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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 24, 2006 7:18 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 = 5.0 - California & 4.8 - 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 12/25 thru Sun 12/31
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   

Strong Storm Pattern In Control
Focus on East Pacific - West Pac to Turn On


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 (12/24) Northern CA surf was 2-5 ft overhead, lined up and clean early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high to 3 ft overhead and clean. Central California surf was head high to 1 ft overhead. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were chest high at the better spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high with very best spots near head high. The North Shore of Oahu was double overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore surf was chest high.

Surf has dipped down into the fun sized range in North California (less than double overhead) with clean conditions while South California had less size but still quite rideable. Hawaii was doing quite nicely with solid double overhead surf and clean conditions in effect, but that to be fading out. A very strong storm is off the Pacific Northwest getting ready to send large raw surf and poor weather to locations North of Pt Conception Tuesday though the south end of the state to remain protected, with everyone getting washed out by Wednesday. Fortunately an improving weather pattern is forecast locally after that with more solid longer period energy stacked up on the charts. Hawaii to get a few day break in the action with some locally stormy weather then possible real surf later in the week with clearing conations. In all everyone is looking to get some solid surf over the next week or more. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Sundays jetstream charts (12/24) depicted a single energetic flow pushing fairly flat east off Japan peaking on the dateline at 180 kts then dipping into a trough in the Gulf of Alaska but with only 130 kt winds ridging into British Columbia. Good support for storm development in the Gulf. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (12/27) things to continue active with a new trough setting up over the dateline Tuesday with winds there still near 180 kts while the jet starts pushing south over the mainland US though much weaker near San Francisco. That trough to build strongly Wednesday just north of Hawaii with 160-180 kt winds on both sides of it very much supporting surface level storm development while a weak secondary trough pushes over California ushering in a wet and windy pattern there. Beyond 72 hours the Hawaiian trough to push east and moderate while lifting slowly into the Gulf of Alaska while a new batch of very strong energy pushes off Japan Friday (12/29). By Sunday 180 kt winds to be flowing flat from Japan over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii providing much raw potential for storm development, though no trough is indicated just yet. A likely very active storm pattern to persist at the surface.

At the surface today Storm #6 was in full bloom off the Pacific Northwest with 60 kt winds and 40 ft+ seas targeting the balance of the California coast and all the Pacific Northwest (see details below). Two other pockets of nondescript low pressure were pushing east along the 40th parallel but were offering no immediate swell generation potential. Otherwise weak high pressure was making for a.cgieasant day in California and providing faint trades over the Hawaiian Islands.

Over the next 72 hours another small storm to develop just off the North California coast on Tuesday (12/26) [see Storm #7 below] pushing quickly inland but not before making a mess of local conditions. At the same time another low is to be organizing over the dateline late Monday (12/25) pushing towards the Western Gulf of Alaska with 40-45 kts winds slowly fading to 30-35 kts through Wednesday generating 32 ft seas at 40N 175E Tuesday AM, then at 36N 175W in the evening, then again (32 ft) at 36N 168W Wednesday AM reaching 35N 160W and only 750 nmiles north of the Islands by nightfall. All this energy to be pushing towards Hawaii down the 312 degree path.If this materializes this could be Storm #8, the first significant class swell of the season for the Islands, though the jury is still out on it's strength.


Storm #6 (North CA)
A little low was pushing off Japan Thursday (12/21) and reached the dateline and start building late Friday.

By Saturday AM (12/23) pressure to be 986 mbs with 45 kt winds in the storms south quadrant at 38N 152W aimed mostly north towards Alaska and well east of Hawaii. This system deepened fast up after that and by evening pressure was 962 mbs with winds 55-60 kts at 43N 148W targeting North California down the 295 degree path and heading north east. Seas rapidly building from 23 ft at 45N 147W.

Sunday AM (12/24) winds were confirmed at 50-60 kts at 46N 144W still targeting North CA well down an obstructed 301 degree window while the storm continued shifting north. 37 ft seas modeled well west of Oregon Mendocino at 45N 145W. In the evening a broad fetch of 45-50 kt winds to be off Oregon at 47N 140W pushing much energy towards North CA down the 308 degree path and the Pacific Northwest with 44 ft seas suggested at 47N 140W.

