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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 27, 2005 10:28 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 = 5.5 - California & 5.5 - 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 12/26 thru Sun 1/1
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 #7 Hitting CA
Storm #8 Developing off Japan with more Projected


Stormsurf wishes you and your family a very Happy New Year.
Hope you catch lot's of waves and have a great (and safe) Holiday.

Note: Forecasts will be updated on an 'as-available' basis from 12/28-1/7

On Tuesday (12/27) Northern CA surf was tr.cgie.cgius overhead and on the increase, but blown out and ugly. South facing breaks were head high to 3 ft overhead and coming up. Central California surf was 3-5 ft overhead and clean. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up head high to 1 ft overhead though most spots were up to about chest high. The LA area southward to Orange County was chest to head high with occasional sets 2 ft overhead. Southward from Orange County into San Diego waves were head high to 2 ft overhead, maybe a little more at the best breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was double to double and a half overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest high.

The big story remains Swell #7. It peaked in Hawaii yesterday a bit smaller than expected with sets 20 ft (not 26 ft) and is now moving into California with the outer buoy providing some impressive readings. This to be the main swell source for the entire coast through the week and into the weekend while another one (Storm #8) pushes over the dateline behind it. And one more strong but smaller one is forecast behind it. The show ain 't over till the fat lady sings, and that doesn't look likely till at least a week after the start of the New Year. Hawaii to remain the best location for large clean surf while the big wave breaks in North CA remain locked down by south wind. See details below...


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

North Pacific

Tuesdays (12/27) jetstream continued very solid pumping a new pocket of 200 kt winds flat off Japan to just about the dateline with a slight ridge there while a weak trough was northeast of Hawaii with 150 kt winds running through it pushing into the Pacific Northwest. The relative flatness of the jet remains a bit of a concern, but not too much considering the activity level at the surface (i.e. storms). Over the next 72 hours the new pocket of Japanese energy is to reach north of Hawaii on Friday (12/30) moderating a little with winds down to 180 kts, but totally supportive of some form of surface level storm development. It is to be running near flat from Japan to just off Cape Mendocino. Most impressive. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to start fading a little by Sunday (1/1/2006) with a moderate trough setting up well off California at 170 kts with a slightly less cohesive jet off Japan. By Tuesday (1/3) the trough is to hold off California at 190 kts while a much weaker trough sets up off Japan with winds down to 130 kts. A weak ridge is to be in between the two over the dateline.

At the surface today there's no big change with a small area of high pressure continued hanging down over South Central California at 1020 mbs providing the faintest hint of protection stretching out west covering HAwaii too. Otherwise the stormy pattern continued across the balance of the North Pacific. The remnants of Storm #7 were in the Gulf of Alaska and new Storm #8 was developing off Japan (see details below).


Monster Storm #7
Storm History/Forecast
This is the closest thing to a full on El Nino-like winter storm we've seen in quite a while.

This large storm tracked off Japan on Thursday (12/22) heading due east with winds confirmed at 50-60 kts winds centered near 32N 164E. In the evening pressure dropped to 956 mbs with 60-70 kt hurricane force winds confirmed over a small area at 40N 172E aimed just north of due east or right up the 294 degree path to North CA (298 SCal) and 20 degrees east of the 310 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 32 ft at 33N 154E.. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass right over the fetch a few hours later but had difficulty resolving seas in it's core, but picked up mult.cgie readings in the 36-38 ft range on it's south edge, better than what the models suggested.

On Friday (12/23) pressure was down to 948 mbs with a 646 nmile long fetch of 50-65 kt winds confirmed terminating at 42N 176E aimed just north of due east or right up the 297 degree path to NCal (300 SCal) and 30 degrees east of the 314 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 42 ft centered at 42N 164E. The Jason-1 satellite again passed right over the storms core and experienced the same problems. Still 39 ft seas were confirmed on it's edges, better than what the wave model suggested. In the evening pressure held at 948 mbs with a solid fetch of 50-60 kt winds still aimed due east in the storms south quadrant terminating at 42N 175W aimed right up the 294 degree path to NCal (298 SCal) and 45 degrees east of the 320 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled up to 51 ft centered at 43N 174E.

