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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: February 26, 2008 6:47 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 = 4.0 - 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 2/25 thru Sun 3/2
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   

Gale Expected for Dateline
Jetstream Takes a Break - Downward Trend For a Bit

 

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 Tuesday (2/26) Northern CA surf was head high to 2 ft overhead and reasonably clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was a foot or two overhead and a bit onshore mid-day. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was chest high and textured with wind coming up. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were chest high and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was 12-14 ft on the faces and cleaning up. The South Shore was head high and clean. The East Shore was head high plus at top spots.

North/Central California was getting the faint leftovers from Sundays big storm swell, which originated just 700 nmiles off the coast. Southern California was a decent amount of leftover swell from the Sunday/Monday swell event, with little bit's of southern hemi swell filtering in underneath. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid swell originating from a gale that was just north of the Islands Monday mixing with longer period but smaller swell from west of the dateline. This was the best show in the Pacific. The East Shore was getting minimal wrap-around energy coming from the northwest. The South Shore was getting a nice solid pulse of swell originating under New Zealand Sun-Mon (2/19).

Hawaii was in the middle of a solid swell originating just north of them 24 hours before, and limited energy from that swell to push into California later this week. Also another gale is forecast developing over the dateline in the next 24 hours generating nearly 30 ft seas aimed initially towards Hawaii then swinging more east as the gale tracks towards the Gulf of Alaska while slowly fading, likely setting up moderate swell for the California coast for late in the weekend. And off-season southern hemi swell is already in the water hitting Hawaii and pushing east towards the California coast for the weekend and beyond. After that a decidedly downward trend is expected. There's been sporadic suggestions of something forming on the dateline early next week, but that is far from certain with it coming and going depending on the mood of the models. Make the most of what you have at hand. See details below...

 

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (2/26) for the North Pacific depicted a fragmented flow pushing off Japan reaching over the dateline at up to 160 kts in pockets to a point north of Hawaii, then almost splitting with some energy pushing south towards the equator and most ridging north up into British Columbia. Maybe a faint trough was over the dateline offering a little hope, but in all it was pretty unremarkable. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to ridge north just off Japan blowing a fair amount of energy off into the Bering Sea and almost splitting though pulling itself back together thanks to an infusion of wind energy building to 200 kts over Japan Friday (2/29). The trough starting to build near the dateline is to get a little better defined while pushing east into the Gulf through the period, offering some hope for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours a consolidated flow is to hold control over the Western Pacific pushing over the dateline to a point north of Hawaii, then splitting there with a weak flow continuing to ridge over the Gulf of Alaska and weaker energy still being siphoned off towards the equator. Best odds for gale development on the dateline or locations west of there.

At the surface today a weak gale was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska offering no potential to anyone other than British Columbia in the coming days, and a second gale was trying to organize on the dateline, remnants of a gale that was previously off Kamchatka. This one holds the most hope. High pressure was off Japan with another over Hawaii and a third over the Pacific Northwest Coast. The gales were nestled in-between. Over the next 72 hours swell from the Hawaiian Gale (see details below) to push towards and into California while another gale fires up over the dateline (see Japan/Dateline/Gulf Gale below) offering hope for both Hawaii and California. These are to be the only swell sources of interest for the time being.

 

Hawaiian Gale
On Sunday AM (2/24) a 988 mb gale generated 40-45 kt winds just north of the Islands near 40N 173W aimed well at Hawaii down the 330 degree path. These winds were only be over a small area but got traction on swell already in the water heading towards the Islands. Fetch continued in the evening at 40-45 kts at 35N 162W sinking south towards Hawaii and aimed like before. Seas built to 29 ft over a tiny area at 35N 161W. Residual 40 kts northwest fetch to pass just 600 nmiles north of Oahu Monday morning and faded with 28 ft seas at 32N 155W. Larger but somewhat raw swell impacted the Islands late Monday evening with swell to 10 ft @ 14 secs Tuesday AM (2/26) producing warbled 12 ft faces from 320-330+ degrees. That swell to be fading Wednesday.

Lesser energy to push into North California Thursday morning with swell 6.7 ft @ 15 secs (9-10 ft faces) from 265-270 degrees reaching down into exposed breaks in Southern CA with swell 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft faces) late afternoon up north from 280 degrees though some energy might reach San Diego by sunset.

 

Japan/Dateline/Gulf Gale
A system off Japan mid-day Saturday (2/23) generated 45-50 kts west winds for 18 hours near 35N 150-160E targeting Hawaii well down the 302 degree great circle path, then headed quickly north by late Sunday afternoon bound for the Bering Sea with residual 40 kt westerly fetch fading just off Kamchatka on Monday (2/25). Seas peaked at 36 ft over a small area at 35N 160-162E aimed right at Hawaii mid-Sunday then rapidly faded off Kamchatka on Tuesday (2/26). Some form of 18 sec period swell possible for Hawaii early Thursday (2/28) with swell near 6.8 ft @ 16 secs (10-11 ft faces) from 302 degrees. Swell fading from 6 ft @ 13-14 secs Friday (8 ft faces).

