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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 14, 2005 2:43 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 = 5.0 - California & 5.5 - 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 9/12 thru Sun 9/18
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   

Swell #5S Poised for Hawaii
ET Nabi Swell Moves toward CA



On Tuesday (9/13) Northern CA surf was 1 ft dribbles. South facing breaks were thigh high. Central California surf was barely waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were barely waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was maybe waist high with best breaks navel high. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was doing well with waves 1-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was waist high with some bigger sets. The East Shore was waist high with bigger sets.

The North Shore of Hawaii takes to honors today with the first real swell of the Winter season hitting courtesy of ET Nabi. Solid waves with a good pack out at Sunset Beach. And that's just the start. A large late season southern hemi swell #5S has crossed the equator pushing towards Hawaii and the US west coast. There is really no doubts about this swell, and it will easily be the biggest southern hemi swell of the year, so make the most of it, but proceed safely. The swell from Nabi to reach the US west coast before the southern hemi swell, and with some size north of Pt Conception. In all the next 5 days are shaping up to be about as good as one can expect for the summer. See details below...


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday (9/13) at the jetstream level the only point of interest was a moderate trough hanging off the Kuril Islands with winds 130 kts. A weak pattern prevailed elsewhere (animation here). Over the next 72 hours that pocket of energy is to track northeast to the intersection of the Aleutians and the dateline then pushing east along the Aleutian Chain. There is no indication of any surface level storm development suggested.

At the surface on Tuesday strong high pressure at 1028 mbs remained centered in the Gulf of Alaska controlling all real estate east of the dateline. A weak 992 mb low was tracking east of Kamchatka with no swell producing winds present. A broad but generally weak fetch of 15-20 kts winds was blowing off the south side of the Gulf high, generating the usual summertime trades over the Hawaiian Islands (animation here). Over the next 72 hours (to the weekend) high pressure in the east is to shift south some but hold at 1028 mbs while the low in the west moves over the Aleutians with no swell producing fetch forecast. Trades to continue over Hawaii with a slight increase in north winds schedule to develop off Cape Mendocino CA on Friday (9/16) at 20 kts. No real swell generation potential expected, which is probably fine given the swell already in the water.

More model data here


Extratropical Storm Nabi
On Thursday AM (9/8) the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Nabi started to emerge into the Northwest Pacific from the west side of the Northern Kuril Islands. Pressure was 976 mbs with 50 kts winds confirmed over a small area aimed east centered at 47N 154E. These winds were aimed well down the 314 degree path to Hawaii and reasonably well up the 308 degree path to California. Seas were building. In the evening a small fetch of 40-50 kt west winds continuing to push into clear unobstructed waters east of the Northern Kuril Islands. Seas built to 27 ft centered at 47N 155E aimed well towards Hawaii down the 315 degree path and towards California up the 304 degree path.

On Friday AM (9/9) the system continue east and fading with pressure up to 980 mbs and winds confirmed barely 40 kts centered at 46N 171E. Seas were modeled at 28 ft centered at 45N 170E. Fairly unimpressive. In the evening the last little bit of winds were present at 40 kts centered at 46N 173E aimed well towards California up the 301 degree path but aimed to far to the east to get much angle into Hawaii (321 degrees). Seas were modeled at 27 ft centered at 45N 170E.

By Saturday (9/10) Nabi had reached the dateline but was all but gone with no swell producing fetch left.

Some decent swell to reach the northern shores of the Hawaiian Islands starting Tuesday (9/13) at 4 AM HST with period at 17-18 secs. Peak size to arrive from noon-5 PM with pure swell 4.5-5.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (6-7 ft faces with best breaks 8 ft). Swell fading fast over night with 4 ft @ 12 sec residuals left in the morning and fading (4-5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 314-320 degrees

North California to receive a bit of swell too. Swell to first hit Wednesday (9/14) at 3 AM with period 17-18 secs and size tiny but coming up. Swell to peak from noon to 9 PM with swell 3.0-3.5 ft @ 17 secs (5.0-6.0 ft faces). Swell fading some overnight but solid energy still expected on Thursday AM with swell 3.5-4.0 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-5.0 ft faces) fading late. Swell Direction 301-308 degrees.

Southern California might swell some 2-3 ft faces from this swell (1.5 ft @ 16 secs) focused mainly in San Diego starting late Wednesday and continuing into Thursday (9/15). Swell Direction 304-311 degrees.


