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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 3, 2006 4:30 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 #9 On The Way To CA
1 More Storm For The Dateline

 

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

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (1/3) Northern CA surf was double to triple overhead and completely blown out. South facing breaks were 3-5 ft overhead and blown out. Central California surf was up to double overhead and blown out. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to 3-5 ft overhead at the best breaks with most in the head high to 2 ft overhead range. The LA area southward to Orange County was chest to head high with sets up to 2 ft overhead. Southward from Orange County into San Diego waves were head high to 3 ft overhead with best breaks pushing double overhead. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to a little overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was less than waist high.

The big story is the pending arrival of Swell #9 along the California coast. It's already hitting the outer buoy and looking most solid, expected to move onshore with good size and decent winds for the entire state. This is likely the last good shot for really big swell with good winds for quite a while. After that a much less organized system to pass just north of Hawaii and then off the California coast while another small one heads off Japan towards the Bering Sea. A strong storm is forecast over the dateline this weekend, but it's way too early to talk to that one with any confidence. See details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays (1/3) jetstream was really settling down with the only interesting feature a developing trough just north of Hawaii with 170 kt winds flowing into it over a small area. That to continue into Wednesday then fade with a rather benign flow following, and really disintegrating at the end of the 72 hour period. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to try and stage a bit of a comeback in the west off Japan by Friday (1/6) with 150 kt winds starting to blow off it's south end making it to the dateline by Tuesday (1/10) with a bit of a ridge forming there, but not real interesting. In general things are really winding down.

At the surface today the remnants of Storm #9 were circulating off British with no real swell producing fetch left. A new low was trying to wind up just North of Hawaii (see Possible Storm #10 below) while a 956 mb low was just off Northern Japan tracking northeast. But in reality neither of these systems is to do much with the Hawaiian system moving way too fast to the east and then north to do much for the Islands or California. The Japan system is to not even make it to the dateline before petering out with most of it's energy aimed northeast towards California but way too far away, leaving only utility class energy heading towards Hawaii.

Nothing else expected in the 72 hour window.

 

Possible Storm #9
On Sunday AM (1/1) a storm was developing just east of the dateline with pressure 984 mbs and winds forecast at 50 kts over a tiny area centered at 40N 175W aimed right down the 328 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas building. In the evening pressure dropped to 972 mbs with winds building to 55-60 kts in the storms south quadrant and near hurricane force (65 kts) for a few hours over a tiny area centered at 40N 162W aimed due east. That's right up the 287 degree path to California with maybe some fleeting residual fetch aimed at Hawaii down the 350 degree path. Seas forecast over a tiny area at 34 ft at 40N 166W.

On Monday AM (12/02) pressure to dropped to 966 mbs with 55-60 kt fetch continuing in it's south quadrant at 40N 151W aimed due east right up the 285 degree great circle path to NCal (294 SCal). Seas modeled at 38 ft centered at 40N 155W. In the evening the storm pushed east with 50 kt winds confirmed at 42N 140W aimed right at NCal up the 292 degree great circle path (297 SCal). Seas built to 40 ft at 42N 144W within 1200 nmiles of the NCal coast.

On Tuesday AM (1/3) this system headed northeast towards Canada with residual 40 kt winds confirmed but fading out aimed best from Cape Mendocino northward and the leading edge of the fetch getting dangerously close to the Northern CA coast. Seas were 35 ft at 44N 138W, 700 nmiles from San Francisco and north of the 305 degree great circle path. By evening this storm was to be gone.

This was a small, short-lived but powerful little system positioned too close to North CA (797-2012 nmiles) to be optimal allowing a fair amount of shorter period warble to still be present when the swell arrives. Still seas were high enough and close enough so that swell decay will not be an issue, with a large long period swell expected to result. And the local wind forecast remains positive, so there is actually hope that North CA might see some large rideable surf from this one. Central and South Ca are also good targets for this storms energy. Conversely this storm is to be too far east of Hawaii to have optimal impact, though solid significant class sideband energy was likely to push into the Islands for a brief spurt. But actual buoy reads at forecast time did not look nearly as hopeful.

North CA: Expect swell arrival Wednesday (1/4) at 1 AM with period 20 secs and size coming up fast. Swell to peak by sunrise holding through mid-afternoon as swell settles well into the 17 sec range. Swell size 11.5-12.4 ft @ 17-20 secs (20-25 ft) with a few sets at 15 ft @ 18 secs (27 ft). Swell fading out overnight as period drops. Swell Direction: 285-292 degrees

South California: Expect swell hitting at noon Wednesday (1/4) and quickly on the increase, starting to peak just after sunset and holding through about 3 AM Thursday. Peak swell to hit SB before sunset. Swell 4.5-5.1 ft @ 17-20 secs (7.5-9.0 ft faces) with best breaks in San Diego and Santa Barbara up to 6.2-6.9 ft @ 17-20 secs (10-13 ft faces). Solid size (near peak) to continue in San Diego through sunrise Thursday. Swell Direction: 292-297 degrees

 

Another Storm
On Tuesday AM (1/3) the first signals of this system are to start evolving just 900 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with pressure 1000 mbs and winds 35 kts over a tiny area aimed aimed 25 degrees east of the 336 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas building. In the evening pressure is to drop to 988 mbs with a building fetch of 45-50 kt winds taking aim on California with 40 kt winds just 600 nmiles due north of Hawaii and aimed right down the 357 degree path there. Seas building.

On Wednesday (1/4) pressure is to drop to 968 mbs with 55 kt winds forecast at 36N 142W aimed 45 degrees south of the 287 degree great circle path to South CA. Seas building to 30 ft at 36N 143W. No real fetch aimed at Hawaii. By evening this system is to track fast to the north with pressure 968 mbs and winds 50-55 kts at 43N 138W aimed at NCal but moving north so fast the winds are to get little traction on the oceans surface. Seas forecast at 30 ft at 37N 135W.

On Thursday AM (1/5) the storm is to be pushing into British Columbia.

If this one develops as forecast a bit or ragged and unorganized large utility class swell will push towards California aimed equally well at both ends of the state. Large raw size and moderate period should result. Hawaii should receive a short burst of energy from this one too, but it's to be very raw given the fetches close proximity to the coast.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (1/3) the models suggest the south wind regime that has held control of the north part of the state is finally over, though right on the cusp for a few more days. Current data indicates light offshores to move in on Wednesday (1/4), then a short return to south winds on late Friday (1/6) but northwest wind forecast by midday Saturday as high pressure starts to get a better hold (from Pt Reyes southward).

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.

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

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours one more storm is forecast off Japan starting on Tuesday (1/3) with pressure dropping to 968 mbs but only 45 kt winds and 35 ft seas taking aim on Hawaii by Wednesday with the storm not making any real eastward progress, not even reaching the dateline and dissipating on Thursday (1/5). After that a series of small systems are forecast pushing east across the dateline well north of the path of weeks past centered on the 45N latitude. One forecast for Saturday (12/7) to produce 44-46 ft seas through Sunday morning aimed right at California, fading just east of the dateline.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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