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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: May 19, 2005 9:34 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 = 3.0 - 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 5/9 thru Sun 5/15
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 Swell Pushing In
South Pacific Weak/MJO In Active Phase


On Thursday (5/18) Northern CA surf was head high with some slightly overhead sets and reasonably clean conditions early. South facing breaks were chest to head high too. Central California was waist high with chest high sets at the better breaks. Wind was on it by noon. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were in the waist high range. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist high but up to chest to head high occasionally the best southern breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was chest to head high and a bit sideshore. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist high.

Hawaii was getting some leftover swell from a gale that passed north of the Islands a few days ago. California was getting westerly local windswell with much larger swell just offshore. Some weak southern hemi swell was hitting both locales but nothing noteworthy. The southern hemi swell was doing reasonably decent in Southern California. The only swell of any real interest was the one just off North and Central CA, generated from a gale in the Gulf of Alaska and poised to move onshore on Friday. No other swell's are in the water or on the charts. See details below...

Note: Buoy 46059 has been dislodged from it's mooring and is adrift. No sea or swell measurements available from it.


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

North Pacific

At the jetstream level no features of interest expected (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no change forecast. After this weekend the North Pacific is down for the summer.

At the surface today the broad remnants of a gale in the Gulf were fading with pressure 984 mbs. Winds continued in the 25-30 kts range aimed well at the California coast but not much swell of interest was being generated (more details below - see Gulf Gale). Otherwise high pressure at 1020 mbs was over the dateline dropping southeast to a point north of Hawaii then pushing up to California, poised to push onshore strongly (animation here). Over the next 72 hours one more small low is forecast to spin up off Oregon on Saturday AM (5/21) with most fetch aimed from Central Oregon northward. This low is to drop to 984 mbs Saturday PM with 50 kt winds over a tiny area taking aim right on the coast, then moving onshore over south Canada Sunday morning. No swell producing fetch forecast for California or points southward.


Gulf Gale
On Friday (5/13) a small 100 mb low developed off Japan tracking fast to the east-northeast. By Saturday (5/14) it was over the dateline with a small area of 30 kts winds developing in it's southwest quadrant aimed at Hawaii. On Sunday (5/15) pressure dropped to 984 mbs as it moved into the Western Gulf of Alaska with 35-40 kt west winds confirmed in it's south quadrant aimed right up the 285 degree great circle track to North CA. But those winds faded fast to 30-35 kts in the evening. Still enough energy was present to start generating 20 ft seas pushing east.

On Monday (5/16) the low was still in the Western Gulf tracking east with pressure moving up a bit to 988 mbs. Winds dropped some to 30-35 kts over a moderate area in the gales south quadrant aimed like before. 20-22 ft seas were generated near 43N 170W.

On Tuesday (5/17) the gale was due north of Hawaii in the Central Gulf of Alaska with pressure down a little to 980 mbs and winds confirmed up a bit at 35-40 kts aimed directly at Central CA down the 288 degree great circle path. Seas had built to 23 ft centered at 40N 158W. The gale got just slightly stronger in the evening while tracking closer to Canada, with the leading fringes moving onshore there. 35-40 kts winds were aimed directly at the California coast with seas building to to 26 ft centered at 41N 151W.

This system was slowly fading on Wednesday (5/18) as it lifted north in the Eastern Gulf. Winds were confirmed at 35 kt range but starting to loose coverage late. Seas were estimated at 27 ft in the AM centered at 39N 146W. Winds were confirmed at 30-37 kts at buoy 46006 with seas building rapidly at 2 PM to 21 ft with pure swell 16.5 ft @ 12.5 secs and holding. This was right on track with expectations. In the evening seas are expected to fade to 25 ft and heading down from there near 40N 140W.

Residual energy to spin in the Gulf through Thursday (5/19) but winds to be minimal and seas in the 22 ft range.

This swell looks solid for the time of year, but not over the top. About like previous expectations. Expect swell reaching Northern CA Thursday (5/19) near 11 PM building through the early morning hours. Swell to max just before sunrise Friday (5/20) with swell 9.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (10-12 ft faces) and seas to 13 ft drifting down through the day. Still decent swell arriving on Saturday (5/21) in the 7 ft @ 12-13 sec range (7-9 ft faces). Swell to be fading steadily after that. Swell Direction: 285 degrees

Local winds to be a real problem other than very early in the mornings friday through the weekend, coming up from the northwest at 20+ kts in the late mornings.

This swell is to push into Southern California starting Friday AM (5/20) with pure swell 4 ft @ 13 secs (4.5-5.5 ft). Still decent energy to hold into Saturday (5/21) with swell 3.6 ft @ 12 secs (3.5-4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 290 degrees

More model data here

South Pacific

On Thursday (5/18) the jetstream in the South Pacific showed no indications of any ability to produce a swell generating storm. A .cgiit jet was in-effect with no broad pockets of energy evident. (animation here). Over the next 72 hours through Sunday (5/22) no change was forecast.

At the surface today a weak 976 mb low was in the deep Southwest Pacific pushing east generating some 35 kt winds aimed northeast. Seas were below the level of interest at 27 ft. This was the best this low was to do, forecast to fade. No other swell producing systems were evident or forecast (animation here).

