Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): Seas were 2.1 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 12.7 secs from 195 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.2 ft @ 5.3 secs with swell 0.7 ft @ 13.6 secs from 202 degrees. Wind west 0-2 kts. Water temperature 60.8 degs. At Santa Barbara swell was 1.1 ft @ 8.5 secs from 271 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 0.7 ft @ 15.9 secs from 222 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 0.6 ft @ 15.9 secs from 210 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 9.1 secs with northwest windswell 3.0 ft @ 9.3 secs. Wind southwest 6 kts. Water temp 58.1 degs.
Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys
On Tuesday (6/7) in North and Central CA surf was thigh high at top spots and textured with light south winds in effect. At Santa Cruz surf was flat with some rare thigh high sets occasionally coming through with clean conditions. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. Maybe some 1 ft sets. Down south there was no rideable waves with clean conditions except at top spots where waves were maybe thigh high on the sets. Hawaii's North Shore was getting windswell with waves waist high or so with northeast texture running through it. The South Shore was near flat with thigh high sets and textured conditions from easterly trades. The East Shore was thigh high and chopped from easterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
A summer time pattern is in control of the North Pacific with no swell production forecast. For the southern hemi a primer gale developed under under New Zealand on Thurs (6/2) with 28 ft seas aimed northeast. The first real gale developed on Fri (6/3) with 32-34 ft seas aimed northeast with a second one developing right behind it on Sat-Sun (6/5) with seas 36 ft seas aimed northeast and follow-on energy Monday at 30-32 ft aimed north. Yet a third one is forecast developing in the Southeast Pacific further on Wed-Thurs (6/9) with 36 ft seas briefly building to 40 ft aimed northeast. A possible long run of smallish to moderate swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast. And yet more activity looks possible under New Zealand a week out. Something to monitor.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (6/7) no swell producing fetch is occurring and none is forecast for the next 72 hours.
The local California coastal pressure gradient is to have no effect until Fri (6/10) when a fetch of 20 kt north winds is to develop over the North and Central Coasts centered near San Francisco resulting in modest north short period windswell (see QuikCASTs for details).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/7) a light wind pattern continued with a generally weak pressure pattern in control. Light winds are expected early Wednesday but high pressure is to start building later in the day focused on Pt Conception with north winds to 20 kts late afternoon there and 15 kts north of there up to North CA. Thursday high pressure is to start ridging into the coast from a point north of Hawaii with north winds 15 kts over North and more of Central CA early building to 20-25 kts by late afternoon. 20-25 kts northwest winds to continue Friday, Saturday and Sunday (6/12) for North and Central CA with Southern CA remaining protected. More of the same on Monday but the gradient starting to fade some Tuesday with 20-25 kts north winds confirmed to Pt Conception as low pressure moves towards the area from the Northeast Gulf.
On Tuesday AM (6/7) the southern branch of the jet had a pocket of 170 kts winds pushing under New Zealand lifting northeast forming a trough pretty well southeast of New Zealand offering good support for gale development. East of the trough the jet was falling firmly south forming a ridge over the Southeast Pacific and pushing into Antarctica actively suppressing potential for gale development there. The northern branch was running west to east up at 25S over the West Pacific but then joined the southern branch in falling hard south over the Southeast Pacific helping to suppress gale development there. Over the next 72 hours additional wind energy is to build into the New Zealand trough Tuesday PM to 180 kts offering great support for gale development, then slowly moderating Wed-Thurs (6/9) while moving into the Southeast Pacific, with the trough dissipating by Fri AM (6/10). Back to the west the jet is to be ridging south with winds rather weak, at 90-100 kts offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the ridge in the west is to be sweeping east, but possibly setting up a trough ahead of it in the far Southeast Pacific on Sat (6/11) with winds barely 140 kts offering minimal support for low pressure development there. But by Mon (6/13) a new trough is to start building south of the Tasman Sea being fed by 160 kts winds reaching south of New Zealand on Tues (6/14) and possibly offering some support for gale development there. Something to monitor.
On Tuesday AM (6/7) mult.cgie swells were in the water originating from a Primer Gale southeast of New Zealand, then a stronger one (Gale #1) and yet a stronger one (Gale #2) (details below for all gales).
