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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 22, 2006 7:36 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 = 4.1 - California & 3.3 - 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 8/21 thru Sun 8/27
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 #6S Creeping Up in Hawaii
Weak Pattern to Follow

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (8/22) Northern CA surf was thigh to waist high. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was thigh high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County were thigh high on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to chest high and coming up. The East Shore was chest high.

California was flat both north and south. Hawaii was doing the best of anywhere with southern hemi Swell #6S building on the south shore and hurricane swell from Hector hitting the east shore. The dominant swell source for all locations over the coming days is to be from that gale that tracked through the Central South Pacific earlier this week generating Swell #6S. It is to not be remarkable but certainly better than the alternative. Multiple gales/storms are to follow in the South Pacific, but all are to be on a steady west to east track just north of the Ross Ice Shelf directing all swell energy south and east towards Chile and Antarctica, rather than north towards Hawaii and CA. So no real hope here. Hawaii to be slightly better positioned to pick up some energy from these systems as they push under New Zealand, but it's to be minimal. So make the most out of whatever swell hit's your beach in the coming days. 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 (8/22) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days. A bit of energy is tracking west to east directly over the Aleutian Islands with a slightly stronger trough forecast to set up in the Gulf of Alaska next Tuesday, but that remains a guess.

At the surface high pressure was in control of the North Pacific with one core 800 nmiles west of the Oregon/CA border with weak north winds blowing down the coast there. A second high was west of Northern Japan, with weak tropical low pressure trying to track north between the two. Trades were weak over Hawaii through a little bit of swell from the remnants of Hurricane Hector was hitting eastern shores. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/25) high pressure to hold off North California if not build a little fueling the usual pressure gradient off Cape mendocino generating increased northwest winds there at 25 kts building to near 30 kts Friday AM increasing the chances for northwest windswell along the north and central coasts then. At the same time tropical low pressure to continue tracking north around the western edge of this high, then tracking northeast into the Northern Gulf of Alaska generating some 30 kt winds, but all is to be aimed at Alaska impacting the coast there Thursday, pushing inland Friday. No swell potential from this. Trades to remains suppressed over Hawaii with high pressure too far to the north to have any affect locally. A generally weak pattern.

 

Tropics
Tropical Storm Hector was all but gone on Tuesday with it's core exposed and max sustained winds 35 kts and fading, while tracking east. No more swell generation potential suggested. Well decayed swell at 3-4 ft @ 14 sec (4 ft faces) was suggested for the Big Island starting Monday (8/21) at sunset continuing into Tuesday from 96 degrees and that materialized. A slow decay of that energy to continue Wednesday into early Thursday, then fading.

Hurricane Ioke was well southwest of Hawaii approaching the dateline with sustained winds maxing out at 115 kts tracking northwest over Johnson Island. A gradual turn to the west is expected over the next several days with the storm passing south of Midway and no recurving to the northeast suggested. No swell generation potential for the US mainland or Hawaii forecast.

Tropical Storm Ileana was 300 nmiles southwest of Manzanillo Mexico tracking northwest. A buildup in intensity is forecast with winds reaching 90 kts early Thursday morning positioned just inside the swell window for all Southern California breaks. Given the storms projected northwest track and position 840 nmiles south-southeast of San Diego, it's reasonably to infer that some swell could track north into beaches there 38 hours later. But this is far from certain just yet.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
High pressure off the coast of Oregon at 1026 mbs was generating a weak fetch of 15-20 kt north winds off the coast of North and Central California, not enough to generate any real windswell. By Wednesday that gradient to build a little more with winds to 25 kts pushing near 30 kts late Thursday into early Friday increasing the size of local windswell some. This gradient to fade and drift north through the weekend with windswell fading out. Nearshore this gradient to kick up somewhat stronger northwest winds in Central and North CA Wed/Thurs (15 kts in the morning, stronger in the afternoons), then subsiding Friday as the gradient lifts north. A southwest eddy flow forecast starting Saturday and Sunday, then fading. A light winds regime forecast early next week until the gradient starts redeveloping off the Cape late Tuesday (8/29) with small windswell expected to start building again.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Tuesday (8/22) the jetstream was starting to show signs of a big decline, with a split pattern becoming established over the Central South Pacific while a new branch of energy was developing under New Zealand sweeping east over the Ross Ice Shelf. This is likely to mark the end of the favorable pattern that has been in place the past few days and return us to pattern dominated by storms moving fast west to east and traversing Antarctic Ice. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/25) the southern branch of the jetstream is to continue sweeping eastward over the boundary of the Ross Ice Shelf and open waters to the north winds only the faintest hint of a trough over open waters, and that just barely so. Strong energy from the Northern Branch to be diving south to joint the southern branch, directing any storms in the area south towards Antarctica. Not favorable. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is modeled, with only the smallest of troughs imbedded in the flow offering only tiny areas for storm development, and not much energy present either.