More model data here


Tiny New Zealand Storm
Of most interest was a 972 mb low starting to push east under New Zealand on Thursday PM (5/14). QuikSCAT imagery indicated 40-45 kts winds were circulating around it's north quadrant with a tiny area to 50 kts in it's west quadrant aimed well up the Tasman Sea channel towards Hawaii.

On early Friday AM (5/13) the low developed nicely with pressure down to 964 mbs and a thin sliver of 50-55 kt winds were centered at 56S 168E aimed northeast up the 215 degree great circle path towards California and the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 30 ft centered at 53S 170E. But already the balance of the wind in this storms north quadrant were taking aim at Antarctica as the affects of high pressure aloft and at the surface were having a significant influence over this system. By the evening pressure was down to 956 mbs with winds down to 40-50 kts over a tiny area centered at 56S 175E, not even to the dateline and tracking southeast rather than the optimal northeast direction. These winds were aimed 40 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California (shadowed by Tahiti) and 70 degrees east of the 195 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 54S 174E but covered only a tiny area.

By Saturday AM (5/12) the storm was fading fast with pressure 960 mbs and winds 35-40 kts and on the way down. Residual seas from previous days fetch down to 32 ft at 56S 179W and pushing towards Antarctica. This system was functional gone. Continued 25-30 kt fetch is forecast through Monday (5/16) providing energy pushing towards Tahiti, but of too short a period to survive with any size up to Hawaii and California.

With luck, a small swell will push north providing a short lived shot of something to ride, but not much else. This storm was 4784 nmiles from Hawaii and 6289 nmiles from California. Expect swell arrival on the South Shore starting Saturday (5/21) with period at 17 secs and size minimal but building, maxing Sunday afternoon (5/22) with residual energy continuing through Monday (5/23). Whatever is going to arrive in California will hit starting late Monday evening (5/23) with period 17-18 secs and maxing midday Tuesday (5/24). Remnants to continue through early Thursday (5/26).


California Offshore Forecast
Thursday mornings local charts (5/19) depicted the gale in the Gulf of Alaska starting to fade at 986 mbs and drifting north. Still this system was the major weather producer for North and Central CA bringing a healthy dose of rain to the North part of the state (considering the time of year). But of more interest was high pressure sitting north of Hawaii and pushing east fast. This high is to have a major influence over the coming days as it pushes into the state through the weekend. A major dryout is expected but also a strong coastal gradient as the high interacts with low pressure inland over Nevada. As a result northwest winds are to build late Friday morning to 20 kts from Pt Reyes southward, letting up a little Saturday morning only to return solid late morning and working their way further north to Cape Mendocino. No break is forecast Sunday AM. The models suggest it is to hold through the end of next week, though centered more to the north off Cape Mendocino. Perhaps this will turn into the first Cape Mendocino gradient of the year, producing a long running bit of moderate sized short period windswell.

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



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

North Pacific

Thursdays upper and surface models models (5/16) indicated that beyond 72 hours no swell producing systems are forecast.


MJO Note
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) took a dive starting Saturday (5/14) and has remained in the solidly negative range ever since, down to -37 today and up some from the -43 reading on Tuesday (5/17). The SOI measures the difference in surface pressure between Darwin Australia and Tahiti. Consistently positive values signify La Nina and negative one signify El Nino. El Nino conditions support the development of stronger, larger and more consistent winter storms in the North Pacific and decreased Atlantic tropical storm activity. This dip is associated with the next active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation, currently pushing along the equator from the Indian Ocean into the West Pacific, centered near the dateline. This had been forecast and actuals are tracking well to the projections. As would be expected, trades winds have dropped to slightly below normal levels across the equator eastward to 150W, but no Westerly Wind Burst capable of producing a Kelvin Wave has been evidenced yet. If one is going to develop from this phase of the MJO it needs to happen in the next 2-3 days. It has only been 15 days since the end of the last active MJO pulse. Overall the 30 day average SOI is -10 as is the 90 day average. This is but one indicator of mild El Nino conditions, but not conclusive by itself, though there has been a steady push towards such a state. You can monitor the state of El Nino and the MJO here:


South Pacific

On Tuesday (5/16) beyond 72 hours out the jetstream is to continue in a .cgiit mode with the southern jet actually digging further south as high pressure builds east of New Zealand into early next week.

At the surface 72 hours out strong high pressure is to build east of New Zealand starting Sunday (5/22) and pushing east, up to 1028 mb by Monday and holding through Tuesday. No swell producing fetch forecast.

Details to follow...


Local Interest

El Nino Forecast Updated: Check out all the latest indicators to get a handle on how the Summer and Fall seasons could unfold.

Big Florida Swell: A strong gale pushed off Cape Hatteras on 4/15 generating solid seas and a 70 ft rogue wave that hit a cruise ship before proceeded south to make solid waves for the Southeast US coast. Matt Kechele was there to catch it. Take a look here:

Stormsurf Weather Models Updated Again: Yes, we've been at it again this weekend getting another batch of weather models running. Global coverage is now provided for jetstream forecasts and surface pressure and winds. Zoomed in data is also available for such locations as the Mentawai Islands to Western Australia corridor, Tahiti, South America, Europe and Norwegian Sea. So now you can get local wind forecasts for these and more locations with one click. Take a look here:

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

Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table


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