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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 29, 2005 1:52 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 5/30 thru Sun 5/5
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   

Tasman Gale Fading
Weak Storm Forecast off Chile - High Pressure In Control

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (5/29) Northern CA surf was near flat with up to waist high sets. South facing breaks were flat. Central California was up to waist high and clean early. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were lucky to reach waist high with most breaks near flat. The LA area southward into Orange County was maybe up to waist high at the best breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were flat. The North Shore of Oahu was basically flat. The South Shore was almost up to waist high. The East Shore was thigh high.

Placid conditions continued on Sunday over Lake Pacific as was expected. If you found waist high waves you were scoring. No real hope offered by the models unless you're going to Fiji either. A decent but not over the top storm in the Tasman Sea has generated some seas pushing north, but that will be shadowed from most Pacific breaks by Fiji itself. Hawaii might see a little fun swell, but that's it. Nothing else of any real interest on the charts either. 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
At the jetstream level on Sunday (5/29) a thin bit of energy remained was centered over the dateline with peak winds at 140 kts but it was all aligned zonally with no troughs present (animation here). Over the next 72 the core of that energy is to move to the Gulf of Alaska, loose much energy and remain zonal (flat) with no defined troughs or ridges forecast. The pattern remains very weak.

At the surface today very weak low pressure at 992 mbs was over the intersection of the eastern Aleutians but was generating no swell producing fetch. High pressure at 1024 mbs was 700 niles west of San Francisco and another was off NOrthern Japan. No real swell producing fetch was evident (animation here). Over the next 72 hours a little low at 988 mbs is to track northeast off Japan and the Kuril Islands producing some 35-40 kt winds aimed well at Hawaii, but a very long ways away. Doubtful any swell of interest will be generated. It's summer and the North Pacific is all but fully hibernated.

More model data here

 

California Offshore Forecast
Sunday mornings local charts (5/29) depicted solid high pressure at 1024 mbs west of Monterey Bay CA pushing east. Weak low pressure at 1004 mbs was starting to build over north Nevada, helping to set up the usual pressure gradient off the Oregon and North California coasts. North winds at 15-20 kts building over the outer waters. As the high off the coast pushes east the gradient is to slowly tighten and push closer to shore. By Monday (5/30) the gradient is to become focused off Cape Mendocino with some 25 kt north winds there building to 30 kts late Tuesday (5/31) and then to a rather impressive 35-40 kts by Wednesday PM (6/1) holding well into Thursday (6/2). The gradient is to hold through early Friday AM (6/3) then fade fast. At this time it looks as if some degree of the fetch area is to push inland through it's duration, making for messy conditions.

The high is to remain off the coast with some degree of northerly fetch scheduled through the weekend.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Sunday (5/29) the jetstream continued with a big ridge pushing south over Antarctica just east of New Zealand then lifting strongly at 120W with something that almost looks like trough off Chile (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the ridge east of New Zealand is to continue with wave after wave of reinforcing energy dropping south. There is no indications of any storm supporting troughs forecast.

At the surface today strong high pressure at 1028 mbs remained positioned just east of New Zealand pushing south to almost the Ross Ice Shelf and into interior Antarctica totally blocking the Antarctic storm corridor. A gale was in the Tasman Sea (see Fiji Storm below) and a new 944 mb storm was in the far Southeastern Pacific off Chile sitting in the upper trough there (animation here). It had confirmed winds of 40-45 kts aimed north but poorly organized on Saturday PM (5/28) and was looking even less organized Sunday AM (5/29). Over the next 72 hours limited fetch associated with the Chilean storm is to drift east. The models have been continually hinting that the south quadrant of this storm is to become more active on Monday (5/30) as it interacts with strong high pressure over the Central South Pacific. A brief 12 hour burst of 45-50 kt winds is forecast in the south quadrant of this storm aimed at Hawaii and then wrapping quickly into the western quadrant while dropping into the 35-45 kt range and fading. Total fetch life expected at 24 hours. Seas building to 30 ft Monday night at 55S 108W. This might produce some impulse class swell for Hawaii and a little more for Southern CA, but it will be well outside the swell window for North CA. Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.

More model data here

 

Fiji Storm
(We're including this mainly for the benefit of Fiji and because there's nothing else to forecast.)
Storm History
Of most interest is a very strong storm complex forecast to develop south of Tasmania on Wednesday AM (5/25) pressure was a very deep 944 mbs and in close proximity to a strong 1032 mb high under New Zealand. Hurricane force winds of 60-80 kts were confirmed in the tight pressure gradient between these two weather systems in the storms west and northwest quadrants centered at 57S 137E. These winds were aimed 30 degrees north of the 220 degree great circle path to California and 20 degrees north of the 210 degree path to Hawaii and Fiji. Seas were building. By evening things continued very strong, though not as quite over the top as earlier. Pressure was up to 946 mbs with winds confirmed at 55-65 kts centered at 57S 140E aimed just like before but moving almost to the eastern edge of the Fiji/Hawaii swell window. Seas were modeled at 36 ft over a tiny area centered at 56S 138E.

