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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 7, 2007 3:40 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   

Windswell Takes Over in CA
Two Storms On-Track Under New Zealand

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (9/6) Northern CA surf was chest to head high with some bigger sections, foggy and warbled. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was chest to head high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist high with sets pushing the chest high range. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high with some bigger sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was thigh high.

North/Central California was getting a good dose of local windswell mixed with fading swell from the Gulf of Alaska and dribbles from the southern hemi under than. Southern California was getting a small mix of fading southern hemi swell and local windswell. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore. The South Shore was getting the last vestiges of southern hemi swell. Easterly windswell was all but gone on the East Shore. No southern hemi swell of interest is in the forecast for the next few days for either Hawaii or California. But a gale has formed under New Zealand and has generated sufficient seas to set another swell in motion, just starting to radiate northeast towards our forecast area. That swell swell should arrive in Hawaii late next workweek and push on into California for that weekend. And another stronger storm is forecast right behind, likely providing more action. Things to calm down after that though, so make the most of it. Up north the North Pacific is trying to wake up from it's long summer slumber, but isn't there quite yet. A gale is forecast for the dateline in the next few days, with most fetch aimed mid-way between Hawaii and California. Hawaii will likely fair best from this due to it's close proximity to the fetch. But no large scale moderate swell producing systems are charted yet. So the southern hemi offers the best hope for now. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (9/6) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate flow pushing flat off the Kuril Islands, over the dateline and through the northern Gulf of Alaska. Wind speeds were up a bit over the Western Pacific near 140 kts pushing to the dateline, but no defined trough of interest capable of supporting surface level low pressure was indicated just yet. Over the next 72 hours a well defined trough is to building over the dateline starting Friday (9/7) with winds up to 140 kts. Decent potential for low pressure to develop at the oceans surface favoring the Hawaiian swell window. At the same time a big ridge is to take control of the Gulf of Alaska, driving the jetstream well north into the Bering Sea. Beyond 72 hours another trough to try and build over the Northwest Pacific Mon/Tues (9/11), but most energy to be landlocked in the Bering Sea with only a tiny bit pushing south over open waters of the Pacific. Low pressure development likely the Bering Sea with maybe some fetch dangling south, but not much. More energy looks to be building over Siberia behind that, so there hope in the days beyond and a Fall pattern tries to become better established.

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 high pressure at 1028 mbs was positioned 800 nmiles west of Oregon setting up a pressure gradient along the North CA coast and generating 30 kt north winds over Cape Mendocino. Local windswell generation was occurring and moderate period swell from that was already pushing down into Central CA. Low pressure at 1000 mbs was 1100 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii generating a short lived fetch of 30-35 kt north winds and 18 ft seas aimed well at the Islands. This to set up some north windswell for the North Shore for the weekend (see QuikCAST's for details). But the low has already maxed out and is expected to be gone by late this evening. Also a 988 mb low was pushing east off the Kamchatka Peninsula, providing some hope for the future. Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (9/9) the high pressure system off Oregon to continue to produce 30 kt winds and moderate sized local windswell for Central CA through Saturday (9/8) then slowly fading. But the high to not completely dissipate, instead sitting locked in the eastern Gulf of Alaska blocking the storm corridor there. The Kamchatka low is to develop some on Friday (9/7) with pressure dropping to 980 mbs while moving to the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians, producing 35 kt northwest winds for 24 hrs aimed best towards Hawaii then fading out Saturday AM. 20 ft seas forecast then 45N 180W, possibly setting up the first rideable pulse for the North Shore this Fall season. Maybe even a little energy to push into California, but size to be small in all cases.

 

Tropics
Minimal Typhoon Fitow was moving inland just west of Tokyo Japan early Thursday (9/6) with winds at 70 kts. Current data suggests it to track northeast over land and push off northern Japan early Saturday at tropical depression strength. The GFS model indicates it to get sheared and absorbed into developing low pressure in the Bering Sea Sun/Mon (9/10) [details below].

