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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 15, 2005 8:05 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 = 4.2 - California & 4.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 12/12 thru Sun 12/18
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   

Major Storm Pattern Forecast
Pacific Finally to Awake

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Thursday (12/15) Northern CA surf was chest to head high, clean and coming up. South facing breaks were chest to head high maybe even 1 ft overhead. Central California surf was waist to chest high and clean. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high at the better breaks. The LA area southward to Orange County was up to waist at the better spots. Southward from Orange County into San Diego waves were waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was about waist to chest high at the best breaks. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was thigh high.

A nice pulse of larger than expected surf was pushing into North and Central California as a new swell was building along the coast and crisp offshore winds groomed it to perfection. Another beautiful day making this locations the best today. But big changes are in the forecast and the beauty of the day will soon be lost. A major storm pattern change is setting up with the North Pacific becoming inundated by a series of large sprawling storms systems tracking over the dateline and swamping coastal locations with swell after swell, assuming the models are right. This is not guaranteed, by the probability for this outcome is becoming more likely with each passing day. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Thursdays (12/15) jetstream continued to indicate an impressive stream of energy flowing off Japan pushing over the dateline at 200 kts before fading 600 nmiles north of Hawaii, all centered on the 35N latitude running flat (zonal) from west to east. A split occurred east of there with the northern branch tracking strong north into Alaska while the southern branch pushed south of Hawaii then east into Central Baja. This split is of no concern any more, and if anything was providing protection for the California coast. And of even more interest as the faint hook in the jet north of Hawaii providing the first signs of a trough, or pocket, for some surface level storm to form. Over the next 72 hours the jet is fade just slightly then by Sunday (12/18) start ridging a little to the north over the dateline and dipping south north of Hawaii with winds there back up to 200 kts. This area to become favorable for storm development. By early Tuesday a full bore trough is forecast mid-way between Hawaii and California then slowly fading. Another batch of 200 kt energy to ridge north over the dateline on Thursday (12/22) dipping again just north of Hawaii setting up round 2 of this cycle. In all this looks reasonably impressive.

Today at the surface weak high pressure at 1020 mbs was holding on just off the California coast while one huge area of low pressure dominated the region from just off Kamchatka to just north of Hawaii and then up to Alaska. Imbedded in that was Storm #4 (see below) pushing up into the Gulf of Alaska.

Things to really start getting busy by Friday (12/16) as first a small but potent storm develops 600 nmiles off San Francisco in the AM with pressure dropping to 984 mbs in the evening and winds building to 55 kts aimed right at the North and Central coasts up to 270 degree path. Seas building to 23 ft at 37N 138W, rather close to the coast. This system to lift north early Saturday with 45-50 kts winds early and seas building to 27 ft at 38N 132W just 500 nmiles away. This would send a 10+ ft swell at 14 secs pushing eastward into California late Saturday into Sunday (12-14 ft faces) . We'll call this Storm #5. Small potatoes really compared to what's coming behind, but something to kick it off.

Behind that aa huge pool of disorganized low pressure is to be setting up over the dateline with 35-40 kt fetch pushing southeast almost right over Hawaii on late Saturday into Sunday (12/18), generating large windswell pushing right into the Islands starting late Sunday into Monday and beyond with 26-29 ft seas under all of it. Swell 13 ft @ 13 secs Monday (17 ft faces) up to 15 ft @ 13-14 secs Tuesday 18-20 ft faces). This is the start of Storm #6.

 

Primer Storm (California)
On Tuesday (12/`13) a low was just crossing the dateline with pressure at 988 mbs with winds confirmed at 50-60 kts over a tiny area centered at 44N 165W aimed right down the 297 degree great circle path to NCal, right down the middle of the prime swell corridor but cutting 50 degrees east of the 347 degree path to Hawaii.This system lifted north through the evening with 50 kt winds continuing at 47N 156W aimed best at Ncal down the 301 degree path (nothing at Hawaii) with 20 ft seas modeled (likely higher). This storm was gone by Wednesday AM with a small patch of 22 ft seas lingering. Utility swell for exposed breaks in California likely late Thursday into Friday (12/16). In fact pure swell off San Francisco was 7-8 ft @ 16 secs Thursday AM. more than was expected. This storm isn't so much of a swell producer as a primer to get the storm pump going.