On Saturday AM (12/24) the storm crossed the dateline with pressure still an impressive 952 mbs. A 896 nmile long fetch of 45-50 kt winds were aimed due east terminating at 42N 168W right up the 292 degree path to NCal (296 SCal) and 50 degrees east of the 331 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled still at an impressive 50 ft at 43N 178W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the eastern flank of the fetch area but had difficulty making sense of the sea state. Seas to 38 ft were reported, though the models suggested 45 ft seas at that location. In the evening this system was pushing into the Gulf of Alaska with pressure up to 962 mbs and a broad fetch of 40-50 kt west winds centered at 43N 165W aimed right at NCal up the 295 degree path (298 SCal) but nothing at Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 48 ft at 43N 173W.

On Sunday (12/25) the core of the storm completely fell apart. Residual 39 ft seas were modeled at 43N 164W. But by evening a new phase of this storm started to take up the slack developing with pressure 968 mbs with 45-50kt winds confirmed over a small area centered at 42N 159W aimed right at California up the 290 degree path with nothing aimed at at Hawaii. Seas starting to rebuild.

On Monday AM (12/26) pressure dropped to 956 mbs with 45-50 kt winds continuing terminating at 41N 147W aimed due east right up the 290 degree path to North CA (297 SCal). Seas were modeled at 32 ft centered at 41N 157W, relatively close to the California coast (1598nmiles). The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the west flank of the fetch confirming seas in the low 30 ft range, right on track with the wave model. In the evening this system faded out with pressure 960 mbs and no real fetch of interest left. Seas were modeled at 33 ft centered at 43N 148W, close again to California (1200 nmiles).

By Tuesday AM (12/27) this system was gone.

Swell Generation Potential
This storm is developing amazing close to what the models projected almost a week out. It's a most impressive system so far with intense wind aimed directly towards California with solid sideband energy aimed towards Hawaii. Already this insures a large, very long period and long lasting swell (especially for California). The second phase of this storm did not do anything of interest nd only served to add some 17 sec period energy to swell that was already in the water, and is not expected to extend the life of the main swell. Hawaii got slammed by solid size by virtue of their relative proximity to the storm center (1370-2622 nmiles) though it was a little less refined (more geared towards tow surfing) and suspect much energy passed a bit east of the Islands. California will see the groomed longer period energy ideal for paddle in surfing (being 1897-3952 nmiles away from the core of the storm). Local winds to have a major impact north of Pt Conception though. Monitor this situation closely.

Surf Forecast
North CA (San Francisco): Expect swell to arrive late Monday afternoon (12/26) with period 25 secs and size small but building. Large number of waves per set, though a long wait between sets. Swell to start peaking Tuesday (12/27) at mid-day with period 20 secs solid and holding through the night till sunrise Wednesday (12/28) when period drops to the low 17 sec range. Swell size 10.5-12.6 ft @ 17-20 secs (21-25 ft down to 18-21 ft Wed AM). Most solid 16 sec energy to hold through the day till sunset with no obvious drop in size, just a little less energy. Sizeable residuals expected through the day Thursday (12/29) when things finally clean up with swell 11-12 ft @ 14-15 secs (16-18 ft). Possible decent swell still left on Friday (12/30) too with swell 8-9 ft @ 14 secs early (11-13 ft) and fading. Swell Direction: 292-296 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Tuesday (12/27) at 2 AM with period at 25 secs and size on the increase. Swell to start peaking near 11 PM as period settles to 20 secs and holding solid through sunset Wednesday (12/28) as period turns to a pure 17 secs. Swell 4.7-5.3 ft @ 17-20 secs at most breaks (8-11 ft faces) with best spots in Santa Barbara and especially San Diego at 5.4-6.6 ft @ 17-20 secs (9.0-13 ft faces). Solid 15 sec residuals expected through the day Thursday (12/29) with swell 4.5-5.0 ft @ 15 secs most breaks (6.5-7.6 ft faces) with best breaks in San Diego and Santa Barbara having swell 5.5-6.5 ft @ 15 secs (8.5-9.5 ft faces). Swell Direction 296-303 degrees


Possible Storm #8
Yet another solid storm pushed off Japan on Monday (12/26) with pressure 972 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-60 kts over a small area in it's south quadrant at 40N 158E aimed southeast right down the 307 degree path to Hawaii but well south of any route to California. The storm was tracking east and seas were building. In the evening pressure dropped to 964 mbs with winds moderating to 45-50 kts centered near 40N 160E aimed well down the 306 degree path to Hawaii.

