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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 19, 2006 7:35 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   

Small South Hemi Swell Hits CA
North Swell Poised Just off the CA Too


On Tuesday (9/19) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high head to shoulder high with light onshore texture. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high with shoulder high sets at the best spots. Central California surf was waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high with best spots having peaks to near chest high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high with some bigger sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high with shoulder high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high on the sets. The South Shore was waist to chest high with head high peaks on the sets. The East Shore was thigh high.

A continued mix of windswell and building southern hemi swell was providing rideable surf in California, with some ramp up in size still coming from the southwest. North CA to see decent Gulf swell on Wed too. Hawaii saw the peak of this southern hemi swell on Monday, with a slow decline expected through the week. One more pulse originated from under New Zealand last weekend, expected to push into Hawaii for the weekend then eventually California. After that nothing is modeled with the North Pacific trying to take over but not quite there yet. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream charts (9/19) indicated a decent flow of energy pushing west to east mostly over the Aleutians. A pinched trough was over the dateline rising into a building ridge in the Gulf with winds there to 140 kts. This suggests building high pressure off the US west coast, and no swell producing low pressure for the immediate future. That ridge is to build into Thursday pushing the jet north of the Aleutians then into Canada over the weekend while a generally flat/zonal flow pushes off the Kuril Islands over the Northwestern Pacific, eventually trying to form a weak trough over the dateline next Tuesday. In all, no swell producing fetch suggested at the surface until mid next week.

Today at the surface high pressure at 1028 mbs was off the US west coast trying to build a gradient with north winds over Cape Mendocino, but not quite there yet. this high was also producing enhanced trades and small windswell along Hawaii's eastern shore. A weak low was over the eastern Aleutians with 30 kts winds barely sagging into the North Gulf of Alaska, but looking very weak with no potential. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/22) high pressure's to be the word holding off the Pacific Northwest at 1028 mbs and ridging up into Central Canada. The usual pressure gradient is expected off Cape Mendocino at 25 kts Wed/Thurs reaching 35-40 kts Friday and generating sizeable short period windswell for the North and Central coasts into early Saturday. As the high tracks north into Canada, trades over the Hawaiian Islands to fade starting Thursday remaining light thereafter with windswell fading in parallel.


Gulf Pulse
A low developed in the Gulf of Alaska Saturday (9/16) producing 30-35 kts northwest winds with seas up to 21 ft in the evening and was holding into Sunday AM. The fetch produced 30 kt winds 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 swell hit buoy 46059 producing pure swell there 7 ft @ 13-14 secs mid-day Tues. This is good for some small to moderate 13 sec period swell pushing into the Pacific Northwest then radiating southward into North and Central CA by very late Tues/early Wed (9/20) with swell peaking in the San Francisco area Wed AM at 6 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.0-7.5 ft faces) and bigger into Oregon. A nice little but late start to the season.

Second Gulf Pulse
A second weak low set up late Sunday (9/17) just south of the Aleutians in the Western Gulf tracking east through late Monday with pressure 984 mbs producing a limited fetch of 40 kt winds aimed best at breaks from Oregon northward. Seas were modeled to 25 ft Monday aimed best at Vancouver Island northward but a fairly long distance away then fading fast. This could produce some small 13-14 sec period swell from Oregon northward mid-week filtering down into North CA perhaps by late Thursday/early Friday.


Typhoon Shanshan was effectively dissipated just west of the south Kuril Islands. no swell producing fetch indicated.

Typhoon Yagi was looking solid on satellite imagery this Tuesday afternoon positioned just east of Mariana Islands (Siapan) and starting to pick up a westerly heading with sustained winds 100 kts. This system is forecast to build a more steady westward track over the next few days with winds peaking at 115 kts Thursday AM with a slow turn to the northwest commencing. An eventual turn to the north and northeast is now forecast (see North Pacific Long Term Forecast).

Tropical depression Miriam was just off Central West Baja Monday and was fading fast. No swell generation potential indicated.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (9/19) high pressure at 1030 mbs remained anchored 750 nmiles off North California providing a steady northerly flow over outer waters. But Wednesday (9/20) it is to start edging closer with north winds building over Cape Mendocino to 30 kts fading some Thursday then resurging with a vengeance Friday building winds off the Cape to 35-40 kts. This to result in sizeable short period north windswell along the North and Central coasts Friday into early Saturday. Local winds to remain a bit stronger than usual through Friday making for rather poor conditions. Then Saturday the high to push inland over Canada while the gradient off the Cape rapidly fades, perhaps setting up a weak eddy (southerly winds) then. A light wind regime to continue through mid-next week.


South Pacific

On Tuesday (9/19) a weak trough was well south of New Zealand providing only the smallest area for gale development, but even that is to be shortlived. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/22) the southern branch of the jet is to be sweeping west to east over Antarctic Ice providing no area for gale development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast.

At the surface today no swell producing fetch was evident. Over the next 72 hours no change is suggested.


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.


One Last Fetch
On Sunday a gale was passing under New Zealand with winds to 40 kts by the evening 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 30 ft Monday AM at 50S 175E pushing east reaching 31 ft Monday night at 48S 170W then fading from 30 ft Tuesday AM at 50S 160W. Background swell for Hawaii a week out just mixing with other small residual swell. Nothing for California.

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 possible changes ahead. Typhoon Yagi (see details above) to curve north and northeast missing Japan Monday then turning extratropical off the Kurils while being joined by energy pushing off Siberia. The reconstituted low to hit the dateline Tuesday with pressure dropping to 976 mbs while 45-50 kts winds start developing in it's south quadrant aimed a bit east of Hawaii and well towards California. this is a real stretch for the models, but falls exactly in-line with expectations of how the season should start.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing storms or gales forecast.

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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