The remnants of this gale are forecast to reorganize well to the north and east on the dateline Tuesday evening into Wednesday AM (2/27) with pressure 984 mbs generating a small fetch of 40-45 kts northwest winds near 46-44N and 177-173W generating 12 hours of 30 ft seas at 44N 172W Wednesday AM fading to 29 ft in the evening at 42N 165W. Fetch to be aimed mid-way between Hawaii (335 degs) and California (296 NCal, 301 SCal) 30 degree of of the paths to each.

Thursday (2/28) 30-35 kt remnant winds to persist moving east from 45N 165W in the morning and 44N 158 in the evening generating a moderate area of 25 ft seas at 43N 160W and 43N 155W respectively. This energy to all be aimed at North California up the 290 degree path (295 SCal).

30 kt remnant winds to be fading Friday (2/29) well off the Cape Mendocino coast with 25 ft seas at 42N 150W in the morning and 23 ft seas at 41N 142W.

Decent odds for some form of large advanced class swell for the weekend with luck for breaks North of Pt Conception, with lesser energy filtering into Southern CA late in the weekend. The forecast for Hawaii is uncertain, though some energy could be expected Saturday (3/1).

 

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

 

California Nearshore Forecast
As of Tuesday (2/26) weak high pressure was barely in-control of the immediate coast up into the Pacific Northwest setting up a weak northerly flow along the Central Coast that is expected to build some late Wednesday and possibly a little more Thursday with 15 kt northwest winds over outer waters pushing 20-25 kts over Pt Conception. A new local low to be building off British Columbia Friday (2/29) cutting into the high's power and softening winds down to a well manageable level locally. But it's to be gone Saturday morning and high pressure is to move in with north winds on the rise from 15 kts by mid-morning everywhere from Pt Conception northward and likely having impact well into Southern CA. Southern CA to be spared Sunday (3/2) but North and Central CA likely to still be dealing with north winds. A little break Monday for all then another bout of severe high pressure to be right behind with north winds for all a likely outcome. Looks like the usual Spring wind pattern might be setting up, right on time.

 

Tropics
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.

 

South Pacific

Overview
An unusual mid-winter southern hemi gale at 960 mbs is passing under New Zealand on Sunday (2/17) generating 45 kt southwest winds at 55S 170E aimed well up the 210 degree path to Hawaii with seas to 36-38 ft there. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the core of the fetch Sunday evening and confirmed seas at 34.5 ft at 53S 176E with a peak reading to 37 ft, within 1 ft of what the wave model expected. Very nice. It seeped slowly east into Monday (2/18) with winds slowly fading and 36 ft seas fading from 50S 175W but aimed almost right up the 190 degree path to the Islands through the period. Actually 30 ft seas held on till early Tuesday morning (2/19) before heading on a downward trend. Off season southern hemi swell has already hit the Hawaiian Islands and is on the way down.

Limited energy expected to reach exposed breaks in California (mainly Southern CA though Northern CA will see it too and at the same time, just not as noticeable) starting Wednesday (2/27) with swell 2 ft @ 17 secs late (3 ft faces) pushing 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Thursday (2/28). Secondary swell from the reformed remnants of this system to rebuild to 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft faces) on Friday (2/29) fading from 2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft faces) on Saturday (3/1). Swell Direction 200-210 degrees

 

Residual energy from this system reorganized in the Southeast Pacific Friday into Saturday (2/23) generating 30 ft seas pushing well to the northeast from 62S 153W Friday AM (2/22) pushing to 58S 145W in the evening then 52S 138W Saturday AM before fading rapidly in the evening.

Another pulse of more southerly angled swell is expected to reach Southern CA Sunday (3/2) with swell 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5 ft faces) dropping from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) on Monday (3/3) from 190-195 degrees.

Northern CA to swell swell of 2.9 ft @ 17 secs on Sunday (3/2) (5 ft faces) fading from 2.9 ft @ 16 secs Monday (4.5-5.0 ft faces) and 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs Tuesday (3.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees.

 

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 some form of weak disorganized low pressure activity is forecast for the dateline region with limited exposure of 40 kts winds for short periods of time, though nothing really cohesive indicated. Likely background swell for Hawaii later next week with only limited 25 ft seas forecast for the dateline early next week. Of some note, a larger and stronger cohesive storm is forecast pushing off Japan a week out, a product of a reorganizing jetstream. Will believe it when it happens.

 

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

Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o5lj9CUpCc

Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will replenish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/hmb_dredge.html

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!
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