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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 7, 2006 8:24 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 = 3.0 - 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 9/4 thru Sun 9/10
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 Moves Towards CA
Not Much Following


On Thursday (9/7) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high, foggy and weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were 1 ft bigger than flat. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were maybe 1-2 ft, effectively flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high, maybe a shade more on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high with a few bigger sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest to head high with some bigger sets. The East Shore was waist high.

Not much in California today though windswell was trying up north and background southern hemi swell was mixing in down south providing something to stand on at best breaks. Also the faintest signs of 22 sec energy of the next approaching swell starting to show on buoys in Southern CA. Hawaii remained the standout location with well rideable surf on the South Shore originating under New Zealand and smallish slop on the East Shore from the trades. The southern hemi swell has peaked out in the Islands and is beginning a slow descent. Things to start improving in California with Southern hemi swell starting to show on Friday and heading up from there, but inconsistent. Beyond the remnants of Typhoon Ioke hold the faintest hope for the Gulf of Alaska while energy is charted under New Zealand this weekend, but both seem a bit far fetched. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (9/7) indicate a more energetic flow in.cgiay with a small trough is forecast in the northern Gulf of Alaska over the coming weekend (9/9) while a huge ridge starts building just inland of Russia pushing well north into the Bering Sea by Monday of next week continuing through Wednesday totally shutting any potential for surface level storm development down everywhere except the northeastern Gulf. Another trough looks possible north of Hawaii late next workweek, possibly signaling the start of Fall.

At the surface today a weak high pressure pressure was in effect stretching from Kamchatka at 1024 mbs southeast towards Hawaii then northeast up to the Pacific Northwest at 1028 mbs. This was generating 25 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino CA producing small short period windswell for North and Central CA and 15-20 kt easterly trades pushing into the Hawaiian Islands producing weak windswell there too. Of somewhat more interest was the reconstituted remains of Typhoon Ioke in the Bering Sea producing 45 kts winds confined mostly north of the Aleutian Islands, with just a tad dangling south of there trying to get traction on open waters of the North Pacific, but not really succeeding. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/10) the remains of Ioke to slowly drop from the Bering Sea into the northern Gulf of Alaska generating a maximum of 30-35 kt northwest winds Saturday (9/9) producing 21 ft seas pushing towards North CA and the Pacific Northwest. Possible small 12 -13 secs period swell arriving Tuesday (9/12).

Otherwise weak high pressure to hold north of Hawaii generating season trades from the east at 15-20 kts and producing more small short period easterly windswell.


Tropical Depression Kristy was heading due west on Thursday (9/7) looking exceeding poor on satellite imagery. Winds estimated at 25 kts and expected to continue in this range heading west through Tuesday of next week, moving to within 250 nmiles southeast of the Big Island. Seas estimated at 9 ft. No swell generation potential.


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


California Offshore Forecast
High pressure at 1026 mbs to continue off California on Friday (9/8) but fading with gradient north winds degenerating off Cape Mendocino and short period windswell fading with it, all but gone by Saturday. A light to moderate northwest flow to continue over outer waters, but not enough to generate any windswell of interest through the weekend. This high to finally start surging Wednesday (9/13) improving windswell generation potential off Cape Mendocino through Friday but having no effect on local winds with a light flow persisting.


South Pacific

On Thursday (9/7) a fully .cgiit jetstream pattern was in effect with the northern branch flowing flat west-to-east from north of New Zealand into Chile with the only winds of interest at 140 kts just off the Chilean coast. The southern branch was much the same only positioned south over the 60-65S latitude flowing over the northern edge of Ross Ice Shelf with one pocket of 140 kt winds mid-stream, but no associated trough indicated. No support for surface level storm development suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/10) the pattern to remain essentially the same but a small trough is to try and get set up under New Zealand with 150 kts winds pushing northeast, providing a tiny pocket for some surface level storm development. That to push east over the coming days and fade with another similar trough trying to set up Sunday but not as well defined. After that a flat pure zonal flow to build in with no support for surface level storm development indicated.

At the surface over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the upper level trough under New Zealand on Friday (9/8) pushing east into Sunday with 35 ft seas suggest, but all fetch to be aimed just a shade north of due east, limiting swell production capacity for Hawaii and the usual decay/distance issues for California. Another storm is forecast Sunday in the same area with pressure 956 mbs with 45-50 kt east winds and up to 38-40 ft seas modeled pushing the whole way across the South Pacific, but again all winds to be aimed due east creating the same set of problems as the storm before it. Best bet is for small utility swell for Hawaii and California.


Storm 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 even worse, the Tahitian Island were sitting smack in the middle of the great circle paths late in the storms life for South CA, adding the detrimental effects of shadowing. For the most part North CA was OK. And in both cases the fetch/storm was not traveling northeast towards our intended targets, further limiting swell generation potential. Small to moderate 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 2.5 ft @ 17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces). 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.

Hawaii: Friday (9/8) swell 3 ft @ 14 secs early and fading (4 ft faces) with residuals left on Saturday. Swell Direction: 191-196 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival Thursday (9/7) around 11 AM with period 20-22 secs and size tiny. Swell coming up through the day Friday finally peaking Saturday (9/9) early morning with pure swell 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.3 ft faces - up to 5.3 ft peaks best breaks). Swell to hold through early Sunday with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) then start fading late as period drift down to 14 secs by 5 AM Monday. Swell Direction 206-210 degrees.

North California: Expect swell arrival Thursday (9/7) around 3 PM with period 20-22 secs and size tiny. Swell coming up through the day Friday finally peaking Saturday (9/9) morning with pure swell 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5 ft faces - up to 5.5 ft peaks best breaks). Swell to hold through early Sunday with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) then start fading late as period drift down to 14 secs by 5 AM Monday. Swell Direction 208-211 degrees.


Short Lived Gale (Hawaii)
A small fetch setup southeast of New Zealand on Saturday (9/2) generating a small fetch of 40-45 kt winds aimed mostly to the east and not very steady, trying to hold into Sunday. The wave models suggested 35 ft seas Saturday evening at 55S 172W then fading into Sunday AM, but that seems on the high side. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass right over this area late Saturday night and confirmed seas 30-32 ft, a little less than the models suggested. Regardless, we're only talking about a 12 hour window of decent seas. Small sideband energy likely for Hawaii a week out, with Tahiti probably doing better, but nothing for the US mainland of interest.

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 low pressure to try and develop starting Wednesday (9/13) north of Hawaii dropping to 988 mbs while lifting north sandwiched between higher pressure off the Pacific Northwest and again over the dateline, directing all fetch north towards Alaska. No swell generation potential for California or Hawaii.

By late Wednesday (9/130 high pressure off the Pacific Northwest to be surging possibly generating a new pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino with winds 35 kts into Friday, generating increased potential for local windswell in North and Central CA.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no gales or storms of interest are modeled with the Summer swell season starting to come to a close.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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