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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 4, 2006 8:36 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 & 4.8 - 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 1/30 thru Sun 2/5
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   

Storm #14 Crosses Dateline & Fades
Storm #13 Pushes Inland
All Swell for The Next Week is Now in the Water

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (2/2) Northern CA surf was 3 ft overhead up to double overhead at the better breaks but ripped by onshore wind and shrouded in fog. South facing breaks were 2-4 ft overhead and cleaner. Central California surf was 2-4 ft overhead and junky. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high with sets to maybe chest high at the best spot. The LA area southward to Orange County was waist high with best spots to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to nearly head high.The North Shore of Oahu was 15-18 ft (Hawaiian). The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was chest to head high.

A very active pattern is in play. Swell #12 hit Hawaii and is actually doing a bit better than forecast. Storm #13 is starting to form off California expected to produce swell for the weekend and Storm #14, the strongest of all by a mile is pushing towards the dateline with more storms to follow. At this point it's safe to say some form of very solid swell is expected for California and Hawaii over the coming days. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays (2/2) jetstream had one consolidated flow tracking from Japan east up to and over Oregon. Winds were up to 160 kts in one large pocket off Japan and 190 kts in a second pocket just off Oregon. A small trough was associated with the japan energy and a steep trough was just north of Hawaii. Both troughs were associated with surface level low pressure systems. Over the next 72 hours the Oregon trough is to become better organized but loose energy as it pushes east and inland Saturday (2/4) while the Japan pocket continues to grow in intensity with winds reaching 190 kts on Sunday pushing east over the dateline with the associated trough becoming less defined. Surface level storm development is likely to be well supported by this upper flow until Sunday when the jetstream splits again just north of Hawaii. The northern branch to continue east but the southern branch is to track south right over Hawaii down to the equator. Beyond 72 hours strong energy is to continue off Japan and over the dateline at speeds of up to 200 kts mid-next week then diving south right over Hawaii feeding into the southern branch of the jet while the northern branch tracks north into Canada, leaving the US West Coast high and dry. A solid trough to set up north of Hawaii. Will be interesting to see how this plays out but the potential for surface level storm development from Hawaii westward looks good.

At the surface today a high pressure at 1024 mbs was positioned off South California influencing weather back west to Hawaii and north to Northern California much like it has for the past several days. But a new weak low at 1008 mbs was just northeast of Hawaii and developing, expected to become Storm #13 (see details below). Of even more interest was strong Storm #14, tracking off the Kuril Islands on a eastward heading for the dateline and eventually the Western Gulf of Alaska. These are the two weather features of most interest for the next 72 hours.

As indicated before, what appears to be driving this spurt of storm activity is a solid pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation, causing a break in the La Nina conditions that have gripped the North Pacific so far this season. Anomalous winds blowing west to east are pushing out over the western equatorial Pacific off Asia with an apparent increase in cloud cover following the winds. Today's imagery even suggests a certified Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) might take shape. The Southern Oscillation Index remains in the neutral range after running strongly positive for the past 2 weeks. Latest forecasts suggest this active phase of the MJO to last through about 2/11, before shifting back to an inactive phase. No major change in La Nina is expected, but just enough of a break to enable some pent up energy to explode before the likely return to cold and less stormy conditions.

 

Storm #13 (California) Updated Saturday AM
On Thursday PM (2/2) a 994 mb low is to start winding up just northeast of Hawaii tracking fast to the northeast with 55 kt winds at 35N 148W building in it's south quadrant aimed east-northeast towards the mainland up the 270 degree path to NCal (280 SCal).

On Friday AM (2/3) pressure dropped to 984 mbs with 50-55 kt winds confirmed in the storms south quadrant at 38N 140W aimed mostly towards SCal up the 287 degree great circle path. Seas modeled at 21 ft at 36N 142W. The fetch moved right over buoy 46006 from 8 AM to 5 PM with winds there consistently gusting to 50 kts with a peak reading at 11 AM at 51 kts with gusts to 64 kts. Seas were up to 31 ft with pure swell 24 ft @ 12.5 secs from 1-3 PM. In the evening pressure dropped to 976 mbs with 50-60 kts winds in the storms south quadrant 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino at 43N 133W aimed a bit north of the 295 degree path to NCal and at SCal down the 301 degree path but tracking fast northeast, getting little traction on the oceans surface. 27 ft seas forecast at 41N 133W. At 06Z the Jason-1 satellite passed directly over the core of the fetch confirming seas 32-34 ft with one stray reading to 38 ft, directly on-track with the model.

