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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 15, 2006 5:50 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 = 4.2 - 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 1/16 thru Sun 1/22
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   

Pattern Calming Down
One Last Storm for the Gulf

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (1/15) Northern CA surf was 3-5 ft overhead and a junky unrideable mess. South facing breaks were 1-3 ft overhead and a bit lumpy but not too bad. Central California surf was double to double and a half times overhead and junked out. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were head high to 1 ft overhead at the better breaks with northwest wind on it early. The LA area southward to Orange County was chest to head high and reasonably clean at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high with a few bigger sets to 1-2 ft overhead but looking a bit windy early. The North Shore of Oahu was maybe waist high. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest high from windswell.

Things have really taken a nosedive over the North Pacific. How often is it dead flat on the North Shore in the height of winter? Fortunately a decent though not great system is trying to organize just east of the dateline with fetch currently aimed towards Hawaii and expected to turn towards the western coast of the mainland on Monday. A series of weak pulses are to follow but confined to the far Northwest Pacific and progressively getting smaller. Better make the most of what's coming cause it looks like a poor pattern is to be setting up. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Sundays (1/15) jetstream was looking the weakest it had been in a month, though still not totally trashed just yet. One solid trough was in the Western Gulf of Alaska with 150 kt winds pushed up the east side of the trough (not the good side) getting ready to impact the Pacific Northwest coast. Off Japan a small pocket of 150 kt winds were present flowing up into the ridge over the dateline. Just not too inspiring. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to slide east and deteriorate before pushing onshore over British Columbia on Tuesday (1/17). The energy currently off Japan is to fade to the 120 kt range while tracking east, not making it one degree past the dateline. A weak split is to set up too sending minor energy north just east of the Kuril Islands and well into the Bering Sea. A second stronger split is to be peeling energy off to the south starting at a point just west of Hawaii pushing the whole way down to the equator. Only the Gulf trough looks capable of supporting storm development at the surface. Beyond 72 hours the general core east to west flow is to hold intact till the weekend when a pronounced split is forecast to develop on the dateline with the northern branch tracking north over the eastern Aleutians while the southern branch withers snaking roughly over Hawaii and into Baja. Fortunately on Sunday (1/22) a strong pocket of energy is to develop off Japan at 160-170 kts, maybe providing some stimulus to pull the jet back together, but that's just a wild guess. In reality we expect that surface level high pressure will likely build in between the split paths of the jet in the east and start digging in.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was in control of the waters from Hawaii northeast to North California setting up a brisk northerly flow off California and generating brisk trades east and south of Hawaii. A broad storm complex was in place in the Western Gulf of Alaska (see Storm #11 below) pretty much filling the Gulf. A second much smaller system was off Japan with pressure 984 mbs and expected to intensify into the evening with pressure dropping to 976 mbs and near 50 kt winds taking aim on Hawaii over a tiny area. This storm to peak early Monday (1/16) with pressure 968 mbs and 55 kt winds at 43N 165E aimed well at Hawaii down the 314 degree path and seas building to 32 ft over a tiny area. By nightfall winds are to be fading fast down to 45 kts with seas peaking at 35 ft over a tiny area at 43N 172E, but the storm to be totally gone by Tuesday AM (32 ft seas fading fast). This might be good for some small utility class longer period energy pushing into Hawaii late Thursday (1/19) into Friday, but that's it.

No other swell producing systems forecast.

 

Potential Storm # 11
Storm Forecast/History
On Friday AM (1/13) a new 996 mb low pushed east off Siberia and started to interact with the remnants of a 980 mb low over the dateline. 40 kt winds were starting to build in the southern perimeter of this system at 32N 170E aimed towards Hawaii. Seas modeled at 29 ft at 33N 163E. By evening a new 984 mb low was developing on the dateline with 45 kt winds confirmed centered at 33N 178W aimed again right at Hawaii down the 307 degree great circle path. A small core of low pressure remained north of the main storm over the Aleutians. Seas 27 ft at 32N 176E pushing towards Hawaii.

