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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: September 13, 2007 1:27 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   

Hawaii Up First for S. Hemi Swell
North Pacific Still Trying to Wake Up

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Tuesday (9/11) Northern CA surf was waist high and junky. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high with luck. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was essentially flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high and blown. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were maybe waist high though most were something less. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was thigh high. The East Shore was waist high.

North/Central California was getting no swell at all, be it ground swell or windswell from either the north or south. Southern California was in the lake zone with no swell coming from either the north or south. Hawaii was getting a little northeast and east windswell combo on the East Shore, but the size was very marginal. A little windswell was still hitting the North Shore. A tiny pulse of 17 sec background swell was hitting the South Shore, but inconsistent. No southern hemi swell or windswell is forecast for the next few days for either Hawaii or California. But a gale formed under New Zealand mid-last week and has generated enough wind to produce small to moderate swell pushing towards our forecast area. That swell swell should arrive in Hawaii near Thursday and push on into California for Saturday and beyond. Another gale organized behind it, but smaller. And yet another is trying to develop right now forecast to push more to the north, providing yet equal; odds for more small to moderate swell for both Hawaii and California. Up in the North Pacific a gale tried to organize over the dateline, but most of it's energy was landlocked in the Bering Sea. Another is forecast in the Gulf of Alaska this weekend, but it's winds to all aimed at Canada. Another dateline system is scheduled this coming weekend, and has only a minimal shot at actually being productive. So it's southern hemi swell for now, with the North Pacific trying to wake up out of a long slumber. 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 (9/11) for the North Pacific indicated a nice little steep trough pushing down through the Bering Sea past the Aleutians poking down into the North Pacific with 140 kt winds on it's southwestern edge/ Decent support for surface level low pressure development suggested. A strong ridge was east of there filling the Gulf of Alaska and pushing the jet well north into Alaska. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough to quickly fade on Wednesday being pushed north while new energy pushes off Kamchatka flowing flat to the east just barley under the Aleutians. No support for surface level low pressure development suggested. Beyond 72 hours a repeat is forecast, with a new trough trying to set up over the dateline just south of the Aleutians early next week, starting to develop while a big ridge builds east of it through Wednesday (9/19). Some support for surface level low pressure possible.

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 in control of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska riding into Northern Canada and locking down the Eastern Pacific. Low pressure at 984 mbs was in the Central Bering Sea as it has for the past 24 hours generating limited 25-30 kt northwest winds blowing over the Western Aleutians and generating 17 ft seas pushing towards mainly Hawaii. Maybe limited hope for defined but very small windswell pushing that direction. Weak low pressure, the remnants of Tropical Storm Danas were tracking east towards the dateline from a point off Northern Japan generating a tiny fetch of 35 kt west winds. In all a pretty uneventful pattern. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/14) the Bering Sea gale fade out completely, landlocked behind the Aleutians. The remnants of TS Danas to continue east reaching the Gulf and starting to move north deflected by moderate high pressure off California, but with no significant development forecast. No other swell producing fetch indicated.

On Thursday and Friday (9/7) a low pressure system in the Western Bering Sea generated a small fetch of 30 kt winds near 45N 175E just west of the dateline aimed southeast well down the 328 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 15 ft. Maybe a small pulse of windswell to arrive on the North Shore of Oahu Tuesday afternoon (9/11) at 2.4 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.5 ft faces) pushing to 2.6 ft @ 11 secs Wednesday (2.5-3.0 ft faces). Swell Direction 328 degrees.

 

Tropics
Tropical Storm Danas was just east of the Kuril Islands tracking east at 28 kts with sustained winds to 45 kts, though satellite imagery says something less. This one is gone though possible redevelopment could occur later this week as it reaches the Gulf of Alaska.

No other systems were being monitored.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (9/11) high pressure at 1026 mbs was pushing into Northern Canada and not producing any fetch of interest along the US coast. A secondary high at 1018 mbs was off Pt Conception generating a fetch of 15-20 kt north winds over the Channel Islands into Southern CA making for some chop there but nothing more. Otherwise rather light winds were occurring over the rest of North and Central CA. No change is forecast through Saturday then new high pressure at 1024 mbs to becoming more consolidated north of Hawaii and pushing east. It to finally start making some contact with the California coast late Monday (9/17) setting up a new pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino and north winds building there to 30 kts by Tuesday. Windswell possibly on the increase then with the fetch itself pushing almost down into Pt Conception. A choppy mess likely initially.

 

South Pacific

Overview
Tuesdays jetstream charts (9/11) for the South Pacific continued indicating a split flow well entrenched across the South Pacific with just a slight hint of a weak trough in place over the Southwestern Pacific running just barely north of the Ross Ice Shelf. No winds of interest were occurring and the flow was flat west-to-east. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast other than one little pocket of 120 kts winds rippling through the southern branch under New Zealand late Tuesday (9/11) providing a little support for surface level low pressure development while a big ridge builds in the Southeast Pacific Wednesday pushing hard into Antarctica and shutting down any hope there. Beyond 72 hours the trough in the southwest to hold and moving east while the ridge in the southeast pushes towards southern Chile. A pronounced pocket of energy to push northward into the trough Monday of next week and continuing into Wednesday (9/19), providing support for low pressure development.

At the oceans surface today a new gale was trying to develop under New Zealand (see Possible New Zealand Gale below). No other fetch of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours This gale to build and move northeast passing under strong high pressure at 1032 mbs just east of New Zealand, helping to squeeze every bit of potential wind out of the gale. Otherwise, not fetch of interest forecast.

