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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 2, 2006 3:38 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 & 2.0 - 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 4/3 thru Sun 4/9
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   

South and West Pacific Have Been Active
Calmness Long-term

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (2/2) Northern CA surf was about head high and weak but at least reasonably clean early. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with a few bigger sets and poor winds. Central California surf was head high to 1-2 ft overhead with decent conditions. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high and clean with maybe a few bigger sets at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high and clean chest high with best breaks having sets near head high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was waist to chest high and clean. The East Shore was thigh high.

One more northwest windswell for California as the system generating it is pushing down the coast today. Southern hemi energy from a series of small early season gales under New Zealand a week ago to start hitting making for rideable surf at better locations mixed with the windswell. And yet more small southern hemi swell is expected a week out from a pair of gales this weekend in the far southeast Pacific. Unfortunately none of these systems (other than the New Zealand gales) to do anything for Hawaii, but that's not an issue because one solid gale have formed off Japan pushing northwest swell towards the Islands with another right behind. In all cases nothing large is expected, so just 'rideable' size will have to be good enough. Longterm the outlook is not so good, with nothing really forecast in the North Pacific and the South Pacific going back into hibernation, since it's really too early in the season to expect much from there. Make the most of what you have while we have it. 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 (4/2) was still decent and benefiting from last weeks resurgence in energy levels. The split pattern remained at bay with one consolidated flow pushing off Japan supporting a trough near the dateline, then rising/ridging north just pushing over the Aleutians north of Hawaii only to dip hard south again into the eastern Gulf of Alaska forming another trough there. The jet was pushing onshore over North California. Winds at 140 kts flowing under the trough off Japan up to 150 kts in the ridge over the Aleutians and back down to 140 kts in the trough off California, which in all wasn't too bad. The most productive areas for surface level low pressure development would be in the troughs mentioned above. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (4/5) the pattern is to degenerate though, with the Japan trough lifting slowly northeast and weakening while pushing up to the but not over the Aleutians east of the dateline while the Gulf trough pushes into California late on Tuesday. In it's wake a rather meandering flow is to remain over the North Pacific with winds only 110 kts and no defined features suggested by the models. Beyond 72 hours a bit of an improvement is suggested by late Thursday (4/6) with a broad but weak trough off the Kuril Islands rising to a ridge pushing up to the Aleutians at the dateline then sagging southeast into another weak trough running through the Gulf of Alaska and into Central California. Winds to be 120-130 kts in the west and only 90-100 kts in the east. By Saturday (4/9) the ridge over the Aleutians is to become more dominant but still troughs are to remain on either side of the Pacific, suggesting some hope for gale development in those troughs.

At the surface on Sunday (4/2) 3 generally weak low pressure systems were strung across the North Pacific. One at 992 mbs was directly over Japan trying to get organized, another at 988 mbs fading near the dateline and third at 996 mbs was well off Oregon tracking southeast. High pressure at 1032 mbs was sandwiched north of Hawaii ridging north to the Aleutians blocking the eastward flow of energy. Details on these lows are provided below.

Over the next 72 hours the low currently forming over Japan on Sunday (4/2) is to be of most interest. By Monday it is to push off Japan with pressure 980 mbs generating 45-50 kts winds pushing a bit south of the great circle rays to Hawaii and 30 ft seas following that path (at 38N 149E). The low to make little headway east on Tuesday but is to instead lift north with 35 kt winds aimed well at Hawaii and seas building to 32 ft (near 37N 153E) pushing well towards Hawaii. This system to decay fast late Tuesday into Wednesday AM with no additional seas being generated. If all goes as expected more small to moderate utility swell could push towards and into Hawaii by Saturday (4/8) with swell reaching 4.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (7.0-7.5 ft). Some degree of well decay energy likely to push into California and the US west coast 2-3 days later.

Regarding the dateline low: On Tuesday (2/28) a broad 988 mb low started to develop in the Sea of Japan but remained landlocked there. But by Thursday (2/30) it nudged east into the open waters of the Western Pacific but unorganized. By Friday evening (3/31) pressure dropped to 980 mbs with winds building briefly to 50 kts at 37N 153E and seas to 21 ft over a small area aimed a bit south of the great circle tracks to Hawaii then expanding on Saturday as pressure held in the 984 mb range. Winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts with seas 30 ft (Sat PM at 36N 162E) aimed much better towards the Islands while tracking east. The low was still a bit west of the dateline Sunday (4/2) with 35-40 kts winds and 25-27 ft seas continuing in it's south quadrant aimed well at Hawaii, expected to fade mid-Monday as the swell vector takes aim more the east and beyond Hawaii's swell window. 20 ft seas forecast. A moderate utility class swell is expected to push into the Hawaiian Islands Wednesday (4/5) into Thursday with swell 4.7 ft @ @ 15 secs (6-7 ft faces). Swell will be fairly well decayed given the relatively long swell travel distance but still quite rideable compared to the surf of late. Much smaller well decayed energy to limp into exposed north facing breaks in North/Central California Friday peaking Saturday (4/8) at 3.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (4-5 ft faces).

