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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 12, 2007 10:12 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
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Swell Potential Rating = 3.9 - California & 3.8 - 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 1/8 thru Sun 1/14
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 # 11 Hits Hawaii
Moderate Storm Pattern Forecast Beyond

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (1/11) Northern CA surf was 1-3 ft overhead and jumbled windswell. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was waist to chest high too. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high at best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was knee high at best. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were mostly flat. The North Shore of Oahu was 3 ft overhead in the Am and on the way up. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was head high from windswell.

California was in the dead zone with junky windswell the only thing rideable both up north and even less down south. Hawaii was seeing the leading edge of a new reasonably strong swell (though not necessarily large) that is expected to hold on for several days providing a nice run of solid surf. Swell currently hitting Hawaii is making it's way east expected to impact the California coast for the weekend providing a nice run of moderate size long period surf continuing decently in to next week. This originated from a broad lumbering storm that spun off the Northern Kuril Islands and the Kamchatka Peninsula late last weekend into early this week but not making hardly any eastward progress. In the days beyond a more favorable pattern appears to be setting up with the Aleutians Storm Corridor schedule to open as a series of generally small and moderate gales pass through it bound for the Western Gulf of Alaska. None of these are modeled to be significant class swell producers, but decent swell likely to result for both Hawaii and the US West Coast. And with the encroachment of the the active phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation further into the Western Pacific over the next 2 weeks, odds are improving for perhaps a bout of larger surf late in the month. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (1/11) depicted a reasonably strong consolidated flow pushing off Japan reaching as far east as the dateline with winds to 190 kts. The jet then split strongly with the southern branch tracking southeast over Hawaii then into southern Baja while the northern branch pushed northeast into Alaska and interior Canada only to retrograde and bulge back west off the Pacific Northwest returning inland over North CA. Only the area off the Kamchatka Peninsula to the dateline and just south of the Aleutians was supportive of surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (1/14) the consolidated portion of the jet to continue making eastward progress, but not without some cost to it's overall intensity. By Sunday with to be down to 160 kts snaking to a point just west of north of Hawaii with a weak trough off Kamchatka and another in the Western Gulf of Alaska. gale development possible in these areas. A split flow to remain over the far Eastern Pacific, but covering a much smaller area than a week before with high pressure likely in between the split points protecting California and the Pacific Northwest, but not reaching much into British Columbia. This is looking much better. Beyond 72 hours the same trend is suggested with the consolidated jet reaching a point north of Hawaii on Tuesday (1/16) with winds in the 150 kt range and a nice trough setting up over the dateline supporting surface level storm development while a split flow remains over the far east, providing limited protection for California and Oregon. Perhaps a bit more energy filtering into the western jet the later part of next week too, perhaps improving surface level storm development potential then.

At the surface today the fading remnants of Storm #11 were spinning out in the far Western Bering Sea at 976 mbs with 30 kt west winds still targeting the US mainland from a point just south of the Aleutians, likely generating more 13 sec period energy to follow on beyond the core of the swell this system has already generated. The leading edge of swell from this storm is currently hitting Hawaii (see details below). Otherwise a broad high pressure system at 1032 was nestled in between the split flow of the jetstream in the Gulf of Alaska driving a cold air flow down the Canadian coast over the Pacific Northwest into California. No real swell producing fetch was indicated here or anywhere else in the Pacific with a generally neutral prevailing other than the locations described above.

Over the next 72 hours the first in a projected series of lows to develop late Friday (1/12) on the dateline with pressure 992 mbs and a small area of 45 kt winds positioned in it's west quadrant targeting Hawaii down the 328 degree great circle path. On Saturday AM (1/13) this system to track east with 40-45 kt winds swinging into it's south quadrant away from Hawaii but starting to target North California 25 degrees south of the 297 degree path. Seas building to 29 ft at 44N 172W. More of the same expected in the evening with 45-50 kts winds building aimed almost right down the 298 degree path to North CA with only sideband energy pushing towards Hawaii down the 341 degree path (and that's generous). Seas to 30 ft at 45N 165W. A bit more forecast Sunday AM (1/14) with 40-45 kts winds aimed at North CA down the 299 degree path with energy now also pushing towards the Pacific Northwest. Seas to 32 ft at 46N 161W. This system to start really winding down in the evening with seas 30 ft at 47N 158W and gone by Monday AM (1/15). Assuming this all unfolds as currently modeled moderate utility class swell could push into Hawaii late Monday (1/15) into Tuesday with period 14 secs and North CA late Tuesday (1/16) into early Wednesday with period 17 secs, but that's just a guess at this early date.

 

Japan Storm #11
A large storm developed late Saturday (1/6) over Japan with pressure 972 mbs and 50-55 kt west winds starting to push off the coast.

By Sunday AM (1/7) pressure was 968 mbs as the core of the storm pushed just off the Southern Kuril Islands with a large but somewhat fragmented area of 50-55 kt winds at 35N 155E aimed right up the 298 degree path to Hawaii with secondary fetch pushing up the 299 degree path to North Ca (304 SCal). 30 ft seas were modeled pushing east off Japan from 34N 148E. By evening pressure was down to 950 mbs with 50-55 kts west to southwest winds centered at 40N 157E aimed well towards Hawaii up the 305 degree great circle path and right up the 299 degree path to North CA (304 SCal). Seas were modeled at 36 ft at 37N 155E.