California Offshore Forecast
Tuesday mornings local charts (9/13) indicated high pressure at 1030 mbs continued to be centered right in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska with no real gradient north winds present along the coast. No change forecast till Thursday (9/15) when a slightly increase in north local winds forecast (to the 15 kt range) though no swell is to result, just more local short period junk in the water. This fetch is to slowly increase in area though not speed while dropping south affecting the North and Central coasts by Saturday, then fading. Beyond that high pressure is forecast to finally push into Oregon early next week resulting in a strong gradient with 30-35 kt north winds and building windswell off Cape Mendocino then, assuming the models are right.

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


South Pacific

Tuesday's (9/13) jetstream charts indicated that a moderate trough remained present in the southern branch of the jet well south of Tahiti. Winds are 110 kts. Storm development is possible in the region (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough is to persist and a.cgiify some while tracking east to the very edge of the California swell window by late Thursday (9/15). Perhaps some surface level storm development suggested.

At the surface today a 960 mb low continued just north of Antarctica and south-southeast of Tahiti with a weak secondary 980 mb low rotating over it. This low was producing a fragmented area of 40 kt winds aimed east and expected to track southeast over the coming 24 hours. No swell generation potential forecast. Another little low at 972 mbs was waiting in the wings southeast of new Zealand, expected to be caught up in this flow in the coming days. (animation here). Over the next 12 hours the New Zealand low is to build with a brief broad fetch of 45-50 kts winds resulting on Wednesday morning (9/14) aimed northeast, then sinking southeast on Thursday. A brief area of 37 ft seas to result late Wednesday at 50S 135W, then fading just as fast. Some utility class swell could result for California southward if this develops. Otherwise a high pressure dominate pattern to settle in through the weekend.

More model data here


Storm #5S
Storm History
On Wednesday PM (9/7) a co.cgiex storm start developing just east of the dateline with pressure 974 mbs. Contrary to the model projections winds were confirmed at 50-60 kts over a small but expanding area centered at 50S 159W aimed north-northeast towards Tahiti and 15 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii 15 degrees west of the 206 degree path to South CA. The storm itself was tracking northeast.

On Thursday AM (9/8) pressure was 956 mbs a 960 nmile long area of 50-60 kts winds centered at 49S 155W aimed almost due north towards the same targets (15 degrees east of the 177 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degree west of the 203 degree path to South CA). Seas modeled at 32 ft at 49S 157W but suspect they were higher and expanding in coverage. In the evening the storm started to occlude and fading but, not too fast. Pressure was 958 mbs with winds confirmed at 50 to near 60 kts centered at 46S 148W aimed just the same as before. Seas were modeled at 43 ft centered at 48S 152W.

On Friday AM (9/9) the storm continued east with winds fading fast, though still at 50 kts centered at 48S 144W aimed the same, basically north-northeast. They were blowing 30 degrees east of the 169 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 196 degree path to South California. Seas were modeled at 42 ft centered at 45S 147W. By the evening the storm is to totally be gone with no swell producing fetch left and seas from previous days fetch decaying to 39 ft centered at 45S 140W. This system is to be dead.

On Monday (9/12) at 2 AM this swell hit the Christmas Island buoy on the equator with period at 22 secs. Swell actually came up much faster than expected with pure swell hitting 8.7 ft @ 19 secs a 6 PM. Swell held in that range through noon Tuesday (9/13) then inched up some more as period turned to a pure 17 secs, with swell 9 ft @ 17 secs and seas 10.8 ft @ 17 secs. This is exactly (+ or - 6 inches) what was expected in the core of the swell travel path about 600 nmiles east of this buoy. This suggests that the core swell might actually be a bit larger than forecast and more size might be present in the higher energy bands. We'll stick with our conservative forecast, but don't be surprised if it's a little bigger.

Swell Generation Potential
The models did a reasonably good job on this storm. There were 48 hours of 50 kt winds wit 36 hours to 60 kt winds aimed just east of Hawaii, right at Tahiti and just west of California with a solid core of 60 kt winds covering nearly 1000 nmiles of fetch length for 24 hours. This is very good. On the down side is the fetch area is tracking east rather than northeast, not allowing for any virtual fetch to develop (i.e. where seas are not able to escape the fetch but instead keep getting more energy added on top because the fetch is traveling the same direction as the seas it produces). A little more fetch time would have been nice too, but given the total lack of any other real swell potential this summer, this is a good one and will produce a significant class swell. Tahiti is to be right in the center of the bulls eye and positioned 1800 nmiles south of the swell source, allowing.cgienty of distance for the swell to clean up and organize but experience very little unrequired decay. Very large, long period clean energy swell to hit there. Hawaii is a bit on the western edge of the swell spread with most energy to be sweeping just east of the Islands. Still very solid long period swell is expected. And California is to be just a bit west of the core fetch, but not far off. Again solid long period significant class swell to hit there too. This to be a good one, though a bit of a wait between sets with just a normal wave count per set. Note: We're sticking with our conservative forecast, but don't be surprised if the sets are a bit larger than forecast in California.

