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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 3, 2006 8:55 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 = 2.5 - 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 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   

Small New Zealand Swell Heads Northeast
Ioke to Turn Extratropical and Head Northeast

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (9/3) Northern CA surf was near flat with top spots thigh high and weak. 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 up to thigh high with slightly bigger sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was maybe thigh high.

No surf of interest was occurring in California with most spots less than waist high. Not even any rideable windswell up north. Hawaii was in a funk with no swell of interest hitting. Fortunately this boring sea state is about the start moving a little with small Southern Hemi swell pushing north scheduled to hit Hawaii first during the week then push into California for the weekend. But before that California to see some northwest windswell. And of interest is Typhoon Ioke, taking a bead on Japan but the latest models suggest it to be just a glancing blow with the storm curving north and northeast, tracking eventually back over the dateline and into the northeast Gulf of Alaska. Doubtful much swell will result, but the models at least are now provided a tease. Fall can't be too far behind. 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 (9/3) continue indicating a flow tracking generally over the Aleutian Islands though sporadic bits of energy to 140 kts appear now and then. A hint of a weak trough is modeled next weekend in the western Gulf, but nothing to suggest a major change in circulation at the surface. But the overall flow is becoming more pronounced and a Fall pattern appears to be trying to get established.

At the surface today a weak patch of high pressure at 1024 mbs was over the dateline ridging east with Typhoon Ioke tracking under it towards Japan (see details below), but otherwise a slack pattern was in control. No windswell generation for Hawaii or California was in evidence. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/6) this high to split with one lobe pushing up along the North CA coast with pressure to 1028 mbs starting to generate north winds over the Cape Mendocino area at 20-25 kts and generating some small windswell. These winds to also extend southwest from the state up to Hawaii in the 15-20 kts range, possibly setting up small short period windswell there in the days ahead. A second lobe of high pressure is modeled to hold over the dateline at 1020 mbs, providing some steering for Ioke in the days ahead.

 

Tropics
Typhoon Ioke is down from it's raging peak earlier last week of 140 kt winds and 50 ft seas, with sustained winds a mere 95 kts and seas of only 34 ft positioned 720 nmiles southeast of Japan on a northwest track at 10 kts. This is good for interests in Japan. Winds are forecast to slowly drift downward over the coming 4 days as Ioke makes a slow turn to the north and then northeast missing all landmasses as it travels just offshore from Japan, the Kuril Islands and the southern Kamchatka Peninsula. Winds to be down to 40 kts Thursday AM (9/7) as it makes the final turn to the east off Kamchatka bound for the Northeastern Pacific. Latest models suggest another low to be falling out of the Bering Sea at that time as the extratropical remnants of Ioke race east across the dateline, remaining south of the Aleutians while getting sheared and absorbed into the Bering low repositioned in the northern Gulf of Alaska. By Friday (9/8) the consolidated low to have pressure of 976 mbs with a moderate fetch of 25 kts northwest winds perhaps building to 30-35 kts Saturday aimed well at the Pacific Northwest and the northern half of California. Perhaps some small seas and swell to result, but it's to all get quickly carried off into Alaska on Sunday (9/10). Not much hope, but a glimmer perhaps.

Tropical Storm John was tracking up the Baja peninsula on Sunday and no swell producing fetch of any interest had or was forecast to push into the California swell window. Interestingly the models suggest the core of the storm to pop out into the Pacific just south of Ensenada a mere 120 nmiles south of San Diego on Wednesday AM (9/6), but only 20 kts winds to remain, and even that is highly unlikely. No swell generation potential.

Tropical Depression Kristy was fading fast and tracking south positioned 900 nmiles south of San Diego. This system to continue fading with no swell generation potential expected. Whatever swell it generated from earlier in it's life has already hit exposed breaks in Southern CA and is on it's way down. This is the last report for this system.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
Weak high pressure at 1018 mbs is forecast to start building off California on Monday (9/4) through not producing any winds of interest until late afternoon. On Tuesday the first hints of gradient north winds to start getting established off Cape Mendocino at 25 kts, but still a light wind pattern expected over local waters south of Pt Reyes. On Wednesday winds to build to near the 30 kts range winds windswell on the way up but still the local pattern to remain decent. Then early Thursday the gradient to build in areal coverage with a broad 30-35 kt north fetch pushing from the Oregon-CA border south to San Francisco. Windswell on the way up through the bulk of these winds to still hang just off the coast, though very lumpy conditions likely nearshore. The gradient to begin a quick fade late Thursday into Friday with a light eddy flow (southerly wind) in control, then even that fading by Saturday. In all not too bad locally.

