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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 28, 2007 7:38 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 = 3.0 - California & 3.5 - 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 8/27 thru Sun 9/2
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   

Southern Hemi Swell Hits Hawaii
California Waits Its Turn

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (8/28) Northern CA surf was chest high and clean but foggy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA thigh to maybe thigh high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh to waist high with a rare chest high set. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was rarely up to the thigh to waist high range. The East Shore was waist high.

North/Central California was getting the last of locally generated northwest windswell. Southern California was essentially flat with only faint bit's of tiny background southern hemi swell showing at the most exposed breaks. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore but getting small southern hemi swell on the South Shore mixing with the usual small easterly windswell. Small easterly windswell continued on the East Shore. The North Pacific actually has some low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska generating 20-25 kts northwest winds aimed towards the mainland, but too far away to have any real impact. And more of this pattern is to continue through the weekend. Long term there's even a hint of a real gale on the dateline, but that is not believable at this early date. Best bet is for local windswell starting Friday and holding for the weekend at exposed breaks in Central CA. Things have been trying in the South Pacific and swell is in the water. First up is swell from a gale that was off New Zealand currently poised to hit Hawaii then push into California. And a second gale formed behind it just strong enough to generate more small swell for Hawaii and California for the Labor Day weekend and beyond (relative to the mainland). And yet a third is on the charts and starting to develop today. So we're in our usual Labor Day end of summer swell cycle for the southern hemi with hints that the North Pacific might soon try to come online. 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 (8/28) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate flow generally at 100 kts flowing up the Kuril Islands over to the Aleutians, then dipping a bit south going through the Gulf of Alaska. A mild trough was in the Gulf providing an area favorable to low pressure development, but nothing stronger. Over the next 72 hours the flow in the Gulf is to continue to sip southward with winds building to near 120 kts late Friday (8/31) continuing support for low pressure development there, but nothing into the gale force range. Beyond 72 hours the trough is to fade there building into a ridge pushing north early next week, but a new trough is to start developing over the dateline pushing south from the Aleutians. Decent potential for low pressure development there. Looks like a Fall pattern continues to try and build-in.

Note: We've made a major upgrade to our jetstream forecast models. They now includes topographic landmasses with the jet flowing over it. As before, wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. Take a look here:( NPac, SPac )

At the surface today weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was over the dateline stretching southeast bowing into a weak ridging pushing into North CA and the Pacific Northwest. It was generating a mild gradient off Cape Mendocino CA producing 25 kt north winds there and small to moderate windswell that was pushing into Central CA. But it was not providing any fuel for trades over the Hawaiian Islands, with lighter than normal winds occurring there. Also weak low pressure at 1000 mbs was in the northern Gulf of Alaska generating a small fetch of 20-25 kts northwest winds aimed towards the Pacific Northwest, but too weak and too far away to have any impact from a swell production standpoint. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/31) the high pressure system to pull away from the California coast eliminating the north winds that have been so present off Cape Mendocino, and eliminating windswell generation potential. But this is to focus the high more north on Hawaii, increasing trades over the Islands to the 15-20 kts range and maybe providing an incremental increase in easterly windswell there. Low pressure is to continue in the Gulf of Alaska, fading some late in the period but with more low pressure building right behind. In either case, neither low is to have enough juice to produce any swell.

 

Tropics
A tropical depression was spinning between Wake Island Saipan traveling northwest. It's forecast to slowly build to hurricane strength by Friday and being redirected to the northwest towards the orient. No indications of any swell generation potential for our forecast area at this time.

