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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: July 10, 2007 7:29 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 = 0.5 - California & 0.5 - 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 7/9 thru Sun 7/15
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   

Weak Gales Aim at Hawaii
Windswell Gone For Now

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (7/10) Northern CA surf was waist to maybe chest high and weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to maybe waist high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was up to maybe waist high. Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat even at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high at the best breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high with luck. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high on the sets. The East Shore report was not available.

North/Central California was getting the last fading remnants of locally generated northwest windswell. Southern California was getting a little wrap-around local windswell and faint southern hemi background swell. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore with background southern hemi swell on the South Shore and minimal local windswell on the East Shore. The North Pacific is in hibernation and the South Pacific is just one inch above that. Maybe some minimal tradewind generated windswell for Hawaii through the end of the workweek, then even that to fade out. And there's some hope for the Islands for minimal southern hemi utility swell next week from two gales pushing northeast off New Zealand, but seas were 25 ft or less, which isn't much. Next to nothing expected for California from these due to swell decay over the long journey northeast. And no windswell expected for the mainland either. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (7/10) for the North Pacific indicated nothing of interest with a weak flow tracking east from over Japan straight into southern British Columbia with no troughs of interest. Winds did not exceed 90 kts except for one small pocket just off Japan to 110 kts. No suggestion of decent low pressure indicated. Over the next 72 hours a little more energy is forecast to develop across the length of the jet with wind in pockets to 110 kts, and a cutoff trough developing off the California coast Thursday pushing up in the the Pacific Northwest on Friday (7/13), but again no real signs of supporting decent low pressure development at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hours a new trough is modeled developing over Gulf of Alaska Sunday (7/15) with winds to 120 kts pushing into Canada 36 hours later and more energy to 130 kts behind it, possibly helping support development of surface low pressure there, but again no indication that it will be of any real interest.

At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned 800 nmiles west of Oregon trying to ridge into Central Canada generating some 25 kt north winds off Washington, maybe good for windswell into Oregon but our of range for California. This high was also helping to generate easterly trades to 20 kts producing limited windswell pushing into Hawaii's eastern shore. A large batch of low pressure was just east of the Philippines reaching typhoon strength, and was named Man-Yi. But it was well out of range of our forecast area. The short story is nothing of any real interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hrs even the high pressure system that has been generating windswell for California is to dissolve with it's remnants retrograding west to a point near the dateline, pretty much killing even the tradewind swell into hawaii by late Thursday (7/12). Weak low pressure is to be following the jet towards the Gulf of Alaska, but it's to not have any wind of interest associated with it.

 

Tropics
Minimal Typhoon Man-Yi was positioned about 600 nmiles east of the Central Philippines tracking northwest with sustained winds 70 kts. Gradual strengthening is forecast into Friday (7/13) when winds are to reach 115 kts. The storm to make a turn to the north and then quickly northeast barely skirting over southmost Japan Saturday morning (7/14) then tracking along the Pacific coast just beyond Tokyo, apparently bound for open ocean beyond. The models suggest some hope for this one to hold together with some of it's identity mid-next week moving for the dateline, but that's a pretty bold guess at this early date.

The models also suggest 2 tropical system developing well south of Cabo San Lucas this coming weekend tracking due west into the coming week while strengthening. No hope of swell for the mainland though Hawaii's Big Island might see some southeasterly swell with luck late next week.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (7/10) high pressure at 1026 mbs was ridging into Central Canada and northerly winds it was producing were mostly outside the California swell window. Weak low pressure was over the Central California coast in the lee of the high. High pressure and the north winds typically associated with it are to totally dissolve by Wednesday with lower pressure taking control of the region and positioned 600-900 nmiles off the coast, resulting in a southerly flow for Central CA. This situation to hold if not amplify Thursday, then high pressure to try and get a new foothold late building into Friday and the weekend with northwest winds coming more into control, reaching up to 20 kts centered near Pt Conception on Sunday and building north from there into next week, but only in the 15 kts range. No real windswell expected to result, just maybe some chop.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (7/8) for the South Pacific indicated a generally split flow with 2 distinct streams pushing parallel west to east. A steep trough in the southern branch was pushing north from the Ross Ice Shelf (just east of New Zealand) impacting the northern branch of the jet south of Tahiti, stealing it's energy and then diving south again pushing hard into Antarctica over the Southeast Pacific. This configuration provided a little window of opportunity for low pressure to form at the oceans surface in the trough pushing north, but totally shut the Southeast Pacific down with a strong ridge pushing south there. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (7/13) the trough is to try and hold on, but is to get titled more to the east and drag the northern branch a bit to the south, then the trough is to dissipate. The net result is to be limited support for low pressure development in the trough for about 36 hours, then fading. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to re-establish itself through by Saturday positioned more to the east (in the Southeast Pacific) with a nice flow of 130 kt northeast winds pushing up it's eastern flank providing decent support for low pressure development at the oceans surface into the weekend. Some variant on this pattern to hold into mid-next week too, providing decent support for low pressure development there.

At the surface today high pressure had control of the Southeastern Pacific. But in the west a broad but weak gale with pressure 972 mbs was circulating well south of Hawaii, producing confirmed winds of 40 kts aimed well to the north and starting to generate 23 ft seas at 47S 167W targeting Hawaii. Nothing else of interest was present. Over the next 72 hours this one to fade with winds dropping to 30 kts Wednesday AM and seas in the 25 ft range near 40-44S 155-162W. The net effect is possible minimal utility class swell for Hawaii arriving Wednesday (7/18) with swell 3 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft faces) from 183 degrees. Nothing of interest forecast to result for California.

