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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: December 18, 2005 5:09 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 = 5.0 - California & 5.0 - 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   

Storm Track Strong
No End in Sight

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (12/18) Northern CA surf was double to triple overhead and trashed by south wind. Stormsurf conditions in effect. South facing breaks were up to double overhead and blown to bits. Central California surf was double overhead plus and a total blown out mess. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were waist to chest high with best breaks head high to 1 ft overhead. The LA area southward to Orange County was chest high with best breaks 1-2 ft overhead. Southward from Orange County into San Diego waves were 2-3 ft overhead at the better breaks. The North Shore of Oahu was getting a new dose of windswell with waves double overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was thigh high.

Stormsurf conditions were in effect for North and Central California with south winds ripping a rather large and untamed swell to pieces. The south end of the state was not faring as bad with building swell and clean conditions. Hawaii had sizeable windswell but onshore winds were making it basically unapproachable except at the right breaks. Given that, Southern California takes top honors today. This is not an anomaly either with SCal well positioned to receive a healthy portion of the next swell too while remaining protected from the wind that is expected to plague the rest of the state. And did anyone say swell? Yes, there's no shortage of that in the forecast with multiple (3) large storms on the charts forecast to provide surf for Hawaii and California for at least the next week and beyond. See details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Sundays (12/18) jetstream continued in the impressive category wit a healthy flow of winds at up to 210 kts roaring off Japan ridging slightly at the dateline then dipping south passing just north of Hawaii splitting midway between the Islands and California with a little trickle pushing up into Alaska but most pushing over Central California. This pattern looks very supportive of storm development North of Hawaii. Over the next 72 hours the trough (dip) north of Hawaii is to get more pronounced peaking on Monday (12/19) with 180 kt winds feeding into it then lifting north pushing into the Pacific Northwest late Tuesday (12/20). A strong but flat pattern to persist over the dateline with winds 180-190 kts through Wednesday and starting to set up a new ridge over the dateline late. Beyond 72 hours the new ridge to continue building modestly over the dateline while a trough sets up north of Hawaii pushing east with with 180 kt winds flowing into it and peaking into Friday northeast of the Islands. More energy forecast beyond that, though flowing flat off Japan.

Today at the surface only the smallest hint of high pressure remained in the North Pacific at 1020 mbs just off Northern Baja ridging into Southern CA affording a small modicum of protection. Elsewhere across the North Pacific low pressure ruled supreme. Swell # 4 was hitting the California coast while more was brewing offshore. A 980 mb low was over the Aleutians just east of the dateline with a secondary low just north of Hawaii at 992 mbs. This was the start of Storm #5 (details below). By Monday (12/19) possible Storm #6 to be forming off Japan. These 2 systems are to be the dominant weather features for the coming 72 hours.

 

Possible Storm #5
Winds of 40-50 kts were starting to build just northwest of Hawaii at 28N 162W aimed well at Hawaii. This to become Storm #5 as it builds on Monday (12/19) northeast of Hawaii. Pressure dropping to 972 mbs Monday AM with winds 45 kts centered at 33N 148W aimed well up the 278 degree great circle path to South CA. Seas building to 35 ft over a tiny area centered at 33N 149W. By the evening 50 kt winds are forecast over a tiny area centered at 35N 140W aime4d right up the 287 degree path to SCal. 38 ft seas forecast at 34N 142W. A final push of 45-50 kt fetch forecast off Cape Mendocino on Tuesday AM aimed due east or reasonably well down the 301 degree path to SCal. Seas forecast at 31 ft centered at 33W 135W and fading. We're not mentioning NCal because the storm center is to move within 450 nmiles of the coast making for miserable conditions.

Large raw sideband energy from this storm to reach Hawaii in the early morning hours of Monday (12/19) with swell 15 ft @ 13 secs, but things generally a mess (17-19 ft faces).

Southern CA: This system to provide large raw significant class 15-17 sec period energy pushing best into exposed breaks in Southern CA on Wednesday (12/21) assuming the models are right. At sunrise swell up to possibly 7 ft @ 15-17 secs at many breaks (10-12 ft faces) and 9.8 ft @ 15-17 secs at exposed breaks in San Diego (14-16 ft faces). Swell Direction: 278-288 degrees

Northern CA to be a blown out mess with large stormsurf conditions expected. Swell to be pushing in before sunrise Wednesday with pure swell 16 ft @ 15-17 secs (24-26 ft faces). Swell Direction: 260 degrees
Residents of beachside communities should start taking action to secure property now and monitor the progress of this storm.

 

Possible Storm #6
Also on Monday (12/19) Storm #6 is to start taking shape off Japan with pressure 984 mbs. This to be a large and lumbering system with a solid fetch of 45-50 kt winds centered at 37N 155E aimed due east or 30 degree south of the 298 degree path to Ncal and right up the 300 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 35 ft at 37N 155E. In the evening pressure dropping to 972 mbs with a more modest 45-50 kt fetch positioned at 37N 165E aimed 30 degrees south of the 294 degree path to Ncal and right up the 304 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 39 ft centered at 37N 163E. By Tuesday AM (12/20) this system to be come less organized with a fragmented 40-45 kt fetch centered at 42N 175E aimed 25 degrees east of the 314 degree path to Hawaii but almost right up the 294 degree path to North CA. Seas dropping to 36 ft at 36N 172E. This system to continue east through the day into Wednesday, reorganizing in the evening with a consolidated fetch of 45 kt west winds expected over the dateline at 37N 172W aimed 40 degrees east of the 322 degree path to Hawaii but right up the 285 degree path to North CA (290 SCal). Seas rebuilding to 38 ft centered at 36N 180W. That to continue into Thursday AM (12/22) with 36 ft seas continuing on the dateline at 38N then fading late. The models do suggest some form of 35 kt fetch holding through late Friday as the remnants of this storm approach the California coast and pushing into the Pacific Northwest Saturday (12/24).Large long period swell from this one to possibly reach Hawaii late Thursday (12/22) maxing on Friday into Saturday . swell to also radiate towards California impacting the coast late Christmas Eve day and maxing on Christmas Day.

 

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

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (12/18) low high was in control of the waters off California other than a tiny patch of ocean just south of Pt Conception southward into Baja. South winds and gale conditions were in effect from Pt Conception northward. Wave after wave of low pressure was queued up across the North Pacific scheduled to slam into the coast driven by a strong onshore jetstream flow aloft. No big change forecast until Wednesday (12/21) when high pressure is to get a slightly better grip northward, but not much. Still pockets of low pressure are to be pushing onshore into next weekend though high pressure to steadily be building and drifting north, providing a possible retreat from south winds up into North California by next Sunday (12/25). Southern California, in contrast, is to remain mostly protected from the southerly winds by Monday (12/19) and beyond.

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 remaining most impressive. Of most interest is the forecasted development of Storm #7 off Japan on Thursday (12/22). This to be the closest thing to a full on El nino like winter storm we've seen in quite a while, assuming it develops. At a high level this monster to track east with pressure at 956 mbs and 60-65 kt winds aimed due east into early Saturday as it reaches the dateline. 53 ft sea forecast aimed due east right up the great circle paths to California with solid energy pushing to Hawaii too. This storm to slowly moderate into Sunday AM (12/25) as it moves into the Gulf of Alaska but 50 ft seas to hold on. Most impressive for a modeled projection.

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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