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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 19, 2005 0:35 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 = 2.8 - California & 1.5 - 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 #5 Fades
Small Southern Hemi Energy To Continue In CA


On Sunday (9/18) Northern CA surf was shoulder high. South facing breaks were shoulder high with some head high sets. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to chest high with some bigger sets at the right breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was chest to head high with sets to 1 ft overhead. Southward to San Diego waves were chest to head high with slightly overhead sets at the best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was fading at chest high with some shoulder high sets at the best breaks. The East Shore was waist to maybe chest high from easterly windswell.

California has been the focus the past 2 days with solid surf up to double overhead at many select breaks north and south with 15 waves sets, but that is now a distant memory. Clean head high surf on the sets is more the norm, with swell heading down. Another little pulse is tracking north behind Swell #5S towards California with a taste of small swell from the Gulf of Alaska travels south too, but neither to be remarkable. Nothing on the charts for Hawaii. It's back to a rather boring life. See details below...


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

North Pacific

On Sunday (9/18) at the jetstream level a basic zonal flow continued tracking from west to east just south of the Aleutian Islands. There was no obvious support for surface level storm development but wind speeds up to 160 kts were indicated in the Gulf of Alaska with a healthy flow in.cgiace over the entire North Pacific (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the pocket of energy in the Gulf is to move over South Canada while a new pocket moves off the Kuril Islands tracking northeast over the Aleutians. Good energy in this one too but the track over the islands leaves no hope for surface level storm development.

At the surface on Sunday an elongated high pressure at 1024 mbs continued it's stranglehold north of Hawaii. It extended from California to the Kuril Islands with not a breath of winds along a line between those two points. A small open space was present in the Gulf of Alaska where low pressure at 988 mbs was nestled in the extreme northeastern territory (more details below). East northeast trades at 20 kts continued in fit's and starts along the southern periphery of the high extending over the the Hawaiian Islands producing east windswell there. Pockets of stronger trades were imbedded as tropical waves interacted with the high here. North winds at 15-20 kts continued along the California coast too, though nothing organized was indicated (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no big change forecast, though the Gulf low is to push inland while a new low pushes off Kamchatka only to get redirected immediately northern to the Being Sea. The models suggest much tropical activity pushing from Mexico due west towards Hawaii, but we have little faith in the models on such a projection. Increased north winds are also forecast off Cape Mendocino to the 25 kts range, possibly providing some slightly more energetic windswell for the North Coast.

More model data here


Gulf Low
On Saturday (9/17) a 986 mb low suddenly developed in the northern Gulf of Alaska with 50 kts west winds confirmed over a small area centered at 52N 155W aimed well down the 310 degree great circle path to North CA. Seas were 23 ft and on the increase. By evening it was tracking east with winds confirmed down to 40-45 kts over a quickly diminishing area centered at 54N 147W aimed 40 degree east of the 319 degree path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 27 ft centered at 54N 143W, mostly outside the North CA swell window.

On Sunday (9/18) the low and it's associated fading fetch were all outside the Northern CA swell window though fetch continued at 40 kts aimed at Central Canada with seas in the 27 ft range.

This system was completely non-impressive, but has the potential to deliver some early seas north swell to the North California coast with much more energy pushing towards Oregon, Washington and Vancouver Island (swell there up to 9 ft @ 13 secs).

This is a tough call but suspect some degree on northwest swell to reaching North California starting Tuesday (9/20) building to 3.7 ft @ 14 secs by sunset (4-5 ft faces). Swell to continue at 4 ft @ 11-12 secs on Wednesday (4.5 ft faces) then fading. Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees


California Offshore Forecast
Sunday mornings local charts (9/15) indicated high pressure continued at 1024 mbs well off the coast centered north of Hawaii generating a weak to moderate northwesterly flow over open waters (15-20 kts). That is to start changing on Monday a weak low pressure starts to develop over the San Francisco Bay Area and the high starts building to 1032 mbs and tracking east. The result is to be a increase in the pressure difference centered over Cape Mendocino resulting in increased north winds there. Winds forecast at 20-25 kts Monday building to near 30 kts Tuesday fading some on Wednesday only to rebuild on Thursday to near 30 kts and then near 40 kts early Saturday. If this happens windswell to start increasing commensurate with the wind speeds reaching perhaps 10 ft @ 9-10 secs early Saturday (9/24). And with low pressure over the area, local winds to remain light if not a little from the southwest.

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


Hurricane Kenneth
was positioned midday between Mexico and Hawaii with sustained winds 135 mph tracking west at 7 mph with an expected trend to the northwest over the next 5 days. This storm has no swell generation potential for California and only some slim potential for Hawaii (Big Island) over a week out. Will monitor.