On Thursday AM (5/26) storm pressure held at 946 mbs but it was tracking east, away from the high and the tight gradient that was generating the winds started to relax. Wind forecast down to 50-55 kts aimed north northeast, centered at 57S 143E. These winds are to be aimed 30 degrees north of the 218 degree path to California (N & S) but right up the 209 degree great circle path to Hawaii and Fiji. This is just outside the swell window for Hawaii, cut off by the northern heel of New Zealand. Seas were modeled at 38 ft centered at 52S 140E. By evening this system continued tracking east with pressure 948 mbs but no wind of interest was being generated. Secondary fetch started to develop as a kink in the isobars from remnants of the storm start interacting with high pressure still south of Australia. Pressure was 976 mbs. Winds were confirmed at 50 kts centered at 50S 139E. Decaying 33 ft seas were modeled at 48S 148E (just south of Tasmania).

By Friday AM (5/27) weak secondary fetch continued pushing into the Tasman Sea. Pressure was 976 mbs. Winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts centered at 45S 150E aimed right up the rare 230 degree path to California (through the Tasman Sea) and aimed right at Fiji and Hawaii up the 215 degree path. These winds were acting on already well agitated seas from the previous days fetch, getting good traction an quickly re-generating 35 ft seas centered at 49S 142E. In the evening the low tracked northeast with pressure 980 mbs and winds confirmed at 40-45 kts through the evening but loosing size, centered at 46S 155E, aimed just like before. 31 ft seas were tracking northeast centered at 46S 147E and impacting Tasmania with some slipping east heading up into the Tasman Sea.

On Saturday AM (5/28) the low held if not organized a little better, positioned just off the southwest tip of New Zealand with pressure 980 mbs with winds holding at 35-40 kts over a small area centered at 43S 152E, down considerably from previous forecasts. These winds to be aimed right up the rare 230 degree path to California and the 215 degree path to Fiji and Hawaii. 29 ft seas were centered at 43S 155E pushing northeast and decaying as the winds held at rather meager levels. In the evening the low continued drifting east right over the southern tip of New Zealand with pressure 980 mbs while strong high pressure at 1032 mbs held over Southeast Australia. The gradient between these two systems continued generating moderate gales with wind confirmed at 35-45 kts over a moderate area aimed northeast in the Tasman Sea. These winds were centered at 37S 159E aimed at NCal up the 331-233 degree path and out of the Fiji shadow but just barely outside the Southern CA swell window. Also these winds were aimed at Fiji and Hawaii up the 214 degree path. 29 ft seas modeled at 40S 155E and heading right towards Fiji.

By Sunday AM (5/29) the last bit of energy is expected to be produced from this system before it fades. The low itself is to be over New Zealand at 980 mbs but fetch is to hold in the Tasman Sea aimed northeast. Winds forecast up a little to 30-35 kts centered at 35S 165E aimed right up the 233 degree path to California and just a bit east of the 212 degree path to Hawaii and Fiji. These winds are to be out of the Fiji Island shadow for California. Seas forecast at 29 ft centered at 35S 162E. By evening residual winds of 30-35 kts are forecast off the northern tip of New Zealand at 32S 177E aimed east northeast or right up the 229 degree path to California and 30 degrees east of the 207 degree path to Hawaii and not aimed at Fiji anymore. Seas fading fast, at 27 ft centered at 32S 168E, decaying remnants of the previous days fetch.

On Monday (5/30) this system is to be dead.

Swell Generation Potential
This started out as a really impressive storm under Australia but quickly faded, and by the time the oceans surface started getting really agitated the core winds had already dropped off. But the models suggested those seas were to track north into the Tasman Sea with additional fetch acting on them to add more energy, though not as strong as the initial fetch. That sort of was happening, but nowhere near as strong as was originally forecast. Based on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data, a good amount of swell is to track northeast up through the Tasman Sea towards Fiji. Fiji will get some solid surf, but most of this energy is is expected to be shadowed from Hawaii and California by the South Pacific Islands. Hawaii might get some fun size surf from whatever survives the shadow. If anything North California has a better chance of seeing some swell than South CA, but even that is splitting hairs. Impulse class potential at best there.

