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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: October 14, 2006 4:34 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 = 1.9 - California & 3.8 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 10/16 thru Sun 10/22
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   

Northwest Swell Continues for Hawaii
New Zealand Produces 2 Swells


On Saturday (10/14) Northern CA surf was chest high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high. Central California surf was thigh high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with luck. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was near flat.

Swell from a gale that pushed off Siberia and tracked to the dateline was starting to hit Hawaii continuing the string of fun sized warmup surf along north facing shores. California was not so fortunate with energy from a previous system fading well into the tiny range and not much more expected from the one currently hitting Hawaii. The North Pacific continues in a funk with only weak systems forecast to develop no further east than the dateline and moving north into the Bering Sea providing only very limited exposure in the greater North Pacific. But the South Pacific hasn't given up yet for the summer with 2 systems confirmed pushed under New Zealand with decent seas, setting up some small swell from the south for both Hawaii and California. The MJO is pulsing strong, but that doesn't seem to be having any impact on storm production at the moment, so we sit and wait for the Fall season to start in earnest. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Note: The National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) is the source for most of our weather model data. They are going through a.cgianned outage this week. GFS weather model data is back on-line and updating regularly but the higher resolution GFS and NAM models are still offline and expected to continue that way during the outage window (presumably through Sunday 10/15). Our wave models and buoy forecasts remain unaffected through. Thanks for your patience.


Saturdays jetstream charts (10/14) indicated strong flow pushing off Japan along the 40N latitude at 170 kts but ridging over high pressure to it's south. This ridge was falling into a steep pinched trough sinking almost to Hawaii then abruptly veering back north and pushing into British Columbia as it arches over another ridge off the California coast. High pressure was in control under the ridges and painted a picture not exactly conducive to surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (10/17) the pattern to hold if not a.cgiify with both the ridges building and the trough in between pushing over Hawaii. Not very hopeful. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with a peculiarly steep and pinched trough remaining north of Hawaii and 2 big ridges on either side, one over the dateline and the other weaker on off California. No real support for surface level gale development in the greater Pacific.

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1016 mbs remained positioned off California with a second high at 1020 mbs over and just east of the dateline. Weak low pressure had broken off the larger pool south of Japan pushing northeast towards the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutian Islands. Also a broad low was just south of Japan. In all no solid swell generation potential was indicated though swell was in the water from a gale documented below. Over the next 72 hours the low pushing to the dateline is expected to build late Saturday with pressure dropping to 968 mbs generating a small fetch of 40-45 kts winds and 25 ft seas at 50N 175W aimed southeast towards Hawaii and the US mainland, but positioned fairly far away from both. This gale to push barely into the Bering Sea late Saturday into Sunday morning but with 45 kts winds continuing dangling just south of the Aleutians and over the dateline tracking slowly east through mid-Sunday (10/15) with seas 31 ft at 50N 172W then rapidly fading. Some swell is expected to push south towards Hawaii and lesser energy towards California mid-week.

Also late Monday (10/16) the last small low to break off the Japan pool (extratropical remnants of Typhoon Soulik) tracking fast towards the dateline with pressure 996 mbs and 40 kt winds in it's south quadrant some while rapidly tracking northeast. It to cross the dateline Tuesday AM with 35-40 kt winds in it's south quadrant aimed at Hawaii then start falling south into the upper trough north of the Islands and rapidly fading, gone by late night. Only a tiny area of 21 ft seas to result likely enough to provide more small short period energy for the Islands late week but nothing for anyone else.


Kuril Low
Low pressure at 990 mbs was approaching the dateline from the west with a weak fetch of 30 kt winds in it's south quadrant targeting Hawaii much as it has since Monday with seas 20-22 ft. More of the same is forecast Wednesday with the low tracking further east then veering north while the fetch hangs back by the dateline, then dissipates late. Small swell to result for Hawaii starting Friday (10/13) peaking through the weekend with swell 5 ft @ 12 secs (5-6 ft faces). Only dribbles expected to push into North and Central CA Sun/Mon (10/16).


Typhoon Soulik was positioned just north of Iwo Jima and 600 nmiles south of Tokyo Japan starting to accelerate to the north with sustained winds 80 kts. It is forecast to start really pushing northeast towards the dateline by Tuesday (10/17). See short term forecast.

No other system were being tracked .

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


California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (10/14) a weak pressure pattern was in control of waters off California with no swell producing fetch indicated. No significant change forecast until late Monday (10/16) when high pressure start building off the coast generating north winds at 15-20 kts over the nearshore waters of Central and North California. That to hold Tuesday then start lifting north Wednesday and dissipating, but not before making some rather chunky and blown out conditions and small short period windswell Tues/Wed north of Pt Conception. A weak wind pattern to follow into next weekend.


South Pacific

On Saturday (10/14) a mild trough in the jetstream remained under New Zealand with 150 kt winds flowing over it. Over the next 72 hours it's to track east and weaken, though still broad in it's coverage and remain generally supportive of surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours it to resurge a bit but relocated to the far Southeast PAcific with 190 kts winds flowing over it next Thursday and supporting surface level development while tracking out of the California swell window Friday. A big ridge to be building over the Western Pacific at the same time shutting down potential thereafter.

