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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, June 8, 2017 11:07 AM
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
3.0 - California & 1.0 - 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 6/5 thru Sun 6/11

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 Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

SHemi Swell Fading In CA
2 Systems Forecast Near New Zealand


On Thursday, June 8, 2017 :

  • Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site and no date if or when it will return to service.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 15.2 secs from 202 degrees. Wind southwest 6-8 kts. Water temperature 62.2 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.0 ft @ 12.7 secs from 199 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.5 secs from 200 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.6 secs from 214 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 2.1 ft @ 13.6 secs from 189 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.8 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 13.9 secs from 224 degrees. Wind northwest 16-18 kts at the buoy. Water temp 56.3 degs.

    46006, 46059, Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- 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).
- 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.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.


Current Conditions
On Thursday (6/8) in North and Central CA a combination of local northwest windswell and southern hemi swell was producing surf at waist high at exposed breaks and warbled, wonky and weak. Protected breaks were thigh to waist high and clean but weak. At Santa Cruz swell from the Southeast Pacific was still present but smaller than days past with sets waist high or so and clean but inconsistent and weak. In Southern California up north southern hemi swell was producing surf at thigh to waist high and clean. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was still hitting producing waves at waist to chest high with some head high sections and slightly textured. In South Orange Co Southeast Pacific swell was still producing sets at shoulder to sometimes head high and clean and lined up but slow. In San Diego surf was waist high and lined up and clean but slow. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was near flat with thigh high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting no real east windswell with waves knee high or less and chopped from modest east trades.

See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (6/8) residual swell from a weak gale that developed over the Southeast Pacific on Tues (5/30) with barely 28 ft seas was still hitting California but on it's way down. Over the next 7 days down south a decent gale is forecast developing under New Zealand starting Sat (6/10) with up to 47 ft seas aimed east then fading into Sunday. Another weather system is to follow directly behind late on Mon (6/12) again under New Zealand with seas to 43 ft tracking northeast continuing into Wed (6/14) now just east of New Zealand with seas 38 ft. In the Northern Hemisphere a small low pressure system developed in the Gulf Sat-Mon (6/5) with 15 ft seas aimed east. Whatever swell was generated is hitting NCal now. The models have backed off concerning a gale forecast for the Western Gulf on Fri-Sat (6/10) with now only a small area of 16 ft seas forecast aimed east. Otherwise no local north windswell is expected for California or Hawaii until maybe Sun or Mon (6/12).

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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (6/8) weak low pressure was in the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska peaking and generating 20 kt east winds targeting the Pacific Northwest offering some windswell generation potential for there. Otherwise a weak pressure and wind pattern was in effect. Supposedly some swell originating from the Gulf of Alaska was hitting North CA (see Another Gulf Low below). No fetch of interest was in play relative to the Hawaiian Islands.

Over the next 72 hours weak high pressure is to start building in the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday (6/11) at 1028 mbs starting to generate north winds at 15 kts pushing down the entire US West Coast and also generating 15 kts trades northeast of Hawaii but not hitting the Islands directly. No real windswell to result through the period.


Another Gulf Low
On Sat AM (6/3) low pressure was tracking through the Western Gulf producing a small fetch of 30 kts southwest winds with seas building from 14 ft at 44N 166W. Fetch built to 35 kts in the evening tracking east with seas building to 16 ft at 44N 161W. Southwest fetch tracked east Sun AM (6/4) at 30 kts with seas fading from 15 ft at 44N 154W. The gale faded from there but with secondary fetch developing just north of there in the evening with 30 kt west winds and 15 ft seas at 50N 164W. That fetch fell southeast Mon AM (6/5) with 30 kt northwest winds and 15 ft seas at 48N 160W. This system dissipated thereafter. No swell to result for Hawaii and low odds of swell for California.

North CA: Swell continues Thurs (6/8) at 4.0 ft @ 10-11 secs (4.0 ft) but based on current observations this is likely overstated. Swell fading Fri (6/9) from 3.1 ft @ 10-11 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 297 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (6/8) weak low pressure pressure at 994 mbs was along the coast of Central Canada generating a fetch of 20-25 kt west winds targeting the Pacific Northwest with a front from that low pushing down the the North CA coast. Rain was over North CA reaching south to the Golden Gate. That front is to track south some more into the late afternoon reaching Santa Cruz then dissipating. Friday a light wind pattern is to continue with the core of the aforementioned low moving up to the Pacific Northwest coast. Sat (6/10) the low is to start moving onshore over South Oregon with high pressure 800 nmiles north of Hawaii with the leading edge just off the California coast. North winds building over Pt Conception at 20 kts and 10 kts or less north of there. On Sunday (6/11) that pattern is to build more as low pressure moves inland with north winds 15 kts over the all of North and Central CA late afternoon and up to 25 kts for Pt Conception. Monday north winds to build steadily along the North and Central coast to 20 kts and up to 25 kts over Pt Conception. Tuesday (6/13) the gradient is to build over North CA with north winds 20-25 kts there continuing south to Pt Conception. Wed (6/14) more of the same is forecast with the fetch building in 25 kts coverage on Thurs (6/15).