By Saturday AM (2/4) this system was moving inland over Vancouver Island with 55-60 kt winds still occurring over open waters at 45N 128W well outside the California swell window but aimed well at Oregon, with 45-50 kt winds impacting the coast there. Seas had moved into buoy 46059 by 1 AM and were peaking by 4 AM at 22 ft with pure swell 15 ft @ 15 secs. Solid but likely quite chuncked out with 20 to near 30 kt west winds occurring there since 4 PM Friday. Buoy 46002 of Oregon conversely reported swell 27-33 ft @ 16 secs late Friday night, all likely pushing north. 30 ft seas were lingering at 43N 132W tracking southeast towards locations from San Francisco northward with 36 ft seas tracking towards the Pacific Northwest.

This was an intense but short lived system in close proximity to the California coast. It did not wind up as quickly as originally suggested, indicating Southern California might not get as much size as hoped for. And it's fast forward speed was somewhat problematic. A rather large and very ugly, lumpy and warbled swell will push into the North California coast, with much less size but better quality inside of the Channel Islands. It will be more like a huge windswell north of Pt Conception.

North CA: Expect swell arrival Saturday early (2/4) with swell up to 13 ft @ 15 secs (18-20 ft faces) by afternoon from 280-290 degrees. Swell raw warbled and ungroomed. Sunday swell still 12 ft @ 13-14 secs early (15-16 ft) with better conditions.

South CA: Expect swell arrival late Saturday afternoon (2/4) with swell up to 5.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (7.5-8.0 ft faces) at exposed breaks in San Diego and Santa Barbara but mostly 3.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (5-6 ft faces) at other exposed breaks. Swell peaking through the early morning hours of Sunday but still decent at sunrise with swell at best exposed breaks in San Diego at 8.6 ft @ 14 secs (10-12 ft faces) and 6.6 ft @ 14 secs and most spots (7-8 ft faces). Size fading fast through the morning though. Swell Direction: 287-301 degrees

 

Strong Storm #14 (Hawaii and California) Updated Saturday PM
On Wednesday PM (2/1) a 976 mb low was winding up just off Northern Japan with 60-70 kt winds confirmed it's south quadrant at 40N 160E aimed east-southeast right up the 306 degree great circle path to Hawaii but 40 degrees south of the 299 degree path to California.

On Thursday AM (2/2) pressure was down to 964 mbs with a solid fetch of hurricane force winds at 65-70 kts confirmed in it's south quadrant at 42N 168E aimed due east or 20 degrees south of the 297 degree path to North CA and 15 degrees east of the 314 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled at 39 ft at 42N 159E. The Jason-1 satellite passed right over the fetch, but was not able to discern exact sea heights in it's core. But peripheral measurements were in the 36-39 ft range, actually higher than what the models suggested for that area. So this looks on track. In the evening the storm tracked east with pressure 966 mbs and winds confirmed at 55-60 kts at 42N 180E aimed 15 degrees south of the 293 degree path to North CA and 25 degree east of the 319 degree path to Hawaii. 46 ft seas were modeled at 43N 167E.

On Friday AM (2/3) the storm was on the dateline with pressure 964 mbs. Winds were confirmed down to 50-55 kts at 40N 175W aimed 15 degrees south of the 293 degree path to NCal and 30 degrees east of the 325 degree path to Hawaii. 48 ft seas were modeled at 42N 175E, down from the 52 ft projected earlier. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the easte4rn edge of the fetch but again had a hard time discerning exact sea heights in the core of the storm, though on the outer edges seas were actually slightly higher than what the model suggested, a good sign. In the evening the storm moved into the Western Gulf of Alaska with pressure 968 mbs and winds down to 45 kts at 42N 165W aimed 50 degrees east of the 336 degree path to Hawaii and 15 degrees south of the 292 degree path to NCal. 45 ft seas were modeled at 42N 176W.

