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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 17, 2007 9:36 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 = 3.5 - California & 2.5 - 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 4/16 thru Sun 4/22
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   

Dateline-Gulf Pattern Improving
South Pacific Locked-Down

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (4/17) Northern CA surf was head high and blow out (again). South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were thigh high. Central California surf was waist high and junky. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was basically flat, maybe thigh high at best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was maybe waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high, maybe a little and almost clean. The North Shore of Oahu was head high to maybe 2 ft overhead and reasonably clean. The South Shore was thigh to waist high. The East Shore was head high plus.

North/Central California was still in windswell mode but something better is coming, starting to push over the outer buoys. Southern California was near flat with only limited wrap-around Gulf swell expected in the days ahead. Hawaii was getting some dateline energy but that to be fading steadily in the days ahead. The South Pacific remains asleep with no immediate relief suggested til early next week, and even that is tenuous. The North Pacific remains reasonably active though, with a steady stream of moderate systems already in-play as the first of these swells is currently hitting Hawaii and poised for California and more forecast pushing from the dateline into the Gulf. Possible better days ahead if one is to believe the models, but we all know the limitations of technology there. See details below...

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

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/17) for the North Pacific depicted a slightly agitated flow tracking off Japan pushing gently northeast into the Gulf of Alaska into Washington but with a series of 3 ridges and troughs imbedded in. the first trough was just off Japan with the second just east of the dateline and the third poised to push into Washington/BC area. Winds increasing from 130 kts in the east up to 190 kts off Japan, suggesting an increasing level of energy building to the west, better for surface level storm development at the oceans surface e under these troughs. Over the next 72 hours the pattern to remain basically the same but with the bulk of the energy moving from off Japan to the dateline and dropping to the 150-160 kt range. Reasonable support for surface level gale development, especially from the dateline into the Gulf (a good thing). Beyond 72 hours more of the same if forecast with the jet flattening out some by late in the weekend into next week, but energy levels hanging in the 140-150 kts range. Not to bad, especially considering how poor thing have been up to this point.

At the surface today a very strong an prominent 1036 mb high pressure system was sitting 1200 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii and pretty much filling the Gulf of Alaska driving a brisk wind flow around it's edges, most notably setting up northerly off the California coast and driving brisk trades over the Hawaiian Islands off it's southern quadrant and good for short period windswell in both locales. The last vestiges of the Gulf Gale (below) are pushing central British Columbia and riding just ahead of the big high to it's west, while a series of two low pressure systems were queued up on the dateline and off Japan. Swell for the Gulf Gale (below) was in the water with sideband energy hitting Hawaii and the bulk posed off the US West Coast. Over the next 72 hrs low pressure currently at 980 mbs and positioned over the intersection of the dateline was interacting with high pressure in the Gulf driving most fetch to the north into the Aleutians though a fetch of 30-35 kts winds was developing lows southwest sector aimed east of Hawaii. A small area of 20 ft seas was starting to build at 43N 173W but aimed north of California, directed more towards Alaska. Through Wednesday the low to track east through still pretty much landlocked with some degree of 30-35 kt northwest fetch remaining free-and-clear in exposed Pacific waters taking tangent aim towards California. 21 ft seas forecast at 46N 160W Tuesday evening pushing into the Northern Gulf at 47N 155W Wednesday AM (4/18) then dissipating late. Limited sideband 12-13 sec period energy expected for exposed breaks in North and Central CA for the weekend (4/21) with even lesser energy for Southern CA and barely rideable. See QuikCAST's for details.

Also on Tuesday AM a 976 mb low was developing just east of Japan. This one to push off Japan on Tuesday evening with pressure dropping to 972 mbs and winds up to 50-55 kts in it's south quadrant over a small area at 37N 160E aimed well towards Hawaii up the 300 degree great circle path. 27 ft seas forecast at 36N 160E. The gale to lift gently northeast Wednesday (4/18) with winds still 50-55 kts at 38N 170E aimed directly at Hawaii down the 312 degree path in the morning with seas 32 ft at 37N 168E and to 42N 178E in the evening down the 319 degree path and swinging more towards California 25 degrees south of the 292 degree great circle path with seas 38 ft at 40N 175E. This storm (actually down to gale status) to be heading for the Gulf of Alaska Thursday AM (4/20) with pressure up to 984 mbs pushing over the dateline with a moderate area of 40-45 kt west winds forecast at 43N 175W aimed 50 degrees east of the 330 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 293 degree path to North California. Seas 37 ft at 43N 178W. More of the same in the evening though winds down to 40 kts and repositioned at 45N 170W aimed entirely right at California (2200 nmiles away) up the 296 degree path. Seas up to 39 ft at 43N 172W. Residuals Friday AM with 30-35 kt winds at 45N 160W aimed right at NCal up the 296 degree path and 2800 nmiles away and seas 32 ft and fading fast at 45N 165W. Residual 29 ft seas forecast at 45N 160W late evening, then gone after that.

Now to get back to reality: This system is just developing and no particular outcome is guaranteed. But of interest, the models have remained near static over the past 48 hours, if not enhanced just slightly as of this mornings update (Tues) providing better odds of development. If this goes as planned some form of large utility class surf to hit Hawaii Saturday (4/21) then pushing to California Mon/Tues with period initially 18 secs with most amplitude in the 16-17 sec range.

