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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 12, 2006 10:24 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 = 3.9 - California & 3.0 - 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 1/9 thru Sun 1/15
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   

Local Storm Forming Off CA
Gulf Storm #11 Forecast

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (1/12) Northern CA surf was 1-3 ft overhead back up with waves double overhead with sets a foot or two more and clean conditions. South facing breaks were chest to head high. Central California surf was head high to 1 ft overhead. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high up north but only thigh high at the better southern breaks. The LA area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high with near head high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was 2-4 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest to head high from windswell.

Things have settled down across the West Pacific with nothing of real interest on the charts. This is not a good sign for those in Hawaii looking for surf from the usual cross-dateline locations. But all hope is not lost. Even before that though a local gale is developing off the California coast setting up large lumpy and raw windswell for the weekend. After that the main focus for both Hawaii and California will be the expected devotement of a broad storm complex in the Western Gulf with solid fetch aimed initially at Hawaii but then swinging east and tracking towards the Pacific Northwest. This one has good significant class potential if is develops as projected. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays (1/12) jetstream was looking interesting with 2 distinct troughs set up in the otherwise steady 120 kt flow moving off Japan across the Pacific and into the Pacific Northwest. The first trough was just off Japan with 160 kt winds flowing under it with the second positioned just northeast of Hawaii with 150 kt winds flowing through it. Both were capable of supporting storm development at the surface. Over the next 72 hours the trough off the Pacific northwest is to amplify to 190 kts on Saturday (1/14) and pinch off right before moving onshore over North California. Meanwhile the Japan trough is to track east pushing into the western Gulf of Alaska on Sunday with winds down to 140 kts. Beyond 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to continue disintegrating before pushing into the Pacific Northwest late Tuesday (1/17) as a new batch of energy tries to push off Japan. But it's to make little progress with winds only reaching 130 kts with definite signs of a split jet starting to materialize late next week directing the flow up into the Bering Sea. The beginning of the end is at hand if the models are right.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs stretched from Hawaii east into North California and north from Hawaii to nearly the Aleutian Islands. Low pressure was building at 988 mbs off the Pacific Northwest with a core of 50-55 kt winds confirmed centered at 42N 143W aimed right at buoy 46006 and North CA. This is to be short lived through as it dissipates Thursday evening replaced by a broad and more generic flow of 30 kt northwest winds Friday pushing towards and into the California on Saturday (1/14). The 28 ft seas forecast initially dying off to a more modest 25 ft Friday and fading from there. Bottom line: large windswell for most breaks in California with period initially in the 14 sec range fading to the 13 sec range.

Of more interest is the expected development or a large complex storm just east of the dateline on Friday (1/3) - see Storm # 11 below. Otherwise no swell producing fetch was in evidence or forecast.

 

Utility Class Storm (formally Storm #11)
Also on Saturday (1/7) another storm fired up off Japan with pressure down to 972 mbs in the evening with winds confirmed at 55-60 kts at 37N 168E aimed east towards Hawaii up the 299 degree path but south of any route to California. Seas modeled to 30 ft at 37N 158E. On Sunday (1/8) pressure rose to 980 mbs as the storm crosses the dateline with winds 45-50 kts early and less (40 kts late) aimed 25-30 degrees east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii but right up the 295 degree path to California, though still a long ways away. Seas were 30-32 ft at 39N 171E by evening but were confirmed by the Jason-1 satellite at 37-38 ft. By Monday AM (1/9) pressure was up to 992 mbs with 40-45 kt wind remaining at 42N 180W aimed well east of targets in Hawaii but aimed right at California up the 292 degree path. In the AM 30 ft seas were modeled at 42N 178E holding into the evening. This storm continued east on Tuesday (1/10) but was fading fast with no real swell generating fetch expected to continue.

This was a relatively long lasting and reasonably strong storm, though small in total areal coverage - Basically a 'normal' winter storm. A large utility class swell is expected for Hawaii (shorter period but more amplitude) on Thursday (1/12) and less size for California (longer period but less amplitude and likely buried in local windswell when it hits).