At the surface today a gale was trying to organize due east of New Zealand. A tiny fetch of 35 kts winds was aimed north towards Hawaii but getting precious little traction on the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours starting Wednesday (8/23) this system to get caught in the upper level flow and whisked quickly off to the southeast towards Antarctic Ice with no fetch aimed north for any duration. Another one is forecast forming under New Zealand on Thursday with near 55 kt winds over a tiny area in it's north quadrant aimed east, but also getting driven fast to the east and getting little traction on the oceans surface. In short, no swell generation potential suggested.

 

Storm #6S - Central Pacific Gale
The next candidate system formed just east of New Zealand on Monday AM (8/14) with pressure 964 mbs producing a tiny confirmed fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed due north from 55S 153W targeting locations near Hawaii. Slightly more fetch built late Monday into early Tuesday with 40 kt south winds continuing in the gales west quadrant aimed better at Hawaii from 52S 162W up the 180-185 degree path. But because the fetch is so small only 20 ft seas were modeled, increasing to 29 ft Tuesday AM centered at 55S 165W. This is good for some small 13-15 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. By Tuesday night this system started tapping improving jetstream energy, with pressure dropping to 960 mbs and the west side of the storm becoming somewhat better organized, though winds were confirmed still only in the 40-45 kt range at 50S 156W aimed 35 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 200 degree path to California. 30 ft seas were modeled at 51S 160W, good for both Hawaii and California - just barely unshadowed by Tahiti.

By Wednesday AM (8/16) a broad fetch of 35-40 kt winds were set up in the gales northwest quadrant centered at 46S 147W aimed northeast and barely providing sideband energy to Hawaii up the 175 degree path and more directly at California up the 196 degree path totally unshadowed by Tahiti. Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 50S 155W. By evening the core of the low was a bit diffuse but 35-40 kt winds continued centered at 48S 143W outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 20 degrees east of the 195 degree path towards California. Seas were modeled at 37 ft over a moderate area centered at 48S 148W and mainly a function of the continued stress over the oceans surface for an extended period of time and even that may be a little optimistic. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the core of the fetch and reported one reading with seas at 35.8 ft, but most averaged in the 32 ft range. This was a bit lower than the 37 ft indicated by the model, possibly indicating the models was on the high side. This system was all but gone by Thursday AM with winds down to 30-40 kts centered roughly near 40S 135W with seas 32 ft at 45S 140W heading towards California up the 190 degree path. A quick decay forecast after that as a new storm starts building in west, stealing any remaining energy left behind.

This was not a well organized gale (not even a storm), or a strong wind producer. In fact, there was nothing that was remarkable about it other than it's to be 'something' as compared to nothing. In it's favor it held together reasonably well for 3 days and traveled reasonably well to the northeast towards California, but not moving as close as was forecast earlier. This will likely result in solid utility class swell/small significant class energy for the California. Hawaii to get some initial energy from this system too, but at it's peak this gale was a bit too far east relative to the Hawaiian swell window with fetch aimed east of there, only enabling solid utility class swell to push towards the Islands.

