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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 17, 2006 11:41 AM
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 = 4.0 - 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 12/18 thru Sun 12/24
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   

Far More Moderate Trend
Maybe a Little Better Push For Hawaii


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
We want to take a minute to thank all of you for your support, comments and well wishes over the past year and extend to you our warmest Holiday Wishes. It has been a great year here at Stormsurf thanks to you. We hope you enjoy a Happy and Safe Holiday and catch some great surf. Forecasts will be updated more or less regularly as conditions warrant (and when we're not out trying to catch a few waves ourselves).

On Sunday (12/17) Northern CA surf was still 3-4 times overhead and out of control though winds were light early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were double overhead and a fair bit chunky. Central California surf was 3-5 ft overhead double overhead and clean but raw. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to chest to head high at the better spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high with head high sets and clean at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high with 1 ft overhead sets. The North Shore of Oahu was up to 2 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was up to double overhead with windswell in control.

A week of giant surf in Northern California is not letting go without a fight, with large windswell now in control. But it pales in comparison to the non-stop barrage of 20-25 ft Hawaiian sized surf that has been in.cgiace since Friday 12/7. Much smaller but more approachable surf has been the norm in Southern California. Unseasonably small surf continues for the North Shore of Oahu. A new storm pattern is scheduled for the North Pacific this week focusing on the dateline then pushing up into the Gulf of Alaska. But current estimates do not suggest much organization or strength associated with the storms imbedded in this pattern, with seas generally below the 30 ft level and positioned a bit further north. The result to be more moderate sized surf with lesser period aimed towards California and the Pacific Northwest initially with some energy heading towards Hawaii later in the cycle. In all not bad, but not over the top, which might not be too bad of a situation for mere mortals north of Pt Conception. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (12/17) depicted a single strong flow ridging northeast off Japan tracking up the Kuril's then turning east reaching to the dateline with winds 210 kts before .cgiitting. East of there one branch continued east into the Gulf of Alaska then down the Pacific Northwest coast while the southern branch tracked southeast over Hawaii then east into Baja and being joined by energy from the northern branch there. As we've seen in previous .cgiit episodes high pressure was likely present at the surface between the .cgiit flows in the east and the western part of the jet was pushing to far north to support storm development in the greater Pacific. So a promising but immature pattern was in effect. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (12/20) the big pocket of energy in the west is to push east over the dateline and to a point 900 nmiles west of San Francisco with 180 kts winds tracking flat across the width of the Pacific concentrated mostly on the dateline. No obvious troughs suggested meaning no good support for surface level storm formation, though.cgienty of energy to be in.cgiace. The .cgiit pattern is to remain just off California and the Pacific Northwest, but that is likely to be short lived. Beyond 72 hours a trough is to start developing well north of Hawaii on Friday (12/22) with 190 kt winds feeding into it from across the dateline providing better support for surface level storm development. That trough to push east into Saturday but winds to rapidly weaken while the .cgiit flow finally gets pushed well inland and the consolidated jet starts pushing over Cape Mendocino CA. No real good support for storm development, beyond that tiny winds on Friday.

At the surface today strong cold high pressure at 1032 mbs was sitting just off the South California coast driving a brisk northerly flow down the coast. Another 1024 mbs high was over the dateline but positioned far enough south to not be too much of an issue. A series of 3 small slows were in-flight in the Aleutians Storm Corridor with one just off Japan, another over the dateline just south of the Aleutians, and the third in the Gulf of Alaska. All had small areas of 40 kt winds associated with them, but none were capable of generating significant class surf as of yet. Over the next 72 hours the gale in the Gulf to rapidly push north inland and dissipate while the other two join forces on Monday (12/18) in the Western Gulf of Alaska. A closed low is to form with pressure 968 mbs producing 45-50 kt winds but mostly aimed north towards Alaska with only a tiny fetch aimed southeast. A fleeting fetch to develop late Monday night of 55 kt winds at 48N 157W aimed southeast towards North Ca and the PAcific Northwest, but by Tuesday AM even that to take aim to the east targeting Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, then even areas north of there by sunset. 35 ft seas modeled Tuesday AM at 48N 156W rapidly building to 43 ft in the evening at 52N 150W sending tangent energy down the 310 degree path to North CA and more towards the Pacific Northwest, but little to South CA and nothing towards Hawaii. By Wednesday this one to be gone while a large but mostly unorganized fetch of 30-35 kt winds blows generally west to east from the dateline into the Gulf of Alaska getting good traction on an already well agitated ocean surface setting up generation of 25-28 ft seas with 14 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii and California, but not organized or cohesive enough to be considered a 'qualified' swell event, though moderate.cgius sized surf could result for all locales. Use the QuikCAST's to see details.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/17) the stormy weather pattern that has control the northern part of California is finally over, with high pressure and clearing north winds in control. Winds to be turning more to the northeast Monday slowly giving way to calm winds into Wednesday while low pressure and much west winds push towards the coast filling the Gulf and beyond. The front associated with this gale co.cgiex is to push over San Francisco on Thursday with a minor does of south wind, but more high pressure to be right behind with light winds back in.cgiace by late evening. No impact expected into Pt Conception and areas south of there. Maybe some north wind late Friday into early Saturday for the state, but a light wind pattern to quickly follow for the pre-Christmas weekend.


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 a broad fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds to develop over the dateline Thursday (12/21) targeting Hawaii from 35N 170W down the 312-319 degree track with 25-27 ft seas expected by nightfall at 40N 178W. Moderate to large 14 sec period swell could result for the Islands, especially given it's rather close proximity. This is the first fetch of the season aimed well at the Islands, assuming it develops as forecast. But most energy from this fetch to get absorbed by a developing low in the Gulf on Friday (12/22) with pressure 968 mbs and a small fetch of 45-50 kt winds targeting North CA and the Pacific Northwest through the day before tracking north into Alaska.30+ ft seas forecast, but even that to mostly be pushing north towards Northern Canada. In all a rather uneventful outlook compared to the activity of late.


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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