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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 28, 2006 7:37 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 = 2.0 - 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 5/22 thru Sun 5/28
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   

Swell #2S on the Way for CA
Nothing Decent Before or After

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (5/28) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and clean early though still lumpy from northwest winds just off the coast. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were near flat. Central California surf was up to chest high and cleaner early. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high at the best spots, and even that was pushing it. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with maybe some chest high sets but just windswell. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and reasonably clean but weak. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was waist high and maybe a little more at the best breaks. The East Shore was thigh high, tradewind generated windswell.

In California locally generated northwest windswell with a short period is all there is, produced by winds hugging the coast and even that is to be heading down for the next few days, though pesky local winds still to be an issue. Hawaii was pretty uneventful on both the North and South Shores, with the North Shore now officially shut down for the summer. Fortunately a little southern hemi swell is scheduled for the other shore late in the workweek, enough to be rideable. But the big story remains Swell #2S, pushing north towards California and Central America scheduled to arrive late in the workweek. Beyond that nothing of any real interest is on the charts so make the most of what we get. 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 charts (5/28) indicate no significant troughs or features that would support low pressure development. On Wednesday (5/31) a bit more energy is forecast to coagulate off the California coast with winds to 120 kts forming a weak trough there Thursday pushing inland over the northmost end of the state Friday. Perhaps some potential for surface level low pressure development there. Otherwise nothing of interest suggested over the next 7 days. Detailed monitoring for the North Pacific will continue to be accomplished on an exception basis.

At the surface on Sunday (5/28) high pressure at 1024 mbs remained off Central California generating a moderate northerly flow along most of the California coast at 15-20 kts then sweeping southwest and west towards and just south of Hawaii, forming the trade wind there. A cutoff low was near the dateline positioned well south near 30N with another very weak low in the Gulf of Alaska. Over the next 72 hours the Gulf low to drop to 1004 mbs with some 15-20 kt northwest winds circulating around it aimed towards California, but not strong enough to generate any swell. No swell generation potential suggested.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (5/28) high pressure remained in control off the South/Central CA coast driving a 20-25 kt northwesterly flow over local waters, but not having enough fetch length to create any swell of interest other than some 8 sec period slop at exposed breaks. And even that to start fading as low pressure gets a meager toe in the Gulf of Alaska over the coming days, reducing the fetch to just the Point Conception area on Wed/Thurs. That low to theoretically produce 25-30 kts winds sweeping over the northern fringes of the NCal swell window early Friday (6/2) driving some 12 ft seas our way, but that low to be inland on Saturday and new high pressure to build right behind, ushering northwest winds back into the area by late Friday and holding through the weekend, just in time for Swell #2S (not a good thing). .

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Sunday (5/28) a split jetstream pattern was in place over the South Pacific with energy spread evenly between the two streams. A big ridge was pushing south to the Ross Ice shelf in the West but the two streams did merge in the far Southeastern Pacific forming a somewhat energized trough near 120W, providing a pocket conducive for surface level low pressure development. This has been the source of energy that formed Storm #2S a few days ago too. Over the next 72 hours this area/trough to drift eastward out of the California swell window and positioned just off the coast of Chile by Wednesday (5/31), well outside the CA swell window. A split stream to persist in the west flowing over Antarctic Ice. Beyond 72 hours a split flow to take over the entire South PAcific with most energy in the northern branch, not conducive to swell producing Southern Hemi storms. A bit of a trough is modeled next weekend southeast of New Zealand, but the models have been hyping this sort of development for weeks now, and it never materializes, so odds are nonexistent of it actually occurring. No support for surface level low pressure development of interest in the South Pacific.

At the surface on Sunday (5/28) a small 968 mb low was trying to develop under the trough established in the upper atmosphere in the Southeast Pacific. Winds modeled in the 35-40 kt range through the day pushing northeast and expected to continue Monday (5/29) but aimed more to the north on the eastern edge of the California swell window. Seas modeled to 32 ft at 53S 132W Sunday evening moving to 48S 123W Monday AM, then faltering. Another small pulse of southern hemi utility swell possible for California and points south of there if this develops as forecast. Otherwise nothing of interest expected in the West Pacific.

