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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: March 23, 2006 4:36 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 = 1.9 - California & 1.0 - 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 3/20 thru Sun 3/26
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   

Gale Pattern Weakening
South Pacific to Stir

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (3/23) Northern CA surf was head high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high with near head high sets. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to chest high at the best breaks with most waist high or less. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high or so. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high with some chest high sets. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was thigh high.

Little bits of rideable windswell in the water on the mainland mainly north of Point Conception, with the Islands not doing so well today. The gale pattern continues to deteriorate, but isn't over quite yet. A gale is off California generating another pulse of windswell aimed east and expected to continue through the weekend. A cutoff low that was forecast north of Hawaii today building while tracking northeast has all but vaporized from the charts. Beyond that only one weak low is forecast in the Gulf of Alaska next week, so the overall pattern is not optimistic for the North Pacific. The South Pacific is modeled to stir, but we don't give that much credence just yet. So for now, take what you can get. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream (3/23) remained split and poorly organized. The split point had receded west to just off the coast of Japan with the southern branch weakly flowing over Hawaii then east south of Baja. The northern branch arched steeply north pushing beyond the Aleutians just east of the dateline then dipped south hard through the Eastern Gulf of Alaska with 120 kts winds peaking well off San Francisco before turning north again and tracking into Vancouver Island. This pocket off California was the only favorable area for surface level low pressure development in the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (3/26) the trough currently positioned in the Gulf of Alaska is to hold though lifting a bit more to the north and taking on a more west to east spread. If anything were to form, that would be the place, though wind speeds are to not be favorable. Beyond 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to morph and reshape itself, but generally hold intact with up to 140 kt winds projected flowing under a week out, marginally more supportive of surface level low pressure development. But that is just idle speculation at this time, and likely optimistic.

At the surface on Thursday (3/23) moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was situated over the dateline ridging east towards the Gulf of Alaska but not quite reaching there. Rather generic low pressure was circulating around it's periphery and they are described below.

Today a gale was positioned in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska with pressure 1000 mbs generating 25-30 kt northwest west winds aimed towards the California coast. This system actually got organized on Wednesday (3/22) producing confirmed winds of 30-36 kts aimed like before. 20-22 ft seas have been modeled so far but are expected to fade tonight, followed Friday by a bit of a resurgence of the low off Vancouver Island producing 30-35 kts winds and more 20-22 ft seas on the northern end of the North CA swell window. The result to be more moderate sized windswell through the weekend with period in the 12-13 sec range.

Also a minor low pressure system at 1004 mbs was over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians. A brief fetch of 30-35 kts winds is forecast there into early Friday, but no swell of interest to result.

A cutoff low at 1008 mbs was just northwest of Hawaii and is expected to drift north through the early weekend producing 25-30 kts northeast winds, but none of it is to be aimed at the Islands. No swell of interest here either.

Also on Thursday (3/23) a gale low was just off Japan producing 40-45 kts winds, but they were all aimed north towards Kamchatka. This low to track northeast just off the Kuril Islands and into the Bering Sea through Saturday producing a brief fetch of 40-45 kt winds aimed east Friday AM with seas following that afternoon in the 26 ft range, possibly generating some minimal swell at 13-14 secs pushing towards Hawaii, but that to be well decayed before reaching the Islands.

Japan Gale
On Sunday (3/19) a low was over North Japan extending out into the Pacific a bit. Pressure dropped to 968 mbs Monday producing about 18 hours of 40-45 kt west winds over open waters just off Northern Japan, in turn generating 25-26 ft seas late evening into early Tuesday. The low tracked north and remained mostly landlocked, pushing west of the Kuril Islands Tuesday. This should produce some small 2 ft @ 13 sec impulse class swell pushing into Hawaii late Saturday (3/25).

No other swell sources forecast.

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (3/23) the models suggest more weather systems pushing over the coast in the coming days. The first front expected Friday bring south winds 20 kts limited to North CA followed by a more vigorous one Saturday pushing into South CA with 20 kts south winds too. A bit of a break to be followed by yet a more intense one Tuesday (3/28) supposedly bringing 20-25 kts winds even into Santa Barbara. High pressure and a dry out to follow, but more is forecast behind that.

The detailed 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.

 

South Pacific

Overview
A series of lows are forecast to push under New Zealand. The first formed Wednesday (3/22) at 972 mbs tracking east producing 40-45 kt southwest winds and 30 ft seas on Wed AM at 58S 178E for 12 hours then faded rapidly. This ought to be good for some small swell pushing into the Hawaiian Islands about a week out (Thursday 3/30) with period in the 16-17 sec range.

A second and likely the best low of the series is expected Friday (3/25) through early Sunday at 968 mbs producing a broader fetch of 40-45 kt winds and 34-36 ft seas aimed on a more northerly route targeting Hawaii, Tahiti and California.

Yet a third stronger 952 mb low is forecast for Sunday (3/26) producing 45-50 kt winds and near 40 ft seas just east of the dateline aimed a bit more to the east, favoring Central America.

The models seems a bit optimistic given the time of year, but just the same these are worth watching.

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 strong high pressure at 1028 mbs is to become better established over the dateline ridging east towards the Gulf of Alaska holding a gridlock on the region. This to drive energy emerging off Asia to track north into the Bering Sea then sagging southeast into the Gulf of Alaska moving inland over the Pacific Northwest.

A small 994 mb low to set up again off California Monday-Wednesday producing 25-30 kt winds and maybe 15 ft seas, good for perhaps another bout of even lesser period windswell in the 10-11 sec range for the West Coast.

A second 996 mb low to be right behind that dropping into the Gulf of Alaska producing a brief stint of 35 kts winds and 20 ft seas Tuesday into Wednesday pushing towards the Pacific Northwest.

A broad totally landlocked low to be over the Southern Kuril Islands at the same time with no swell generation potential.

Yet 2 more gales forecast off California late in the workweek of the same magnitude as their predecessors.

Hawaii to be generally outside the track of these systems though sideband swell is possible.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch forecast.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Mavericks Surf Contest and Stormsurf
- Science hangs 10 at Surf Contest: CNET - Read it Here
- Pillar Point Unique Conditions swell Mavericks Monsters: Rough seabed, winds and seas currents to create California biggest surfing challenge; San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here
- Tyler Smith's Quest: Chasing the Moby Dick of the Surfing World: San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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