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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 2, 2007 12:30 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 = 3.2 - California & 2.0 - 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 9/3 thru Sun 9/9
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 Focuses on CA Now
Gulf of Alaska Stirs Too

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (9/2) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high and a little lumpy but not too bad. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high with occasional chest high sets. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high with a few bigger sets. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high or a little more at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with chest high sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high, though most were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest high to head high at the better breaks. The East Shore was thigh high.

North/Central California was getting a nice little mix of southern hemi swell and small windswell providing all breaks with something to ride and more to come. Southern California was getting a nice dose of southern hemi swell with more coming. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore. The South Shore was getting a nice chunk of southern hemi swell with surf well rideable. But easterly windswell was really tiny on the East Shore. Happy Labor Day. It looks like there's something to ride for everyone, though not too large. But at least it's a nice way to end what otherwise was a long relatively uneventful summer. Looking ahead the North Pacific actually has low pressure circulating in the south Gulf of Alaska that is trying to generate some seas, but it won't be enough to make anything really rideable. Still, it's definitely a step in the right direction. And more similar activity is forecast this week, so this isn't to be one weird isolated incident. Windswell to be the most reliable swell source for Central CA this week. Only small windswell for the eastern shore of the Islands forecast though. The South Pacific has produced swell with is hitting all forecast locations now, and more of that to continue. Hawaii has one more day of something rideable before the bottom falls out. But California is expected to have rideable surf through at least Wednesday, and maybe a day beyond with some luck. Looking at the models the South Pacific is to settle down, though one system is forecast under New Zealand later this week with seas to 36 ft, that is a reach this far out into the future. So make the most of what you've got, and keep you fingers crossed. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Sundays jetstream charts (9/2) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate flow pushing off the southern Kuril Islands rising over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians, then dipping firmly southeast through the Gulf of Alaska and pushing into Washington. Winds were up to 130 kts flowing southeast in the Gulf of Alaska producing a trough and providing a decent environment to support low pressure development at the oceans surface there. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to push east and quickly weaken as it approaches land, moving over the Pacific Northwest on early Tuesday (9/4). A flat jet pattern to take over after that flowing just barely south of the Aleutians not providing any support for surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours a big ridge is to set up in the Gulf of Alaska next weekend pushing over Alaska and shutting down any hope there. But in the west a decent trough is forecast trying to build off the northern Kuril Islands (Siberia) pushing towards the dateline. Winds initially to be up to 140 kts on Friday (9/7), then fading to the 110 kt range during next weekend. Limited support for surface level low pressure there.

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 towards California with just a tiny finger of isobars almost reaching the coast near Pt Conception, generating limited 15-20 kt northerly winds there on up to Pt Reyes. This was also helping to generate trades over the Hawaiian Islands in the 15-20 kts range and small windswell, but not much in either case. Of far more interest was a 996 mb low situated 1100 nmiles east of the south Oregon border producing winds of 30-35 kts aimed a bit south of Central and South California. These winds to hold till noon today, then fade out but it's to be enough to possibly generate 20 ft seas by this evening at 40N 145W for 6 hours. That could put small 5 ft @ 12-13 sec period swell (5-6 ft faces) pushing into exposed breaks in Central California on early Wednesday morning (9/5) from 285 degrees and into Southern CA late morning at 2 ft @ 12 secs (2.5 ft faces) from 290 degrees. Will be interesting to see if this unfolds. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/5) another low is scheduled for the extreme northern Gulf of Alaska Monday (9/3) with 35 kt winds pushing west towards Canada again generating 20 ft seas, but aimed all at the Central Canadian coast northward. And yet more lesser activity is scheduled behind that north of Hawaii, but is not expected to generate enough winds to generate event a hint of a swell. The tropics are to be moving too (see below), so in all things are starting to heat up a little in the North Pacific.

 

Tropics
Typhoon Fitow was 600 nmiles southeast of Japan with winds 80 kts. It was moving southwest at 7 kts and forecast to slowly turn west and the northwest impacting Japan near Tokyo on Thursday AM (9/6) with winds at 80 kts. Current data suggest it to track over land and maybe push northeast of Japan 24 hours later at tropical storm strength. The GFS model has it lingering off Japan next weekend but not doing anything because it is to be out of range of the jetstream. A slow fade the most likely outcome.

