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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: July 15, 2005 5:10 AM
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 = 3.9 - 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 7/11 thru Sun 7/17
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   

New Zealand Storm Falters
Utility Swell Hitting California

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (7/14) Northern CA surf was chest to head high with some bigger sets. South facing breaks were waist to chest high. Central California was up to waist to chest high also at the best spots. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were in the waist to chest high range. The LA area southward into Orange County was better at chest to head high with a few overhead sets at the best spots. Southward to San Diego waves were waist to chest high with some rare head high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to chest high. The East Shore was waist high.

California is now the focus for a moderate southern hemi swell that has been working it's way northeast for over a week now. This same swell is heading down in Hawaii. Northwest windswell also in the mix and is to actually be the dominant swell in North and Central CA for the foreseeable future. A new storm is trying to organized southeast of New Zealand, but is not looking as good as the models had us believe a few days earlier. Still, it ought to generate more utility swell for next weekend in California with less size pushing north towards Hawaii. See details below...

Note: Forecasts will not be updated from 7/15-7/23. Going on a surf hunt.

 

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 Thursday (7/14) a new weak ridge was north of Hawaii suggesting strong high pressure at the surface and tracking towards the US mainland. A large ridge was building over the Kuril Islands and inland over Siberia. (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the Hawaiian ridge is to track east making it just off the Oregon coast then fading some while pushing inland. The Kuril ridge is to push east into the Western Pacific reaching nearly the dateline. No suggestion of any surface level storm production.

At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was just off the North California coast forming the usual summertime pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino with a heat low inland. This high was trailing back to the west north of Hawaii , across the dateline and up to the Kuril Islands. This was driving the usual Hawaiian easterly trades. Very weak low pressure was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska and Typhoon Haitang was tracking east well south of Iwo Jima with sustained winds 90 kts and on the upswing. But overall things were pretty weak (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no big change forecast with the high retrograding slowly west with the core well north of Hawaii while gradient north winds continue off Cape Mendocino and trades build some over Hawaii. Haitang to move inland just north of Taiwan with winds 110 kts.

More model data here

 

California Offshore Forecast
Thursday mornings local charts (7/14) indicated strong high pressure at 1030 mbs positioned 700 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino ridging over Vancouver Island and fueling the Cape Mendocino gradient with north winds there at 35 kt solid. A second lobe of the high was centered near the dateline producing easterly trade winds over Hawaii at about 20 kts but centered a bit west of there. By Friday the fetch is to start retreating west with gradient winds off the Cape dropping to 20-25 kts, still producing windswell but with shorter period. By Sunday evening the high is to be centered well north of Hawaii and still retreating with the gradient (and windswell generation potential) becoming much weaker. Fortunately on Tuesday (7/19) low pressure is to be building inland helping to reinvigorate the gradient and by Wednesday PM (7/20) with 30 kt winds forecast to rebuild even though the core of the high is to be centered over the dateline.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Thursday (7/14) the jetstream charts indicated a split jet trying to take hold, but not quite there yet. A broad but not deep trough was still positioned southeast of New Zealand while a fairly strong ridge was starting to push south over Antarctica in the far Eastern Pacific. The only area hospitable to surface level storm development appeared to be the area southeast of New Zealand (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the broad trough under New Zealand is to push east and become much more compact bordering on pinched in the Central Pacific. The strong ridge pushing into Antarctica is to remain in the East and a new ridge is to build in the far west under New Zealand. Basically this looks like a fully split jet is to be setting up.

At the surface high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned south of Tahiti with a broad gale south of it (see New Zealand Storm below). High pressure at 1032 mbs was situated east of Chile suppressing storm development there and driving everything south into Antarctica (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the New Zealand storm is to fade and get pushed south as high pressure gets a better hold on the Central Pacific while a new low pushes under New Zealand and builds to 960 mbs, producing 50-55 kts winds over a small area aimed northeast starting Saturday (7/16) and continuing for 24 hours, then fading as it hits the high in the Central Pacific.