Also of interest was another gale that developed in the northeast Gulf of Alaska starting late Saturday (4/1) with pressure 992 mbs and winds to 40-45 kts aimed well down the 306 degree great circle tracks to North CA (on the northern edge of the swell window). 40-45 kts northwest winds to persist through Sunday aimed like before with seas building to 27 ft late (at 42N 143 - a bit west of buoy 46006) while the core of the low tracks southeast. The low to be positioned just off San Francisco Monday with 26-28 ft seas and 30-35 kt northwest winds blowing parallel to the coast, but well offshore and fading. Current data suggests some resurgence of the low just off the South California coast on Tuesday with 35-40 kts northwest winds and 27 ft seas being regenerated, but that seems a bit odd. Discounting that anomaly, swell to start hitting North CA Monday evening at 6.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (8-9 ft faces) continuing unchanged into Tuesday AM (4/4) from 295-305 degrees then slowly fading through Wednesday.all goes as projected. Central and south CA could see something bigger if the anomaly mentioned above develops, with swell in Central CA hitting Tuesday 6 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.0-7.5 ft faces) building Wednesday AM to 9 ft @ 12 secs (9-10 ft faces) but fading fast as the core of the low moves onshore in the evening. Exposed breaks in Southern CA to reach 4.8 ft @ 12 secs late Wednesday (5.5-6.0 ft faces).

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (4/2) the models suggest yet more unfavorable weather for the California coast well into next weekend. Southwest winds on Sunday (4/2) north of Pt Conception to back off a little Monday (4/3) but starting up again Tuesday. Southern CA is to be mostly sheltered from this weather but by Tuesday they're to get a full frontal assault. Strong high pressure is to be right behind, bringing brisk northwest winds for the entire coast Wednesday while another weak low sets up more south winds for North CA late Thursday (4/6) wand Thursday washing out overnight. of next week. A bit of a break then a weaker low yet to set up off the coast bring south winds to North and Central CA late Saturday (4/8) continuing in to Sunday.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
This area has been reasonably active with one more gale in-play before everything shuts down. Here's the details:

A second and best low of a series of three started Friday (3/25) under New Zealand at 968 mbs with 35-40 kts winds pushing northeast. Seas reached 29 ft at 18Z at 60S 175W and holding. Late Saturday the gale surged a bit with winds up to 45 kts at 53S 155W aimed well to the northeast, but was starting to fade fast on Sunday but not before seas built to 32 ft late Saturday at 53S 152W holding in the 30 ft range through 18Z Sunday at 50S 142W, then fading out. Decent (rideable) swell is expected from this one targeting Hawaii, Tahiti and California. Swell hit Hawaii Saturday (4/1) building to 3 ft @ 15 secs by late Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs Monday (3.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees. Energy from this swell to push into California Monday (4/3) with swell up to 3.2 ft @ 17 secs late (5.0-5.5 ft faces) holding with period down to 16 secs Tuesday (5 ft faces) and 14 secs on Wednesday (4.0-4.5 ft faces).

Yet a third low started Sunday (3/26) off the edge of the well receded ice of the Ross Ice Shelf. Winds were initially only 35 kts but reached 45-50 kts Monday aimed northeast towards Hawaii and California with seas building to 30 late. this system faded Wednesday while tracking fast to the east. Some small background swell to be the likely result for Hawaii by Wednesday (4/5) with swell 1.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (2 ft). Even less energy to reach California.

A new 968 mbs low formed in the Southeastern Pacific on Friday (3/31) well outside the Hawaiian swell window producing 45-50 kt confirmed winds late aimed northeast somewhat towards California and Central America. This fetch held if not built to 55 kts early Saturday (4/1) at 56S 119W aimed due north while traveling east and fading generating 30 ft seas at 52S 121W, fading out by Sunday morning. This system was right on the edge of the California swell window and aimed best at targets south of even Central America. Southern CA the best spot in the continental US to receive any energy from this one. Possible small swell to result on Sunday (4/9) with swell 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) from 180 degrees.

Also another stronger one was developing in the far Southeastern Pacific on late Saturday (4/1) with pressure 956 mbs and 50 kt winds pushing northeast. Seas were modeled to 35 ft over a small area at 65S 155W. By Sunday (4/2) 45-50 kts winds were generating 37 ft seas at 63S 142w expected to hold through the evening but traveling fast to the east. By Monday this system to be well outside the CA swell window. This system to perhaps generate some small south angled background swell for Hawaii with decent swell expected to track into California favoring the south end of the state again with Southern South America doing quite well roughly a week out.

No other swell producing system 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 hours yet another gale is to push off Japan Wednesday (4/5) with pressure 980 mbs generating 45-50 kts winds and 29 ft seas aimed a bit north of Hawaii. Like it's predecessor this low to make little headway east on Thursday but to build while lifting north with pressure 972 mbs and winds 50-55 kts with seas building to 30 ft pushing well midway between California and Hawaii. This system to decay fast late Friday (4/7) while pushing north in to the Bering Sea. If all goes as expected more moderate utility swell could push towards Hawaii with lesser energy moving towards California and the US west coast.

Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a much calmer pattern to follow with no swell producing systems 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

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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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