The remnants of Hurricane Henriette were pushing inland over Arizona expected moving into New Mexico this evening. No swell generation potential indicated.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (9/6) high pressure at 1028 mbs was off Oregon pushing northeast and generating a broad pressure gradient off the California coast. North-northeast winds were modeled at 30-35 kts off Cape Mendocino and expected to hold through early Saturday, generating moderate windswell though tracking more away from the coast than towards it. This fetch was a good ways off the coast from from Pt Arena southward setting up eddy conditions (south winds 5-10 kts) over Central and South CA and expected to continue through the weekend. As the gradient fades early next week a light northwesterly wind pattern to take it's place (less than 15 kts) and hold through next week (other than 20 kt northwest winds localized to just off Pt Conception).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Thursdays jetstream charts (9/6) for the South Pacific indicated a split flow in control pushing flat over the Southern Pacific with just a slight drift to the south over the Southeast Pacific. A weak trough was in the southern branch of the jet southeast of New Zealand with winds to 120 kts, providing a smidgen of support for surface level low pressure development. Otherwise things were quiet. Over the next 72 hours the weak trough under New Zealand is to hold while building slightly east, and a new pocket of energy is to push into it Saturday (9/8) with winds to 130 kts. This trough to be just barely north of the Ross Ice Shelf providing more limited support for surface level low pressure development. At the same time a big ridge to be pushing south over Antarctica in the Southeast Pacific. Beyond 72 hours the trough to try and hold under New Zealand, positioned just barely north of the Ross Ice Shelf and lending limited support to surface level low pressure development on into Friday (9/14). But not big steep north pushing troughs indicated.

At the oceans surface today the only area of interest was a 956 mb low pressure system southeast of New Zealand and documented below (see New Zealand Storm). Otherwise winds were below 35 kts and tending to be aimed southeast towards Antarctica.

 

New Zealand Storm (updated Friday afternoon 9/7)
On Wednesday AM (9/5) a 968 mb low started to build under New Zealand producing a tiny area of 45 kt winds at 60S 160E just barely off the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. Actually the QuikSCAT satellite confirmed winds at 50 kts solid late morning. Winds were aimed due east or 45 degrees east of the 201 degree great circle path to Hawaii and 20 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California. Seas modeled at 29 ft at 60S 155E. In the evening winds were supposedly on the upswing fast reaching 50-55 kts at 59S 175E again aimed almost due east. but the QuikSCAT satellite reported winds of only 50 kts. These winds were aimed 50 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and becoming shadowed by Tahiti. Seas modeled at 33 ft at 60S 175E. No Jason-1 satellite passes came near the fetch.

On Thursday AM (9/6) storm pressure was 956 mbs with winds fading from 50 kts at 57S 175W aimed more to the northeast or 55 degrees east of the 188 degree path to Hawaii and 30 degrees east of the 206 degree path to California but shadowed by Tahiti. Seas were building at 37 ft at 57S 177W. In the evening 45 kt residual fetch was confirmed 55S 160W aimed northeast and aimed over 70 degrees east of the 181 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California. Seas fading from 36 ft at 56S 163W. The Jason-1 sateliite made 2 passes within 6 hours of each other over the outer edges of this systems and confirmed seas there were at or one foot short of what was modeled by the Wavewatch III wavemodel. So this builds some confidence the core of the storm was on-track as well.

By Friday AM (9/7) all fetch was gone and seas fading from 30 ft at 54S 153W, attributable all to previous days fetch.

This was a rather short storm of moderate strength. All fetch relative to Hawaii was aimed well east of any great circle track there, limiting the amount of energy pushing north. And California, though well in the main swell vector, had Tahiti sitting right in the middle of the swell's path, shearing some size and consistency off of whatever swell is generated. But, after Thursday morning the seas moved into an unshadowed position, increasing hopes that a small amount of full energy will sneak in. In all it should be fun sized, but nothing more (utility class, not significant class).