After that a decidedly southward push is expected for the strongest winds over the Southern Pacific targeting Antarctica with no swell generation potential forecast.

Also on Sunday (7/8) Hawaii had the tiniest hope for swell generation with a small low pressure system at 980 mbs trying to organize east of New Zealand at 50S 150W. It held for 24 hours with 40 kt winds and 27 ft seas at 47S 155W aimed due north towards Hawaii. This ought to be good for a little pulse of small utility class swell for Hawaii arriving late late Sunday (7/15) peaking Monday at 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3 ft faces) barely holding into Tuesday (7/16). Rideable but nothing more. None of this expected to reach the mainland.

 

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 the models suggest high pressure to start redeveloping just north of Hawaii on Sunday (7/15) at 1024 mbs regenerating trades over the Islands to near 20 kts, but shallow and not getting much surface contact with the ocean. Limited short period windswell possible at best. Also northerly wind to start building along the California coast north of Pt Conception. This situation to hold basically unchanged into Tuesday of next week (7/17). Also more low pressure to be streaming from the dateline towards the Gulf of Alaska early next week generating a weak gradient with the aforementioned high pressure system to the south, generating a broad fetch of 20-25 kt southwest winds targeting Washington and areas north of there, but of no real use to California or Hawaii.

MJO Move to Active Phase: The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) appears to be moving into the active phase. Given that La Nina is supposedly taking hold, one would not expect much if anything like this to happen, but it is. The Southern Oscillation Index dropped into the negative range starting June 27 and continued strongly negative today (-39) which is pulling the 30 day average negative (-5.9) and the 90 day average as well (-1.18). Cooler than average waters are still present over the eastern equator waters of the Pacific, but not as strong as in weeks past or even as cool as 2 days ago. And trade winds over the equatorial Western Pacific have reversed direction, now blowing firmly west to east. In fact a Westerly Wind Burst appears to be setting up off the Philippines, attributable solely to Typhoon Man-Yi positioned well to the south there. But a much broader through weaker area of westerly winds appears to be taking hold over the equator from there over the dateline pushing to 120W. Most impressive given the state of the Pacific over the past few months. This pattern is expected to hold into late July (7/24). Make no mistake that there is no indication that El Nino is trying to develop (the MJO sometimes helps to jumpstart it), but this does suggest that La Nina may not develop as strong as most of the models suggest, or at least might be delayed it if the MJO continues as modeled. The MJO might also help to spur some tropical activity in the West Pacific (as it appears it already is), then provide a little fuel for the East Pacific later in it's life cycle (2 weeks from now). And it might help fuel the development of low pressure in the North Pacific. But putting this into perspective, it doesn't guarantee that any swell producing low pressure systems will develop, and in fact they likely won't given the time of year. But what it does suggest that the possibility for low pressure to form is likely to increase some and that La Nina might be held at bay for a while, which isn't a bad thing from a swell production perspective.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models that along with improvements in the jetstream flow aloft, low pressure is to start developing at the oceans surface southeast of New Zealand on Saturday (7/14). Winds to build quickly to near 55 kts over a tiny area aimed well to the northeast at 56S 155W fading Sunday but being replaced with a new fetch of 40-45 kt winds again aimed well to the northeast and moving northeast into early Monday (7/16). An additional broad follow-on fetch to develop behind that too at 40-45 kts aimed well to the north on Tuesday (7/17) at 53S 140W. 30-32 ft seas possible over the duration targeting California into Central America well if all this comes to pass, which is far from certain at this early date.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

New CDIP Buoys Online: We've updated our buoy system to pick up new CDIP buoys put in service recently. One is the Monterey Canyon (inside Monterey Bay). Check it out here: Buoy 156. Also there are more new CDIP buoys activated in NCal, SCal, Pacific Northwest, and Florida.

Jason-1 Satellite Data On-line and Improved!: Our Jason-1 satellite data was upgraded yet again Wednesday PM (6/6) and is now operating better than ever. We've added a feature that averages the data every 15 measurements on the local views and every 50 measurements on the global view (1 measurement every 3 nautical miles) and overlays the results onto the wave model chart. Both the single highest measurement on the chart and the highest 15 measurement average are posted at the bottom of each chart. This seems to work real well and compensates for the very spiky nature of the raw data coming off the satellite. So we now have an effective way to verify the accuracy (or lack of) the wave model output. See the data here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html

Comprehensive guides to surfing Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Baja and Mainland Mexico: They ain't pretty. They ain't glossy. They ain't coffee table picture books. These are guides for surfers who want real, useful information. Since 1996 The Surfer's Guides have always provided more info, more detail, more tips, and have been updated more often than any other surf travel guides. Take a look here: http://www.surfingtravel.com/

Surfing's Greatest Misadventures: We've been reading a great book of short stories all based around surfing adventures, but not in classical sense. These are stories of surf trips gone bad, personal growth and realizations while on surf trips, silly things that happen while surfing right on up to horrifying shark attacks, and some great nostalgic tails of surfers versus the Marines at Trestles back in the early days. A truly enjoyable, easy to read and entertaining look at the culture and people that make up the surf community. Check it out here: http://www.thesurfbook.com

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!
http://www.google.com/ig/add?moduleurl=http://www.stormsurf.com/gadget/stormsurf .xml

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