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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 3, 2008 2:25 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
Click Here to Visit Killer Dana!
Swell Potential Rating = 4.2 - California & 3.7 - 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 2/4 thru Sun 2/10
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 Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

All Hail the Return of the Jetstream
More Active Pattern Suggested as the Split Pattern Fades

 

New Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (2/3) Northern CA surf was a few feet over head and blown to bits by strong onshore wind. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and junky. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was 2-3 ft overhead and blown out. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to chest high at the better breaks and pretty textured but rideable. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high and junky. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were maybe chest high and blown to bits early. The North Shore of Oahu was chest high and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest to head high and windy.

North/Central California was getting pure windswell generated from west winds behind a strong front that passed through Saturday evening. Southern California was getting locally generated windswell from the same front. Hawaii's North Shore was getting mostly tradewind generated wrap swell coming from the East Side with limited impulse energy coming from the dateline. The East Shore was getting messy tradewind generated windswell. The South Shore was seasonally flat other than wrap around windswell.

All hail the return of the jetstream! If the models are right the horrible split pattern that has dominated the last 3 weeks is to come to an unceremonious close 5 days from now and a consolidated jet and more active storm pattern sets up. First up is a small but potent storm forecast just off Washington Mon-Tues offering large stormy surf in the Pacific Northwest with limited size pushing south into Central CA. But of more interest is a solid storm forecast at the same time developing west of the dateline and pushing into the Western Gulf of Alaska Mon-Wed offering energy for both Hawaii and California. And yet a third system is forecast just west of the dateline for the weekend targeting Hawaii well. So it looks like everyone will be getting something assuming the models are correct and the likelihood of more behind that is improving if the jetstream does what it's supposed to. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Sundays jetstream charts (2/3) for the North Pacific depicting the same old fully split jetstream with the split point just west of the dateline near 170E. Winds were holding at 170 kts over Japan, with the northern branch tracking northeast from the split point remaining just south of the Aleutians and ridging through the Gulf of Alaska, then dropping hard south and pushing inland over Central CA. The southern branch passed south of Hawaii tracking all the way to the equator. The area just off Kamchatka held the best odds for any potential for gale development lifting into the Western Gulf of Alaska. Over the next 72 hours the split point is to start moving rapidly east following on the heels of a quickly developing trough pushing through the Gulf Monday and Tuesday (2/5) with another trough right behind pushing from the dateline into the Gulf and fading by Wednesday. Good odds for surface level gale or storm development from both. By Wednesday a clear path is to be in place from Japan to Canada, allowing the first opening of that route in 3 weeks. The southern branch is to still be siphoning energy off towards the equator, but that flow is to be thinning. Beyond 72 hours a consolidated flow is to be building from the west eastward, reaching a point just north of Hawaii by Sunday (2/10) then fragmenting east of there with a limited split draining some energy off towards the equator but looking more anemic by the day. Perhaps a full repair of the jet will evolve by Monday (2/11).

At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned 900 nmiles northeast of Hawaii and trying to ridge into Southern CA, but not making it. Low pressure was positioned just inland over the Pacific Northwest forming a pressure gradient with the high to the west driving strong northwest winds from the Northern Gulf of Alaska all the way into Southern CA and making for highly chopped surf conditions locally. The high was also continuing to drive tradewinds over the Hawaiian Islands at above seasonal rates making for easterly windswell there. Weak but broad low pressure was starting to organize off Japan, the expected start of Possible Storm #16 (see details below). Also swell from a previous storm over the dateline was starting to impact the Hawaiian Islands (see Small Dateline Storm below). Over the next 72 hours possible Storm #16 is to progress east while building. Also a new gale is to develop in the Central Gulf Monday with pressure down to 988 mbs late with 60-65 kt northwest winds in place at 45N 145W aimed right down the 298 degree path to North CA. Seas building from 26 ft at 45N 148W. It is to be moving rapidly east and by Tuesday AM 55 kt northwest winds are to be at 47N 136W aimed right down the 315 degree path to North CA and much energy aimed right at Washington a mere 350 nmiles offshore. Seas building to 37 ft at 47N 140W. All ships should stay in port in this area. This system to be pushing inland over Washington and the Vancouver Island area by nightfall as 39 ft seas impact the coast there. Possible north angled swell to be pushing south towards North CA arriving Wednesday afternoon with swell about 10 ft @ 17 secs (15-17 ft faces) coming from 303-309+ degrees.

 

Small Dateline Storm
Another storm developed just west of the dateline Wednesday AM (1/30) with 45 kt winds at 40N 165E aimed right at Hawaii up the 310 degree path. Seas were 23 ft at 39N 166W. In the evening winds built to 50 kts at 43N 173E aimed 20 degree east of the 319 degree path to Hawaii and almost right up the 297 degree path to North CA (302 SCal). A small area of 30 ft seas were modeled at 42N 170E. This system held if not bloomed a little while tracking north just west of the dateline Thursday AM (1/31) with 45-50 kts winds at 46N 175E aimed due east or 40 degrees east of the 322 degree path to Hawaii but right up the 302 degree path to North CA (307 SCal). Seas built to 35 ft at 45N 176E. This one to be essentially gone by evening. 36 ft seas to be fading from 49N 180W and moving into the Aleutians.

Expect some form of small longer period swell arriving along north facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands early Sunday with swell 3.5 ft @ 15 secs (5 ft faces) from 315 degrees or so. Maybe a little bit of swell for North California late Monday (2/4) at 3.7 ft @ 17 secs (6 ft faces) from 302-307 degrees maybe pushing 4 ft @ 15 secs (6 ft faces) Tuesday AM (2/5). Nothing expected for SCal given the northerly angle.

