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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 13, 2006 2:13 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 = 1.5 - California & 3.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Summer' 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 5/15 thru Sun 5/21
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   

Gulf Gale Still Forecast
South Pacific Locked Down

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Saturday (5/13) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and pretty sloppy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with maybe chest high sets. Central California surf was waist high in the Morro Bay area. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist high at the best spots on the sets with most flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh to waist high at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with chest high sets. The East Shore was thigh high.

In California windswell that has been the staple for surf north of Point Conception is ready to fade out. Small southern hemi swell is starting to build though expected to provide something rideable for the next several days. And a gale off the coast might provide another little pulse of windswell for latter in the week. Hawaii is currently receiving a little bit of southern hemi swell from the southeast and southwest, but neither are particularly impressive. By Monday windswell from a gale in the Gulf of Alaska to arrive providing something rideable for north and east facing shores. And the good news is that swell is to hold in some fashion through the week nd possibly into next weekend. Nothing great, but rideable just the same. The southern hemi forecast models are really erratic, forecasting a storm in one region one moment, then the next run of the models show that one fading and another storm is projected in a different region. So it's hard to say what will happen, though it appears things are trying to get organized. See details below...

 

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Saturdays jetstream charts (5/13) indicated a big ridge pushing well up into the Bering Sea over the West and Central North Pacific falling into a decent trough in the Gulf of Alaska with 140 kts winds running under it, providing hope. This trough to be the only area of interest over the coming week. For the next 72 hours through Tuesday (5/16) the ridge is to hold in the west while the Gulf trough persists if not re-builds on Monday with up to 170 kt upper level winds diving due south aimed right at Hawaii, providing decent support for surface level gale development there with the jet itself coming to within a hairs breath of actually overrunning the Islands early Tuesday. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf trough is to slowly fade out and drift east towards California becoming nearly cutoff while a weak flow sags slowly south over the West Pacific. But overall, the only thing capable of supporting surface level gale development is the Gulf trough.

At the surface on Saturday (5/13) strong high pressure at 1036 mbs centered a bit east of the dateline under the Aleutians stretching west to the Kuril Islands but not making any inroads to the east, leaving California with a light positive pressure pattern but not much else, and even that is to be fading. The Cape Mendocino gradient and associated north winds that have been producing steady north windswell are going limp. limited to 20 kts tucked up right close to the coast from Pt Conception northward.

Over the next 72 hours through Tuesday (5/16) and beyond the only weather feature of interest is to be the gale low in the Gulf of Alaska. This system to start organizing on Sunday midway between Hawaii and Washington with pressure dropping to 1000 mb late and 35 kt north winds taking aim well east of Hawaii. 11 ft seas aimed at Hawaii. By late Monday (5/15) a complex dual core low is to develop with pressure down to 988 mbs and 40-45 kt winds forecast in the north quadrant starting to take aim on Hawaii wrapping into the south quadrant aimed at California. 20 ft seas aimed at both locales for 12 hours. By Tuesday fetch in the north quadrant is to wrap into the gales west quadrant and drop south with winds 30-40 kts and seas building to 22 ft targeting Hawaii down the 10 degree great circle path, but a long ways away. 12 ft seas targeting California. Wednesday a rapid decay is to set in and the low is to all but fade out. Weak to moderate north to northeast windswell looks possible for Hawaii by Monday (5/15) with much lesser size and period pushing towards California.

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Saturday (5/13) high pressure at 1022 mbs was lingering off Washington ridging south along the California coast driving a weak northerly flow along the coast at up to 20 kts. That to be fading Sunday as low pressure starts to set up further out and a light wind regime to take over through early Tuesday. Then high pressure is to take hold off Washington again ridging sharply south setting up a north wind flow along the California coast by afternoon at 20-25 kts and up to 30 kts off Pt Conception, holding through Thursday and pushing even into South CA. Another low to set up off California Thursday possibly producing a weak south wind flow over the northern half of the state Friday into Saturday. Confidence low though.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Saturday (5/13) a split jetstream pattern continued over the South Pacific with the southern branch ridging strongly southeast of New Zealand pushing over the Ross Ice Shelf and eastward, though wind speeds were weak. No support for surface level gale development. A trough was south of the Tasman Sea with 120 kts winds flowing through it, providing some support for gale development there, but it's to be short lived. Over the next 72 hours a split jet pattern to remain in control with only a very weak trough hanging southeast of New Zealand and no wind speeds of interest supporting it. Beyond 72 hours into next Saturday (5/20) no change is forecast. No support for broad scale surface level gale development suggested.