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting near sunset Wednesday (9/12) with period 20 secs and size tiny if even noticeable. Swell building overnight. Period in the 18 secs range Thursday AM (9/13) with swell rideable at sunrise and building, peaking near 5 PM at 2.8 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft faces - best breaks to 6 ft). Decent size to be holding sunrise Friday (9/14) with swell 2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces with best breaks to 5 ft), but settling down as the day progresses. Period dropping to 14 secs by sunrise Saturday (9/15) with swell 2.6 ft @ 14 secs and fading (3.5 ft faces - 4.5 ft best breaks). Swell Direction: 183-193 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Friday (9/14) at 1 PM with period 20 secs and size tiny and very inconsistent. Probably not even noticeable. Swell building slowly through the evening. Swell period to 18 secs early Saturday with size coming up to the 2 ft range (3.5 ft faces - 4.5 ft best breaks). Swell peaking near 11 PM Saturday (9/15) at 2.6 ft @ 17 secs with rare sets to near 3 ft (4.5-5.0 ft faces - 6 ft best breaks). Decent energy to continue Sunday (9/16) with swell 2.6-2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks 5 ft). Residual energy to continue Monday (9/17) with swell 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) and fading. Period down to 14 secs near 11 PM and fading out. Swell Direction: 203-209 degrees

Northern CA: Expect swell arrival starting Friday (9/14) at 5 PM with period 20 secs and size tiny and very inconsistent, not even noticeable. Swell building slowly through the evening. Swell period to 18 secs mid Saturday (9/15) with size coming up to the 2+ ft range (3.5 ft faces - 4.5 ft best breaks). Swell peaking near 3 AM Sunday (9/16) at 2.6 ft @ 17 secs with rare sets to near 3 ft (4.5-5.0 ft faces - 6 ft best breaks). Decent energy to continue through the day with swell 2.6-2.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5 ft faces - best breaks 5.5 ft). Residual energy to continue Monday (9/17) with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) and fading later in the day. Period down to 14 secs first light Tuesday (9/18) and fading out. Swell Direction: 201-210 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 a broad but weak 980 mb low pressure system is to push off the Kamchatka Peninsula Sunday (9/9) moving east to the dateline but mostly landlocked in the Bering Sea. Limited 35-40 kt northwest winds to be sweep directly over the western Aleutian Islands getting a little purchase over north waters of the Pacific Monday (9/10), perhaps generating some seas, but not much. The fetch to push fully into the Bering Sea by Tuesday though. No real swell generation potential suggested. More low pressure expected in the same region later in the workweek though no defined swell producing fetch indicated. Elsewhere over the North Pacific a neutral pressure pattern to set up with virtually no winds greater than 15 kts projected.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest yet another reasonably strong low pressure system is to develop under New Zealand late Friday (9/7) with pressure 968 mbs. 40-45 kts winds aimed east forecast at 58S 165E and getting good purchase on and already agitated ocean surface but aimed 25 degrees east of the 212 degree path to California and 50 degrees east of the 200 degree path to Hawaii.

On Saturday AM (9/8) a solid fetch of 45-50 kt winds are forecast at 55S 177W aimed mostly east or 25 degrees east of the 210 degree path to California and shadowed by Tahiti and 60 degrees east of the 190 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 33 ft at 54S 17EW. In the evening winds to build to 55 kts at 55S 167W aimed east-northeast or 20 degrees east of the 203 degree path to California becoming unshadowed by Tahiti and 70 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii. 40 ft seas forecast at 52S 169W (shadowed by Tahiti relative to CA).

On Sunday AM (9/9) winds to be fading fast from 45 kts at 53S 155W pushing northeast aimed right up the 200 degree path to California but effectively out of the Hawaiian swell window. 40 ft seas forecast at 52S 158W and out of the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas decaying fast by evening.

The winds and seas in this storm to be much the same as it's predecessor, resulting in the same concerns about shadowing for the mainland and energy transfer to the north for Hawaii. Still, some degree of longer period swell is possible.

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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