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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 10, 2006 4:54 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 = 5.0 - California & 4.0 - 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 12/11 thru Sun 12/17
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   

Swell #2 Queued Up/Hawaii First
One More Storm Forecast


On Sunday (12/10) Northern CA surf was double to near tr.cgie overhead and a disorganized mess. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to a few feet overhead and blown out. Central California surf was up to double overhead also waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest to head high with some 1 ft overhead sets at the better breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest to head high with some overhead sets at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were 2 ft overhead on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was double overhead.cgius and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was head high.

Swell #2 is hitting nicely in Hawaii with solid double overhead surf and due east trades making for offshore's. The remnants of Swell #1 are fading in California with things a mess up north and no real period left, while a bit more energy was hitting down south but mostly shadowed by the Channel Islands. Swell #2 has peaked out in Hawaii and is all set to go at the outer buoys off California with large seas and long period swell making it's presence known, providing early week juice. At the buoys it's even larger than the first swell. Behind that one more storm is on the charts, then a calmer period as the jetstream takes a break and things reorganize. But the break isn't expected to be for long, just enough to do some Christmas shopping then back to business. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (12/10) depicted a solid and cohesive flow pushing east off Japan tracking almost flat across the Pacific with a little trough pushing inland over South California. winds were relatively weak in the east at 120 kts and stronger in the west, at 160 kts off Japan to the dateline. In all not bad, but the lack of a trough over the greater Pacific was limiting storm development at the surface. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (12/13) energy level to ramp up a bit with 150 kt winds over the length of the jet from the dateline to California with 2 weak troughs modeled pushing east from the dateline and the Gulf of Alaska capable of supporting some form of surface level gale or storm. Beyond 72 hours decent energy to continue over the length of the jet on Thursday (12/14) with winds at 150 kts, but the jet is to try and .cgiit over the dateline with no energy there and thing quite unorganized. The .cgiit to get more pronounced into the weekend and by Sunday the northern branch to be weakly limping through the Gulf then diving south into California while the southern branch drops over Hawaii then heads northeast joining the northern branch pushing into CA. But back to the west the jet to become most impressive with a thick.cgiume of 170 kt energy blasting off Japan heading northeast to the dateline just south of the Aleutians and looking to be in set-up mode for another series of storms at the surface, but it's too early to really assume that is the case.

At the surface today the remnants of Storm #2 [see details below] were in the Gulf of Alaska pushing towards the Pacific Northwest and were all but gone. A series of 2 more gales were right behind it both with winds in the 30 kts range, but were uninteresting from a swell development standpoint. High pressure at 1028 mbs centered between Hawaii and Pt Conception making for strong trades over the Hawaiian Islands but not quite strong enough to have a clearing impact on California, with inclimate weather still in control from Pt Conception northward. Another system was pushing off Japan but was not interesting at this point. Over the next 72 hours a gale is to develop in the Gulf Monday AM producing 45 kts northwest winds aimed well at North Ca and the PAcific Northwest tracking fast to the east pushing onshore late in the evening. Seas forecast to 29 ft Monday Am at 44N 148W and up to 32 ft in the evening at 44N 137W pushing energy down the 299 degree path to North CA and the 301-304 degree paths to South CA, but that to be lost in Swell #2. Nothing remarkable forecast after that with the exception of one more storm (see Potential Storm #3 below).


Storm #2
Storm Forecast/History
A new storm formed over the dateline Thursday AM (12/7) with pressure 972 mbs producing a broad but diffuse fetch of 40-45 kts winds roughly near 44N 176W aimed just 10 degrees south of the 298 degree path to California and 30 degrees east of the 328 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled building from 25 ft over a large area getting good traction on a well roughed up ocean surface. In the evening winds became more organized and repositioned at 43N 163W with seas modeled building to 32 ft over a moderate.cgius sized area at 47N 175W.

On Friday AM (12/8) pressure dropped to 964 mbs with the core over the eastern Aleutians with winds confirmed down to barely 40 kts over a diffuse area at 46N 156W with seas up to 36 ft centered there (47N 165W) positioned and aimed right down the 303 degree path into North CA and aimed 40 degrees east of the 348 degree path to Hawaii. But this seemed a little high. This fetch was gone in the evening with residual 35 ft seas modeled at 48N 158W heading well down the 305 degree path to California and the Pacific Northwest with most energy bound well east of any track to Hawaii.

This system was north of it's predecessor and not as strong, but that's all relative. More sizeable energy from this system is pushing southeast targeting California with significant class swell and Hawaii with significant class tangent swell.

At the same time on Friday AM (12/8) a new low was racing east from the dateline with a small fetch of 50-55 kts winds confirmed in it's south quadrant at 43N 178W aimed right up the 296 degree path to NCal (301 SCal) and 30 degrees east of the 319 degree path to Hawaii. Seas trying to build but it was moving east too fast for it's winds to get much traction. More of the same occurred in the evening with 50 kt west winds confirmed at 45N 160W.

Finally Saturday AM (12/9) confirmed 50-55 kt winds from this system were get traction on the remnants of seas from the earlier incarnation of this storm at 43N 150W generating 37 ft seas at 44N 157W aimed right down the 295 degree path to NCal (300 Scal) and aimed mostly east of the 360 degree path to Hawaii. In the evening less than expected wind of 35 kts were confirmed at 44N 140W aimed again right at NCal down the 298 degree path (302 SCal) with 36 ft seas pushing towards the coast from 44N 146W.

By Sunday AM (12/10) this system was gone with the fading core of this low pushing up to the Cape Mendocino coast. 30 ft seas were modeled at 43N 139W. This one to be gone by nightfall.