By Tuesday AM (12/27) pressure to be holding at 964 mbs with a broad fetch of 40 to near 50 kt winds terminating at 38N 164E aimed right down the 308 degree path to Hawaii and 40 degrees south of the 297 degree path to California. Seas modeled at 32 ft centered at 40N 160E. In the evening pressure forecast up to 968 mbs with a solid 45-50 kt fetch centered at 36N 172E aimed right down the 306 degree path to Hawaii and 35 degree south of the 292 degree path to California. Seas modeled building to 37 ft at 39N 164E.

On Wednesday (12/28) no big change forecast with the center pushing slowly east. Winds still 45-50 kts at 38N 175E aimed a little more east or right down the 308 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees south of the 292 degree path into North CA (295 SCal). Seas forecast at 39 ft at 39N 169E. In the evening 45 kt fetch to be approaching the dateline at 36N 178E but losing a little coverage area aimed like before. Seas forecast to 40 ft centered at 39N 170E.

On Thursday (12/29) the storm is to start contracting as it hits the dateline with pressure 968 mbs and winds 40-45 kts centered at 35N 175W aimed due east, or aimed 20 degrees east of the 315 degree great circle path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 285 degree great circle path to North CA (290 SCal). Seas forecast to 41 ft at 36N 175E. In the evening the storm is to fall apart with pressure up to 976 mbs and winds down to 35-40 kts aimed east. Seas forecast at at 37 ft centered at 36N 177W.

On Friday (12/30) the storm is to be gone. Residual seas forecast at 32 ft centered at 38N 168W. In the evening seas to fall below 30 ft.

This is not to be a particularly well organized system, with no high winds or tight gradients. But is is to have a moderately large fetch that is to track slowly east, getting good traction on the oceans surface generating every bit of sea height possible. The swell vector is to be aimed best at Hawaii, and the storm itself is to be positioned closest to them, with the largest part of the swell expected to hit there with significant class size. Solid energy is to push east, but mostly south of targets in California. This might actually generate swell a little more in the normal range for the coast there (still significant class size), instead of the out-of-control larger swells of the recent past. Will monitor.

Rough estimates suggests swell arrival in Hawaii Friday (12/30) peaking at sunset continuing solid into Saturday and Sunday. California to see swell arrival New Years Day mixed with much other locally generated shorter period swell.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (12/27) the models are starting to paint a different picture, but one that is not favorable. The north part of the state has been awash in south winds since, well it seems like forever, while the south end has been protected. That bit of paradise down south now too seems in jeopardy. But first, a bit of a break from the south wind regime forecast for Thursday (12/29) in the north while north winds blow out the south end of the state. By Friday another storm to be.cgiowing south winds into the everything north of Pt Conception while things clear out in the south. South winds to continue north of Pt Conception almost non-stop into the middle of next week. But of interest they are to be even stronger pushing into Southern CA on Saturday (12/31) then again on Monday (1/2).

The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.


South Pacific

No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.

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 the storm pattern to remain solid but shifting east, putting the storm path even more direct over California. A little local one is to form west of San Francisco Saturday (12/31) and push over the north end of the state the next day with 35 ft seas in tow. A likely wet and windy mess to result. Another stronger one is forecast developing due north of Hawaii Monday (1/2) pushing due east again, this one with 39 ft seas but the storm itself deflecting northeast into the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday (1/4). Yet another storm to be brewing off Japan at the same time.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

More Local Wind Models: Stormsurf is proud to announce the expansion of our local wind models, now providing global coverage. Get the latest local wind forecast updated 4 times daily with coverage out 7.5 days. See them here:

Sharks, Sharks and more Sharks: Want to know all the details of every shark encounter over the past few months in California? You can read all about it in the fascinating chronology produced be the Shark Research Committee. There's alot more going on in our waters than you could ever have imagined (or ever wanted to know).

Stormsurf Weather Model Update: Over the weekend (10/30) we moved new new code into production that should dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of our weather models. We've had problems with them not keeping in-sync with the wave models. Hopefully that problem is now resolved though we're still dependent on NOAA data servers just like everyone else. What this fix does do is provide the infrastructure now to rapidly expand our offering of weather models, enabling more detailed global coverage. We will be working on that as time permits.

Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him:

Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here:

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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