 

Storm #4
Also on Tuesday (12/13) a 992 mb low developed just east of the dateline with winds there too confirmed at 50-60 kts centered at 38N 170E aimed due east or right at CA down the 295 degree path and 20 degrees east of Hawaii down the 308 degree path. This low tracked east overnight on the same heading with winds confirmed at 50-55 kts at 38N 180W pushing over the dateline Wednesday AM (12/14) with pressure down to 976 mbs. Winds confirmed at 50-60 kts over aa tiny area centered at 37N 167W. Seas were modeled at 29 ft ft on the dateline (37N 179W). The issue here was the fetch was traveling east faster than the seas it could generate, leaving alot of it's potential untapped. Wednesday evening this system started blossoming 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii with pressure 974 mbs and winds 45-50 kts winds covering a much more solid area in the storms southwest sector at 39N 158W aimed well east of any path to Hawaii and right up the 285 degree path to North CA (293 SCal). Seas were modeled at 30 ft over a building area at 38N 167W. Wind continued Thursday AM at 40-45 kts centered near 41N 152W aimed like before. Seas were up to 32 ft centered at 38N 156W. By Thursday evening this system to be dead. Seas of 29 ft forecast at 40N 149W. These seas were the largest and closest to California so far this season about 1300 nmiles west of San Francisco.

Significant class sideband energy pushing into Hawaii late Friday afternoon (12/16) with pure swell 9 ft @ 15-16 secs (12-14 ft faces) with best North Shore breaks 1.25-1.5 times bigger. Swell Direction: 320 degrees

Expect a significant class swell for exposed breaks in North California starting at 1 PM Saturday (12/17) with pure swell 7-8 ft @ 17 secs (12-14 ft faces) with best breaks to 9 ft @ 17 secs (15 ft). Swell Direction:282-285 degrees

Swell moving into South CA starting Sunday (12/18) 1 AM with size on the increase peaking just before sunrise with swell 3.2-3.6 ft @ 17 secs most breaks (5.5-6.0 ft faces) but up to 4.6-4.8 ft @ 17 secs southward into San Diego (7-8 ft faces). Swell Direction. 289-291 degrees

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (12/15) high pressure at 1022 mbs was positioned mid-way between Hawaii and San Francisco providing storm protection and light winds for the whole US west coast. But that protection is now to erode as wave after wave of low pressure pushes up to and into the coast. By Saturday ( 12/17) the storm door is to open with south wind pushing into North California at 20+ kts and not backing off till at least next Thursday (12/22). But even after that there's more storms in the Central Pacific and no clear indication of anything to hold them off. Looks like a blow out for locations north of Pt Conception. But south of there favorable winds to prevail.

The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.

 

South Pacific

Overview
No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.

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 weather scenario is to be most impressive assuming develops as forecast. 2 huge lumbering storms are forecast on Monday (12/19). Storm #6 is to be just off the California coast with pressure 976 mbs and 40-45 kt winds taking aim right at South through North CA and 30 ft seas within 800 nmiles of the coast into Monday and Tuesday (12/20) with lesser energy even into early Wednesday. Large raw significant class swell to result for all locations.

At the same time Storm #7 is to be pushing off Japan with pressure 972 mbs and a broad swath of 50 kts winds are to be pushing to the dateline into Tuesday AM (12/20). Up to 42 ft sea forecast pushing towards both Hawaii and California.

Yet another monster system is forecast pushing off Japan Thursday (12/22) with 55-60 kt fetch aimed due east with 40 ft sea likely here too.

And there are multiple lesser systems on the charts too, but not worth mentioning.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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Local Interest

More Local Wind Models: Stormsurf is proud to announce the expansion of our local wind models, now providing global coverage. Get the latest local wind forecast updated 4 times daily with coverage out 7.5 days. See them here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html

Sharks, Sharks and more Sharks: Want to know all the details of every shark encounter over the past few months in California? You can read all about it in the fascinating chronology produced be the Shark Research Committee. There's alot more going on in our waters than you could ever have imagined (or ever wanted to know). http://www.sharkresearchcommittee.com/pacific_coast_shark_news.htm

Stormsurf Weather Model Update: Over the weekend (10/30) we moved new new code into production that should dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of our weather models. We've had problems with them not keeping in-sync with the wave models. Hopefully that problem is now resolved though we're still dependent on NOAA data servers just like everyone else. What this fix does do is provide the infrastructure now to rapidly expand our offering of weather models, enabling more detailed global coverage. We will be working on that as time permits.

Rob Gilley Photgraphy: Please take amoment to check out the selection of limited print images availabe at Rob Gilleys webite. All images in the 2005 line were taken by Rob Gilley, an 19 year Surfer Magazine staff photographer, and are personally signed and numbered by him: http://www.pacificsurfgallery.com

Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm

Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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