More model data here

 

Mid-Pacific Storm
On Tuesday (7/5) a new storm developed just east of New Zealand with pressure dropping to 972 mbs while high pressure held at 1032 mbs over Australia, setting a a gradient between the two aimed northeast. Winds were confirmed at 40 to near 50 kts over a broad area centered near 57S 162W aimed northwest generally up the 203 degree path to California and 30 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii. On Tuesday PM winds continued at 40-50 kts over a moderate area centered at 53S 156W aimed like before. Seas built to 30 ft over a small area centered at 53S 160W.

The same pattern started to break down Wednesday AM (7/6) with a moderate area of 35-40 kt winds remaining centered near 45S 147W aimed 25 degrees east of the 195 degree path to California and 70 degree off any track to Hawaii and outside their swell window. Seas were modeled 35 ft centered at 50S 150W. The gale actually expanded northeast while loosing definition Wednesday PM, with winds down to 30-40 kts centered 1800 nmiles south of Tahiti. Seas dropped to 32 ft centered at 48S 142W.

A broad but unorganized fetch of 30-45 kt west winds continued Thursday AM (7/7) and held into Friday (7/8) south of Tahiti but aimed mostly at Peru. Seas were modeled at 30 ft Thursday AM at 45S 138W dropping to 29 ft that evening at 42S 132W. A new low developed from the remnants of this systems front late Friday (7/8) with pressure down to 960 mbs and winds back up to 50-55 kts centered near 54S 135W. Seas were up to 30 ft over a tiny area centered at 51S 138W.

On Saturday AM (7/9) the new fetch continued with 50 kt winds centered near 53S 125W, aimed generally 30 degrees east of the 185 degree path to California and well outside the Hawaiian swell window. Seas were back up to 35 ft at 51S 130W. By the evening this pulse was really winding down with only some weak 40 kt winds remaining and aimed outside the California swell window though Central and South America with see good energy from this one. 35 ft seas held at 50S 120W but were fading on Sunday (7/10).

This swell hit buoy 51028 on the equator on late Sunday (7/10) and peak late Monday afternoon with pure swell 3.6 ft @ 15 secs.

The models were interesting with sea heights indicated higher than what one might expect based on wind speeds alone. But the fetch area (specifically length) was long on this systems initial incarnation and blew over the same area of water for 108 hours (4.5 days) which accounts for the bulk of the swell generation capacity. A rather long stretch of 14-16 sec energy is suggested with peak period in the 18-19 sec range pushing well into Peru and Central America. Solid utility class swell generation potential also indicated for California with lesser energy moving north over a short window towards Hawaii from early in the storms life. Swell arriving in Southern California on Wednesday (7/13) with period at 19 secs and peaking late Thursday through Friday (7/15) with swell 3.3-4.0 ft @ 15-17 secs (4-5 ft faces with sets into the 6 ft range). Breaks with good southern hemi bathymetry could do better. Note: These sizes are based on our normal conservative manual calculations. Some automated sources suggest slightly higher swell heights, but these are somewhat suspect. Details posted in the QuikCAST's.

 

New Zealand Storm (formally Potential Storm #6)
Forecast History
A new storm developed late Tuesday (7/12) under New Zealand. An existing 960 mb low was fading in the morning just southeast of New Zealand producing residual 35-40 kt winds aimed northeast towards the Northern Hemisphere while new energy at 972 mbs was tracking under Tasmania and starting to merge with it. By the evening core pressure was down to 964 mbs with a small but developing 45-55 kt fetch of confirmed east winds centered near 51S 168E aimed 20 degrees east of the 218 degree path to California and 50 degree east of the 198 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 29 ft centered at 53S 160E.

On Wednesday AM (7/13) the consolidated storm had pressure at 956 mbs with 50-55 kts winds aimed a bit north of due east imbedded in a broad area of 35 kt+ fetch centered at 52S 174W. High pressure at 1020 mbs was just north helping to fuel a gradient between these two systems and generating the winds. These winds were aimed 25 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California and 70 degrees east of the 190 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 29 ft centered at 50S 174E. In the evening pressure dropped to 944 mbs in the core of the low (a bit south of the fetch area) as the fetch expanded with a rather large elongated area of 40-50 kts winds centered near 51S 167W aimed mostly due east. this easterly heading was not encouraging (unless you're in Chile), These winds were aimed 35 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and 50 degrees east of the 183 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were again modeled at 29 ft but over a broad area centered at 52S 175W.