Over the next 72 hours yet one more gale is forecast (Gale #3).
On Thurs AM (6/2) a primer gale pushed under New Zealand generating 35 kt southwest winds and 27 seas at 55S 178E. Fetch moved east-northeast in the evening with 35 kts winds continuing aimed northeast and 28 ft seas at 53S 173W. This gale rapidly faded from there. No swell relative to North Hemi locations is expected but it will serve to rough up the ocean surface in preparation for more gale behind.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (6/9) at sunrise at 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (3 ft) and building through the day, peaking at sunset at 2.2 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Fri AM (6/10) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees
South CA: Small background swell to arrive on Sun (6/12) with swell pushing 2.1 ft @ 17 secs later in the day (3.0-3.5 ft). On Mon (6/13) swell to continue at 2.2 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft with set to 4.5 ft). Swell fading on Tues (6/14) from 2.1 ft @ 15 secs (3 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees
North CA: Small background swell to arrive on Sun (6/12) with swell pushing 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs later in the day (3.0 ft). On Mon (6/13) swell to continue at 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees
New Zealand Gale #1
On Fri AM (6/3) a solid fetch of 45 kt west southwest winds developed covering a large area under New Zealand with seas building to 31 ft at 60S 165E aimed east-northeast (196 degs HI, 211 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 211 degs NCal and barely unshadowed by Tahiti). The fetch lifted northeast in the evening with 40-45 kt southwest winds holding and seas 34 ft at 56S 180W (192 degs HI, 210 degs SCal and barely shadowed, 209 degs NCal and barely shadowed). The gale tracked east-northeast on Sat AM (6/4) but was fading with winds barely 35 kts with seas fading from 31 ft at 52S 169W (187 degs HI, 209 degs SCal and barely unshadowed, 207 degs NCal and shadowed). A rapid fade followed. A decent pulse of swell is expected to result for Tahiti, Hawaii and the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (6/10) near noon with swell period 18 secs and size ramping up from 2.1 ft @ 18 secs (3.8 ft with sets to 4.8 ft). Swell to start peaking at sunset with pure swell 2.3 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Swell still solid on Sat (6/11) at sunrise as period hits 16 secs at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.7 ft with sets to 4.6 ft). Swell continuing into Sun (6/12) fading from 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: Focused on 196 degrees
SCal: Expect swell arrival expected on Sun (6/12) near 2 PM with swell 1.7 ft @ 18 secs (3.0 ft) and building. Swell building Mon (6/13) peaking at 2.4 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Residuals fading Tues (6/14) from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 209-212 degrees
NCal: Expect swell arrival expected on Sun (6/12) near 5 PM with swell 1.7 ft @ 18 secs (3.0 ft) and building. Swell building Mon (6/13) peaking at 2.4 ft @ 17 secs mid-day (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Residuals fading Tues (6/14) from 2.2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 209-212 degrees
New Zealand Gale #2
Yet another gale developed under New Zealand on Sat AM (6/4) with 40-45 kt west winds and seas building. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds were moving east under New Zealand with seas building from 33 ft at 55S 180E (197 degs HI, 210 degs NCal and unshadowed, 211 degs SCal and shadowed). The fetch fragmented some Sun AM (6/5) with patches of 40-45 kt southwest winds and 36 ft seas at 55S 173W (188 degs HI, 206 degs NCal and shadowed, 207 degs SCal and unshadowed) embedded in a broad area of 30+ ft seas aimed northeast. 40 kt southwest winds to hold in the evening with 32 ft seas over a large area aimed northeast at 54S 167W (187 degs HI, 205 degs NCal and shadowed, 208 degs SCal and unshadowed). Fetch is to be fading on Mon AM (6/6) from 35 kts with seas fading from 32 ft over a solid area aimed more north-northeast at 51S 167W (182 degs HI, 207 degs NCal and shadowed, 209 degs SCal and unshadowed). Residual seas faded in the evening from 30 ft at 45S 162W. Solid swell is possible and overriding swell from Gale #1 (above).