The models continue suggesting some form of weak tropical development off mainland Mexico over the coming weekend tracking northwest up along Baja maybe a week out, but odds very low.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (8/28) high pressure off Cape Mendocino was fading with the north winds it was generating fading as well. A light northwest winds flow is forecast by Wednesday AM holding through Friday (8/31) with no chop or windswell of interest forecast. High pressure to try and re-surge back into the Central CA coast by Saturday with 20-25 kts northwesterly winds taking over nearshore waters likely making for sloppy conditions near the coast in Central CA. Southern CA to remain shadowed though. This pattern to hold through Tuesday of next week, if not build some continuing rather ugly surface conditions over Central CA. But Southern Ca to remain protected.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (8/28) for the South Pacific indicated an almost merged flow in place with both the north and southern branches of the jet flowing together, but total energy levels low with winds mostly weak other than once fragmented pocket to 140 kts well south of Tahiti helping to frame a broad but not deep trough north of the Ross Ice Shelf there. Some support for surface level low pressure development possible. Back to the west a split flow was occurring though. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/31) this trough is to get a bit better organized but is to be pushing out of even the Southern Ca swell window by late Wednesday likely doing much the same at the oceans surface and limiting gale generation potential. But the trough is to not be completely denied, and is to try and regenerate back further west , but not have any winds of interest associated with it. Beyond 72 hours the merged jet pattern is to separate, with the southern branch pulling it's old familiar tact of sweeping over Antarctic Ice by this weekend (9/2) and continuing well into next week, eliminating any chances for surface level low pressure development.

At the oceans surface today low pressure at 956 mbs was in the far Southeast Pacific generating only 35 kt westerly winds (remnants from this weekend's gale there). Another low was trying to organize off New Zealand (details below).

Over the next 72 hours the small new low to fire up just east of New Zealand starting Tuesday AM (8/28) with pressure 980 mbs. A small fetch of 35 kts winds to be aimed north from 43S 180W towards Hawaii. In the evening it to build with pressure 968 mbs and winds 40-45 kts over a decent sized fetch area at 43S 175W aimed well towards Hawaii 20 degrees east of the 196 degree path and right at California up the 217 degree path. Wednesday AM (8/29) with to build to 45-50 kts at 46S 170W aimed about like before. Seas finally building to 30 ft over a tiny area at 43S 170W. In the evening fetch to be fading fast with winds 45 kts at 45S 160W aimed due east and not at Hawaii at all and 45 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti. Seas building to 36 ft @ 45S 165W (unshadowed to California). This system to be gone by Thursday AM (8/30) with residual 35 ft seas at 45S 154W. Theoretically some form of 30 ft seas to persist tracking east through Friday, but odds low. If this system develops as forecast some form of decent utility class swell should push into Hawaii and California. Will monitor.

 

New Zealand Gale
At the surface starting Monday AM (8/20) low pressure at 968 mbs started building south of the Tasman Sea pushing east towards the Southwest Pacific. Winds were confirmed at 50 kts over a small area centered at 52S 160E aimed towards California up the 220 degree path but still shadowed from Hawaii by New Zealand. By evening it was at 45 kts at 52S 170E aimed towards CA up the 217 degree path and just in the Hawaiian swell window at 201 degrees. Seas were up to 32 ft at 53S 160E.

On Tuesday AM (8/210) 40 kts winds were modeled pushing north up the southeastern coast of New Zealand at 49S 178W with 33 ft seas modeled at 50S 170E. No Jason-1 satellite passes occurred near this system. In the evening winds faded on the original fetch down below 35 kts while a new fetch started to build to 40 kts at 54S 171E aimed right up the 215 degree path to CA and 30 degrees east of the 198 degree path to Hawaii. Seas fading from 30 ft associated with the original fetch at 48S 178E. The Jason-1 satellite passed near this area and reported seas on the periphery of the fetch running about as modeled.

The new fetch took over on Wednesday AM (8/22) at 40-45 kts centered at 46S 176W generating 30 ft seas at 50S 175E. the Jason-1 satellite passed over the old fetch and found seas running about 3 ft smaller than what the WW3 wavemodel suggested. Not good. On Wednesday PM 35-40 kt winds were fading at 44S 171W aimed well up the 211 degree great circle path to California and the 191 degree path to Hawaii as this one pushed northeast. 29 ft seas fading at 45S 173W.