At the surface on Saturday (5/13) moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs held a lock on the balance of the South Pacific centered south of Tahiti. Of interest was a small 956 mb storm that formed just southwest of New Zealand Friday AM (5/12) with 55-60 kt winds pushing northeast targeting New Zealand. That storm tracked east, south of New Zealand, through Saturday AM before beginning to feel the effects of an adverse jetstream flow aloft, but not before more 45-50 kt winds build seas to near 40 ft over a tiny area at 52S 157E sending a burst of energy directly into New Zealand but totally shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. The low to finally entered the Hawaiian swell window (201 degrees) midday Saturday (5/13) but by then winds had faded to the 40-45 kts range and were heading down fast after that. 33 ft sea were pushing northeast towards Hawaii from 55S 165E and falling below 30 ft by nightfall, still providing some hope for Hawaii there. Nothing to be left by Sunday AM. Small swell is likely pushing north towards Hawaii for late in the workweek.

Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast for Hawaii or California.

 

Small California Pulse
Also a small gale developed in the Southeastern Pacific on Wednesday (5/3) at 960 mbs producing south winds at 35-40 kts continuing through late early Saturday. 25-26 ft seas were modeled in the vicinity of 60S 135W thru 49S 129W pushing due north. The Jason-1 satellite made multiple passes over this area reporting seas in the 23-25 ft range. Most energy was pushing towards California with just a little sideband fetch directed towards Hawaii. Small swell to push into South California Saturday AM (6/13) with swell 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs late (4 ft faces) and 3.3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 190 degrees. This swell to arrive in North California late Saturday (5/13) with swell 2.3 ft @ 16 secs late (3.5 ft faces) pushing 3 ft @ 15 secs Sunday (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 185 degrees.

 

Another California Pulse
On Tuesday (5/9) a 960 mb gale tracked east just over the Ross Ice Shelf with 55 kt southwest winds confirmed just barely pushing over open waters at 150W. 29 ft seas modeled at 65S 150W, free and clear of ice. By Wednesday the low was at 948 mbs just off Antarctica and well east of the actual fetch with a broad fetch of 35-40 kt winds arching northeast aimed well at California and targets southward positioned on the eastern edge of the CA swell window. Seas were modeled at 25-27 ft through the day [far less than previously forecast] at 58S 131W holding through the evening at 55S 125W, then continuing at 25 ft Thursday pushing out of the California swell window. This was actually the precursor to another gale indicated below and has generated small swell of 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs pushing north towards California arriving Thursday (5/18). No energy expected for Hawaii.

On Thursday (5/11) a little 980 mb gale developed in the far southeastern Pacific (remnants of a previous gale in the area) with 40-45 kt south-southwest winds centered at 40S 111W aimed reasonably well towards South CA, though totally outside the swell window for anywhere north of Pt Conception. This low wrapped up late in the evening into Friday AM (5/12) with winds 50-60 kts at 42S 110W and seas modeled at 32 ft over a tiny area at the same location aimed north to northeast for 12 hours. A small pulse of 15-17 second energy is tracking towards Southern CA and points south of there arriving Friday AM (5/19) into Saturday with swell up to 3 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) from 180 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 hours another weak low is to form just off Cape Mendocino on Friday (5/19) with pressure 1000 mbs forming a bit of a gradient with high pressure building north of Hawaii. This to generate a brief fetch of 30 kts northwest winds aimed at California lingering in the 25-30 kts range into Saturday with up to 15 ft seas possibly producing small windswell that would be not much different from high pressure generated Cape Mendocino gradient north windswell . Something to ride and nothing more isolated mainly to North and Central CA.

No other swell producing systems forecast.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure at 1028 mbs is to push east providing a small area east of New Zealand without the detrimental effects of the high. Unfortunately the upper level wind flow is not conducive to storm development. Just the same the models suggest a small 984 mb low is to develop under New Zealand Tuesday (5/16) with 50 kts winds aimed north pushing up along the coast through Friday (5/19) with winds in the 45 kts range and seas 29-32 ft through the period aimed well at Hawaii. This is kind of a long shot at this time since the models have been rather flaky as of late for the South Pacific. Will monitor.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

Mavericks Surf Contest on TV - the epic 2006 Mavericks Surf Contest will be broadcast this Saturday (5/13) at 11 AM PDT (2 PM EDT) on your local NBC affiliate channel. Check it out.

Wired Magazine - Read about the technology that supports the Mavericks Surf Contest in this months edition of WIRED Magazine (pg 48 - Al Gore on the cover).

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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