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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 7, 2008 9:23 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
Swell Potential Rating = 2.5 - California & 3.0 - 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 12/8 thru Sun 12/14
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 Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced 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 Pattern Settles Down
Small Gulf Gale & Cutoff Dateline Gale Possible


New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)

Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.


On Sunday (12/7) North/Central California had a little increase in surf thanks to a huge gale that was semi-lodged on the dateline the previous week. But most of it's energy was aimed at Hawaii with only sideband energy hitting the coast now. Surf was 2-3 ft overhead and clean, at least early. Southern California was getting fading swell from the swell prior to the one just hitting North CA at waist high with luck, and pretty hacked in the LA area at that. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting swell from the dateline systems of earlier in the week with waves head high and clean, but slowly drifting down. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was getting wrap around energy from the North Shore with waves waist high or so.

For Central California the surf is as big as it's going to get today (Sunday) with surf drifting down through Wednesday. There's some odds for a little bump up in size on Thursday as swell from a small short lived gale in the Gulf expected to form on Monday (12/8) moves in, pushing maybe 1-2 ft overhead, but that's it. Southern CA to descend into the flat zone by Wednesday into early Thursday, then that same swell that's to hit up north might push it back into the rideable range for Friday and Saturday. The North Shore of Hawaii is slowly drifting down in size and expected to continue into Monday, then bump up a little Tues/Wed before settling back down. No real size is in the forecast. The South Shore of Hawaii is not expecting any surf. The East Shore to maybe see a little windswell on Sunday (12/14) thanks to the trades, but that's more of a guess at this early date. entrenched.

Longer term a weird little gael is forecast to wind up just northwest of Hawaii on Thursday/Friday (12/12) generating up to 35 ft seas, but all of that is to be aimed due south headed for the South Pacific and totally bypassing Hawaii other than some spurious sideband energy, with the core of the gale tracking northwest. Very weird. Other than that, strong high pressure at 1040 mbs is scheduled to be lodged in the Gulf of Alaska by later next week totally shutting down the North Pacific Storm track, and rendering the ocean relatively calm compared to previous weeks. Looks like the end of the Active Phase of the MJO is going to have it's effects felt. Possible northerly windswell for this high pressure system to produce something rideable for exposed breaks along the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA by next weekend, but that's all there is to look forward too. Hope you got your fill of real surf, cause we're going into a lean phase now. .



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

North Pacific

On Sunday (12/7) the North Pacific jetstream was fractured, with reasonably strong energy pushing off Japan at 160 kts but tracking northeast to the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutian Islands, then dropping straight south and falling apart totally. The remnants of the jet then tracked hard north again above Hawaii into the Northern Gulf of Alaska, pushing inland over the Canada/US boarder. The net result was something that almost looked like a trough over the dateline, but with no real wind energy associated with it.This is helping to set up low pressure development on the dateline west of Hawaii, almost cut off and aimless. Over the next 72 hours the models suggest improvements with the ridge off Japan dissipating and good energy moving straighter east towards the dateline forming a much better defined trough on the dateline by late Tuesday (12/9) with nearly 190 kt winds spilling into it, then lifting gently northeast up into southern British Columbia. Good support for gale development in this trough. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to get much steeper and almost pinched off on Wednesday with only a tiny space in the bottom of the trough on the dateline and almost as far south as Hawaii (27N 174W to support gale development. And energy streaming off the Kuril Islands is to be racing east basically causing this trough to get cut-off from the main flow pushing north of it into and over the Aleutian Islands bound for Alaska via the Bering Sea. A ridge is forecast in control of the US West Coast with nary a drop of rain in the forecast for California into Friday. Fortunately a semi backdoor trough is forecast forming just off British Columbia late Friday (12/12) dropping hard south into Sunday (12/14) reaching the San Francisco area with 150 kt winds pushing down it's western flank, possibly offering support for some form of weak gale development just off the coast, and a little rain for the parched ground.

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1028 mbs was lodged 600 nmiles off Oregon pushing up to almost Alaska making for a bit of a storm blocker there. A small gael was trying to get wound up 1200 nmiles north of HAwaii and tracking hard northeast, getting shunted that direction by the high off the US West Coast. another high was behind it just west of the dateline at 1028 mbs. In all a pretty weak setup dominated by the dual high pressure systems. Over the next 72 hours that gale is to get decently organized late Sunday (12/7) with 55 kt west winds forecast in it's south quadrant at 46N 162W aimed towards the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA, then fading into Monday evening with winds dropping from 45 kts, all the while lifting gently north eliminating any fetch aimed towards Hawaii. Up to 25 ft seas possible for this one pushing east starting MOnday AM at 46N 165W, moving to 47N 155W in the evening and then dropping to 24 ft Tuesday AM at 47N 152W. Follow-on 30-35 kt west winds to persist in this area Tuesday with 20-22 ft seas forecast through evening. This might be good for some utility class swell with period in the 14 sec range for the Pacific Northwest late Wednesday pushing into Central CA Thurs (12/11) from 300-305 degrees.