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (6/11) with period 19 secs and size building through the day, pushing 2.2 ft @ 18 secs late (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Swell continue on Sun AM (6/12) peaking early at 2.5 ft @ 17 secs (4.2 ft with sets to 5.3 ft). Swell solid on Mon AM (6/13) from 3.1 ft @ 15 secs (4.7 ft with sets to 5.8 ft). Residuals fading on Tues (6/14) from 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction 190 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival mid-day Mon (6/13) with size tiny and period 19-20 secs pushing 1.6 ft @ 19 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building Tues (6/14) to 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs mid-day (4.5 ft with sets to 5.7 ft). Swell Direction: 206-211 degrees focused on 208 degrees
Northern CA: Expect swell arrival mid-day Mon (6/13) with size tiny and period 20+ secs pushing 1.6 ft @ 19 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building Tues (6/14) to 2.3 ft @ 17-18 secs mid-day (4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 205-210 degrees focused on 207 degrees
Southeast Pacific Gale #3
Yet another gale was developing well southeast of New Zealand on Tues AM (6/7) with 40 kt southeast winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building from 22 ft. In the evening a broader area of 40 kt south-southwest winds are to develop with seas building to 30 ft over a broader area at 55S 162W aimed northeast. On Wed AM (6/8) a small area of 45-50 kt south winds are to develop embedded in a broad area of 40+ kt south winds generating a tiny area of 36 ft seas at 54S 152W aimed north. In the evening the fetch is to be lifting northeast still at 40-45 kts aimed a little more to the northeast with seas forecast at 40 ft over a tiny area at 50S 145W targeting California down to Peru. A secondary fetch is to develop in the same area Thurs AM (6/9) with 40 kt south winds embedded in a broad area if 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas 37 ft at 45S 140W. Fetch is to be fading from there at 40-45 kts while tracking east with seas fading from 34 ft at 45S 130W. More swell to result targeting Hawaii and all points east of there.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a low pressure system is to move into the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska on Sun (6/12) building to gale status later in the day with winds to 35 kts just north of the Central CA swell window. The gale to fall south Monday (6/13) with northwest winds 30 kts and seas 17 ft moving into the swell window then weakening early Tues (6/14) with winds fading from 30 kts and well into the CA swell window. Hard to believe, but something to monitor.
The local California pressure gradient is to continue producing north winds over North and Central CA Sat (6/11) at 20-25 kts continuously into Mon (6/13) resulting in moderate short period local north windswell for North and Central CA.
Beyond 72 hours t here's suggestions that yet another series of gales are to start pushing under New Zealand on Mon (6/13) and fetch building on Tues (6/14) to 65 kts from the west and seas to 55 ft directly under New Zealand. It's a long ways till then and much can change. but the trend looks favorable.
More details to follow...
La Nina Continues
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: The 2014-2016 El Nino is fading out. La Nina is emerging.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (6/6) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA). Anomalies were generally neutral but with weak west tendencies near 150W.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Very weak west anomalies were over the KWGA and are forecast slowly fade to neutral status by 6/10 and then easterly into 6/14. Solid westerly anomalies are well east of the KWGA (120W - south of California) and forecast to hold for the next week offering nothing.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 6/6 a dead neutral MJO signal was in.cgiay. The Statistic model projects a weak Inactive Phase developing 2 week out in the far West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts an Inactive pattern developing 4 days out1 and building modestly in week 2. In all no enhancement of the jetstream is expected from the MJO.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (6/7) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is over the West Pacific and is very weak and is to collapse eventually redeveloping modestly in the Indian Ocean a week out. The GEFS model depicts the same thing, only stronger in the Indian Ocean 2 weeks out.
40day Upper Level Model: (6/7) A weak Active Phase of the MJO was over the West Pacific and is expected to slowly track east into Central America into 6/20. On 6/12 new stronger Inactive Phase of the MJO is to start pushing into the West Pacific reaching Central America on 7/8. A weak Active Phase to follow. .