On Thursday AM (7/14) the fetch look less invigorated with the QuikSCAT satellite confirming a broad area of 35-40 kt fetch centered at 50S 165W while the core of the low dove south at 928 mbs. These winds were all aimed due east or 30 degree east of the 210 degree path to California and 70 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. This was not good. Seas were modeled up to 33 ft centered at 51S 165W. In the evening the gradient is to start fading fast with winds down to 35-40 kts over a shrinking area centered at 50S 155W aimed east. Seas from previous days fetch forecast at 35 ft centered at 52S 158W.

On Friday AM (7/15) a new 976 mb low is to develop in the wake of this storm producing a tiny fetch of 40-45 kts winds centered at 53S 175E and aimed northeast, right up the 213 degree path to California and 10 degrees east of the 191 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast at 32 ft centered at 52S 148W from the main storm and building from the new storm. In the evening winds are to hold, peaking on Saturday (7/16) at 50-55 kts over a tiny area centered at 52S 155W aimed just like before. Seas 30 ft over a tiny area at 53S 150W. But this fetch is to fade overnight with little left by Sunday morning (7/17) as high pressure starts taking over. Seas fading.

Swell Generation Potential
This system was initially to be a fairly strong system with the fetch covering a much broader area than anything this season. Unfortunately reality has caught up with the models and instead we've got another utility class storm. BAsed on a mixture of confirmed and forecast data this one is to hold together over the same area of the oceans surface for about 72 hours covering a reasonable fetch area, the only thing in it's favor. But it is to be rather far away from the US mainland (5545-6711 nmiles) and at an oblique angle for Hawaii. This angle to significantly reduce swell size even though the Islands are much closer to the fetch (4419-4983 nmiles) than the mainland. Tahiti is the closest and reasonably well on the main swell track compared to any other popular location. Still the main focus looks like Peru. This storm to have significant class swell generation potential for targets in South America and Tahiti (if you like long period groomed lines) but only utility class potential up Central America into California with small utility class potential for Hawaii.

Expect swell arrival in Hawaii on Wednesday (7/20) near 2 PM with period at 17 secs and size tiny but building. Swell peaking late Thursday into Friday morning (7/22) with swell 2.4-2.8 ft @ 14-15 sec (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 185-198 degrees.

Expect swell arrival into Southern California Saturday (7/25) at 3 AM with size tiny building slowly and peaking mid-day Sunday (7/26) and holding into Monday sunrise with swell 2.8-3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.2-4.8 ft faces - slightly bigger at the best breaks). Swell Direction: 207-218 degrees

Northern California to get the same size, just arriving 4 hours later than SCal with swell 2.8-3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.2-4.8 ft faces). Swell Direction: 205-216 degrees

QuikCAST

 

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

North Pacific

Thursdays upper level models (7/14) indicate that beyond 72 hours the huge ridge off the Kurils is to become the dominant weather feature pushing the jet well to the north of the Bering Sea. Weak residuals to forma bit of t trough in the eastern Gulf of Alaska pushing into the Southern Oregon coast next Friday (7/22). No suggestion of any surface storm production.

At the surface high pressure is to continue drifting northwest and building, reaching 1036 mbs on Thursday (7/21) and filling the North Pacific. The Cape Mendocino gradient is to remain in-place producing windswell for North and Central CA while trades over Hawaii fail getting pushed well to the south.

 

South Pacific

Thursdays upper level models (7/14) indicated that beyond 72 hours the mid-Pacific trough is to push east while a new high amplitude trough develops east of New Zealand on Wednesday (7/21), but is almost cutoff. Strong winds in the northern branch of the jet are to be blowing at 180 kts at the peak of the trough, suggesting that storm development is reasonably favorable in this area. A second weak trough is to develop off Chile and outside the California/Hawaii swell windows. Both these troughs are to push east through the period with the larger trough eventually becoming cut-off.

At the surface solid high pressure at 1032 mbs is to taking over driven the Eastern Pacific while broad but diffuse low simmers east of New Zealand in the pocket created in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Contrary to the upper level models suggestions, no fetch of interest is forecast there. This low is to slowly track east to the mid-Pacific by Thursday (7/21). no swell producing fetch suggested.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm

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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