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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: November 16, 2005 5:49 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 = 2.0 - California & 4.5 - 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 11/14 thru Sun 11/20
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   

Storm #3 Fades
More to Follow But Moving Too Fast


On Tuesday (11/15) Northern CA surf was shoulder to head high with offshores, but lot's of local lump in the water. South facing breaks were up to waist high. Central California surf was up to head high at the best breaks. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to chest high at the best spots, though most were lucky to reach waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was thigh to chest high though most spots were on the lower end of that range. Southward to San Diego waves were waist high with some bigger sets. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high. The South Shore was waist to chest high.cgius. The East Shore was waist to chest high.

Swell was on it's way down at all locations today, but not for long. Swell #3 is hitting the outer buoy northwest of Hawaii Tuesday afternoon and coming up solid with period at 21 secs. This swell to be the prime focus for all Northeast Pacific locations for the coming days. And another decent storm is forecast to follow right on it's heels with the dateline becoming active for the first time this year. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays (11/15) jetstream analysis indicated solid energy pushing due east over Japan (35N) at 160 kts reaching to the dateline then veering northeast to the south Alaskan coast and turning east into Canada, outlining low pressure aloft off the Kuril Islands (and the best location for storm activity) and high pressure off California. This pattern is to become even more entrenched over the next 72 hours with winds building to 170 kt off Japan holding most solid well into Wednesday of next week. In fact a bit of a real trough is to start digging out north of Hawaii at that time looking most favorable for surface level storm development. The net upper level result is that a continuous series of lows are to track off Japan and build, maxing somewhere in between the dateline and Hawaii, then track rapidly off to the the northeast pushing into Alaska while high pressure, light winds and dry conditions persist over the Western US and British Columbia.

Today at the surface the remnants of Storm #3 at 992 mbs ( see details below) were fading fast just east of the dateline while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was centered off the North California coast pushing into the Pacific Northwest. Another weak low at 1000 mbs was just off Japan tracking east, the first in what is to be a long series of fast moving small systems.

Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to hold tight off the Pacific Northwest providing light winds and clear skies over the region and even affording a tiny layer of protection as far southwest as Hawaii, but only by the thinnest of margins. This high is to act like a ramp that two lows will use to jump up into Alaska. The first low is to be tiny and fast moving and not expected to be of interest until Friday (11/18) when it moves into the northern Gulf. Then pressure is to drop rapidly to 952 mbs with 50-55 kts winds expected, but fading just as fast as it formed, all but gone by Saturday AM (11/19). 32 ft seas forecast, but all aimed at Alaska. No real swell generation potential forecast. A second is to form behind it on the dateline, but not do much in the 72 hour window. See Long Term Forecast for more details.

See QuikCAST for details.

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


Storm #3 - Dateline
On Saturday AM (11/12) a small but very intense little storm developed just off the northern coast of Japan with pressure 980 mbs and winds confirmed at 60-70 kts late morning centered at 40N 159E . These winds were aimed well down the 306 degree great circle path to Hawaii with some energy aimed up the 299 degree path to North CA. The storm was tracking northeast. By nightfall pressure was 970 mbs with winds still confirmed at 55-65 kts centered at 40N 165E now aimed right down the 308 degree path to Hawaii with some energy aimed 30 degree south of the 297 degree path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 41N 157E.

On Sunday AM (11/13) the storm was drifting east with pressure 972 mbs and winds confirmed again at 55-70 kts over a small area in the storm south quadrant running 437 nms centered at 41N 166E aimed right up the 308 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees south of the 299 degree path to North CA. Seas were modeled at 39 ft centered at 40N 164E. By nightfall this system was starting to wind down with pressure up to 978 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-55 kts centered at 39N 167E aimed 10 degrees south of the 309 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degree south of the 295 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 37 ft centered at 42N 165E. The GFO satellite passed over this area at 4Z and indicated seas 43 ft at 40N 165E right on track with the wave model if not beating it.

On Monday AM (11/14) this system held at 980 mbs continuing on an eastward track with winds modeled at 45-50 kts centered at 39N 168E aimed right down the 311 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degree south of the 294 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 39N 167E. In the evening pressure jumped to 988 mbs with winds 40-45 kts centered at 38N 172E and fading. These winds were aimed 15 degrees east of the 312 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degree south of the 292 degree path to NCal. Seas were modeled at 34 ft centered at 38N 169E.

By Tuesday AM (11/15) this system was nearly gone with pressure 992 mbs and winds confirmed at 35-40 kts at 38N 178W with seas 30 ft centered at 38N 176E aimed 30 degrees east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii and 15 degrees south of the 290 degree path to NCal. This storm to be gone by nightfall.

By Sunday AM the bulk of the strongest winds had already passed with the largest seas recorded and fading. Only lesser winds (and lesser period energy) followed, with seas 30-35 ft for an additional 48 hrs. This is fairly good. This storm was most impressive in terms of it's ramp-up from nothing to a full hurricane force storm in 12 hours, holding there for 24 hrs and then ramping down but steady for an additional 48 hrs for a total life of a little over 72 hours. Respectable. Though not covering a large area, solid seas have already been produced pushing well down the great circle paths towards Hawaii and the fetch was relatively close to Hawaii (1830-1545 nmiles), minimizing decay and likely setting up a significant class swell for the Islands, thereby providing the rational for giving this storm a number.