 

Potential Storm # 11
Storm Forecast/History
On Friday AM (1/13) a new 992 mb low pushing east off Siberia is to start merging with the remnants of a 980 mb low over the dateline. 40 kt winds are to start building in the southern perimeter of this system at 33N 170E aimed towards Hawaii. Seas modeled at 28 ft at 33N 163E. By evening a new 980 mb low is to result on the dateline with 45 kt winds centered at 33N 178W aimed again right at Hawaii down the 307 degree great circle path. A small core of low pressure to remain north of the main storm over the Aleutians. Seas 29 ft at 33N 176E pushing towards Hawaii.

On Saturday AM (1/14) the southern storm is to start rotating east under the residual northern core with winds building to 45 kts in 2 pockets aligned and aimed right at Hawaii down the 331 degree great circle path. Seas continuing at 29 ft at 35N 175W. In the evening the alignment is to swing east and consolidate a bit more with 45-50 kts winds terminating near 45N 162W aimed right at North CA down the 297 degree great circle path with additional fetch still aimed directly at Hawaii down the 331 degree path. 30 ft seas building in the north area at 47N 175E.

On Sunday AM (1/15) what was 2 distinct lows are to merge into one consolidate storm with pressure down to 952 mbs and a broad fetch of 45 kt winds centered at 42N 166W aimed 25 degrees south of the 295 degree path to North CA and 20 degrees east of the 331 degree path to Hawaii. Seas lagging behind but up to 34 ft at 43N 175W. In the evening pressure to be 960 mbs with a solid 45-50 kt fetch centered at 42N 162W aimed 20 degrees south of the 292 degree path to NCal. 40 ft seas forecast at 42N 169W.

On Monday AM (1/16) things are to start lightening up with pressure up to 972 mbs and winds 40-45 kts at 42N 156W aimed right at North CA down the 292 great circle path. Seas up to 43 ft at 42N 161W. In the evening things to really settle down with residual 35 kt winds fading near 42N 152W.Seas from previous days fetch forecast at 39 ft at 43N 154W.

This storm to be gone by Tuesday AM (1/17) with residual 33 ft seas fading at 43N 149W and fading fast.

Swell Generation Potential
This system looks reasonably impressive on the charts with the wave models actually looking better than the wind models. Will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few days, but so far not much change has been evidenced in the models on a day-to-day and run-to- un basis. 84 hours of 40 kt or greater winds forecast producing nearly 72 hours of 30 ft or greater seas in reasonably close proximity to both Hawaii and California, minimizing swell decay but not so close as to induce much raw quality upon landfall. That will likely change as we get closer to actual storm day. Rough estimates suggest significant class surf to be pushing south towards Hawaii and east towards California, but that is pure vapor-ware at this point since nothing has actually developed. Will monitor.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (1/10) high pressure at 1022 mbs was just barely hanging on off the coast while a whole series of storms and associated wind were queuing up on the charts. First up is a local system just developing now off the Pacific Northwest expected to push down the coast to Pt Conception late Friday generating south winds to Pt Conception. High pressure and brisk north winds to follow late Saturday into Sunday all the way into Baja. Then remnants of Storm #11 to push through late Monday and Tuesday to Pt Conception with the commensurate south winds followed directly by high pressure and more north winds Wednesday and Thursday of next week again into Baja. Only the most limited of calm periods in-between events.

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 a small storm is on the charts right behind Storm #11, and it's actually a concern that it could steal some of Storm #11's energy, rendering it less effective at swell production. In a nutshell, this is to be a tiny system pushing east over the dateline late Sunday into early Monday (1/16) then fading out producing tiny area of 32 ft seas aimed well north of Hawaii but too far away from California to be of much use. Beyond that virtually nothing is on the charts through Thursday (1/19) with flatness the likely outcome.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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