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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: October 22, 2006 12:26 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 & 1.5 - 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 10/23 thru Sun 10/29
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   

Gulf of Alaska to Remain Active
Looks Like an Early Fall Pattern


On Sunday (10/22) Northern CA surf was head high with sets 2 ft overhead. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high with sets 1 ft overhead. Central California surf was chest to head high with a few bigger sets. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest high with head high sets at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest to head high with bigger sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were head high to 2 ft overhead on the bigger sets. The North Shore of Oahu was 1-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was chest to head high. The East Shore was waist to chest high.

Good surf for all this past weekend. Hawaii is still getting hit with fun sized surf from both directions with decent swell on the South Shore and swell from the Gulf of Alaska hitting the North Shore. But both are heading down. California was in a groove with swell from the Gulf of Alaska doing well at exposed north facing breaks and southern hemi swell coming up solid today at south facing breaks and expected to hold in there till mid-week. Longterm the storm pattern is to shift east with the northern Gulf of Alaska becoming the focal point favoring California and the Pacific Northwest but leaving Hawaii with much less energy than they're become accustomed to. And the South Pacific isn't going to help the situation any with the only hope for swell, and that's only weak, coming from the far southeast focusing again on California. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (10/22) indicated a solid zonal/flat flow pushing east off Northern Japan on the 45N longitude line at 120 kts holding well across the dateline into the Western Gulf of Alaska while lifting gently north following a track just south of the Aleutian Islands, then fading out and lifting hard north over the Canadian coast. There was no suggestion of any troughs capable of supporting surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (10/25) the same pattern is to hold through shifting steady eastward and winds picking up to the 140 kt range over the balance of the jet into Tuesday, but no troughs suggested. By Wednesday all decent energy is to be confined from the dateline east pushing over Vancouver Island, but again flat with just the smallest area between the jet and the southern coast of Alaska for something to form. Beyond 72 hours winds are to build to the 150 kt range from the Western Gulf pushing over Canada and starting to ridge as high pressure builds off California. The remaining energy to is be onshore by Saturday (10/28) with only a weak and diffuse flow left behind incapable of supporting anything and then looking to remain that way through the end of next weekend. Best bets are in the Gulf and even that is limited.

At the surface today a solid 1036 mb high was centered 1200 nmiles north of the Big Island of Hawaii but was not ridging into California but was generating barely over Hawaii. Weak low pressure was around it's periphery in the Gulf of Alaska and over the Hawaiian Islands, generating a weak pressure gradient in both locations and generating 30 kt southwest winds over the balance of the Gulf and windswell pushing towards Alaska and 20 kts east winds pushing into the Islands with stronger northeast winds at 25 kts tracking from California towards Hawaii. In all, windswell generation potential was good for the northern reaches of Canada into Alaska and then again for Hawaii's Eastern Shores, but nothing else.

Over the next 72 hours the same pattern is to hold with the high drifting slightly east and weakening while the weak low in the Gulf builds to 988 mbs Monday right before pushing onshore into North Canada generating a short blast of 45 kt west winds and 27 ft seas on the very northern edge of the North CA swell window building to 32 ft (at 53N 138W) right before moving onshore focused from Oregon northward. Brisk north winds to continue over outer waters off Southern Oregon into Cape Mendocino CA from high pressure lingering off the coast too. The combination of these two sources to generate a windswell/groundswell mix by late Wednesday (10/25) reaching to 7 ft @ 14 secs (8 ft faces) in North CA then fading from 7 ft @ 13 secs early Thursday (7-8 ft faces) from 305 degrees. Lesser energy trickling into Central CA. Another similar low pressure pulse to race east over the Northern Gulf on Wednesday (10/25) generating 32 ft seas again but a little more to the west at 53N 150W putting more energy down the 315 degree great circle path relative to San Francisco arriving late Friday (10/27) after sunset peaking overnight with 6.6 ft @ 13-14 secs residuals (7-8 ft faces) for early Saturday morning with intermixed local windswell, assuming all goes as modeled (not likely at this early date).

The persistent northeasterly winds pushing off southern California towards Hawaii to generate northeast windswell pushing into the Hawaiian Islands in the small range Monday-Wednesday (10/25) then building to 6.6 ft @ 10 secs late Wednesday into Thursday (5-6 ft faces) from 60 degrees.


Tropical Storm Paul was located 420 nmiles south of Cabo San Lucas with sustained winds 45 kts drifting northwest. Late in the day Sunday (10/22) a full turn to the north is forecast with Paul slowly gaining strength and accelerating, reaching minimal hurricane force late Monday night. Paul to pass near the southern tip of Baja mid-day Tuesday then push into Mainland Mexico and rapidly dissipate. Certainly some form of raw swell to impact southern Baja, but at no time is swell producing fetch to pass into the California swell window.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (10/22) calm winds and a neutral pressure pattern was in control of waters just off California, though strong high pressure and brisk north winds off it's eastern flank were just 400 nmiles off the coast. Those winds to push up to the coast affecting Cape Mendocino Tues/Wed with up to 30 kts winds forecast there in the usual summer like gradient fashion, but are to remain away from the coast south of Bodega Bay though windswell and bump from this fetch area to track down the coast. The gradient to back off but not disappear through Saturday (10/28) then possibly rebuilding Sunday sweeping even further south than before.


South Pacific

On Sunday (10/22) weak zonal/flat flow was drifting east along the 60-65 south latitude, pretty much flowing over the northern edge of the Antarctic Ice sheet and certainly no supporting any form of surface low pressure development. Things to improve slightly mid-week with winds up to near 120 kts and a weak trough developing on the eastern edge of the California swell window, possibly providing some support for surface level development. But that to track east and out of the swell window by Friday (10/27) leaving a big ridge over the balance of the South Pacific and no swell development potential out through the end of the 7 day forecast.

At the surface no swell producing fetch was evident with any winds of interest (East Pacific) aimed generally south towards Antarctica. Over the next 72 hours Tues/Wed (10/25) a mild fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed northeast is to track through the eastern half of the South Pacific generating supposedly 30-32 ft seas near 55S 120-140W providing a glimmer of hope for minimal south swell pushing into California a week out, but otherwise nothing.

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.

Likewise small swell to push into California Sunday (10/22) with period near 20 secs, but size tiny and lost under the previous swell. Swell about 2.6 ft @ 16 secs Monday (10/23) (4 ft faces) fading to 14-15 secs Tuesday with little 14 secs residuals Wednesday.


South CA Pulse
Late Wednesday (10/18) a small low developed on the southeastern edge of the California swell window generating a tiny fetch of 50 kts west winds fading to the 40 kts range Thursday AM and aimed more to the southeast. Seas modeled to 32 ft at 48S 128-132W pushing mostly east towards Chile through some small energy was likely trickling north, best suited to impact Southern CA breaks with swell 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) Fri (10/27), fading Saturday with period dropping from 14 secs from 200 degrees.


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 one more pulse of integrated windswell/groundswell to develop from the Gulf of Alaska starting Friday (10/27) as a 978 mb low starts to winds up right over the Northern Canadian coast driving a limited fetch of 35 kt winds southward on the eastern edge of the NCal swell window focused a little better than the previous two. 23 ft seas suggested into Saturday (10/28) continuing a bit of swell activity through the weekend (10/29).

Otherwise virtually nothing capable of generating swell is suggested over the greater North Pacific with a nagging moderate high pressure pattern in control.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here:

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: Nine 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

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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