 

Gulf Gale
On Friday (4/13) a loosely organized low started to develop on the dateline with pressure 988 mbs and weak 35 kt west winds confirmed at 40N 175W. On Saturday AM (4/14) things got a bit better organized with pressure dropping to 972 mbs and a broad area of 35-40 kt winds suggested with a core to 40-45 kts at 46N 170W. Seas built to 20 ft at 40N 180W. In the evening the low held together reasonably well with 40 kt northwest winds at 45N 168W and 25 ft seas modeled at 40N 170W. Sunday AM (4/15) the low was looking a bit better with a moderate area of 40-45 kt west winds at 46N 160W aimed right down the 296 degree path to North CA with 29 ft seas modeled at 45N 162W. This was starting to get a little bit interesting. In the evening the low tracked east with 35-40 kts west winds still holding on at 45N 154W aimed right down the 300 degree path to North CA. 31 ft seas modeled at 46N 154W. The low faded out Monday AM with 30-35 kt northwest winds forecast at 45N 145W generating 27 ft seas at 45N 149W then near gone by nightfall with residual 23 ft seas fading at 43N 143W again pushing towards NCal down the 302 degree great circle path.

In all this was not to be an impressive system, but given it's relative close proximity to California and the fact that the fetch was aimed right at the coast, might be good enough to throw some decent size and period towards the northern half of the state. Also it held together for 72 hours, provide additional goodness. Possible large utility class swell expected for Northern CA Wednesday (4/18) starting at 5 AM with period 17 secs peaking near sunrise at 7.0-7.4 ft @ 16 secs (11 ft faces) holding reasonably through the day as period meanders down to 14 secs late afternoon. Swell Direction: 295-300 degrees

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (4/17) strong high pressure was in-control of the Gulf and pushing firmly our way with brisk north winds still influencing near-shore water from a previous high pressure bout. Strangely a minor backoff in velocity forecast over North CA Wednesday (down to 15 kts) but still blowing hard off Pt Conception and the Channel Islands. Low pressure falling out of the Gulf down the Pacific Northwest coast to move in Thursday (4/19) brining a break in the northwest winds in the north with a near neutral pattern taking control Friday though Southern CA to still be plagued by northerly winds. Things to be calming more early Saturday (4/21) though a front associated with low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska to be sagging south into the San Francisco with the potential for south winds likely. A much calmer pattern forecast all locations by Monday, then high pressure and north winds back in the picture by Tuesday (4/24).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (4/17) for the South Pacific indicating the a massive ridge that has been controlling the weather picture was fading and moving out of the way to the east. A weak trough was under New Zealand providing a smidgeon of support for gale development down at the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours any hope is to be erased as a new ridge pushes east from under Tasmania taking over the greater South Pacific and pushing over Antarctica just before the weekend. Beyond 72 hours the ridge to track east and almost out of the picture early next week as a weak trough again sets up under New Zealand, possibly getting a little energy injected mid-week and improving odds for surface level storm development.

At the surface a weak wind flow was in control providing no swell producing potential for Hawaiian and California waters. Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast. No swell generation potential indicated.

 

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 the models are teasing us with one more storm pushing off Japan Wednesday (4/18) and starting to develop late Thursday with 55-60 kt north winds forecast in the storm west quadrant wrapping a bit eastwards at 33N 157E aimed even south of Hawaii. Friday AM (4/20) pressure to be 980 mbs with a nice fetch of 55 kt northwest winds forecast at 36N 165E aimed towards Hawaii up the 300 degree path. Seas building to 30 ft at 34N 165E. Winds down to 50 kts in the evening over a solid area at 37N 175E aimed towards Hawaii down the 310 degree path and towards North California down the 290 degree path. Seas building to 32 ft at 36N 172E. Saturday AM (4/21) to bring the low east with pressure 976 mbs and a broad fetch of 45-50 kt northwest winds at 40N 174W aimed about 20 degrees east of the 326 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 290 degree path to NCal. Seas holding at 32 ft at 38N 178W. Unbelievably the fetch to hold into the evening at 43N 167W aimed almost due east and bypassing Hawaii and aimed almost right up the 294 degree path to NCal and 200 nmiles away. 35 ft seas building at 42N 169W. Even stranger is it's to hold into Sunday AM (4/22) and even broader at 45N 163W aimed right at NCal down the 296 degree path and 1900 nmiles away. 36 ft seas modeled at 43N 161W. Still hanging on in the evening with 45 kt winds at 45N 155W aimed like before and 1500 nmiles away, right in the middle of the prime swell corridor for NCal. 35 ft seas modeled at 44N 155W. A quick decay forecast Monday AM (4/23) with winds fading from 35-40 kts and seas 32 ft at 45N 150W just 1300 nmiles from NCal. Residual 30 ft seas fading in the evening at 46N 145W.

If this occurs as forecast a possible solid significant class swell could result for North and Central California with even decent size pushing into Southern CA and Hawaii getting a decent shot of the action, though most of it from earlier in the storm life when it was not as broad.

Perhaps one more following it too mid-next week.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a broad low unusually far to the north below Tahiti generating 40 kt south winds targeting these islands well mid-Friday to mid-Saturday (4/21) setting up 29 ft seas. Maybe swell for Tahiti and even a little for Hawaii, but that's just a guess by the models. Otherwise a broad fetch of 35-40 kt west winds are forecast under New Zealand next Tuesday (4/24) generating 32 ft seas increasing the probability for sideband swell for Hawaii and energy pushing towards tahiti and the US west coast.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

STORMSURF on the News: NBC-11 came to visit Stormsurf last week to talk about the Mavericks Surf Contest and surf forecasting. See the piece here: http://www.nbc11.com/mavericks Click on 'Mavericks Forecaster'

Surf Video Clips at Yousurftubes.com - Check out this new website dedicated soley to high quality - high action surf clips from around the world. Great action form Morocco, Hawaii, Mexico, California and many more spots all streaming right to your desktop. Piles of fun and hours on enjoyment. Check it out now at: http://www.Yousurftubes.com

High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.

New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here: http://www.insidemavericks.com/

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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