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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: October 24, 2006 7:45 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 Still Active
West Pacific Slumbers


On Tuesday (10/24) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to head high. Central California surf was chest to head high too. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to chest high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high on the sets, maybe even a little more. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high. The South Shore was waist high with some bigger sets. The East Shore was waist to chest high.

Hawaii was on the downswing with most storm energy east of the Islands in the Gulf of Alaska and targeting breaks on the mainland. The South Pacific storm pattern has shut down too. California was setting up for the next pulse of north swell out of the Gulf with sizeable swell pushing over outer buoys off the Pacific Northwest. An some little southern hemi energy from the Southeast Pacific is targeting Southern CA later in the week. Longterm the storm pattern is to remain focused in the eastern Gulf of Alaska with California and the Pacific Northwest best suited for surf, though some hints of energy pushing south towards Hawaii are also not out of the question, though that's pushing it a little. The Western Pacific is still expected to remain rather quiet for now. So in all a bit of a Fall pattern is setting up, but nothing to eye opening. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays jetstream charts (10/24) indicated a solid 140 kt flow pushing east from the dateline gently northeast up into the Gulf of Alaska. It was following a path just south of the Aleutians and then off the coast of Alaska but not providing much if any room for gale development over open waters of the North Pacific, a much weaker and obscured flow was pushing off the Kurils to the dateline. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (10/27) a bit of a trough is to develop at the dateline then getting steeper (almost pinched) as it pushes into the Gulf with the strongest winds flowing up the east side of the trough, not so good for swell producing storm development. None the less, this trough has some potential and is a rather recent development from a modeling perspective. Beyond 72 hours the steep trough is to hold while drifting east from the Central Gulf into the pushing into the Canadian coast on Monday (10/30). By that time a thoroughly unorganized and weak flow to persist across the width of the North Pacific providing absolutely no support from surface level gale development.

At the surface today a solid 1032 mb high was centered 1200 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino CA tracking east while the faint remnants of a Gulf low were pushing into North Canada [see Gulf Gale below] and another was starting to organize in the far Northern Gulf. Brisk north winds at 20-25 kts were sweeping down ahead of the high pressure system pushing into Cape Mendocino to Pt Arena setting up a gradient off the Cape. A weak pressure pattern was over the balance of the North Pacific back to Kamchatka with no swell producing fetch indicated. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf low to race east over the Northern Gulf on Wednesday (10/25) generating a limited fetch of 35-40 kt west winds targeting Northern Canada and generating 25 ft seas in the vicinity of 53N 145-155W putting a little more energy down the 315 degree great circle path relative to San Francisco arriving early Saturday (10/28) peaking mid-morning with swell 5-6 ft @ 13 secs (6-7 ft faces) assuming all goes as modeled.

Also gradient north winds to build off Cape Mendocino peaking Wednesday (10/25) at 35 kts generating a good bit of northern windswell sweeping south into North and Central CA. Also these winds to continue southwest towards Hawaii through thursday likely generating some form of short period northeast windswell there (see QuikCAST's for details).


Gulf Gale
On late Sunday (10/22) a 996 mb low set up in the northern Gulf of Alaska generating a moderate fetch of 35-40 kts winds aimed mostly northeast towards Northern Canada. By Monday AM this low was interacting with high pressure to it's south generating 45-50 kts winds at 52N 144W aimed due east towards north Vancouver Island. Seas were building. On Monday PM those winds had dropped to 40-45 kts pushed right up against the southern Canadian coast. Seas were modeled at 30 ft at 50N 140W aimed a bit east of the 319 degree path down to San Francisco and mostly out of the swell window. On Tuesday Am the low was all but gone with no winds of interest left in the California swell window. Seas of 29 ft were just off North Vancouver Island confirmed by buoys there and fading fast.

This system was mostly out of the California swell window with only one decent seas reading in the window, but only one the eastern most extreme edge and pushing mostly east. Swell is expected to result mostly for the Pacific Northwest on early Wednesday (10/25) pushing down into the San Francisco region starting a bit after sunrise peaking near noon with swell at the buoy 8-9 ft @ 15 secs, though mostly passing by without hitting the coast (6-7 ft @ 15 secs nearshore - 9-10 ft faces) from 315+ degrees and mixed with copious local windswell from strong north winds just off the coast. .


Tropical Storm Paul was located 180 nmiles southwest of Cabo San Lucas with sustained winds 45 kts tracking northeast. The storm to pass near the southern tip of Baja mid-day Wednesday then push into Mainland Mexico and rapidly dissipate. Some form of raw swell to impact southern Baja, and some degree of minimal 11-12 sec period energy to push up into exposed Southern CA breaks from when the storm was at hurricane strength (75 kts) Monday near 16N 112W (1020 nmiles southeast of SCal) arriving mid-Wednesday (10/25) with swell 2.5 ft @ 12 secs (3 ft faces) from 165 degrees and holding for 24 hours.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (10/24) strong high pressure off the coast was generating copious north winds over outer waters pushing east. This was already affecting the Cape Mendocino area and expected to continue through the day Wednesday with 25-40 kt north winds forecast there at that time. These winds are modeled to stay mostly away from the coast south of Pt Reyes, but much windswell and local lump to be pushing south into Central CA while this gradient is in.cgiace. Current models suggest that the gradient to dissipate Friday (10/27) with a calming pattern taking hold thereafter and holding through the weekend.


South Pacific

On Tuesday (10/24) 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 not supporting any form of surface low pressure development. A weak trough was over the far Southeast Pacific, but was unremarkable. More of the same is forecast through the week into the weekend, then a big ridge to set up late Sunday (1029) crashing into Antarctica and eliminating any hope for storm development while pushing east through early next week.

At the surface a tiny 960 mbs low was modeled on the eastern edge of the California swell window just off the edge of Antarctic Ice generating a small area of 40-45 kt winds aimed northeast towards California up the 190 degree great circle path. 32 ft seas modeled by evening at 55S 138W. This low to track east with fetch continuing out of the swell window, followed by two more similar lows through early Saturday all generating a semi-persistent area of 30-32 ft seas during the timeframe, though continually starting a little more east with each generation. Some form of small 15-16 secs period swell likely most noticeable for Southern California starting Wednesday (11/1) and continuing into the following weekend.

Otherwise no swell producing weather systems modeled.

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 another low developing in the Central Gulf of Alaska due north of Hawaii on Friday (10/27) with north winds building to near 55 kts early Saturday aimed right at Hawaii generating 30 ft seas over a tiny area with with a smaller area of winds and seas pushing east towards California, continuing in some form through Wednesday of the following week. This just appeared on the charts so much uncertainty exists about it's development. No other swell producing systems were indicated.

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

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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