This system to then fade out on Monday with all fetch pushing into British Columbia while 43 ft seas continue at 50N 133W pushing into the coast there.

The result is to be what is becoming the norm in North CA, namely large and powerful long period swell pushing into California but quite a bit on the raw side, not having much time to unwrap and making it lurchy. One difference is it's to be pretty well shadowed by the Farralon Islands for those breaks in the San Francisco area. Nothing expected for Hawaii. Weather to be very much an issue too

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (12/25 - Christmas Day ) around sunset with period 20-22 secs and size building fast. Swell to peak in the early morning hours Tuesday with swell 13.7 ft @ 18-19 secs (22-25 ft faces). Solid size to still be in.cgiace at sunrise with swell 12-13 ft @ 15-16 secs (18-21 ft faces) outside the shadow with bigger sets holding till noon then drifting down. 13 sec residuals Wednesday. Swell Direction: 300-316+ degrees


Mini Storm #7 (North CA)
On Tuesday AM (12/26) a 990 mb low is to develop 700 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino Ca with 50 kt winds developing over a tiny area at 40N 140W aimed a bit south of San Francisco down the 285 degree great circle path (295 SCal). Seas building to 22 ft at 38N 140W By the evening that fetch is to increase in size while pushing closer to the coast with winds still 45-50 kts at 39N 132W aimed towards the SF coast down the 285-292 degree path (301 SCal). Seas forecast at 30 ft at 38N 134W.

This core of the storm to be nearly gone moving onshore over Cape Mendocino by Wednesday AM. 30 ft seas forecast at 38N 128W or just 300 nmiles west of San Francisco and pushing onshore in the Monterey Bay area that evening. Howling west to northwest winds forecast by late afternoon in Central CA.

This is by now means an impressive storm and if anything, will only serve to generate high seas, high tides and lot's of wind and rain making for pure stormsurf conditions. Do not attempt to surf this swell anywhere north of Pt Conception during it's prime as it will be pure misery based on current forecast data.

North CA: Expect swell arrival mid-day Wednesday (12/27) with seas 20 ft and swell 16 ft @ 13-16 secs (23 ft faces) and blown to bits. Swell Direction: 280 degrees


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/24) a front associated with strong Storm #6 was trying to make headway into outer California waters though high pressure at 1024 mbs was holding firm off Southern CA ridging into San Francisco. Light winds were in control. That front to stall and whither Monday (12/25) pushing into Cape Mendocino but not making any headway thanks to our local high pressure system. But a new Storm (#7) to be forming right behind and further south bringing building south winds Tuesday (Monterey northward) then in combination with high pressure behind it sending strong northwest winds all the way down into Southern CA Wednesday (12/27). In combination with large seas, things to be quite a mess. North winds to be settling down Thursday (12/28) as high pressure gets better established with light winds expected through Saturday (12/30). More high pressure forecast Sunday with another dose of north wind but that supposedly will provide protection from an onslaught of weather developing over the dateline in to the Gulf of Alaska in the days ahead.


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 no letup in the pattern is forecast and if anything, it's to start really winding up, and in a much better position than all storms previous. The real teller will be on Thursday (12/28). Two major storm system are forecast to be in-development. The first is to be in the Western Gulf of Alaska north of Hawaii where a 998 mb low to be developing with 55 kt winds taking aim on California holding into Friday (12/29) then fading while lifting north. 39 ft seas to be targeting the Golden State down the 297-301 degree great circle path (NCal) and the 302-306 degree path (SCal). This could be Storm #9

Of even more interest is the second system forecast to be pushing off the Kuril Islands with pressure 960 mbs Friday (12/29) generating 55 kts winds in its' south quadrant targeting both Hawaii and California. The fetch to hold together and push to the dateline Sunday (12/31) still at 45-50 kts over a broad area. 44 ft seas forecast over a large area sitting at the intersection of the 40th parallel and the dateline with lot's of long period swell energy pushing towards all forecast locales, assuming this comes to pass. This could be Storm #10. It's a bit of a reach, but tantalizing just the same.


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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