This system was not impressive by any means from a historical perspective. But given the complete lack of any real storm activity, this was a good step in the right direction. But Jason-1 data, though spotty tended to suggest that it was not as strong as the wave models would have one believe, meaning the resulting swell might be a little less than hoped for. regardless, some form of rideable 16-17 sec utility class swell to result. Swell to be best for the Islands given their close proximity to the swells source (4073-4974 nmiles) though most energy was aimed east of the Islands. Swell to be smaller for CA given the longer travel distance (5583-6712 nmiles) even though it was aimed almost directly toward them.

Hawaii: Expect first early signs of this swell hitting late Monday afternoon (8/27) with pure swell 1.3 ft @ 18-19 secs (2 ft faces) and inconsistent. Swell building into Tuesday (8/28) with swell up to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs late (4 ft faces - best breaks to near 6 ft). Swell continuing up with reinforcing energy moving in Wednesday (8/29). Swell to 3.0-3.3 ft @ 15 secs (5 ft faces - best breaks to 6 ft). Swell hanging on Thursday (8/30) at 3 ft @ 14 secs (4 ft faces), heading down late. Swell Direction: 191-201 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday afternoon (8/30) at 1.3 ft @ 18 sec late (2 ft faces) and very inconsistent. Swell building Friday (8/31) to 2.5 ft @ 17 sec by sunrise (4 ft faces - best breaks to 5 ft). Swell holding solid Saturday AM at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces - best break occasionally 5 ft) but still inconsistent. Swell fading Sunday at 2.4 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft faces), and dropping. Swell Direction: 218-222 degrees.

Northern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday afternoon (8/30) at 1.3 ft @ 18 sec late (2 ft faces) and very inconsistent. Swell building Friday (8/31) to 2.5 ft @ 17 sec by 9 AM (4 ft faces - best breaks to 5 ft). Swell holding solid Saturday AM at 2.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (4 ft faces - best break occasionally 5 ft) but still inconsistent. Swell fading Sunday at 2.4 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft faces), and dropping. Swell Direction: 215-219 degrees.

 

Central Pacific Gale
A new low pressure system started to build from 964 mbs Thursday AM (8/23) under New Zealand. A moderate sized fetch of 40-45 kts winds was modeled at 55S 175E aimed 30 degrees east of the 211 degree path to CA and 45 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building but the wind/swell vector was a problem already. The gale built in coverage during the evening to 960 mbs with 45 kts winds at 52S 170W aimed again almost due east or 30 degrees east of the 209 degree path to California (and shadowed by Tahiti) and 65 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. 30 ft seas were modeled at 56S 178E. The jason-1 satellite passed over the backside of the fetch and reported seas of 30 ft where the model indicated 29 ft, right on track.

The fetch held solid Friday AM (8/24) at near 40-45 kts at 50S 160W aimed again 30 degrees east of the 202 degree path to California but unshadowed by Tahiti and 90 degree east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 32 ft at 52S 168W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the edge of the fetch and reported 28 ft seas where the model suggested 30 ft. The fetch continued east in the evening with a small area of 40 kts winds at 50S 150W aimed 30 degree east of the 196 degree path to California and outside the Hawaiian swell window. 36 ft seas were modeled at 50S 158W (shadowed by Tahiti for CA).

A rapid fade of the first fetch occurred Saturday AM (8/25) with winds down to 35-40 kts at 55S 135W well outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed 60 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California. 30 ft seas hung near 50S 146W per the model but the Jason-1 satellite passed right over the core of the fetch and reported seas only to 29 ft and likely less at 55S 147W. But a new fetch of 45 kts winds developed behind at 52S 170W aimed due east or 60 degrees east of the 205 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 90 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii and starting to generate new seas. In the evening these winds moved to 52S 150W again aimed east or aimed 35 degrees east of the 197 degree path to CA (unshadowed) and outside the HI swell window. Seas from the original fetch were gone with seas from the secondary fetch at 30 ft at 50S 165W.