On Saturday AM (2/4) the storm was fading fast with pressure 966 ms and the core in the Bering Sea. Residual 35 kt winds were confirmed at 42N 163W aimed at NCal up the 297 degree path. 39 ft seas from previous days fetch were modeled at 42N 166W. No Jason-1 satellite passes were near Storm #14. This storm was gone by nightfall with residual 32 ft seas fading at 42N 160W. Both the AM and PM sea height estimates were up about 1-2 ft from yesterdays projections, but have no real impact on expected surf size, they just add confidence to the forecast.This swell started to hit the Waimea buoy in Hawaii at 00Z with pure swell 7 inches at 28-29 secs up to 1 ft at at 28 secs by 3Z. Now that's a long period swell more than was expctee there. This bodes well for California.

Initially this system was holding amazingly well to the forecast track established 3 days earlier. But right at the critical juncture there appeared signs of weakness, with the second half of the storm not modeled to be quite as strong as originally expected, but not too bad. So far it is impressive with a total forecast consisting of 24 hours of hurricane force winds and 48 hours of fetch in excess of 50 kts aimed well at California with the strongest fetch better at Hawaii. Seas in the 50 ft range are rare and were forecast initially for 36 hours (49-53 ft), but now it's 36 hours of seas 45-48 ft, which still isn't bad, but positioned a long ways from California. This downgrade in actual sea heights resulted in a decrease in the size of the swell that will reach California about 8-10 inches. The storm is to was reasonably close to Hawaii (1443-2472 nmiles) but the closer fetch was not aimed well at the Islands. California was 1950-3439 nmiles away allowing much more decay, but the fetch was aimed directly at paths to the West Coast and below the 296 degree track. In the end a very long period moderately large and groomed significant class swell seems likely for both Hawaii and California.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival Sunday 5 AM HST (2/5) with period at 23 secs, heading up steadily during the day. Swell to peak near 3 PM holding through 9 PM with pure swell 10.5-11.5 ft @ 18-19 secs with sets to 13 ft @ 18-19 secs (18-22 ft Hawaiian with sets to 24 ft at standout breaks). Solid size but less overall energy Monday with pure swell 9-10 ft @ 16 secs early (15-16 ft Hawaiian) and slowly settling down. Swell Direction: 310-326 degrees

North California: Rough data based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data suggest swell arrival Monday early morning (2/6) with period at 25 secs and size tiny, inching up during the day. Swell to peak from 11 PM into 7 AM Tuesday with pure swell 8.7-9.7 ft @ 18-20 secs (16-20 ft faces). Swell Direction: 291-297 degrees

South California: Rough data based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data suggest swell arrival Monday noon (2/6) with period at 25 secs and size hardly noticeable, inching up during the day. Swell to peak from starting at sunrise Tuesday through 11 PM with pure swell 5.4-6.2 ft @ 18-20 secs (9-12 ft faces) at best breaks in San Diego and 3.3-4.3 ft @ 18-20 secs (6.7-9.0 ft faces) at most breaks. Swell Direction: 295-304 degrees

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (2/2) the models continue to suggest protective high pressure to remain in control, giving up only a little ground late Friday (2/3) then expanding as the jetstream splits off the coast into early next week. A weak front to pass over San Francisco late Saturday (Saturday 1/4) then strong high pressure building in behind setting up a Cape Mendocino like north wind gradient with brisk north winds over exposed waters south through Pt Conception Sunday, fading Monday. Light winds to follow.

The detailed 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 yet another storm storm is forecast to follow in Storm #14's footsteps though on a slightly more northern route. 45 ft seas forecast from this on next Thursday tracking over the dateline fading in the western Gulf of Alaska. Nothing else after that though.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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Indies Trader Marine Adve
ntures is proud to announce that after seven incredibly successful years circumnavigating the globe on Quiksilver's "Crossing" expedition - the MV Indies Trader is returning to its roots in Sumatra.
More info here

El Nino Forecast Updated: The Stormsurf El Nino forecast was updated on 12/30/05. Check out all the latest details concerning El Nino and it's impact on the winter surf season. Details here

Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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