CFS Model beyond 1 week (850 mb wind): This model suggests the Active Phase of the MJO was developing over the dateline with weak west anomalies in.cgiay offering minimal to no support for enhancing the jetstream. The model depicts a weak Active Phase continuing to produce weak west anomalies through 6/12. After that the MJO is to be weak with no real anomalies forecast. Neutral anomalies if not weak east anomalies are forecast 7/7-9/3. The low pass filter suggests the remnants of El Nino are shifting east and are now south of Hawaii (rather than in the KWGA) and offering nothing to enhance the jetstream and are to be all but gone by 9/3 positioned south of California.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (6/7) Actual temperatures are retreating daily. A pocket of 29-30 deg temps were building in the far West Pacific with the 28 deg isotherm line steady now at 159W. No El Nino subsurface anomalies remain. Neutral anomalies rule from the West Pacific to the east to 150W with weak negative anomalies east of there. Cool subsurface waters are at depth erupting east of 150W with -3 degs anomalies reaching east at depth to 120W (steady). The Kelvin Wave pipeline has been r.cgiaced with a cold river rushing east. But it appears to be not reaching Ecuador, but rather is westward di.cgiaced. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 6/2 one last weak pocket of +0.5 deg anomalies is confined to a shrinking area 170E to 170W. Cool waters at 3-4 degs below normal were in.cgiay under the entire width of the equator, undercutting any residual warm water above it and upwelling over a broad area of the East equatorial Pacific. La Nina has begun.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (6/6) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates cooler than normal water continues over the equator region with negative anomalies along the coast of Peru (building some compared to days previous) pushing north and then extending west from Ecuador over the Galapagos building west to 157W peaking at -1.5 degs over a good portion of that area now. La Nina is firmly in control of surface waters, though remnant El Nino warm water is 3 degs north and south of the equator. No warm water remains anywhere in the Nino regions on the equator.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (6/6): A neutral trend is along Chile and Peru with cooler than normal waters from the Galapagos west out to 160W, but less so than days previous. The mirror image cooler trend has redeveloped in the Atlantic tracking west from Africa. Temps are increasing along the California coast due to slackening of high pressure driven northwest winds. The PDO warm pool is holding solidly from Oregon out to Hawaii and west from there to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview: (6/3) The El Nino signal is dissipating. A clear La Nina cool water pool is tracking firmly from Ecuador and building in width on the equator from west of the Galapagos out to near 165W, but is somewhat weaker today than days past. A generalized pattern of +1-2 deg above normal temps remains 3 degs north and south of the equator and west of 160W. Cooler water is over the dateline in the North Pacific with warm water off the Pacific Northwest streaming over Hawaii looking very much like the classic Active PDO pattern.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (6/7) Today's temps were falling again after rebounding briefly around 6/5, down to +0.828.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (6/7) temps are holding for the moment but still in negative territory at -0.257 degs attributable to a developing La Nina cool pool.
Comparing Stongest El Ninos in the last 50 year - ERSSTv4 'centered' data
Pacific Counter Current: As of 6/6 the current was moderately but continuously from the east on the equator from 90W to 150E. Anomalies were stronger still from the east over the same area. There were no pockets of west anomalies indicated. La Nina is firmly entrenched based on this data, which is normal for this point in the El Nino lifecycle.
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (6/7) indicates temps on a steady downward trajectory falling to -0.75 degs early July then holding there into Nov, easing down to -1.15 degs in early Dec then slowly rising in Jan 2017. This is solid La Nina territory but it's up from the -1.5 and -1.25 degs indicated even a few weeks ago.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-May Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.7 by Sept then starting to drift higher to -0.6 in February, See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Co.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (6/7): The daily index was falling at -29.50. The 30 day average was falling at -0.12, but still generally transitioning from negative to positive for the first time in 2 years on 5/27. The 90 day average was falling from -6.85. El Nino was still evident in the 90 day average, but even that will soon be a distant memory.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (6/7) Today's value was rising some from -0.43. It peaked on 3/12 at +1.57 then fell until 4/14, when it started rising again peaking 4/23 at +1.12. But it has been falling steadily ever since.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues solid. Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-May) have been +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.60, and +1.45. The Washington EDU index for the Jan-April period indicates +1.54, +1.75, +2.40 and +2.62. April's value was the highest it's been since 1941. The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been mostly above +1.5 all of 2015. Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table