Swell Generation Potential
We had originally projected this as 2 different storms, which in essence they really are, but since the resulting swells will arrive along the California coast simultaneously, we're going to consider it a single system. This was another moderate typical winter storm with 60 hours of 45-50 kts winds and a nice core in the second incarnation in the 50-55 kts range for 24 hours. This will result in a good dose of mostly 35 ft seas all aimed due east right up the great circle paths to California with sideband energy drifting south towards Hawaii, but from a very oblique angle and likely not enough to reach significant class thresholds. So significant class swell is expected for North CA with lesser energy in the south end of the state with period mostly 17 secs and not as strong as Storm #1. And of course, weather to be a concern as it is modeled to push very close to the coast.

Surf Forecast
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Saturday evening (12/9) with period 15-16 secs and size pushing up, peaking mid-Sunday morning with swell 7.5 ft @ 15 secs (10-12 ft faces). Swell fading overnight with swell 6-7 ft @ 14 secs on Monday and fading (8-9 ft faces). Swell Direction 340-350 degrees

North California: This system has produced 2 swells arriving simultaneously from the same direction. Initial 15 sec energy to hit after sunset PM Sunday (12/10) and tiny but on the upswing. The bulk of both swells to hit Monday (12/11) just before sunrise with mixed period 16-18 secs and peaking near noon with first swell 7.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (13-14 ft faces) with larger energy from the second phase of this storm to 10 ft @ 17-18 secs (16-19 ft faces). Size holding through the day with period slowly dropping. Combined swell to 13.8 ft @ 17 secs (possibly producing rogue waves to 23 ft faces). 14-15 sec residuals on Tuesday and much smaller. Swell Direction: 294-300 degrees

South California: This system has produced 2 swells arriving simultaneously from the same direction. Initial 15 sec energy to hit near sunrise Monday (12/11) and tiny but on the upswing. The bulk of both swells to hit near 8-11 PM with mixed period 16-18 secs and peaking near 1 AM Tuesday with first swell 3.4-3.8 ft @ 17 secs (5.8-6.5 ft faces) with larger energy from the second phase of this storm to 4.0-4.8 ft @ 17 secs (7.0-8.4 ft faces). Size holding through the night with period slowly dropping. Swell down to 4.0-4.5 ft @ 15 sec sunrise Tuesday (6-7 ft faces) and heading down slowly through the day. Swell Direction: 294-300 degrees


Potential Storm #3
On Sunday (12/10) weak low pressure was pushing off Japan destine to become Storm #3.

Nothing interesting to happen till Monday AM (12/11) as the storm hits the dateline and pressure drops to 976 mbs with 45-50 kt winds targeting Hawaii down the 318 degree path from 39N 180W. In the evening 55-60 kt winds to become established in the storms south quadrant at 40N 169W aimed almost due east or 40 degrees east of the 332 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees south of the 290 degree path to North CA (285 Scal). 35 ft seas starting to build over a tiny area at 39N 172W.

On Tuesday AM (12/12) 60-65 kt winds forecast in the storm south quadrant as the storm itself lifts slightly north of east with all fetch now at 42N 155W mostly bypassing Hawaii and targeting California directly down the 290 degree path. Seas forecast up to 40 ft at 41N 160W. In the evening the storm to be making a beeline northeast towards British Columbia with 60 kts winds at 45N 148W aimed right down the 299 degree great circle path to NCal (305 SCal). Seas modeled up to 43 ft @ 43N 150W, just south of the Farallon swell shadow for NCal.

By Wednesday AM (12/13) this storm to be in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska with 55 kt winds just west of Vancouver Island at 50N 140W aimed well east of the 319 degree path to North CA and out of the SCal swell window. Seas forecast at 44 ft @ 47N 140W or on the 310 degree path to NCal. This system to be well out of our forecast area by nightfall.

This system to be small but fairly intense, following a track similar to previous storm but with one exception, it's to push into Canada rather than towards the US west coast, possibly providing a break in the local weather and improving odds for better weather. Smaller long period 17-20 sec energy is likely for California with tangent 15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. Will monitor.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/10) very unsettled weather remained in the Gulf of Alaska while weak high pressure at 1026 mbs was di.cgiaced well south, getting footing into South CA and trying to get a toehold into the north end of the state. As a result south winds continued in the north while north winds built into the south. The high to continue trying to push in through the coming days and getting better control while a non-stop barrage of weather systems push into the Pacific Northwest. Light southerly winds expected Monday/Tuesday finally giving way to calm conditions late. Wednesday and Thursday to be calm then north winds tale over as high pressure builds in too strong Friday through Sunday even pushing into Southern CA mid-Saturday and beyond.


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

Beyond 72 hours high pressure to set up over the dateline in between the .cgiit in the jet streams aloft driving the storm track to the north and in to the Bering Sea. One system is to push off Kamchatka on Wednesday (12/130 but quickly get shuttled north try with all winds aimed north towards the Aleutians and no swell resulting. Another to push off Japan on Friday (12/15) and start to suffer the same fate, but then catch itself and start producing 55 kt west winds over a tiny area in it's south quadrant from a position west of the dateline aimed best at the mainland with sideband energy towards Hawaii late Saturday into Sunday. This system to track east-northeast with 60-65 kts winds into the Western Gulf of Alaska late Sunday (12/17) with seas building to 43 ft. Decent long period swell possible, but nothing over the top, assuming all goes as projected.

Also a small storm is forecast developing Thursday (12/14) off North California possibly generating 50-55 kt winds and 32-35 ft seas for 24 hours sending more sizeable swell southward, but that's far from certain at this time.


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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