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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 17, 2006 5:41 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 & 3.5 - 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 9/18 thru Sun 9/24
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   

Weak Low in Gulf
One More Small One Under New Zealand


On Sunday (9/17) Northern CA surf was head to shoulder high with glassy conditions. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with sets to chest high at the best spots. Central California surf was waist high and offshore. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were about thigh to waist high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with chest high sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were up to chest high with shoulder high sets though most were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was chest to head high. The East Shore was thigh high.

A mix of small windswell and southern hemi swell was providing something rideable at most California breaks, but nothing more. Swell from 2 southern hemi storms under New Zealand is pushing towards the coast expected to provide one last small pulse of summertime energy this week. Hawaii was seeing decent pulse of southern hemi swell that is expected to hold if not build some over the next few days while tiny swell on the North Shore fades out. A storm pushed to New Zealand over the weekend but fizzled before doing anything interesting while another is trying to push into the Pacific today, but it's to be very weak with little expected from it. After that nothing is modeled. The North Pacific looks to be taking over with a weak gale in the Gulf of Alaska sending minimal energy mostly due east towards the PAcific Northwest with another forecast right behind. Looks like the South Pacific shift is over and it's turning the swell production keys over to the North Pacific. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (9/17) indicated a decent flow pushing east off the Southern Kuril Islands continuing almost flat into British Columbia, a big change from even a week ago. Winds were up to 120 kts in pockets, but no significant troughs were evident. The seasons are definitely changing. A trough is forecast over the dateline on Monday but is to quickly get pinched off while a weaker trough sets up just off Vancouver Island then pushes inland. Then the whole flow lifts back north over the Aleutians with a big ridge taking over the Gulf of Alaska mid-week holding until a little trough sets up in the Gulf on Friday (9/22) pushing up to the Pacific Northwest coast by Sunday. No obvious signs of surface level gale development other than what is currently occurring, but in all the pattern is changing for the better.

At the surface today a weak low was in the eastern Gulf of Alaska with pressure 996. It actually developed there Saturday (9/16) producing 30-35 kts northwest winds with seas up to 21 ft in the evening and was holding into this morning (Sunday). The fetch is to hold in the 30 kts range and tracking east right up to the Oregon coast late Sunday with seas modeled in the 19-21 ft range before fading out Monday AM. This ought to be good for some small to moderate 13 sec period swell pushing into the Pacific Northwest then radiating southward into North and Central CA by late Tues/early Wed (9/20) with swell in the San Francisco area 6.8 ft @ 12 secs (6.5-7.5 ft faces) and bigger into Oregon. A nice little but late start to the season. Also over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/20) a second weak low to set up late Sunday just south of the Aleutians in the Western Gulf tracking east through late Monday with pressure 984 mbs producing a limited fetch of 40-45 kts aimed best at breaks from Oregon northward. Seas modeled to 27 ft Monday aimed best at Vancouver Island northward but a fairly long distance away likely producing small 14-15 sec period swell there mid-week filtering down into North CA perhaps by late Thursday/early Friday.

Otherwise high pressure at 1028 mbs is to be situated midway between Hawaii and California interacting with tropical low pressure over Hawaii Wednesday and low pressure inland in California producing gradient winds in both locations. Trades to increase over the Islands Tuesday to 20-25 kts holding through early Thursday likely producing larger short period easterly windswell. Also north winds to become a factor off North/Central CA on Tuesday building to 25-30 kts by late Wednesday making for lot's of short period junky windswell.


Typhoon Shanshan was moving into the Sea of Japan early Sunday with winds down to 65 kts and fading fast, looking poorly organized on satellite imagery. This system to remain landlocked with no swell producing fetch indicated.

Tropical Storm Yagi was positioned east of Mariana Islands (Siapan) and just aimlessly drifting with winds 45 kts. This system is forecast to start on a westward track over the next few days with winds building to hurricane strength. No swell producing fetch suggested yet.

Tropical Storm Lane was inland over mainland Mexico Sunday morning and dissipating. At no time did it move into the CA swell window. No swell to result.

Tropical Storm Miriam was nearly over the Island of Clarion (southwest of Baja) tracking north with winds 40 kts. A slow decay is expected starting early Monday morning (9/18) and fading from there while turning more to the northwest. Little hope for any swell pushing into South CA due to it's extremely poor organization and weak winds, even though it is in the swell window.

El Nino Note: The Climate Prediction Center has officially declared that El Nino Conditions are present in the Central equatorial Pacific and that they are likely to continue through the Winter into Spring of 2007. This is not any real surprise as we've been monitoring this situation for months (see El Nino Forecast using links above). But this is not to be a strong El Nino event, and if anything is expected to remain in the 'bare minimum' category, which is good. Maybe we can string a co.cgie of winters out of it and get some solid momentum going.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (9/17) a weak high pressure pattern was set up well off the California coast providing a steady northerly breeze over outer waters, but nothing noteworthy. But by Tuesday (9/19) it to slowly start edging closer with north winds building along the coast to 20 kts by afternoon with conditions decaying. By Wednesday a broad ill defined fetch of 25 kt north winds is to develop off the North and Central coasts pushing up to the shore making for a sloppy mess nearshore with building short period chop in the water. Some relief forecast Thursday as the fetch tries to retreat to the north near Cape Mendocino, but it's not to make it with likely marginal conditions prevailing, until Friday when the high finally lifts just a little more to the north. After that a light wind pattern forecast through next weekend.


