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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: August 29, 2006 8:29 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 = 1.2 - California & 1.3 - 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   

New Zealand Fetch Aimed Too Far East
North Pacific Tropics Reasonably Active

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (8/29) Northern CA surf was waist high, cold, drizzly and wind swept. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was thigh to waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high at top spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high, maybe a little more on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high with sets a little more. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was maybe thigh high. The East Shore was thigh high.

California remained near flat at most locations with up to barely rideable sets at the best spots down on the south end of the state. Hawaii wasn't doing so well with no real swell hitting either north or south facing shores. It's been a while since a real swell producing storm has graced either the North or South Pacific. A moderate storm was trying to organize under New Zealand, but it suffers from a variety of woes. Another equally ill-fitted storm to follow later this week. The North Pacific has 2 tropical systems of interest, but more from a pure meteorological standpoint. In all there's not much to make of the situation. Just waiting for the Fall weather pattern to start. 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 (8/29) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days. A weak trough is forecast over the coming weekend, but nothing to result from it.

At the surface high pressure was in control of the Northeast Pacific centered roughly 1200 nmiles west of Southern Oregon. Broad light low pressure was over the entire Northwest Pacific. Super Typhoon Ioke was just west of the dateline heading northwest towards Japan. the high in the Gulf of Alaska was generating mild northwest winds at 20 kts over Cape mendocino CA and also producing moderate trades over Hawaii, though no windswell of interest was in evidence. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/1) this high to surge east towards California and the Pacific Northwest holding at 1028 mbs fuel the development of north winds along the coast of North and Central CA centralizing near Cape Mendocino early Thursday with winds to 30-35 kts. This should generating short period local windswell for Wed/Thurs, then the whole thing to fade on Friday. At the same time moderate time to hold for the Hawaiian Islands at 15-20 kts Wednesday perhaps building a small short period windswell for east facing shores, then fading Thursday and Friday.

 

Tropics
Super Typhoon Ioke was still out there and looking impressive per this afternoons satellite imagery. Sustained winds remained 140 kt (161 mph) with seas 50 ft positioned 280 nmiles southeast of Wake Island and scheduled for a direct hit there early Thursday AM at full strength. After that a turn more to the northwest is forecast with a slow but steady degradation in strength modeled. The models show no significant change in heading or indication this storm might curve north to northeast, putting it just off Central Japan a week out with an impressive wind field nearly starting to hit that nation. No swell generation potential for the US mainland or Hawaii yet.

Hurricane John was 180 nmiles southeast of Acapulco Mexico heading west-northwest with winds 70 kts and on the increase. But this system was tucked too close to the Mexican coast to be in the Southern California swell window, and is not expected to track west enough to move into the window till Saturday AM. And by then winds are to be down to 85 kts and fading fast while tracking west/perpendicular to any great circle path to the north. No swell generation potential now and odds low of any developing in the future.

 

El Nino Note: Latest data suggests a Kelvin Wave is tracking under the Pacific equator positioned near 120W bound for Ecuador. A Kelvin wave is a pool of warmer than normal water that travels from the West Pacific to the east 150-200 meters under the oceans surface and is produced by a Westerly Wind Burst (winds that blow opposite of the trades in the West Pacific). Though not a sign of El Nino by itself, a series of Kelvin Waves can be an early signal of the development of El Nino. This Kelvin Wave of interest is 4 degrees above normal, considerably higher than anything evidenced in recent months. A second Westerly Wind Burst just faded within the past few days, with potential to develop of another Kelvin Wave. See the latest data here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/links/ensocurr.html

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
The Cape Mendocino pressure gradient is building late Tuesday expected to peak early Thursday with north winds there 30-35 kts, producing some form of rideable windswell along the North and Central CA coasts. A quick decay to follow though with windswell dissipating directly. A bit of north winds to impact the North and Central coasts Wednesday, then fade with eddy conditions (southwest winds) building in through Friday, then back to a light northwest flow Saturday well into mid next week. In all not much to report.

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

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Tuesday (8/30) a fully split jetstream pattern was in effect with the northern branch flowing generally flat from north of New Zealand east into Chile with no winds over 120 kts suggested. The southern branch was doing the same thing but flowing from under New Zealand into south Chile and even weaker with winds 90 kts dipping over the Ross Ice Shelf. the only exception was a tiny trough (northward dip in the southern jet) under New Zealand with a pocket of 150 kt winds flowing over it. Maybe some support for surface level storm development from this one. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/1) that trough to fade, then start sinking fast while trying to rebuild, but doing it only after moving over the Ross Ice Shelf. Beyond 72 hours another trough to build under New Zealand but suffer a similar fate into the weekend. Beyond that the jet to build further south flowing entirely over Antarctic Ice by late Sunday (9/3) with no indication of moving north.

At the surface today the only area of interest was a storm pushing under New Zealand:

A storm started developing under New Zealand late Monday (8/28) tracking east wit winds confirmed at 45-50 kts. Those winds were aimed due east or 20 degrees east of the 215 degree great circle path to California and 45 degrees east of the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building. On Tuesday AM the storm held it's strength with pressure 948 mbs. 45-50 kt west winds again were aimed 25 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California and 50 degrees east of the 199 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled at 32 ft at 57S 160E. By evening winds to die back to 40-45 kts aimed 30 degrees off the 211 degree path to California and 55 degrees off the 194 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 38 ft at 57S 172E. One last bit of fetch is forecast Wednesday AM at 35 kts aimed 40 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and 60 degree off the 191 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled to 40 ft at 55S 180W. Residual seas from previous days fetch expected at 36 ft Wednesday PM at 55WS 170W.

The net effect is that while Hawaii is much closer to the core fetch significantly reducing any swell decay experienced over the journey to the South Shore, the fetch itself is aimed well east of any path up to the Islands (45-60 degrees), significantly limiting the size and consistency of whatever swell is expected to arrive. It will all be sideband energy. Conversely winds are pushing better towards California, 20-40 degrees off the great circle path (which isn't great), but California itself is a very long ways away from the swell source, ensuring lot's of swell decay. And in both cases the fetch/storm is not traveling northeast towards our intended targets, further limiting swell generation potential. Small utility class swell is the best hope, and even that might be optimistic. Most energy appears set on a direct course towards mainland Mexico and Costa Rica, though the swell decay argument still applies for those locales.

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 in the Northeast Pacific to retreat to the west (north of Hawaii) and weaken, then hold there well into next week steering Typhoon Ioke towards Japan. No redevelopment of north winds off Cape Mendocino CA or trades over the Hawaii Islands forecast.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another storm is modeled under New Zealand Friday (9/1) with pressure 940 mbs and 50-55 kts winds holding for 24 hours generating up to 45 ft seas at 57S 170E-180W all aimed due east. The same issues apply to this storm as the one before it. Sideband swell potential for Hawaii at best with well decayed somewhat better directed energy towards California. More direct energy further south, but well decayed. The core of this one to track over Antarctic ice and fade. No other swell producing systems forecast to follow.

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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