Tropical Storm Lidia was 1260 nmiles south of Los Angeles with sustained winds 45 mph tracking west with an expected turn to the northwest, No real strengthening suggested. No swell generation potential forecast.

Hurricane Jova was positioned about 600 nmiles southeast of the island of Hawaii with sustained winds 105 mph tracking west-northwest. Swell from this system is already pushing towards the Islands and that is only to increase in the coming days as Jova moves closer. Jova has maxed in intensity and a slow decay to set in over the next 5 days as an upper low pulls it northwest over cooler waters. East-southeast windswell likely for the Big Island.



South Pacific

Sunday's (9/18) jetstream charts indicated that a substantial shift is occurring as compared to weeks and months previous. Rather than a .cgiit jet, a more consolidated picture is emerging. But the energy that was strong in the south has now shifted to the North Pacific, leaving the South Pacific about in parity with it's brother to the north. A big ridge dominated the Southeast Pacific pushing over Antarctica while a equally as big trough was pushing over and just north of New Zealand. It is this trough that offers the most hope for surface level development, though even there winds were relatively weak (110 kts) (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough over New Zealand is to spread east and sink south some. Most of the energy is to be in it's east side, suggesting whatever develops at the surface is to have most of it's winds aimed at Antarctica rather than north.

At the surface today a 968 mb low had developed over New Zealand with varying degrees of 35-40 kts winds circulating up it's west coast and over the northern tip. Otherwise a strong 1028 mb high was centered south of Tahiti driving a brisk easterly flow over the Society Islands. Weak low pressure was south of that with all fetch aimed at Antarctica (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the high is to sink a bit further south while the New Zealand low pushes east. The result is that the high is to drive the fetch from the low mostly towards Antarctica though some fetch in the lows western quadrant is to take aim on Hawaii. No hope for the US Mainland with only some limited small utility class swell generation potential for Hawaii (assuming the models are right).

More model data here


Weak Southeast Pacific Storm
On Tuesday (9/13) a 968 mb low was tracking east from under New Zealand with 45 kts winds confirmed down at 50S latitude 159W longitude aimed generally towards the northeast at California and somewhat at Hawaii. By early Wednesday (9/14) it started interacting with strong high pressure to it's north at 1028 mbs producing increase southwest winds confirmed at 45-50 kts centered near 54S 144W with seas 30 ft aimed at California and locations south of there fading to the 40-45 kt range late in the evening pushing even more north and east. At that time sea maxed at 34 ft centered at 51S 135W. The system started falling apart on Thursday (9/15) with winds 35 kts at 44N 129W. Residual seas of 32 ft held at 48S 132W and fading by nightfall.

This was no great storm, but prior to Storm #5S it would have been something to get interested in. utility class swell is pushing north heading towards California next Friday (9/23) with max rideable period 18 secs. Hawaii not looking to get much if anything from this one since most the best fetch was well east of the Islands and aimed east of there.



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

North Pacific

Sundays (9/18) upper level models indicate that beyond 72 hours a big ridge is to set up over the dateline tracking east to the Gulf of Alaska by Thursday (9/22) eliminating any hope for surface level storm development. But the amount of energy (wind speed) in the jet is to remain relatively high, and by Saturday (9/24) there are indication a trough could start developing over the dateline pushing east. By Sunday the trough is to be sagging south free and clear of the Aleutians in the Western Gulf with 160 kt winds feeding into it. This looks promising it it develops.

Beyond 72 hours at the surface high pressure to continue it's control of the North Pacific, but focused more in the east. Strong high pressure at 1032 mbs is forecast off Oregon generating a brisk coastal gradient off Cape Mendocino by Friday (9/23) with 30-35 kt north winds suggested there building to near 40 kts early Saturday then fading into early Sunday (9/25). Good California windswell generation potential if this develops. At that point a general collapse of high pressure across the North Pacific is suggested with perhaps some low pressure setting up just east of the dateline and south of the Aleutians, but that's purely a guess.


South Pacific

Sundays (9/18) upper level models indicate that beyond 72 hours the trough is to continue east while a big ridge sets up under New Zealand shutting down any surface level storm development potential there. Maybe some thing in the east, but upper wind speeds don't look very impressive.

At the surface beyond 72 hours a broad 948 mb low is forecast under New Zealand next weekend with 40-45 kt west winds suggested. The low is to track east with winds holding taking a more northeast aim through Sunday (9/25). Will monitor but we don't believe this will really happen.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

New Stormsurf Wave & Weather Models have been Released: After a year of development we're released 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:

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

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