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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: April 17, 2006 10:08 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 '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 4/17 thru Sun 4/23
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   

Gulf Gale on-Track
South Pacific Sleeps for Now


On Monday (4/17) Northern CA surf was 3-5 feet overhead and pretty warbled by building northwesterly winds off the coast. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was chest high with reasonably clean conditions. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were near flat with biggest sets at the best spots to waist high and northwest winds in effect. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high at the best breaks with wind on it. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high, but still windy. The North Shore of Oahu was maybe thigh high. The South Shore was waist high on the sets. The East Shore was chest to head high from northeast windswell.

One more gale is charted was developing in the Gulf of Alaska today, focusing equally on Hawaii, California and the Pacific Northwest. This one formed in the Bering Sea over the weekend and is dropping southeast over the Aleutians into the Gulf of Alaska Monday and Tuesday with odds favorable for it unfold as forecast. But after that no real swell producing systems are forecast for the North Pacific with only a weak gale projected over the coming weekend producing maybe 20 ft seas. A strong gale is forecast for the Southeast Pacific over the coming weekend with 38 ft seas projected aimed well at California but well east of the Hawaiian swell window. Will see what happens over the next few days to this projection, whether it holds or folds. So best bet is to make the most of whatever swell you can get over the next 4-5 days, cause everything beyond that is just a guess. See details below...


Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Mondays jetstream (4/17) was about as expected for this time of year, positioned well to the north over the bulk of the North Pacific. It was tracking off Southern Kamchatka with a small trough/dip there but landlocked, then tracking east over the Aleutians with a small pocket of energy to 140 kts on the dateline pushing into the Gulf of Alaska and dipping slightly south as it moved through the Gulf. This was the best area that appeared supportive of surface level gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Thursday (4/20) the Gulf of Alaska trough (dip) is to be the area of most interest, with the jet otherwise remaining well to the north and non-productive over the rest of the North Pacific. The Gulf trough to be maxing out Monday PM (4/17) with 130 kts winds flowing under the dip and pushing pushing over the West and Central Gulf clearing out enough space to support a decent surface level gale. This to hold into Wednesday but with less energy flowing under it, then pushing east and inland by Thursday with no other activity forecast. Beyond 72 hours yet another trough to develop and following a similar course, but with not as much wind energy flowing under it. Minimal support for surface level gale development suggested over the weekend. Beyond that a big .cgiit in the jet is forecast over Kamchatka, with much energy tracking into the Northern Bering Sea, further sealing the fate of the North Pacific.

At the surface on Monday (4/17) high pressure continued controlling the bulk of the North Pacific centered on the dateline at 1032 mbs ridging mainly southeast towards South California and just barely reaching the coast there. It continued driving brisk trades over the Hawaiian Islands and was locking down of the Aleutian storm corridor. The only low pressure of interest was a 984 mb gale moving from the eastern Bering Sea drifting southeast into the Gulf of Alaska (see details below). No other swell producing systems forecast over the next 72 hours with high pressure currently north of Hawaii tracking east and nestling up along the North CA coast late Thursday (4/20) still at 1028, driving formation of a summer-like Cape Mendocino gradient producing localized windswell there. More high pressure at 1032 mbs to be developing behind it over the dateline, pretty much ensuring a total lockdown of the North Pacific from here on out.

On Monday (4/17) a 980 mb gale was starting to drop southeast from the Bering Sea over the Aleutians and into the northern Gulf of Alaska with 40-45 kt west winds confirmed pushing over exposed Gulf waters. Seas forecast to 32 ft through the balance of the day. This fetch to be pushing towards both Hawaii and California. By Tuesday the low is to be free and clear of any landmass with the core well exposed over open waters of the Gulf, but pressure is to be rising from 986 mbs and fading fast. Winds are to be down to 30-35 kts early and fading below 30 kts by nightfall. Seas forecast at 30 ft early aimed well at California (300-305 degrees) and the Pacific Northwest with lesser energy pushing towards Hawaii down the 350 degree path. By Wednesday pressure to be 995 mbs as the low lifts northeast and fades out with no swell producing fetch left. Preliminary rough data suggest a moderate size utility class swell could push in to Hawaii starting late Wednesday (4/19) peaking Thursday AM with period 14-15 secs and lesser 13 sec energy into Friday AM from 345-350 degrees. North California to see swell arriving Thursday (4/20) and building through the day with period 16 secs, peaking overnight with solid 14 sec energy still present Friday AM from about 300 degrees. Central California to see limited swell peaking Friday AM (4/21) with period at 14-15 secs from 305-310 degree. Even less energy to limp into exposed breaks in South CA late Friday.


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


California Offshore Forecast
On Monday (4/17) satellite and model data suggested that high pressure was getting the upper hand with the last of the rainy weather moving out and only a few lingering drops forecast on Friday (4/21) in NCal. Northwest winds driven by high pressure to be pushing into the state and holding over outer waters for the next week. Lighter winds nearshore at times, but for North and Central CA count on a northwesterly flow, especially in the afternoons. South CA to remain mostly protected through the week.

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


South Pacific

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch was present or forecast to occur.

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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours high pressure to take over. A tight gradient to develop off Cape Mendocino on Friday (4/21) as high pressure drifts east towards the North CA coast generating brisk north winds at 30-35 kts continuing into Saturday then fading late. Large localized north windswell possible for locations north of Pt Conception.

Also another small gale is to drop south out of the Bering Sea into the Western Gulf of Alaska on Friday (4/21) generating 24 hours of 30-35 kt winds and maybe 20 ft seas well north of Hawaii aimed midway between there and California. Perhaps some small to moderate windswell to result for both locations.

Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch forecast until Friday (4/21) when a storm is projected to develop in the deep Southeast Pacific beyond the Hawaiian swell window tracking northeast with 50 kts winds initially then fading through the weekend, aimed reasonably well towards California. A small to moderate area of 32 ft seas forecast by Saturday AM (4/22) building to 38 ft on Sunday AM then fading out 24 hours later on the edge of the Southern CA swell window. This is a bit of a stretch for the models, so we'll have to see what actually happens.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

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
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here

Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here

Mavericks Surf Contest and Stormsurf
- Science hangs 10 at Surf Contest: CNET - Read it Here
- Pillar Point Unique Conditions swell Mavericks Monsters: Rough seabed, winds and seas currents to create California biggest surfing challenge; San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here
- Tyler Smith's Quest: Chasing the Moby Dick of the Surfing World: San Francisco Chronicle - Read it Here

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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