South Pacific

On Thursday AM (6/8) a split zonal flow was in effect with the northern branch tracking east on the 24N latitude line and the southern branch running east on the 61S latitude line. No troughs were in play across the width of the influential southern branch but winds had increased to 110 kts over the western portion of the South Pacific. Still there was no indication of support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours
a pocket of wind energy is to build under New Zealand lifting northeast Friday AM (6/9) at 150 kts forming a trough offering limited support for gale development. That trough is to track east and fade some into Sat (6/10) only to be reinforced with a new trough developing under New Zealand on Sun (6/11) but without good wind support. But on Mon (6/12) 160 kt southwest winds to start building feeding this trough and pushing more directly to the north on Tues (6/13) at 140 kts and tracking east into early Wed (6/14) before fading. Good support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. The trough is to start getting cutoff on Thurs (6/15).

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (6/8) swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was still hitting California (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours a storm is forecast developing southwest of New Zealand on Fri PM (6/9) with 60 kt west winds over a small area aimed east with seas building from 37 ft at 57S 141E. On Sat AM (6/10) winds to be fading from 55 kts from the east while tracking east with seas building to 47 ft at 58S 154E. Fetch is to be fading from 45 kts in the evening with 43 ft seas at 59S 166E. Fetch is to be fading from 35-40 kts from the east Sun AM (6/11) south of New Zealand with seas fading from 35 ft at 60S 175E. The gale is to dissipate from there. Possible swell to result targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. Something to monitor.


Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale developed in the South Central Pacific Mon PM (5/29) producing a broad area of 35 kt southwest winds and 26 ft seas at 54S 142W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/30) fetch was fading from 30-35 kts with seas 28 ft at 51S 135W aimed well to the northeast. The gale to fade from there while quickly moving east out of the California swell window. Tiny background swell is possible for California down into Central and South America.

Southern CA: Swell fading Thurs (6/8) from 1.7 ft @ 13 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) with secondary swell 1.7 ft @ 15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). That swell fades out on Fri (6/9) from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees

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 a low pressure system is to develop in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Fri AM (6/9) producing 25 kt west winds and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening 25-30 kt west fetch is to continue with seas building to 12 ft at 48N 160W aimed east. Fetch is to build Sat AM (6/10) to 35 kts from the west over a small area with seas building to 17 ft at 51N 158W. The low is to dissipate from there in the evening with winds dropping from 25 kts from the west and seas fading from 15 ft at 52N 153W. Low odds for any rideable windswell to result relative to our forecast area.

High pressure at 1028 mbs is to ease east feeding a pressure gradient along the California coast late Mon (6/12) resulting in 20 kt north winds and up to 25 kts over Pt Conception. the gradient is to continue and lift north Tues-Wed (6/14) becoming more focused over North CA and then building to 25 kts Thurs (6/15) over both North and Central CA. Raw windswell the likely outcome for the North and Central coasts.

Trades to start building associated with the above high relative to Hawaii on Mon (6/12) from the east at 15 kts continuing Tues (6/13) then fading in coverage. Some increase in east windswell is possible along east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to develop well south of Tasmania on Mon AM (6/12) with 45 kt southwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening a broad fetch of 50-55 kt southwest winds is to be lifting northeast with seas building to 37 ft at 55S 154E. On Tues AM (6/13) the storm is to lift northeast and centered just south of New Zealand at 50-55 kt from the south with seas 42 ft at 50S 165E mostly targeting the southern tip of New Zealand. On Tues PM (6/13) a broad fetch of 45-50 kt south winds is to set up just east of New Zealand with 39 ft seas at 45S 175E. On Wed AM (6/14) fetch is to be fading and still up to 50 kts in pockets generating 38 ft seas at 42S 178W. In the evening south winds to be fading from 45 kts with seas 38 ft at 45S 171W. Fetch is to fade from 40 kts Thurs AM (6/15) with 32 ft seas fading at 40S 168W. This system is worth monitoring.

More details to follow...