But these seas were aimed mostly well south of any route to California. And the long travel distance (3031-3600 nmiles) and associated swell decay will dampen the energy pushing to the US West Coast. The extended life span of the storm may drive a little more lesser period energy towards North and Central California but nothing of real interest. And the route into Southern California is even more problematic, which will reduce the eventual swell size there even more. So don't expect too much for any California location.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Oahu starting Wednesday (11/16) at 1 AM HST with period at 21 secs and size building, maxing near sunset at 7-8 ft @ 18 secs (12-13 ft faces). Solid size to continue overnight and into Thursday AM (11/17) with swell 7-8 ft @ 15-16 secs (10-12 ft faces) and slowly trickling down through the day, though far from out. 14 sec energy to continue on Friday (7/18) with swell 7 ft @ 14 secs (8-10 ft faces) fading through the day. Swell Direction: 309-315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (11/17) well before sunrise with period at 22 secs and size tiny but building. Swell up to 3.5-4.5 ft @ 19-20 secs by sunset (7-8 ft faces) though his estimate might be on the high side. Swell continuing Friday morning (11/18) with swell 4.4-5.2 ft @ 17-18 secs and holding through the day (7.5-9.3 ft faces). Still decent energy expected early Saturday (11/19) with swell 4.5-5.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.5-8.0 ft faces). Swell 3-4 ft @ 13-14 sec expected on Sunday (4.5-5.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 290-299 degrees


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (11/15) high pressure was firmly in control with no end in-sight. It was at 1032 mbs anchored just 600 nm off Cape Mendocino and ridging into the Pacific Northwest setting up a light offshore flow with no change forecast through at least the middle of next week and likely much longer. No local windswell generation potential in the forecast.

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


South Pacific

On Tuesday (11/15) no swell producing fetch of interest was present in the South Pacific with none expected of the next 72 hours.

Another Hawaiian Pulse
On Monday (11/7) another pulse of energy pushed under New Zealand (11/7) with pressure 972 mbs and winds 35-40 kts generating 23 ft seas aimed well at Hawaii. This low continued through Wednesday (11/9) at the same strength then faded. Another batch of small utility class swell is pushing north towards Hawaii expected to arrive on Tuesday (11/15).

Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.

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 series of 3 storms moving in rapid succession from the dateline northeast into the Northern Gulf of Alaska and inland into Alaska. All are looking to have reasonably winds, but the problem is they are to be moving so fast to the northeast their winds will have little time to get much, if any, traction on the oceans surface.

Possible Storm #4
The first of these systems is to form on the dateline on Friday AM (11/19) with pressure 972 mbs and winds to near 60 kts centered near 38N 170E mid-morning covering a tiny area aimed well at Hawaii down the 310 degree path continuing through the evening, then fading late. Seas building to 37 ft centered at 37N 172E. These winds to be aimed 40 degrees south of the 292 degree path into North CA. By Saturday AM (11/20) residual 50 kt winds to persist over a tiny are at 35N 180W aimed right at Hawaii down the 310 degree path but 30 degrees south of the 285 degree path to North CA. Seas 37 ft centered at 35N 178E. In the evening pressure is to be up to 976 mbs with the storm center tracking fast northeast while residual winds in the systems south quadrant take aimed due east towards California (centered at 35N 165W and aimed well up the 280 degree path to California) Seas 32 ft at 34N 170W ad fading fast. By Sunday AM (11/21) this system to be racing north with all swell generating fetch getting virtually no footing on the oceans surface and swell generation potential dissipating. Residual 32 ft seas forecast at 37n 160W and gone after that.

If this all.cgiays out as forecast significant class swell is likely for Hawaii attributable mainly to the large seas aimed right at them and in relative close proximity to the Islands. Conversely California to be well off the great circle path the swell will be following and comparatively far away, allowing for much swell decay.

A second tight low to follow this ones path on Monday (11/21) but with even less of a fetch imprint on the oceans surface with yet a third schedule for next Wednesday. Both have the potential to generate some short period swell providing rideable surf from Pt Conception northward, but any estimate beyond that is all but worthless this far into the future.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

Sharks, Sharks and more Sharks: Want to know all the details of every shark encounter over the past few months in California? You can read all about it in the fascinating chronology produced be the Shark Research Committee. There's alot more going on in our waters than you could ever have imagined (or ever wanted to know).

Stormsurf Weather Model Update: Over the weekend (10/30) we moved new new code into production that should dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of our weather models. We've had problems with them not keeping in-sync with the wave models. Hopefully that problem is now resolved though we're still dependent on NOAA data servers just like everyone else. What this fix does do is provide the infrastructure now to rapidly expand our offering of weather models, enabling more detailed global coverage. We will be working on that as time permits.

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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