 

New Zealand Storm
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 satellite 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 ft faces - 4 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 ft faces - 4 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

 

Second Small New Zealand Gale
A small gale originated under New Zealand late Friday (9/7) in association with a 972 mbs low there, generating 40 kts fetch aimed northeast at 60S 160E aimed towards Hawaii and California reasonably well. It pushed east Saturday AM increasing in size some with winds still 40-45 kts at 57S 180W. Seas were up to 29 ft at 57S 170E. Winds built to 45-50 kts late Saturday at 56S 170W aimed due east or 35 degrees east of the 204 degree path to California and almost unshadowed by Tahiti and 70 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 35 ft seas were modeled at 57S 175W. The Jason-1 satellite made two passes directly over this fetch late Saturday reporting seas 35-37 ft solid peak singular readings to 40-41 ft. So this one is exactly as the WW3 model predicts. The fetch totally collapsed Sunday AM (9/9) though residual seas from previous day fetch peaked at 36 ft at 57S 162W. Small utility class swell likely for both Hawaii and California 7 and 9 days out respectively.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Saturday (9/15) near 6 AM with period 20 secs and size barely noticeable. Swell getting rideable by Sunday (9/16) at 6 AM as period moves to 17 secs. Swell peaking late morning at 2.7 ft @ 17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best breaks to 5.5 ft). Swell fading from 2.7 ft @ 15 secs Monday AM (4 ft faces) with period dropping to 14 secs by sunset. Swell Direction: 183-196 degrees

South CA: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (9/17) before sunrise with period 20 secs and size not even noticeable. Size building through the day. Swell to start becoming rideable Tuesday AM (9/18) with period dropping to 17 secs about noon. Swell 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - best breaks to near 5 ft) then. Swell holding in the 2.3 ft @ 15 sec range (3.5 ft faces) Wednesday (9/19). Swell dropping from 2.2 ft @ 14 secs (3 ft faces) at noon Thurs (9/20). Swell Direction: 203-211 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (9/17) just before sunrise with period 20 secs and size not even noticeable. Size building through the day. Swell to start becoming rideable Tuesday mid-morning (9/18) with period dropping to 17 secs about 3 PM. Swell 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - best breaks to near 5 ft) then. Swell holding in the 2.3 ft @ 15-16 sec range (3.5-4.0 ft faces) Wednesday (9/19). Swell dropping from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3 ft faces) Thurs (9/20) with period down to 14 secs by 6 PM. Swell Direction: 203-211 degrees

 

Possible New Zealand Gale
On Tuesday AM (9/11) a small 968 mb gale was starting to develop south of New Zealand with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts at 60S 172E with fetch aimed northeast or right up the 211 degree great circle path to California and 20 degrees east of the 193 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building. In the evening winds are forecast to 40-45 kts at 55S 175E aimed northeast, of right up the 208 degree path to California but shadowed by Tahiti and 30 degrees east of the 189 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 32 ft at 56S 177W.

On Wednesday AM (9/12) winds to hold at 40-45 kts and expand in coverage at 50S 162W aimed just east of due north. These winds to be aimed right up the 204 degree path to California (but still shadowed by Tahiti) and 25 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Seas peaking at 34 ft at 51S 164W. In the evening winds to fade to 40 kts at 45S 150W aimed more to the northeast now or 10 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California and unshadowed by Tahiti and 35 degrees east of the 175 degree path to Hawaii. Seas holding at 32 ft @ 49S 155W.

On Thursday AM (9/13) the last little bit of wind energy is forecast at 40 kts aimed more north again at 45S 142W. They are to be aimed 10 degrees east of the 195 degree great circle path to California but well outside the Hawaiian swell window. Seas fading from 32 ft at 47S 148W. By evening this system to be gone with seas falling below 30 ft.

This gale is to not be a particularly strong one, but it is to hold together a little longer than ones before it and of far more interest, is to actually be tracking northeast (versus east) pushing more swell energy towards our forecast area. Seas are to be pretty moderate in the 32 ft range. Given it's relative close proximity to the Hawaiian Islands and more northerly course, solid utility class plus swell could radiate towards the Islands a 6-7 days out. California still has the issue with the Tahitian swell shadow chopping a good 25% of the swell size while in the shadow, and the long travel distance and moderate sea heights. But the gale is supposed to move east of the shadow providing a little hope late in it's life. Suspect more of the same though, with utility class swell 9 days out. Will monitor.

 

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 the remnants of Tropical Storm Danas to push inland over northern Canada but with some lingering fetch hanging over waters there in the Northern Gulf at 30-35 kts late Saturday into Sunday (9/16) but aimed mostly to the east and outside the California swell window. Limited 20 ft seas forecast at 55N 140W. A new storm is forecast developing just west of the dateline and barely south of the Aleutians late Sunday with pressure 968 mbs and winds 45 kts aimed towards Hawaii. This one to wrap up more early Monday AM (9/17) with winds to 45-50 kts swinging solidly into the storms south quadrant aimed east towards California and the Pacific Northwest. But by nightfall the low to be lifting into the Bering Sea with all fetch becoming obscured behind the Aleutians, shutting down any swell generation potential. Seas to 29 ft for a brief winds at 50N 178E Monday afternoon, good for some possible utility swell pushing mainly east if all this comes to pass, which is not likely. At least it's something to watch for.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours the models suggest another complex gale is to form more to the southeast of New Zealand this weekend and tracking due east limiting the swell energy pushing north from them. The latest charts suggest it to be much smaller than what was projected even 6 hours earlier.

Details to follow...

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Local Interest

Tom Jones California Paddle: California Paddle 2007 is a world record-breaking expedition by Tom Jones, an extreme endurance athlete and environmental activist. Tom will become the first person in history to paddle the entire 1250-mile coast of California on nothing more than a 14-ft. paddleboard. Tom is drawing world-wide attention to the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. A recent study has found that there is six times more plastic in the ocean than plankton off the coast of California. See more here: http://www.californiapaddle.com/

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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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