South Pacific

On Sunday (9/17) a .cgiit jetstream pattern remained in effect with the northern branch flowing flat west-to-east from north of New Zealand into Chile. The southern branch was flowing under New Zealand with a trough in.cgiace there with 120 kt winds pushing northeast providing a limited pocket supportive of surface level gale development. But east of the there the southern branch was pushing hard to the south into and over Antarctica with no support for surface level gale development suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/19) the New Zealand trough is to decay and the southern branch of the jet is to continue pushing into Antarctic Ice. Beyond 72 hours a new ridge is to push rapidly east from under New Zealand over Antarctic Ice eliminating any hope for surface level gale development.

At the surface today a poorly organized gale was under New Zealand with winds confirmed at 35 kts aimed to the northeast but shadowed from either Hawaii or CA by New Zealand. Over the next 72 hours those winds to build to 40 kts by evening then push steadily to the northeast through Monday (9/18), then eventually reorganizing east of New Zealand on Tuesday into a closed isobar low, but fading before any winds of interest develop. Seas modeled at 32 ft Monday AM at 50S 180W pushing east reaching 35 ft Monday night at 48S 170W then fading from 32 ft Tuesday AM at 46S 160W. Background swell for Hawaii and even less for California a week out. No other swell producing fetch suggested.


New Zealand Gale
On Friday night (9/9) a storm had set up under New Zealand with pressure 956 mbs and generating confirmed winds of 50-55 kts over a small area at 54S 171E aimed east-northeast or 15 degrees east of the 216 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 210 degree path to Hawaii and mostly shadowed by New Zealand. Seas were building from 32 ft at 57S 168E. These winds decayed to the 40-45 kts range Saturday AM centered near 51S 174W aimed 30 degree east of the 211 degree path to CA and almost shadowed by Tahiti and 60 degrees east of the 192 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 39 ft @ 54S 173E. In the evening 40-45 kts winds continued over a moderate area at 54S 171W shadowed from California by Tahiti through aimed well up the 207 degree path to CA and 55 degrees east of the 188 degree path to Hawaii with seas fading to 35 ft in response to the lessening winds at 55S 175W. 35 ft winds and 35 ft seas forecast holding through Sunday morning at 53S 168W, then fading out by evening.

This was not an outstanding fetch, but neither insignificant either, especially considering the time of year. Just the same it was a very long ways from California though aimed reasonably well at the state before becoming shadowed by Tahiti. Though closer to Hawaii, most fetch was aimed well east of any great circle path to the state. Best bets are for small swell arriving in California late Sunday (9/17) building through Monday peaking Tuesday (9/19) with swell maybe 2.3-2.6 ft @ 16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces).


Another New Zealand Gale
A gale developed in an upper level trough under New Zealand on Sunday AM (9/10) with fetch aimed reasonably well to the northeast with winds confirmed at 40-50 kts near 56S 168E building to 45-55 kts by evening at 52S 180W well up the 213 path to CA and 35 degrees east of the 194 degree path to HI. The Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 32-35 ft late evening (06Z), consistent with the wave model. This storm dropped to 956 mbs Monday AM with 50-60 kt west-southwest winds confirmed at 52S 167W aimed 25 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and partially shadowed by Tahiti and 45-50 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 35 ft @ 51S 175W. The storm started collapsing Monday evening with a small area of 45-50 kt winds left at 50S 157W aimed almost to the southeast or 90 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and 40 degree east of the 203 degree path to California, emerging from the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas 40 ft at 50S 165W. By Tuesday AM (9/12) all fetch was aimed southeast towards Antarctica with 39 ft seas mainly from previous days fetch centered at 50S 155W and fading.

This storm tracked reasonably well to expectations, but again most energy was aimed east away from Hawaii through better towards California, but a long ways away. Limited utility class swell is likely for Hawaii starting Monday (9/18) intermixing with swell already in the water from the previous storm. Combined swell 3.6 ft @ 16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) dropping from 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs Tuesday (5 ft faces) and 3.3 ft @ 14 secs Wednesday (4.5 ft faces). Less energy for California mid-week with swell from this system combined with energy from the previous system reaching 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces) late Wednesday and fading from there.


Weekend Activity Under New Zealand
On Thursday (9/14) a gale was under New Zealand with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts but only coving a small area and aimed all due east, well beyond any path heading north to Hawaii and way too far away to have any impact on California. It was gone on Friday but not before producing 6 hours of 37 ft seas under New Zealand, then rapidly fading. A second gale followed right behind on Saturday but it moved over the southern tip of New Zealand breaking the fetch up. 38 ft seas pushed under the southern Tasman Sea, but were gone before ever pushing into exposed waters of the South Pacific. No swell to result from either system.

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 the models suggest high pressure to hold between California and Hawaii into early Friday (9/22) continuing brisk trades over the Islands and gradient north winds off Cape Mendocino, then fading. A small a quick-moving low to push over the top of that high late Thursday into Friday perhaps generating 30 kt west winds pushing into Central Canada Friday, but likely not producing any swell of interest. After that things to settle down with high pressure looking to be building in the Gulf of Alaska next Sunday from 1024 mbs.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing storms or gales forecast.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Oregon Shark Attack - Here's a first hand account and pictures (somewhat graphic) of a recent shark attack in Oregon. Tom (the victim) is recovering well. We wish him and his family the best of luck - Oregon Shark Attack

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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