Surf Forecast
First up and of most interest is Fiji, which is dead center in the middle of the target for this swell. It is 1271-2858 nmiles away from the projected storm track providing good opportunity for the initial swell energy from the storm to unwrap, but getting too close, allowing a fair amount of short period warble and lesser period energy to reach the Island chain. Also now the windfield from this system is expected to influence local conditions. The first forerunners expected Sunday mid-day (5/29) with period at 20 secs and size on the increase. Swell to peak Monday (5/30 UTC) mid-day and holding through sunset with pure swell 7.0-7.5 ft @ 17-18 secs with sets possibly to 11 ft @ 17 secs (12-13 ft faces with sets to 17 ft - not including the effects of local bathymetry. Maybe producing up to 15-19 ft faces). Continued energy expected into Tuesday (5/31 UTC) with near peak size continuing but period dropping into the 15 sec range and settling down more by afternoon. Swell to slowly decline on Wednesday (6/1) with swell 6-7 ft @ 13 secs with sets 9 ft @ 13 secs (8-9 ft faces with sets to 11 ft). Slowly declining energy to continue through Friday (6/3). Swell Direction 212-219 degrees Local winds look good on Sunday (E 5-10 kts) but then are to turn southeast 10-15 kt through the duration of the swell.

Next up is Hawaii, which is also on the right path. It is to be 4120-5722 nmiles away giving it plenty of distance for the swell to even out. But there is a much greater problem. That is that Fiji and it's associated islands are sitting right in the the middle of the swell corridor. Most energy from this swell is expected to be significantly clipped off as it travels northeast. Swell arrival expected late Thursday (6/2) with period at 20 secs (assuming that energy makes it through the shadow) and peaking by late Friday (6/3) through the day Saturday (6/4) with swell 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3-4 ft faces). Swell solid on Sunday (6/5) up to 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces). Swell slowly backing down with period at 14 secs on Monday early (6/6) fading on Wednesday (6/8) with period at 11 secs. Swell Direction: 216-220 degrees

California is well down the road and will suffer a variety of setbacks including a small window to shoot the swell through (Tasman Sea), then getting shadowed by the Fiji Island chain, and then what survives that has a very long journey to cover before reaching the coast (6220-7509 nmiles). Forerunners expected to hit starting early Sunday (6/5) with period at 20 secs building slowly and peaking late Monday (6/6) through Tuesday evening (6/7) with period at 16-17 secs. Residuals through Thursday (6/9) with period at 14 secs, then fading on Friday (6/10) with period down to 13 secs. Luck if it's rideable. Swell Direction 228-235 degrees

 

QuikCAST

 

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

North Pacific

Sunday models (5/29) indicated that beyond 72 hours a very weak upper flow is to persist tracking just south of the Aleutians with no storm support indicated. At the surface generally high pressure is to prevail with no swell producing fetch indicated.

 

MJO Note
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) took a dive starting Saturday (5/14) and has slowly been creeping up since then, though still remained in the solidly negative range. It's started at -43 reading on Tuesday (5/17) and was holding at -10 today (5/29). That's 16 days in the negative range. The SOI measures the difference in surface pressure between Darwin Australia and Tahiti. Consistently positive values signify La Nina and negative one signify El Nino. El Nino conditions support the development of stronger, larger and more consistent winter storms in the North Pacific and decreased Atlantic tropical storm activity. The current dip is associated with the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation, currently pushing along the equator into the West Pacific, centered near the dateline. This had been forecast and actuals are tracking well to the projections. As would be expected, trades winds have dropped to near calm across the equator eastward to 170W, and there are some surface level west winds starting to how up on the QuikSCAT imagery, but not enough to constitute a Westerly Wind Burst (WWB's can produce a Kelvin Wave). If one is going to develop from this phase of the MJO it likely should have happened by now. Models suggest return to near normal conditions as the inactive phase of the MJO takes hold through mid-June. Overall the 30 day average SOI is -10 and the 90 day average is at -8. This is but one indicator of very mild El Nino conditions, but not conclusive by itself, though there has been a steady push towards such a state. You can monitor the state of El Nino and the MJO here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/links/ensocurr.html

 

South Pacific

On Sunday (5/29) beyond 72 hours out the jetstream is to continue ridging strongly south into Antarctica covering most of the South Pacific. No indications of any support for storm development suggested.

At the surface a tiny little 988 mb storm is forecast to develop east of the northern tip of New Zealand on Friday (6/3) with winds building to 50 kts for 12 hours aimed due north towards Hawaii with 29 ft seas expected, then rapidly fading. Doubtful this will even happen. Otherwise no other swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: Check out all the latest indicators to get a handle on how the Summer and Fall seasons could unfold. http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml

Big Florida Swell: A strong gale pushed off Cape Hatteras on 4/15 generating solid seas and a 70 ft rogue wave that hit a cruise ship before proceeded south to make solid waves for the Southeast US coast. Matt Kechele was there to catch it. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/kechele.html

Stormsurf Weather Models Updated Again: Yes, we've been at it again this weekend getting another batch of weather models running. Global coverage is now provided for jetstream forecasts and surface pressure and winds. Zoomed in data is also available for such locations as the Mentawai Islands to Western Australia corridor, Tahiti, South America, Europe and Norwegian Sea. So now you can get local wind forecasts for these and more locations with one click. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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