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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 1, 2006 9:32 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
Click Here to Visit Killer Dana!
Swell Potential Rating = 2.0 - California & 3.5 - 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 11/27 thru Sun 12/3
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   

First Dateline Storm Forms
El Nino Finally Gets a Foothold


On Thursday (11/30) Northern CA surf was shoulder the head high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high or so. Central California surf was waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh high. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to 2-3 ft overhead. The South Shore was waist high to chest high. The East Shore had head high to 1 ft overhead windswell.

North Shore of Hawaii takes the cake again for size but with poor conditions. California had just a little rideable size up in the north and clean, while the south end of the state was near flat. The models continue suggesting major improvements in the jetstream aloft which is expected to manifest itself at the surface as a series of storms pushing from the dateline east starting this weekend. Looks like the .cgiit jetstream pattern that has hampered storm and swell development for the past 2 months might finally be over, ushering in an era of seasonal surf. But that prognosis is just on paper right now, with no confirmed winds or low pressure of interest actually occurring yet. But give it another 24 hours and we'll be alot closer to seeing just how this might.cgiay out. Maybe it's time to start actually paying attention to the models. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Thursdays jetstream charts (11/30) were starting to show a change developing over and just off Japan with 160-170 kts winds flowing flat off there in a consolidate-single flow out to just short of the dateline. This is on track with earlier projections. East of there the same old thing was occurring with the jet rising northeast then fading over the dateline and .cgiitting with a very weak flow tracking towards and over Baja while the northern branch pushed just south of the Aleutians and through the northern Gulf of Alaska dipping into British Columbia. No support for surface level development suggested anywhere expect maybe just east of the Kuril Islands. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (12/3) the basic pattern to hold with a single flow pushing off Japan but reaching a bit beyond the dateline and getting better defined with winds up to 190 kts, while the weak and gutless .cgiit flow remains over the east into North America. Support for surface level storm development possible at the dateline and further west, but not guaranteed as only the faintest hint of a trough to set up over the dateline Friday pushing quickly north of the Aleutians by Saturday. Beyond 72 hours thing to improve even more with the energy west of the dateline making good progress to the east and holding in the 180 kt range reaching to a point just north of Hawaii by Tuesday (12/5) with a bit of a trough over the eastern Aleutians pushing into the Gulf of Alaska. By Thursday (12/7) the consolidated flow to cover the entire North Pacific with most energy north of Hawaii at 170 kts while the .cgiit pattern is to be migrated almost totally inland over the US, with only the faintest part left hanging a just few hundred miles off San Francisco. Potential for surface level storm development in the Western Gulf on the increase.

At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was off the Pacific Northwest generating an offshore flow over California. A second high at 1020 mbs was over the dateline far top the south with a ridge pushing northeast up into the Western Gulf of Alaska. no swell producing fetch of interest was to be found over the East and Central Pacific. Over the next 72 hours thing to rapidly change as an improved jetstream pattern aloft takes hold and digs deeper east into the North Pacific. A storm is forecast over the dateline [see First Dateline Storm below]


First Dateline Storm (updated Fri PM)
Late Thursday (11/30) a new low pressure system was rapidly building due east of Japan and nearly over the dateline. An infinitesimal fetch of 45-50 kts winds was present at 42N 171E aimed generally towards Hawaii. By Friday AM pressure was down to 968 mbs with a moderate size area of 50-60 kt winds in the storms west quadrant at 45N 177W aimed at Hawaii almost right down the 328 degree great circle path and 45 degrees south of the 299 degree path to NCal. Seas on the increase. By evening the storm to be lifting rapidly north with 60-65 kt winds at 47N 177W aimed directly at Hawaii down the 331 degree path and 40 degrees south of the 303 degree path to NCal. Seas building to 29 ft at 47N 178E. By Saturday AM the core of the storm to be north of the Aleutians almost totally encased in the Bering Sea with the faintest hint of 55 kt fetch hanging just south of the Islands at 52N 175W aimed 40 degrees east of the 335 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 308 degree path to North CA (312 SCal). 38 ft seas forecast at 50N 177W. This system to be gone by afternoon with no swell producing fetch left.

This to be a relatively small though vigorous storm but with only 24 hours of effective seas being produced. An even moreso the issue is that it's acting on a positively calm seas state, taking much longer to generate swell than if it was acting on an already agitated surface. Hence the relatively long ramp up time. It to be 1947-1959 nmiles from Hawaii and 2413-2631 nmiles from California. We're not classifying this as a significant category storm mainly due to it's short life and limited fetch, though some near significant class waves could be found in Hawaii if all works out just right, but occurring during darkness. Assuming all occurs as forecast the first long period swell of the season is expected to reach Hawaii some time Monday afternoon (12/4) with period 17-19 secs, peaking overnight with swell 6.2-7.2 ft @ 17 secs (10-12 ft faces) with residuals fading from 6 ft @ 14 secs Tuesday morning (8.0-8.5 ft faces). Swell Direction 328-331 degrees. Much smaller energy possible for exposed breaks in North California starting Tuesday (12/5) right at sunset with period 17-18 secs peaking after midnight with swell 4.3-5.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (6.8-8.5 ft faces) with swell down to 4.5-5.0 ft @ 15 secs (6.7-7.5 ft faces) at sunrise Wednesday (12/6). Swell Direction 303-308 degrees. Lesser energy pushing into Central and South CA.