 

Possible Storm #16
On Sunday evening (2/3) a 966 mb storm is to be organizing just off Central Japan with winds building to 60 kts over a small area in it's west quadrant aimed south and 50-55 kt winds building in it's south quadrant at 35N157E aimed east towards Hawaii up the 299 degree great circle path. Seas building.

On Monday AM (2/4) pressure to be 960 mbs with a solid fetch of 65 kt winds (hurricane force) at forecast at 38N 165E aimed due east or 10 degrees east of the 306 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 294 degree path to North CA (300 SCal). Seas forecast building to 38 ft over a small area at 37N 163E. In the evening 60 kts winds to continue in the storms south quadrant aimed a little bit to the northeast from 40N 175E or 30 degree east of the 315 degree path to HAWaii and right up the 294 degree path to NCal (300 SCal). 43 ft seas forecast at 39N 172E.

On Tuesday AM (2/5) pressure to be up barely to 962 mbs with 55 kt winds continuing at the dateline or 45N 177W aimed due east or 30 degree east of the 323 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 297 degree path to North CA (302 SCal). Seas forecast dropping to 41 ft at 41N 180W. In the evening pressure to be rising to 970 mbs with a broad area of 45 kts winds at 45N 170W aimed due east or not on any route to Hawaii but aimed right up the 296-298 degree path to North CA (303 SCal). Seas rebuilding to 42 ft at 45N 173W.

On Wednesday AM (2/6) the last little residual winds of this fading system are to be at 45 kts at 47N 168W aimed right down the 299 degree path to NCal. 43 ft seas forecast at 48N 165W (aimed up the 302 degree route to NCal). In the evening pressure to be up to 986 mbs with 40 kts winds at 49N 160W aimed due east or u the 305 degree path to NCal but focusing more on the Pacific Northwest. 40 ft seas forecast at 50N 160W heading towards Canada.

By Thursday AM (2/7) this system to be gone. 32 ft seas from previous fetch to be at 50N 152W aimed 20 degrees east of the 309 degree path to NCal and focusing on Canada.

In all the models project this system to be fairly strong and holding together well for almost 96 hours, making the full trek from Japan to the Gulf of Alaska, the first such system in a very long while. Wind area is not to be huge, but is to strong and cohesive adding much momentum to the swell. This one has been on the charts since last Wednesday and it has not waivered much other than loosing a little strength from earlier projections depicting up the 48 ft seas. Will be interesting to see if this one comes together as forecast. If it does, it's seems entirely possible that some form of solid long period swell could impact the Hawaiian Islands by Thursday AM (2/7) and push into the California coast for the weekend. Still, we need till Wednesday before anything is known for sure.

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

 

California Nearshore Forecast
As of Sunday (2/3) brisk west winds in association with a local pressure gradient were in full bloom, making a mess of surf across the state with up to 2 ft or new snow having fallen in the mountains overnight. High pressure to remain in control into Monday driving 20 kt northwest winds through the day and making a mess of things. Things to finally let up Tuesday (2/5) with a light north flow over Central CA and almost offshore flow in Southern CA. A mid-level short wave might push over the northern half of the state Wednesday with a hint of rain in the San Francisco area but not going any further south, then high pressure to build weakly behind with 10-15 kt northwest winds north of Pt Conception but blocked by the Channel Islands down south. More light northwest winds forecast Thursday into Friday strongest near Pt Conception, then finally dying as high pressure fizzles Saturday. Possible rain and south winds building late Sunday as a new local low is modeled to start wrapping up off the Central CA coast, possibly ushering in a new round of wet weather, but that is far from certain.

 

Tropics
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.

 

South Pacific

Overview
No swell producing systems of interest forecast.

 

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 hrs a brief pause in the action is forecast then things to start heating up again. Of most interest is a storm forecast off the Southern Kuril's Islands on Saturday AM with 55-60 kts winds near 42N 165E aimed southeast or right at Hawaii up the 312 degree path. This system to drift east through Sunday with winds slowly fading to the 40 kts range almost reaching the dateline and producing 32 ft seas in the vicinity of 40N and 165E-180W targeting Hawaii well. California to see some of this, but the ISlands to get the bulk of the swell assuming all goes as forecast.

 

South Pacific

No swell producing systems of interst are forecast.

Details to follow...

****

External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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Local Interest

Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here: http://www.darrowchiropractic.com/

Grib File Switchover: The old grib1 format wave model datafiles that have been the mainstay of the National Weather service for years now are scheduled to be retired on 1/26. We switched over to the new grib2 files starting with the 00z run of Thurs 1/17. All appears to be running fine. There is no functional change to the content of the models, just that files we receive are now smaller due to improved compression of grib2. But this sets us up to start processing new higher resolution files and building new products in the months ahead. So in all it's a good maintenance level change.

Sharkwater: There's a new feature film called Sharkwater that is hitting theaters November 2nd. Sharkwater is an award winning documentary (22 international film awards including the UN and Cannes) that broke box office records in Canada, opening to bigger numbers than any documentary in history save Fahrenheit 911 and Supersize Me. It is a conservation film that demonstrates that the biggest influence on the air we breathe, and global warming is life in the oceans except life in the oceans is being wiped out. Shark populations have dropped 90% in the last 30 years alone, and the oceans continue to be destroyed because nobody knows that it's happening Learn more here: http://www.sharkwater.com

Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here: http://www.bluewatergoldrush.com

Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com

Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists. http://www.waveridersgallery.net/

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

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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