Tropical Storm Henriette was located 200 nmiles west of Manzanillo Mexico on Sunday (9/2) tracking west-northwest with sustained winds 60 kts. Slow strengthening is forecast into late Monday when winds are to peak out at 80 kts as Henriette moves 150 nmiles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, just barely in the Southern CA swell window but 800 nmiles away. The storm to turn more to the north and be fading providing barely 24 hours of hurricane force winds aimed into the South CA swell window before falling to tropical storm strength and pushing into Central Baja Thursday (9/6). Limited odds for small swell for Southern CA. Will monitor.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (9/2) high pressure was trying to push into California waters generating a minor fetch of 15-20 kts northwest winds from Pt Reyes south into Pt Conception, but was weak. It was being held at bay by low pressure 1100 nmiles out at sea which was surprisingly strong for the time of year. This scenario to hold into Tuesday and then the low is to be gone and high pressure is to move in unimpeded. Fortunately it is to be north of our area setting up the usual small but strong fetch over Cape Mendocino. A broad fetch of 15-20 kt north winds on Wednesday (9/5) covering the entire stretch from Pt Conception northward, but that's to quickly coalesce to the north resulting in light winds from Pt Arena southward by late Wednesday continuing through the weekend. Light south eddy winds possible at 10 kts, but that's as bad as it gets. Looks like a Fall weather pattern setting up.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Sundays jetstream charts (9/2) for the South Pacific indicated a weak fragmented flow pushing over the Southern Pacific. One area of interest was a trough over the far Southeastern Pacific with a small area of 180 kts winds in the troughs apex but located near 110W, effectively out of even the Southern CA swell window. There was support for low pressure development here, but nowhere else in the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/5) the trough to push into Southern Chile while a weak split flow takes over the rest of the South Pacific. A very weak trough is to try and get established under New Zealand Monday with 140 kt winds flowing north up it's west side (a good thing) , but it's to all be over the Ross Ice Shelf and landlocked. And even at that it is to be fading fast by Wednesday. No real support for low pressure development indicated. Beyond 72 hours a big ridge is to set up in the Southeast Pacific pushing into Antarctica proper and totally shutting things down there while weak troughiness continues under New Zealand tot he South-Central Pacific, but mostly over ice. And even that to be gone with a new ridge setting up in the west by next weekend. No real support for surface level low pressure development indicated.

At the oceans surface today the only area of interest was a 968 mbs low pressure system centered at 100W, well east of even the the Southern CA swell window. It wa pushing 40 kt winds to the north and they were expected to build to almost 50 kts by evening at 48S 100W aimed more northeast, or 45 degrees east of the 168 degree path to Southern CA. 40 ft seas forecast at 48S 160W, but odds extremely low of any of this reaching even Southern CA. Otherwise a calm pattern was in control. Over the next 72 hours another weak low is to develop in the far Southeast Pacific Mon-Tues (8/4) generating a fleeting fetch of 40 kts winds aimed north from 43S 131W that might generate 30 ft seas late Tuesday at 37S 122W. Maybe some small utility swell mainly for Southern CA if this happens, but odds low.

 

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: Swell fading to 2.4 ft @ 15 secs by Sunday AM (9/2) (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and holding there for a day (Monday) 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.

 

New Zealand Gale
A small new low fired up just east of New Zealand Tuesday AM (8/28) with pressure 980 mbs. A small fetch of 35 kts winds was aimed north from 43S 180W towards Hawaii. In the evening it built with pressure 968 mbs and a tiny area of winds 40-45 kts at 45S 172W 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) this one held with 40-45 kt winds at 45S 170W aimed more to the east. Seas finally built to 29 ft over a tiny area at 43S 170W. In the evening fetch was fading fast with winds 40-45 kts at 44S 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 built to 32 ft @ 44S 164W (unshadowed to California) attributable mainly to the previous days fetch.

This system was gone by Thursday AM (8/30) with residual 30 ft seas fading at 45S 152W.

This system was small, short lived, and didn't have fetch aimed particularly well at Hawaii when it was strongest, and it was too far away from California to be of particular interest. The net result to be some form of small utility class swell pushing into Hawaii starting Tuesday (9/4) at 1.3 ft @ 15 secs building to 2 ft @ 14 secs (2.5 ft faces0 Wednesday (9/5).Swell Direction: 185-190 degrees. Swell to reach CaliforniaWednesday (9/5) with swell 2.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) fading Thursday with swell 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 207-2217 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 that has been locked over the dateline is to push east moving into the Gulf of Alaska by Wednesday (9/5) starting to generate the usual pressure gradient along the North CA coast over Cape Mendocino, producing 30 kt north winds there late continuing into Thursday before fading. Windswell likely for the usual California breaks during this time frame. But the movement of this high away from Hawaii to reduce trades there and eliminate easterly windswell generation potential. A broad weak low to push off the Kamchatka Peninsula Thursday (9/6) moving to the dateline, then tracking northeast into the Bering Sea Friday. Limited 25 kts fetch forecast over exposed waters of the North Pacific, but not enough to generate any swell relative to Hawaii or California. Things to settle down some after that.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a strong low developing under New Zealand on Thursday (9/6) with pressure 956 mbs and 50 kts winds at 61S 180W generating 35 ft seas at 55S 178E. But the core of the low is to be over ice, and the seas generated mainly by outlying lesser winds. The low and associated fetch to travel east through Friday while fading with seas building to 36 ft late Thursday, then fading as well. Odds low for this to actually happen though. No other swell sources indicated.

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

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