The storm was lifting north Monday AM (1/8) with pressure holding while the core tracked just barely clear of the Kuril Islands with 50-55 kt winds centered at 44N 159E aimed a bit east of the 313 degree track to Hawaii and just 10 degrees south of the 304 degree track to North CA (309 SCal). Seas modeled at 41 ft at 40N 160E. In the evening the storm started fading with a large fetch of 40-45 kt west winds centered at 45N 165E aimed 30 degrees east of the 315 degree track to Hawaii and just south of the 304 degree path to NCal (309 Scal). Seas pushing up to 44 ft at 45N 165E.

The core of the low was just off central Kamchatka Tuesday AM (1/9) and just south of the western most Aleutians with pressure 968 mbs and winds fading from 40-45 kts aimed east to northeast at 45N 165E aimed 45 degrees east of the 318 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 303 degree path to North CA (308 SCal). Seas were modeled at 39 ft at 47N 169E tracking right up great circle paths to the US west coast. Residual 35-40 kt winds were confirmed in the evening near 48N 165E and fading providing only lesser period energy to add to the tail end of whatever swell results. Seas 35 ft at 47N 172E again pushing well towards the US West Coast.

30-35 kt winds were confirmed through the day Wednesday (1/10) terminating at 48N 170E.

Swell from this system started hitting the North Shore of Oahu near 2 AM Thursday (1/11) with swell 1 ft @ 23 secs and slowly building. Swell as up to 6 ft @ 18 secs early Friday AM with more energy out at 51001 (8 ft @ 17 secs) heading shoreward.

Also on Friday 9 AM the first energy started to trickle into buoy 46059 at 1.7 ft @ 23 secs.

These winds were aimed generally right up the 299-304 degree great circle paths to North CA (304-309 SCal) through the storms life but sweeping over a less static arc for Hawaii over the 298-318 degree paths. Peak seas were modeled in 39-44 ft range but most of this energy was pushing rather northeast than due east, limiting the swell generation capacity for Hawaii and putting more energy up paths to the US mainland. The issue here though is that it was 2860-4168 nmiles away from the US allowing for lot's of swell decay over it's travel east. Hawaii, though closer at 2133-2943 nmiles and not suffering as much ill effects of decay, was a bit off the main energy track. In all, long period large utility class/minimal significant class energy expected for both locales.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Thursday (12/11) at 2 AM with period 21 secs with size tiny but pushing up. Swell to be reaching near peak size at sunset with swell 6 ft @ 18 secs (10-11 ft faces). Swell to be peaking from 1 AM Friday (12/12) through 10 AM with swell 8 ft @ 17 secs (12-13 ft faces) then drifting down to the 15-16 sec range by sunset but effectively holding size with better consistency. Swell slowly filtering down Saturday (12/13) with swell 8.0-8.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (11-13 ft faces). Swell Direction: 303-318 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival Friday (1/12) at sunrise with period 24 secs and size tiny and inconsistent but slowly building. Period reaching 20 secs near sunset with swell 3 ft @ 20 secs (6-7 ft faces). Swell to peak starting Saturday (1/13) morning and holding through daylight hours with swell 6-7 ft @ 17-18 secs (10-13 ft faces). Swell 7 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) Sunday fading to 14 secs Monday (1/15). Swell Direction: 298-303 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Friday (1/12) at sunset with period 24 secs and size tiny and inconsistent but slowly building. Period reaching 20 secs near sunrise Saturday (1/13) with swell 1 ft @ 20 secs (2 ft faces). Swell to start peaking near sunset with swell 2.5-3.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5-5.5 ft faces). Swell continuing at about 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) Sunday morning starting to fading through the day. 14-15 sec residuals Monday (1/15). Swell Direction: 303-309 degrees

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (1/11) solid high pressure at 1034 mbs was centered right smack in the mid-eastern Gulf of Alaska driving a cold northerly wind flow from Canada down the coast of the Pacific Northwest into California. Choppy conditions were being experienced down into Southern CA. Fortunately the high is to start ridging inland Friday (1/12) with winds trying to make a turn offshore, but not quite getting there. But by Saturday morning the high to push inland with a new pattern taking hold and light offshore's in-control and glassy conditions the norm, continuing Sunday through Tuesday of next week as the high slowly fades and drifts inland. But yet another high pressure system to settle in right behind it, oozing into the Pacific Northwest Wednesday (1/17) continuing the offshore flow into early next weekend. Looking good.

 

South Pacific

Overview
A
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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a second gale to start winding up just west of dateline late Sunday (12/14) fueled by the jetstream as it builds further east. Pressure to drop to 980 mbs Monday with winds modeled at 50 kts and seas 32 ft then dropping off late Tuesday and not making as much headway as the one before it. Possible resurgence Wednesday as additional energy builds in behind Pushing it into the Western Gulf. Yet a third stronger low forecast for the dateline Thursday (1/18) with seas hitting the 38 ft mark, but that's pure guesswork this far into the future. Still a moderate by reasonably active pattern is shaping up, so it isn't over yet. With the encroachment of the active Phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation into the equatorial West Pacific in this time frame, we'll be watching for an influx of tropical air to push north and supercharge future systems pushing off Japan into the Aleutian Storm Corridor.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.

Details to follow...

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MAVERICKSSURF MAVFILM MAVSURFER SURFPULSE Inside Mavericks TOWSURFER

Local Interest

Surf Comics: If you like surf comics take a look at this little gem. A new comic weekly with a nice archive. See it here: http://www.beachnutscomic.com/

High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.

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: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml

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: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html

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: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html
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: http://www.insidemavericks.com/

Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management plan 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. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/jointplan/involved.html

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: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml

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 implications 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 example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html

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 plus the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html

Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer 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!
http://www.google.com/ig/add?moduleurl=http://www.stormsurf.com/gadget/stormsurf .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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