On Saturday AM (1/14) the southern storm started to rotate east under the residual northern core with winds 40 kts but fading fast while most energy looked to be moving into the residual low to the north. 40-45 kt winds were confirmed aimed right at Hawaii down the 225 degree great circle path. Seas continuing at 26 ft at 35N 175W from the original fetch but started building to 25 ft as well under the northern fetch at 47N 172E. In the evening the whole thing looked rather unorganized with two pockets of winds. The western pocket remained aimed at Hawaii but winds were only 35-40 kts at 40N 175W aimed at Hawaii down the 328 degree path with seas 29 ft at 45N 176E while the eastern most pocket had winds 50 kts but only covering a tiny area at 46N 165W aimed at North CA down the 299 degree great circle path. Seas were building

On Sunday AM (1/15) what was 2 distinct lows merged into one consolidate storm with pressure down to 960 mbs positioned in the northwestern Gulf of Alaska just south of the Aleutians. Winds were modeled at 45 kt in the storm core south quadrant at 48N 160W aimed mostly north of targets at California but well at Vancouver Island northward. A fetch of 40 kt winds continued in the storms southwest sector, which is to become the main swell producing fetch over the next 24 hours. These winds were centered at 42N 170W 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 were up to 30 ft at 43N 175W. In the evening pressure to be 968 mbs with a fetch of 35-40 kt winds centered at 44N 162W aimed 20 degrees south of the 296 degree path to NCal with nothing left aimed at Hawaii. 29 ft seas forecast at 40N 168W.

On Monday AM (1/16) the storm, really a gale, to start fading up with pressure up to 976 mbs and winds 35-40 kts at 42N 156W aimed right at North CA down the 290 great circle path. Seas up to 32 ft at 43N 161W. In the evening things to hold on and in close proximity to the NCal coast (1500 nmiles) with 40 kt winds near 44N 152W aimed right at NCal down the 296 degree path. Seas forecast at 34 ft at 44N 154W.

This gale to continue producing 35-40 kt winds Tuesday AM (1/17) at 43N 143W aimed right at NCal down the 295 degree path with 35 ft seas fading at 44N 148W and fading. By evening 30 ft seas to remain at 43N 140W and fading fast.

Swell Generation Potential
This system initially looked reasonably impressive on the charts with the wave models depicting 40 ft seas positioned close to California. Of course reality has settled into the forecast and what is on the charts now is just a shadow of what was suggested days earlier. In all 60 hours of 40 kt winds are forecast producing nearly 48 hours of 30-34 ft seas in reasonably close proximity to California (857-1770 nmiles), minimizing swell decay but not so close as to induce too much raw quality upon landfall. Still the lack of winds in the 50 kt range is troubling. Significant class surf is likely, but nothing exceptional. Hawaii has 60 hours of 40 kt winds producing 26-29 ft seas aimed at the Islands down the 325-336 degree paths. Large utility class surf likely.

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (1/15) high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned off the coast ridging in to North CA while a new storm and associated winds were building in the Western Gulf of Alaska. The high is expected to hold off the storms front for the most part till late Tuesday Then it's to rapidly push down the coast with north winds building behind it at 15-20 kts all the way to Southern CA as a new high builds in at 1032 mbs. North winds to fade some on Friday though with just occasional instances of unacceptable north winds peeking into the forecast through the weekend concentrated mainly off Pt Conception. But with the advent of what appears to be the re-emergence of high pressure off the coast, it is expected that north winds and drier conditions will become more common.

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 the pattern is to change with the focus becoming the Northwest Pacific. Latest data suggests a series of a generally small and spurious lows to develop off the Kuril Islands pushing northeast not making it with any intensity east of the dateline and directed northeast by building high pressure over the East Pacific. These systems are to be tiny and any fetch they produce is to be aimed at targets generally well north of Hawaii and well too far to the west of California to have significant impact. Small utility class swell is most likely result in both Hawaii and California.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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