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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 31, 2006 9:39 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 = 1.2 - California & 1.3 - 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   

New Zealand Storm Fades
Active NPac Tropics


On Thursday (8/31) Northern CA surf was chest high and clean though a bit on the weak side. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high at top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high and a little bigger on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was thigh high.

Nothing of any real interest was going on in California with most spots waist high or less. Windswell was maxed out in the north end of the state producing some chest high waves, but that was the anomaly. Hawaii was uneventful with no real swell hitting. A bit more of this laxadazical pattern expected until sideband energy from a storm pushing under New Zealand reaches the Islands and eventually California. Some rideable surf to result, with Hawaii maybe reaching well into the summertime utility class range. Another similar storm to follow late this week, but the latest projections aren't looking quite as healthy. The North Pacific has 3 tropical systems in.cgiay, but no real surf to result from any of them. Just waiting for Fall. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (8/31) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days. A weak trough was developing in the Gulf of Alaska and is forecast to continue over the coming weekend, with a much stronger trough possibly setting up over the dateline a week out.

At the surface moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was in control of the Northeast Pacific centered just off Southern Oregon. It was generating the standard moderate pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino with 25 kt north winds and northerly short period windswell. This high was also generating light to moderate trades over the Hawaiian Islands at 15-20 kts, not enough to generate any windswell of interest. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/3) this high to fade and be r.cgiaced by a new smaller high just east of the dateline at 1024 mbs, returning both Hawaii and California to a relatively calm pattern with no swell producing winds of interest forecast.


Super Typhoon Ioke continued to remain a threat mainly to shipping interests after tracking just north of Wake Island this morning with sustained winds at 135 kts (155 mph) and seas at 48 ft. Winds are forecast to slowly drift downward over the coming 5 days as Ioke maintains a west-northwest heading targeting Japan. Current models indicate landfall over the central portion of Japan on Thursday (9/7), though much reduced in strength from current levels. No indications of any significant curvature to the north or northeast and therefore no generation potential for the US mainland or Hawaii.

Hurricane John was 80 nmiles west of Manzanillo Mexico heading-northwest with winds 110 kts, expected to max out this evening at 115 kts. A gradual turn to the west-northwest is forecast over the coming next few days brining the core of John to the tip of Baja Mexico Friday night with winds still 110 kts. Currently this system is tucked too close to the Mexican coast to be in the Southern California swell window, and is not expected to track west enough to move into the window till Sunday AM. And by then winds are to be down to 85 kts and fading fast while tracking pure west/perpendicular to any great circle path to the north and fading fast. No swell generation potential now and odds low of any developing in the future.

Minimal Hurricane Kristy was located in the Southern California swell window roughly 900 nmiles south of San Diego tracking northwest with winds of 65 kts. Strengthening to 70 kts expected by nightfall holding through Friday, then a quick decline is forecast as it turns to the west. This is a small and mediocre storm. QuikSCAT analysis indicates all winds are in it's north and northwest quadrants aimed towards Hawaii, with little to no significant fetch aimed towards California. Odds low for any rideable swell to result. on the outside chance something does develop, it to hit exposed breaks in Southern CA Friday (9/1) mid-afternoon with swell 2 ft @ 12 secs (2.5 ft faces) from 170 degrees.


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


California Offshore Forecast
High pressure at 1026 mbs was pushing into British Columbia with 25 kt north winds starting to fade over Cape Mendocino, with windswell generation potential fading with it. All swell producing fetch to be gone by mid-Friday morning with a light northerly flow continuing over offshore waters at 10-15 kts and holding that way through the 3 day weekend. On Tuesday (9/5) a new weak gradient is to try and develop over Cape Mendocino again as high pressure moves back into the area at 1028 mbs peaking Thursday (9/7) with winds at near 30 kts. More small windswell to result though local winds to remain light south of Pt Arena.

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


South Pacific

On Thursday (8/31) a fully .cgiit jetstream pattern was in effect with the northern branch flowing generally flat from north of New Zealand east into Chile with no winds over 120 kts suggested. The southern branch had a bit of a trough (northward dip) just east of New Zealand, then it turned firmly southeast pushing well inland over Antarctica on the eastern edge of the Ross ice Shelf. Winds in the trough were 120 kts pushing a bit to the northeast, providing a hint of encouragement for development of favorable winds at the surface. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/3) that trough to fade fast and get pushed to the southeast as a ridge start building in from the Indian Ocean. No suggestion of surface level storm development. Beyond 72 hours a very unfavorable pattern to set up with the southern branch pushing fully south of Antarctic Ice over the width of the South Pacific Ocean, not providing an environment favorable to surface level storm development.

At the surface the only area of interest was a storm pushing under New Zealand:

A storm started developing under New Zealand late Monday (8/28) tracking east with winds confirmed at 45-50 kts. Those winds were aimed due east or 20 degrees east of the 215 degree great circle path to California and 45 degrees east of the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building. On Tuesday AM the storm held it's strength with pressure 948 mbs. 45-50 kt west winds again were aimed 25 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California and 50 degrees east of the 199 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled at 32 ft at 57S 160E but the Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and reported seas in the 32-35 ft range wit one reading to 37 ft. This is a good sign. By evening winds died back to 40-45 kts aimed 30 degrees off the 211 degree path to California and 55 degrees off the 194 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 38 ft at 57S 172E. One last bit of fetch remained Wednesday AM at 35-40 kts aimed 40 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and 60 degree off the 191 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled to 39 ft at 55S 179W. The Jason-1 satellite made another pass directly over the fetch reporting seas 34-38 ft over a decent sized area with one reading to 39.4 ft (, consistent with the wave models. Residual seas from previous days fetch were modeled at 36 ft Wednesday PM at 55WS 170W.

The storm evolved quite close to forecast expectations and the wave models were in good agreement with mult.cgie telemetry passes received from the Jason-1 satellite through the storms life. This suggests the models were accurate. But there are issues here. While Hawaii was much closer to the core fetch significantly reducing any swell decay experienced over the journey to the South Shore, the fetch itself was aimed well east of any path up to the Islands (45-60 degrees), significantly limiting the size and consistency of whatever swell is expected to arrive. It will all be sideband energy. Conversely winds were pushing better towards California, 20-40 degrees off the great circle path (which isn't great), but California itself was a very long ways away from the swell source, ensuring lot's of swell decay. And in both cases the fetch/storm was not traveling northeast towards our intended targets, further limiting swell generation potential. Small utility class swell is the best hope, and even that might be optimistic. Swell of 3 ft @ 17 secs is all Hawaii will see (5.0-5.5 ft faces) on Wed (9/6). California to see maybe 2 ft @ 17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Details top be posted in the QuikCAST's. Most energy appears set on a direct course towards mainland Mexico and Costa Rica, though the swell decay argument still a.cgiies for those locales.

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 rebuild in the Northeast Pacific off Oregon starting Wednesday (9/6) possibly starting to generating north winds off Cape Mendocino to 25 kts with weak short period windswell pushing down the North and Central coasts. Trades to build back to the 15 kts range over the Islands, but not enough to generate any windswell of interest. This high in conjunction with another over the dateline to steer Typhoon Ioke into Japan.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another storm is modeled under New Zealand Friday (9/1) with pressure 940 mbs and 45-50 kts winds holding for 24 hours generating up to 38 ft seas at 57S 175W-165W all aimed due east. The same issues a.cgiy to this storm as the one before it. Sideband swell potential for Hawaii at best with well decayed somewhat better directed energy towards California. More direct energy further south, but well decayed. The core of this one to track over Antarctic ice and fade. No other swell producing systems forecast to follow.

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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