Surf Forecast
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (9/14) at 4 AM HST with period at 21 secs and size coming up fairly fast, reaching 4.3 ft @ 18-19 secs by sunset (6-7 ft faces with bigger sets to 9 ft). Swell to start peaking at 6 AM Thursday (9/15) with swell 4.8-5.8 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets 10-12 ft at the best break- biggest early) and holding through the day. Swell fading a little overnight but still solid at sunrise Friday (9/16) with swell 4.8 ft @ 15 secs (6-7 ft with sets to 8-9 ft early), dropping to 14 secs by sunset. A steady decline expected through Saturday with period at 13 secs all day. Swell Direction: 173-181 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (9/15) at noon PM with period 21 secs and size tiny but coming up perhaps rideable at sunset with swell 2.5 ft @ 20 secs (4-5 ft faces with sets to 6 ft). Size on the increase through the day Friday (9/16) with swell peaking at 8 PM swell 4.4 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets to 9 ft+ at breaks with good bathymetry e.g. 2-3 ft overhead with sets to 4 ft over). Swell continuing to peak through 7 AM Saturday (9/17) with swell 4.4 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets to 9 ft). Swell holding through the day, maybe down a little late as the sets dwindle and period drops to 16 secs. Size fading some on Sunday (9/18) with swell 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (5-6 ft) with period finally dropping to the 14 secs range at 6 PM. Size fading through the day Monday (9/19) as period drops to 13 secs. Swell Direction: 199-205 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (9/15) at 11 PM with period 21 secs and size tiny but coming up. Size on the increase through the day Friday (9/16) with swell coming up to 3.8 ft @ 18-20 secs late (6-7 ft faces with sets to 9 ft - 1-2 ft overhead with sets to 4 ft over). Swell to peak starting 2 AM Saturday (9/17) through noon with swell 4.4 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets to 9 ft). Size fading some on Sunday (9/18) with swell 4.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (6-7 ft) with period finally dropping to the 14 secs range at 3 AM on Monday (9/19), trickling out through the day. Swell Direction: 198-203 degrees

Tahiti: This is to be ground zero with swell hitting on Saturday (10/10) at 10 PM HST with period at 20-21 secs and size coming up fast. Swell to peak Sunday (10/11) at 1 AM through 1 PM with swell 10.4-10.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (18-19 ft Hawaiian at the best breaks). Winds southeast 10-12 kts making a slight turn more easterly late. Slight southerly short period lump in the water from south winds 300 nmiles south of the island. Swell fading out through the day Monday. Swell Direction: 175-180 degrees



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

North Pacific

Tuesdays (9/13) upper level models indicate that beyond 72 hours the pocket of energy over the Aleutians is to move to the Gulf of Alaska forming a trough in the northern most part of the Gulf with winds 130-140 kts. A tiny area in the northern most Gulf might be able to support storm development over the weekend, but it will be limited. Another batch of energy is forecast pushing off the Kuril's early next week, but it too is to track northeast not having any real storm development potential.

Beyond 72 hours at the surface a weak low pressure center is to develop in the Northern Gulf of Alaska over the weekend (9/17) producing some 40 kts winds and 20 ft seas as it interacts with high pressure to it's south. These winds to be aimed mostly at the Pacific Northwest and locations north of there. Good windswell potential for those targets, but not much expected to result south of Cape Mendocino into greater California. Beyond that to mid-next week high pressure to remain in the Gulf west to the dateline with weak low pressure in the west tracking northeast. No obvious signs of any swell development suggested.


South Pacific

Tuesdays upper level models (9/13) indicate that beyond 72 hours the trough in the southeast is to push out out of the California swell window and a solid ridge is to build over the Southeast Pacific, eliminating any chance for storm development there. A weak trough is to build under New Zealand pushing east, but weak is the operative word here. In all no real storm development potential suggested.

At the surface beyond 72 hours out high pressure is to control the East Pacific while a weak 972 mb low develops just east of New Zealand on Monday (9/19). A fleeting 24 hour fetch of 40 kts forecast aimed at Hawaii, with seas forecast at 26 ft. If this system develops some decent moderate swell could result for Hawaii. Otherwise high pressure to dominate.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

New Stormsurf Wave & Weather Models: After a year of development we're ready to release our newest installment of Regional and Local wave models. Read more here.

Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him:

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:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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