and fade with no swell producing fetch aimed tot the north. High pressure to build in behind it to the north.


Storm #6S - Central Pacific Gale
The next candidate system formed just east of New Zealand on Monday AM (8/14) with pressure 964 mbs producing a tiny confirmed fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed due north from 55S 153W targeting locations near Hawaii. Slightly more fetch built late Monday into early Tuesday with 40 kt south winds continuing in the gales west quadrant aimed better at Hawaii from 52S 162W up the 180-185 degree path. But because the fetch is so small only 20 ft seas were modeled, increasing to 29 ft Tuesday AM centered at 55S 165W. This is good for some small 13-15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. By Tuesday night this system started tapping improving jetstream energy, with pressure dropping to 960 mbs and the west side of the storm becoming somewhat better organized, though winds were confirmed still only in the 40-45 kt range at 50S 156W aimed 35 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 200 degree path to California. 30 ft seas were modeled at 51S 160W, good for both Hawaii and California - just barely unshadowed by Tahiti.

By Wednesday AM (8/16) a broad fetch of 35-40 kt winds were set up in the gales northwest quadrant centered at 46S 147W aimed northeast and barely providing sideband energy to Hawaii up the 175 degree path and more directly at California up the 196 degree path totally unshadowed by Tahiti. Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 50S 155W. By evening the core of the low was a bit diffuse but 35-40 kt winds continued centered at 48S 143W outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 20 degrees east of the 195 degree path towards California. Seas were modeled at 37 ft over a moderate area centered at 48S 148W and mainly a function of the continued stress over the oceans surface for an extended period of time and even that may be a little optimistic. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the core of the fetch and reported one reading with seas at 35.8 ft, but most averaged in the 32 ft range. This was a bit lower than the 37 ft indicated by the model, possibly indicating the models was on the high side. This system was all but gone by Thursday AM with winds down to 30-40 kts centered roughly near 40S 135W with seas 32 ft at 45S 140W heading towards California up the 190 degree path. A quick decay forecast after that as a new storm starts building in west, stealing any remaining energy left behind.

This was not a well organized gale (not even a storm), or a strong wind producer. In fact, there was nothing that was remarkable about it other than it's to be 'something' as compared to nothing. In it's favor it held together reasonably well for 3 days and traveled reasonably well to the northeast towards California, but not moving as close as was forecast earlier. This will likely result in solid utility class swell/small significant class energy for the California. Hawaii to get some initial energy from this system too, but at it's peak this gale was a bit too far east relative to the Hawaiian swell window with fetch aimed east of there, only enabling solid utility class swell to push towards the Islands.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (8/21) near 11 PM with period at 20 secs and size tiny (1 ft @ 20 secs - 2 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Tuesday (8/22) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon and nearly peaking with swell up to 3.0 ft @ 17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces - best breaks to 6.5 ft). Swell to peak overnight with solid energy continuing into Wednesday (8/23) with swell 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (5 ft faces - best breaks 6.0-6.5 ft) early, heading down late. Still fun sized swell expected Thursday with swell 3.0-3.3 ft @ 14 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) trickling down late. Rideable 13 secs residuals to continue into Friday. Swell Direction: 179-184 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (8/23) near noon with period at 20 secs and size tiny and barely rideable late (1.0-1.5 ft @ 20 secs - 2-3 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Thursday (8/24) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon and nearly peaking with swell up to 3.0-3.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.5 ft faces - best breaks to 7 ft). Swell to peak overnight with solid energy still present early Friday (8/25) with swell 3.3-3.5 ft @ 16-17 (5.5-6.0 ft faces - top spots 7.5 ft) holding well through the morning then fading early afternoon. Swell to be on the downswing Saturday morning but still quite rideable with swell 3.0-3.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft with sets to 6 ft at the best breaks) heading down by afternoon. Swell still rideable but fading from 3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday morning (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 201-205 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (8/23) late afternoon with period at 20 secs and size tiny and not likely rideable (1 ft @ 20 secs - 1-2 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Thursday (8/24) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon with swell up to 3 ft @ 18 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces). Swell to peak early Friday (8/25) with swell 3.3-3.5 ft @ 17 (5.5-6.0 ft faces - top spots 7.5 ft) holding well through the morning into early afternoon. Swell to be on the downswing Saturday morning but still quite rideable with swell 3.0-3.5 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft with sets to 6 ft at the best breaks) heading down by afternoon. Swell still rideable but fading from 3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday morning (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 196-202 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 to consolidate further off Oregon and trying to fire up the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient, with north winds building there to 25 kts We-Fri (8/25), perhaps generating small windswell for North and Central CA. Trades to fall well below normal for the Hawaiian Islands with no high pressure to force their development there. Tropical low pressure to take advantage of the fading high in the West and start building while tracking north up into the gap, straight up the dateline towards the Aleutians, but fading before making much headway on Thursday (8/24). No swell from this one. Also a hurricane is modeled developing just south of Baja early next week tracking northwest paralleling the coast, possibly providing hope up into Southern CA. But that's just a wild guess by the models right now. So the short story is no real swell source forecast, though signs of a Fall pattern are trying to build in.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another storm is to try and develop east of New Zealand on Wednesday (8/23) with a brief fetch of 45 kt winds aimed north for 18 hours, but then all energy is to take a southward dive focusing on southern Chile and Antarctica. No hope here. Yet another small system is to try and organize under New Zealand at the same time, starting to look better on Thursday with 35-40 kts winds aimed northeast through Friday producing 30 ft seas over a small area, then fading. It's a long ways off and doubtful even this meager system will form.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: After a long hiatus since our last update (we've been heads-down building new wave models - coming soon) , we've finally dug in and did the analysis of what's going on over the Equatorial Pacific. Things are looking up some, so take a glance and get into all the details:

2006 Wave of Compassion: The 2006 Wave of Compassion is a sweepstakes style fundraiser for SurfAid International; a non-profit humanitarian aid organization on a mission to improve the health of pe.cgie living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. This October, one grand-prize winner and guest will go on an all expense paid surf/cultural boat trip to the Mentawai Islands and North Sumatra. The Wave of Compassion trip is a chance to raise awareness and funds. Through the support of Surfline, Indies Trader Marine Adventures, FUEL TV, Reef, Jedidiah, Cobian, Anarchy Eyewear, Wave Riding Vehicles, Kandui Resort, Saraina Koat Mentawai, and a many other supporters, Wave of Compassion's ultimate goal is to raise $250,000 for SurfAid International. If you're interested, you have have until September 1st to enter. There's a suggested donation of $10 - but donating more increases the odds of winning the grand prize, or other prizes. Learn more at the Wave of Compassion website:

New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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