Cool SSTs Collapsing Along Peru

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 equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing 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 planet, 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 in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.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: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Wednesday (6/7) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral in most locations but weak easterly in the far east Pacific and modest westerly in the southerly KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Light east anomalies were over the KWGA and forecast to hold if not build slightly through the end of the forecast period (6/15). This suggests a fading Inactive Phase of the MJO is over the KWGA or a weak La Nina pattern is returning.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 6/7 no Active/Wet Phase or Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was depicted over the West Pacific. The statistical model depicts no MJO signal to develop over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model projects the Inactive Phase developing in the far West Pacific and building to moderate strength over the dateline 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (6/8) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and incoherent with no change forecast for the next 2 weeks. The GEFS depicts much the same thing but with the Active Phase perhaps rebuilding/retrograding weakly into the West Indian Ocean 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (6/8) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Dry pattern was over the dateline and is to track east into Central America 6/23. A weak pattern is to follow until 7/8 when a weak Active Phase depicted developing in the West Pacific on 7/8 tracking to the dateline through the end of the model run on 7/18. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (6/8) This model depicts a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was exiting the KWGA with a weaker Active Phase trying to move into the West Pacific. Neutral wind anomalies were indicated over the KWGA. Beyond the weak Active Phase is to fade 6/16 with a weaker Inactive Phase following, but with weak west anomalies developing in the KWGA and holding. A legitimate Active Phase of the MJO is to fully develop in the West Pacific on 7/13 with building west anomalies moderate in strength holding till 8/27, then fading as the Inactive Phase of the MJO develops in the KWGA 9/5 (the end of the run). This is likely overstated as the model has been teasing at west anomalies for months and yet they never develop. The low pass filter indicates La Nina is to hold on in the KWGA till 6/13 (previously 5/6-5/8). La Nina might weakly redevelop 7/21 with the core just east of California rather than over the KWGA. Best guess is a very weak directionless pattern is to set up post La Nina and it will take 3-5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.

CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (6/8) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the far West Pacific at 29 degs (30 deg anomalies no longer on the chart). The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 149W. The 24 deg isotherm reaches Ecuador down at 40 meters and is 90 meters down at 140W. Warm anomalies are at +3 degs in the East Pacific and +1 deg anomalies are in the West Pacific down at 100m. Continuous 0 to +1 degs anomalies stretch from the west to the east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 6/2 depicts a continuous stream of warm water tracking from the west to the east suggesting a Kelvin Wave is in flight. The concern is there is no real warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (6/2) in the east +5 cm anomalies are fading in coverage along the coast of Peru and Ecuador. In the west +0-5 cm anomalies are retreating significantly along the length of equator over all the KWGA. One pocket of positive heights remains at 125W. A neutral pattern trending cooler was suggested per this imagery.

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.
Satellite Imagery
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (6/7) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generalized warm pattern offset from the South American coast from the equator southward extending from the Galapagos west out to 160W and southward beyond 25S. Upwelling along the immediate coasts of Chile, Peru and Ecuador is rapidly collapsing with cool anomalies limited to mainly Peru. La Nina is gone and an El Nino like pattern that was trying to build during March-May is now backing off significantly.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (6/6): A cooling trend has faded off Ecuador and along the coast of Peru with hints of warming indicated. Cooling continues on the equator between 110W to 140W. A warming trend continues in the Northern Hemi from a point off California pushing just north of Hawaii and reaching west to the Philippines. But overall nothing remarkable is indicated.
Hi-res Overview:
(6/5) A solid warm regime holds from Chile north to Ecuador and west to 160W and less energetic out to the dateline. It looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal. Suspect climatology needs to be updated to reflect this new reality, or the recent Super El Nino has significantly redistributed heat across the oceans.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (6/8) Today's temps are rising to +0.031, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18.  
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (6/8) temps were stable at +0.498 degs.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (6/8) The forecast has temps steady at +0.5 degs today into early July then falling to +0.35 in early Aug holding to early Oct, then falling to neutral in Dec-Jan 2018. This suggests normal to weakly warm pattern developing for the Winter of 2017-2018. CFS data suggests a Modoki style warming pattern over the dateline this Fall and Winter but other models are no suggesting a return of a weak La Nina pattern. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading. Much recharging and heat buildup is required for a real El Nino to develop. We're at least 5 years out from that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-May Plume updated (5/19) depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.5 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.7 degs in Aug and holding through Dec, then falling to 0.6 degs in Jan. This is +0.1 degs warmer than the April forecast and +0.7 degs warmer than the January forecast suggesting La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link.  The NMME consensus depicts peak temp to +1.0 degs Nov through Jan.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (6/8): The daily index was steady at -10.12 and has been negative for 8 days. The 30 day average was rising at +1.01. The 90 day average was falling at -2.04 or just south of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (6/6) Today's value was finally steady at -1.52 or trending back towards La Nina. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94, the deepest of the past La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.03, March = +0.09, April=+0.52 . This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). 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 strongly suggests that could be a possibility. 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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