 

South Pacific

Overview
On Sunday (9/3) a fully split jetstream pattern was in effect with the northern branch flowing flat west-to-east from north of New Zealand into Chile with no winds over 110 kts suggested. The southern branch had more energy but was in a bad configuration with winds flowing flat west to southeast from well south of New Zealand over the Ross Ice Shelf and into Antarctica. No support for surface level storm development suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/6) the pattern to remain the same if not dipping even more over the Ross Ice Shelf with no suggestion of surface level storm development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same expected with the southern branch pushing over Antarctic Ice over the width of the South Pacific Ocean, not providing an environment favorable to surface level storm development. Perhaps a bit of a trough to develop southeast of New Zealand, but that seems unlikely.

At the surface no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring. A small fetch setup southeast of New Zealand on Saturday (9/2) generating a small fetch of 40-45 kt winds aimed mostly to the east and not very steady, trying to hold into Sunday. The wave models suggested 35 ft seas Saturday evening at 55S 172W then fading into Sunday AM, but that seems on the high side. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass right over this area late Saturday night and confirmed seas 30-32 ft, a little less than the models suggested. Regardless, we're only talking about a 12 hour window of decent seas. Small sideband energy likely for Hawaii a week out, with Tahiti probably doing better, but nothing for the US mainland of interest.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of in terest is modeled.

 

Storm Under New Zealand
A storm started developing under New Zealand late Monday (8/28) tracking east with 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 but the Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and reported seas in the 32-35 ft range wit one reading to 37 ft. This is a good sign. By evening winds died 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 built to 38 ft at 57S 172E. One last bit of fetch remained Wednesday AM at 35-40 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 39 ft at 55S 179W. The Jason-1 satellite made another pass directly over the fetch reporting seas 34-38 ft over a decent sized area with one reading to 39.4 ft (http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_jason_anim.cgi?a=swpac_alt), consistent with the wave models. Residual seas from previous days fetch were modeled at 36 ft Wednesday PM at 55WS 170W.

The storm evolved quite close to forecast expectations and the wave models were in good agreement with multiple telemetry passes received from the Jason-1 satellite through the storms life. This suggests the models were accurate. But there are issues here. While Hawaii was much closer to the core fetch significantly reducing any swell decay experienced over the journey to the South Shore, the fetch itself was 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 were pushing better towards California, 20-40 degrees off the great circle path (which isn't great), but California itself was a very long ways away from the swell source, ensuring lot's of swell decay. And even worse, the Tahitian Island were sitting smack in the middle of the great circle paths late in the storms life for South CA, adding the detrimental effects of shadowing. For the most part North CA was OK. And in both cases the fetch/storm was not traveling northeast towards our intended targets, further limiting swell generation potential. Small to moderate utility class swell is the best hope, and even that might be optimistic. Swell of 3 ft @ 17 secs is all Hawaii will see (5.0-5.5 ft faces) on Wed (9/6). California to see maybe 2.5 ft @ 17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Most energy appears set on a direct course towards mainland Mexico and Costa Rica, though the swell decay argument still applies for those locales.

Hawaii: Expect the swell to start showing Tuesday (9/5) at sunrise and pushing up through the day with period at 20 secs. Swell to 2.3 ft @ 19 secs late (4.4 ft faces). Swell to peak through the day Wednesday (9/6) with swell 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft faces - up to 6.5 ft at the best breaks). Size holding decently Thursday (9/7) with swell 3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft faces) then heading down Friday (9/8) with swell 3 ft @ 14 secs early and fading (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 191-196 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival Thursday (9/7) around 11 AM with period 20-22 secs and size tiny. Swell coming up through the day Friday finally peaking Saturday (9/9) early morning with pure swell 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.3 ft faces - up to 5.3 ft peaks best breaks). Swell to hold through early Sunday with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) then start fading late as period drift down to 14 secs by 5 AM Monday. Swell Direction 206-210 degrees.

North California: Expect swell arrival Thursday (9/7) around 3 PM with period 20-22 secs and size tiny. Swell coming up through the day Friday finally peaking Saturday (9/9) morning with pure swell 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5 ft faces - up to 5.5 ft peaks best breaks). Swell to hold through early Sunday with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) then start fading late as period drift down to 14 secs by 5 AM Monday. Swell Direction 208-211 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 hold solid in the Northeast Pacific off North California generating more northerly winds off Cape Mendocino in the solid 30 kts range Thursday (9/7) then fading early Friday, but not before generating decent sized northwest windswell for exposed breaks in North and Central CA. Trades of 15-20 kts to also hold over the Hawaiian Islands through Friday (9/8) providing some form of short period windslop along east facing shores. Relatively calm winds forecast for both CA and HI over the weekend though as the Gulf of Alaska takes a more active role (See Ioke above).

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a calm patter to take control with most energy modeled pushing over Antarctic Ice. A storm is suggested under New Zealand starting next Friday (9/8) with 45-50 kts west winds holding for 24 hours generating 38 ft seas, but that seems highly optimistic given the upper level pattern projected for that time range. Otherwise no swell producing fetch suggested.

Details to follow...


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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
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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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