At the surface the remnants of a storm was fading east of New Zealand (see details below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch was indicated. Over the next 72 hours a rather uneventful pattern was in.cgiace with no swell producing fetch suggested. Beyond 72 hours a somewhat interesting low is forecast due south of Southern CA Wed/Thurs (10/19) with winds 45 kts over a tiny area aimed somewhat north. Maybe another moderate fetch to set up under New Zealand at the same time, but both of these are too far out into the future to really believe the models.


1st New Zealand Storm
A low started forming Wednesday AM (10/11) in a developing upper trough under New Zealand with pressure 948 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-55 kts over a small area aimed northeast. Winds continued at 50-55 kts late and taking aim more to the north with seas to 39 ft at 55S 175E. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and reported seas to 38.4 ft before even reaching the core (where readings were contaminated by rain). By Thursday AM (10/12) pressure was up to 952 mbs with a small fetch of 40-45 kts winds remaining aimed mostly east and then gone by evening. Seas still held at 39 ft at 53S 175W and then started decaying from 35 ft in the evening at 50S 165W. Given the time of year this was a fairly impressive system, though very short lived with only 36 hours of good fetch indicated. Of note: the entire duration of this storms life was shadowed by Tahiti for California. Small sideband swell expected to result for Hawaii with period initially 18 secs a week out (Fri Oct 20) reaching 2.6 ft @ 17 secs by sunset (4.5 ft faces) from 185-195 degrees. Swell to peak Saturday (10/21) at 3.3 ft @ 16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces). A bit smaller swell to push into California on Saturday (10/21) with swell up to 2.6 ft @ 18 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft and heading up from there) peaking late on Sunday with swell 3.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) from 212-208 degrees.


2nd New Zealand Storm
A second 952 mb low developed under New Zealand on Friday AM (10/13) generating a small fetch of 50-55 kt winds confirmed aimed almost due east while tracking east. Seas were modeled at 37 ft at 55S 165E. The fetch faded to 45-50 kts in the evening but aimed a bit more to the northeast at 50S 170W while seas built to 40 ft over a tiny area at 53S 178E. By Saturday AM winds faded to the 40-45 kt range with seas 37 ft at 52S 172W. A downward trend forecast from there with no swell producing fetch indicated. Another pulse of smaller sideband swell expected to push into Hawaii starting Sunday (10/22) with initial period 18 secs and size tiny. Likewise small swell to push into California 2 days later with period near 20 secs, but size tiny.

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 a weak Siberia low to track along the Aleutians Wed/Thurs not offering more than another short-lived obstructed fetch of 40 kt winds best suited for Hawaii. Another similar one to follow next weekend with some extratropical energy in the mix this time, but offering no significant improvement based on current model data. Also a small low is forecast developing just north of Hawaii next weekend with 35 kts north wind targeting the Islands and almost impacting them . Looks like a blow out.

In all, more of the same.


MJO Update
On Saturday (10/14) westerly winds (reverse trade winds) continued on the equator over the Western Pacific (west of the dateline) reinforcing our Westerly Wind Burst event. In fact westerly anomalies now extend to 120W, which is fairly impressive. This situation is associated with the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation currently maxed out and centered just east of the dateline and pushing east into the Eastern Pacific. It's expected track across the entire Pacific over the next 3 weeks. Westerly Winds Bursts push warm surface waters to the east, eventually dropping below the oceans surface and traveling the whole width of the Pacific under the equator eventually gurgling up off South America. In fact a pocket of 2 deg C water is building under the equator at the dateline and expected to build while tracking east in the coming weeks. These pockets of warm water are called a Kelvin Wave and are contributors to the development of El Nino. This is a good sign for the winter to come. Historically the active phase of the MJO supports enhancement of storms over the dateline pushing into the Gulf, so it would not be surprising to see a spike in storm activity developing over the next 2 weeks in sync with a drop in the SOI index. In fact the SOI, which had been hovering in the neutral range, has now fully settled into negative territory the past 14 days with reading greater than -16 and hovering in the -20 or more range the past 10 days and is expected to continue for at least the next 2 weeks. A slow decline of the MJO is forecast through the end of the month. This is the strongest MJO pulse in at least the last year. This is a great learning experience unfolding for us realtime. The true test will be whether it has any impact on storm development in the Gulf/Dateline region (Aleutian Storm Corridor). Will monitor.
ENSO/MJO link:


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a second small fetch of 50 kt winds to develop under New Zealand Friday AM (10/13) aimed somewhat northeast tracking east fading to the 45 kt range Saturday then gone by nightfall. Seas modeled at 40 ft over a tiny area Friday in the 37-39 ft range Saturday then decaying away. More potential for some rideable swell in Hawaii, though the Tahitian shadow remains and issue for California.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management.cgian has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process.

Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research:

Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the i.cgiications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great exa.cgie of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disc.cgiines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here:

New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: 9 months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height.cgius the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here:

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's si.cgie and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet E.cgiorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way! .xml

Shark Park DVD: Watch an international team of towsurfers ride a virgin wave at a remote offshore reef during the giant winter swells of 2005/2006. Greg Huglin is a man possessed; a Californian who has traveled the world in search of surf, returning home only to continue the hunt in his own backyard. And what a find he uncovered. A truly thick, dumping, mud-dredging slab of a wave sitting out in the open exposed to all the energy the North Pacific can throw at it. This is the story of Greg's pursuit and amazing adventures to Shark Park. Read more here and buy the video:

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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