Hawaii: Swell #6S to peak overnight with solid energy continuing into Wednesday (8/23) with swell 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (5 ft faces - best breaks 6.0-6.5 ft) early, heading down late. Still fun sized swell expected Thursday with swell 3.0-3.3 ft @ 14 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) trickling down late. Rideable 13 secs residuals to continue into Friday. Swell Direction: 179-184 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (8/23) near noon with period at 20 secs and size tiny and barely rideable late (1.0-1.5 ft @ 20 secs - 2-3 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Thursday (8/24) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon and nearly peaking with swell up to 3.0-3.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.5 ft faces - best breaks to 7 ft). Swell to peak overnight with solid energy still present early Friday (8/25) with swell 3.3-3.5 ft @ 16-17 (5.5-6.0 ft faces - top spots 7.5 ft) holding well through the morning then fading early afternoon. Swell to be on the downswing Saturday morning but still quite rideable with swell 3.0-3.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft with sets to 6 ft at the best breaks) heading down by afternoon. Swell still rideable but fading from 3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday morning (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 201-205 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (8/23) late afternoon with period at 20 secs and size tiny and not likely rideable (1 ft @ 20 secs - 1-2 ft faces). Swell on the increase through the day Thursday (8/24) becoming much more rideable by late afternoon with swell up to 3 ft @ 18 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces). Swell to peak early Friday (8/25) with swell 3.3-3.5 ft @ 17 (5.5-6.0 ft faces - top spots 7.5 ft) holding well through the morning into early afternoon. Swell to be on the downswing Saturday morning but still quite rideable with swell 3.0-3.5 ft @ 15 secs (4.5-5.0 ft with sets to 6 ft at the best breaks) heading down by afternoon. Swell still rideable but fading from 3 ft @ 14 secs Sunday morning (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 196-202 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 high pressure to consolidate over a broad area north of Hawaii early next week. The Cape Mendocino gradient to fade before that consolidation over the weekend, then start regenerating a little Tuesday (8/29) but with little affect. Of slightly more interest is the dropping of low pressure from the Bering Sea into the Northern Gulf of Alaska Mon/Tues riding over the top of the broad high off Hawaii, setting up a weak gradient and 25 kt winds aimed towards the Pacific Northwest. but in reality, it probably won't happen. Otherwise trades to remain suppressed over Hawaii with the high too far to the north, and no significant tropical storm development suggested. A calm pattern in all.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is forecast developing south east of New Zealand on Sunday (8/27) with a fetch of 35 kt winds aimed northeast for 48 hours as the system tracks steadily east, building 29-30 kts seas. maybe some weak hope here for locations well to the north, but not much. A much broader and stronger system is forecast to push under New Zealand late Monday (8/28) with pressure at 940 mbs and 40-45 kts west winds covering a wide fetch area. Some hope if this materializes. Yet another stronger one is forecast tracking under Australia behind it.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: After a long hiatus since our last update (we've been heads-down building new wave models - coming soon) , we've finally dug in and did the analysis of what's going on over the Equatorial Pacific. Things are looking up some, so take a glance and get into all the details: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml

2006 Wave of Compassion: The 2006 Wave of Compassion is a sweepstakes style fundraiser for SurfAid International; a non-profit humanitarian aid organization on a mission to improve the health of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. This October, one grand-prize winner and guest will go on an all expense paid surf/cultural boat trip to the Mentawai Islands and North Sumatra. The Wave of Compassion trip is a chance to raise awareness and funds. Through the support of Surfline, Indies Trader Marine Adventures, FUEL TV, Reef, Jedidiah, Cobian, Anarchy Eyewear, Wave Riding Vehicles, Kandui Resort, Saraina Koat Mentawai, and a many other supporters, Wave of Compassion's ultimate goal is to raise $250,000 for SurfAid International. If you're interested, you have have until September 1st to enter. There's a suggested donation of $10 - but donating more increases the odds of winning the grand prize, or other prizes. Learn more at the Wave of Compassion website: http://www.waveofcompassion.org/

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

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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