 

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

Southeast Pacific - Storm #2S
On Wednesday AM a low started developing due south of Tahiti (east of the Hawaiian swell window) with pressure 964 mbs and winds confirmed at 50 kts over a small area at 60S 150W aimed 25 degrees east of the 194 degree path into California. By evening pressure was down to 954 mbs with a moderate fetch of 50-55 kt southwest winds confirmed centered at 55S 135W aimed just 20 degrees east of the 186 degree path to California. Not too bad. Seas were building fast at 32 ft centered at 61S 145W. The Jason-1 satellite made passes around the periphery of the fetch late evening, but not directly through it. Those readings supported the numbers coming from the wave model though. On Thursday AM the storm fetch was lifting northeast with pressure 964 mbs and 720 nmiles of 50 kt winds centered at 48S 123W aimed 20 degrees east of the 182-185 degree paths to California. This was decent, though not exceptional. Seas were modeled at 40 ft over a tiny area at 58S 132W. By nightfall the low continued lifting rapidly northeast with south winds barely 50 kt over a tiny area at 48S 114W though mostly 40-45 kts outside the NCal swell window with a little energy still aimed at SCal up the 178 degree paths. 35 ft seas modeled aimed towards CA on the very eastern edge of the swell window at 52S 123W, gone by Friday AM.

A small significant class swell has been generated and is pushing north and east towards California, Central America and northern South America. This was a rather short lived system with only 36-48 hours of effective fetch, but that fetch was traveling well to the northeast building momentum towards the aforementioned targets with a little virtual fetch in play, perhaps helping to add a bit higher number of waves per set in the 17-20 sec band of this swell. Still nothing execeptional, just solid fun.

South California: Expect swell arrival late Wednesday (5/31) with period at 20 secs and swell to maybe 1 ft right before dark (2 ft faces). Swell to be much more noticeable by Thursday AM (6/1) with period 19 secs and swell small but building reasonably quickly through the day to 3.3 ft @ 18 sec by sunset (5.5-6.0 ft faces with best breaks to 7.5 ft). Swell to continue upwards from there, maxing Friday (6/2) at up to 4.2 ft @ 17 secs (6.5-7.0 ft faces with sets to 9 ft at best breaks), holding through the day. Decent size though a little less punchy to continue Saturday with swell 4.2 ft @ 15 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces with sets occasionally to 7.5 ft at the best breaks) but heading down. Sunday to see swell of 3.6 ft @ 14 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) and heading down. Swell Direction: 183-188 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival Thursday AM (6/1) with period 19-20 secs and swell small but building through the day to 2.3 ft @ 19 sec by sunset (3.5-4.5 ft faces with best breaks to 5 ft). Swell to continue upwards from there, peaking Friday (6/2) at 4.2 ft @ 17 secs right before sunset (7.0-7.5 ft faces with sets to 9 ft at the best breaks). Swell to continue solid Saturday at 4 ft @ 16 secs early (6.0-6.5 ft faces with best breaks up to 7.5 ft). Things heading down on Sunday with swell 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) with maybe some residual energy into Monday. Swell Direction: 182-187 degrees

 

Hawaiian Pulse
On Tuesday evening (5/23) a 972 mb low formed well south of New Zealand over the Ross Ice Shelf producing 45- 50 kt winds edging slowly over exposed water north of there. By Wednesday 32 ft seas were modeled at 62S 160E in the 200 degree swell window for Hawaii with winds dropping to 40-45 kts on Thursday and seas up to 35 ft free-and-clear at 61S 178E (191 degree HI) pushing towards Hawaii and less-so to California. A rapid decay set in thereafter with no winds or seas of interest.

Small swell from this system scheduled to push into Hawaii starting Thursday afternoon (6/1) reaching 1.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (2 ft faces) building to 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces) on Friday (6/2). Swell to peak on Saturday (6/3) at 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (4-5 ft faces with sets to near 6 ft at top spots). Swell fading fast on Sunday from 3 ft @ 13 secs (4 ft faces). Swell Direction 190-200 degrees

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the low off the Pacific Northwest to drop to 1000 mbs with 20-25 kt winds forecast aimed towards Central and North CA, generating seas to 12 ft Friday (6/2). Maybe some weak windswell to result there. Otherwise a near neutral pressure pattern indicated with no swell generation potential suggested. High pressure to start making a comeback over the Northeastern Pacific Saturday (6/3) increasing the chances for northwesterly winds along the California coast for next weekend.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models continue to suggest a series of gales to make progressively more success tracking under New Zealand into the South Pacific, producing 40 kts winds aimed northeast and generating fleeting bits of 30-32 ft seas targeting Hawaii. This has been on the models for quite some time but it never happens, and there is no indication of any change to support the conclusions of the models. Regardless, some small energy could result for Hawaii, providing utility class southern hemi swell if all the stars align correctly. Will monitor.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

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

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