On Sunday (8/26) the primary fetch was gone and a secondary fetch of 50-55 kts winds was centered at 57S 138W aimed northeast or 35 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California. Seas 30 ft at 50S 150W. In the evening that fetch was sinking southeast continuing at 50 kts but aimed due east at 60S 130W or 80 degrees east of the 182 degree path to California. It was over. Seas 39 ft @ 59S 129W.

Hawaii looks likely to get small utility class sideband swell from this one due to it's close proximity (4319-4836 nmiles) and California possibly a bit more, but not much (5227-6283 nmiles). The big problem with this one was that the fetch passed from west to east quickly and didn't get good traction on the oceans surface, and even when it did, the fetch was aimed almost due and not well up any great circle path to Hawaii or California. So for the most part it will be sideband swell for either location.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Fri (8/31) 7 AM with period 17 secs and size tiny but coming up. Swell to start peaking late afternoon at 2.5-2.8 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks pushing 6 ft on the sets). Swell holding into Saturday AM (9/1) with swell 2.5-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) fading to 14 secs at sunset. A secondary pulse of 17 sec energy is possible starting mid-Saturday with swell up to 2.4 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.5-4.0 ft faces), fading to 2.4 ft @ 15 secs by Sunday AM (9/2) (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and holding there for a day as period drops to 14 secs, then fading out. Swell Direction 180-190 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday sunrise (9/2) with period 17 secs and size small but building. Swell to peak right before sunrise into first light Monday morning (9/3) with swell 2.7 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - 5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Period dropping to 15 secs Monday afternoon. Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs at sunrise Tuesday (9/4) (3.5-4.0 ft faces). A secondary pulse of energy to arrive Monday afternoon too with period near 17 secs peaking first light Tuesday with swell 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - 5 ft faces best breaks) fading to 15 sec late. Period down to 14 secs Wednesday (9/5) with swell 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft faces) and fading. Swell Direction: 200-210 on the first pulse and 198-208 on the second.

Northern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday (9/2) about 2 PM with swell 2 ft @ 17 secs (3 ft faces) and size small but building. Swell to peak at sunrise Monday morning (9/3) with swell 2.7 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - 5.0-5.5 ft faces best breaks). Period dropping to 15 secs Monday late afternoon. Swell down to 2.6 ft @ 14 secs late morning Tuesday (9/4) (3.5-4.0 ft faces). A secondary pulse of energy to arrive Monday sunset too with period near 17 secs peaking mid-morning Tuesday with swell 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - 5 ft faces best breaks). Period down to 15 secs Wednesday (9/5) AM with swell 2.5 ft @ 15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and fading with period at 14 secs at sunset. Swell Direction: 195-210 on the first pulse and 195-206 on the second.

 

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 another weak low is to set up in the Gulf Friday-Saturday (9/1) positioned further south than the previous one and producing 20-25 kts northwest winds aimed a bit further south. But still the same problem is to persist, too weak and too far away to have any swell generation potential. It's expected to track northeast pushing into northern Canada late in the weekend. Theoretically a new gale is to start building off the Kuril's late Sunday (9/2) tapping tropical moisture from the tropical depression mentioned above with up to 45 kt north winds developing aimed even west of Hawaii by Tuesday (9/4). Odds very low of this occurring but it's a nice little tease to watch while we wait for Fall to really start.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a storm is to develop in the far Southeast Pacific, forming from the remnants of the New Zealand gale currently in-play. It's to have a brief winds of 50-55 kts winds on Saturday (9/1) aimed north for 12 hours generating maybe 40 ft seas, but they are to be positioned already outside even the Southern Ca swell window and traveling due east towards Chile with little hope for anything moving to the north. Another broad gale is forecast pushing under New Zealand a week out, but most of it is to be over the Ross ice Shelf. with almost nothing over ice free waters. No hope.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here: http://www.bluewatergoldrush.com

Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com

Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists. http://www.waveridersgallery.net/

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/

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

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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