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


California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/7) high pressure at 1026 mbs was building 600 nmiles off the Oregon coast trying to ridge east but not quite making it, resulting in light winds early. But by Monday AM it will be pulling up much closer to the coast, resulting in northwest winds at 15-20 kts for all of California but protected breaks inside the Channel Islands. Fortunately the high is to be pushing onshore Tuesday over the Great Basin with an offshore flow expected over the state continuing into Wednesday. But a new high at 1036 mbs is to be building off Washington at the same time setting up a pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino Thursday (12/11) generating 20-25 kt north winds there, but still reasonably calm south of there. Friday light winds to prevail while a new high builds at 1044 mbs in the Gulf of Alaska interacting with lower pressure at 1004 mbs over Vancouver Island, generating north winds at 20-30 kts or more north of the state and generating windswell headed south. Saturday the fetch is to move over California with brisk north winds expected down to Pt Conception making a mess of things.The low is to be sinking south pushing a bit off the North CA coast later Sunday, possibly setting up weak south winds.

No tropical activity of interest was occurring.


South Pacific

At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change is 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 a cutoff low is forecast forming in the semi-permanent trough on the dateline late Wednesday (12/10) with pressure dropping to 996 mbs Thursday AM generating 45 kt north -to northeast winds at 27N 168W mostly aimed a targets south and west of Hawaii. Winds to build to near 50 kts in the evening but again aimed well west of Hawaii. A tiny bit of this fetch is forecast to wrap around the southern quadrant of this gale Thursday evening into Friday AM (12/12) at 26N 165W at 40-45 kts aimed down the 285 degree path to Oahu, but only holding for 12-18 hrs before the whole system fades and lifts north. Maybe 20-25 ft seas to result, but the models aren't getting a good handle on this small of a fetch. The west shore of Kauai seems best suited to catch whatever swell results.

Also on Friday (12/12) a fetch of 40 kt north winds is expected from the interaction of weak low pressure inland of Vancouver Island and building high pressure at 1044 mbs in the Gulf of Alaska. The fetch to sink south through early Sunday continuing to generate 30-35 kt north winds off the coast down into Central CA. Possible larger windswell in the 11-12 sec period possible if this comes to pass.

And that's the good part of the story. After that virtually no swell producing fetch is depicted on the charts.


MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Sunday (12/7) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was in the Active Phase. The Daily SOI index was down to -4.72, the lowest is quite a while (but hardly anything that would be considered noteworthy). The 30 day average was down too at 14.86 and the 90 day average was down too at 13.51. This remains symptomatic of La Nina, but it getting eroded some by this active phase of the MJO. Winds anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated east winds non-existent (a good thing) but the Active Phase was well pasted it's max, now fading over the Philippines pushing westerly winds over a small area from Indonesia to New Guinea. These winds area expected continue fading into Dec 11 with an absolutely neutral pattern taking hold after that and holding into 12/26. No support or hindrance to the storm pattern is suggested. meaning were moving into an MJO neutral phase.


South Pacific

No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.

Details to follow...


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here: Add to Google
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location


Local Interest

Surfrider General Public Meeting: Thursday, December 11, 2008 7:00 PM. Join everyone for an evening with big wave surfer and local legend Dr. Mark Renneker. He will speak on Ocean Beach changes and answer your questions. Pedro Point Fire House (Map/Address)
1227 Danmann Ave, Pacifica 

Swell #2 Mavericks Videos from Powerlines Productions: Check out the action on both Saturday and Sunday (11/30) from that massive swell of 12-13 ft @ 25 secs. Filmed by Curt Myers and Eric Nelson. Really thick! See this and more.cgius the movie Ride-On 12/11 at the Old Princeton Landing or the Red Vic Moviehouse in San Francisco 12/19-23. &

Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it:

Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. The prognosis is good but we'd all like to help him out with medical expenses not covered by insurance and a new Mav's gun. Randy Cone has offered to provide the board, we just need to get the funds together. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or talk to Randy directly.

Pictures from Swell #1 - The first real significant class swell of the season produced a bit of action at Mavericks. See pictures here

Big Surf Up North - the First swell of the Fall 2008/2009 season brought a few large raw waves to the North CA Coast. Check out the details here:

The Kelly Slater Project - A group of dedicated surfers from Cocoa Beach are working to construct a statue of the the home town legend and set it up for all to enjoy near the break where Kelly grew up surfing. Take a look at the statue and read all about it here:

STORMSURF Local Wave Models Upgraded - We significantly upgraded the local waves models on Sunday (6/8). All now utilize our newly developed high-resolution 3D shaded relief topography for mapping landmasses. Coastlines are now accurate down to the individual pixel providing near photographic realism. Mountains and hills are all shaded and accurate to within the same single pixel specification. Cities are overlaid as before, but now we've added major highways and rivers too (for many locations). Some good exa.cgies of this new technology can be viewed here:
- View the reefs north of Tahiti and notice their contribution to the 'Swell Shadow' relative to California - Tahiti
- Notice the detail of the coast in and around Vancouver Islands and Washington State - Pacific Northwest
- See the details of inland waterways of the US Northeast Coast - Virginia
- Details of the Mentawai Island and Nias

And all the local models can be found either on our homepage or from the wavemodel page (bottom half of the page).

Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.

Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here:

Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more 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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