Another Hawaiian Pulse
On Tuesday (11/28) moderate low pressure at 980 mbs was approaching the dateline just south of the Aleutians generating a tiny and fast moving area of 40-45 kt northwest winds aimed at Hawaii but getting little traction on the oceans surface while stronger winds of 50 kts were in the low's southeast sector but aimed only up towards the Aleutians. High pressure at 1028 mbs was directly over the dateline driving this system northeast and forcing the stronger gradient and winds in the gales southeast sector. This 40 kt fetch tracked northeast into Wednesday afternoon before moving north over the Aleutians and becoming totally land-locked in the Bering Sea. The weaker of the two fetches generated up to 20 ft seas Tues PM through Wed PM aimed somewhat at Hawaii down the 320-330 degree paths, which should likely result in moderate swell arriving Saturday afternoon (12/2) at 5.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.0-7.5 ft faces) from 320 degrees with residuals into Sunday.


Tropical Storm Durian was positioned 220 nmiles southwest of Guam on Sunday (11/26) tracking almost due west with winds 45 kts and on the increase. By Tuesday (11/28) winds were up to minimal hurricane force at 75 kts positioned just east of the Philippines. On Thursday (11/30) sustained winds were up to 100 kts with the core just south of Manila and still over exposed waters, threading the channel between Islands of the Philippines. Current projections have it continuing on to the west with winds slowly subsiding and fading out altogether before reaching Vietnam. No indication of it recurving northeast towards open waters of the Pacific.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/30) high pressure at 1030 mbs was centered 300 nmiles west of Point Arena CA ridging northeast into Southern Oregon producing a near offshore flow. The high is to continue lifting north and ridging into the Pacific Northwest generating a moderate offshore flow over all of California, with a secondary low following a similar path early next week reinforcing the offshore flow. If not for these high's strong low pressure building over the dateline would have an open door to roar onshore, which is still a very likely prospect by late in the week when the highs are forecast to dissipate and low pressure sets up off the coast.


South Pacific

t the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.


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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Updated Fri PM: Beyond 72 hours an vastly improved pattern remains forecast for the dateline region pushing into the Gulf of Alaska. First up is a series of 2 small gales lows developing one behind the other on the dateline and off the Kuril's on Sunday (12/3) tracking east free and clear of the Aleutians. These to be the primer storms mainly serving to roughen up the oceans surface so storms expected behind get better traction on the oceans surface. They are to effectively merge into one cohesive large low in the Western Gulf of Alaska Tuesday (12/5) with a broad fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed right at California generating a broad area of 32 ft seas late and up to 37 ft early Wednesday before the low fades out. But this system to serve it's purpose well for what's to come.

Additional energy to feed into this Gulf surface circulation Wednesday (12/6) with 40-45 kts winds continuing over a broader area and pushing a bit further south generating near 30 ft seas directly west of California late Wednesday and building to 40 ft approaching buoy 46006 late Thursday (12/7), all getting good traction on a well roughened ocean surface.

Yet one more system to develop on the dateline late Thursday pushing east towards the Gulf and tracking directly over the same patch of ocean that has been well beat up by now with 50-60 kts winds initially generating 45 ft seas pushing right at the Pacific Northwest from a point due north of Hawaii into Friday (12/8).

Most of this energy is to target California and the Pacific Northwest with mult.cgie days of large significant class surf expected. But the issue is the protective high pressure that has made for nice conditions as of late is to get pummeled by the approaching onslaught of low pressure, with poor conditions moving in right as the swell hits and continuing through it's duration. Even Southern CA to not be immune. Hawaii on the other hand is to be well off the main swell track, but to also be free-and-clear of any inclimate weather, and likely will be the call.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: El Nino is making it's mark on the Pacific Ocean, though yet to have a major impact on the atmosphere above. Read when the storm machine might fire up, and what evidence is stacking up in favor of El Nino here:

New Precipitation Models: Over the holidays we focused on expanding our coverage of precipitation models, and now provide high resolution coverage of all US coastal locations. You can now tell whether it will be raining when the surf is pumping, or better yet, know whether it will be snowing in the higher elevations (West Coast). Take a look here:

Weather Model Problem: The past few days the 12Z run of the GFS model has been corrupted when posted on government servers, resulting in our graphic output looking like psychedelic gibberish. This is not a Stormsurf problem and we are switching over to backup servers that are operating normally to capture the data. We have reported the problem to NOAA. This problem has been confirmed by other server users as well. We apologize for the inconvenience. Update: The problem has been fixed. Service has returned to normal as of 11/25/06.

Jason-1 Satellite Problem: On Oct 31 the Jason-1 satellite automatically went into safe-hold mode. This is triggered when sensors on the satellite detect an anomaly that suggests the satellite is in danger. It goes into a type of hibernation to protect it's sensitive instruments. JPL has been working on the issue and was able to restore the satellite to normal operations at 8:30 PM on Friday 11/17. No new data is available yet, but as soon as it is we'll be publishing it over the wave models images as usual here:
Note: The first bit of fresh data was posted on 11/29/06 and we're processing it right now.

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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