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.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 16.0 secs from 199 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 5.3 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 12.7 secs from 191 degrees. Wind east 2-4 kts. Water temperature 69.3 degs. At Santa Barbara swell was 1.9 ft @ 6.2 secs from 257 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.4 ft @ 12.5 secs from 204 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.6 ft @ 12.1 secs from 204 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.0 ft @ 8.3 secs with windswell 6.0 ft @ 8.3 secs and southern hemi swell 1.4 ft @ 13.2 secs from 220 degrees. Wind northwest 8-12 kts. Water temp 54.3 degs.
Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys
On Thursday (7/14) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at waist to chest high and warbled from local wind. At Santa Cruz minimal southern hemi swell was still dribbling in producing waves at maybe waist high and clean but fogged in early. In Southern California up north windswell was producing waves at knee high or so and clean. Not rideable. Down south southern hemi swell was producing set waves at maybe waist high but most in the thigh high range and clean. Further south top spots had sets at shoulder high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was starting to get new swell from New Zealand with set waves head high at top breaks and clean. The East Shore was getting windswell at waist high and chopped from easterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
A gale formed south of New Zealand on Wed-Thurs (7/7) with 32 ft seas aimed mainly east. Small swell is starting to show in Hawaii and expected to arrive in CA late in the weekend. A weak and fragmented gale is developing Tues (7/12) in the Central Pacific with 28-30 ft seas for 18 hours. Bare minimal swell is possible for CA. Tropical Storm Celia was tracking west from a point south 1,000 nmiles east of the Big Islands of Hawaii and is forecast moving just north of the Islands late Mon (7/18), but at depression status then. And minimal Hurricane Darby is south of Baja forecast to follow a similar path, but a bit more to the south. And maybe more to follow on a similar track. The Tropical East Pacific is busy fueled by the Active Phase of the MJO passing over that region. Otherwise the transition to La Nina continues.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (7/14) no swell producing fetch is occurring and none is forecast for the next 72 hours.
The California coastal pressure gradient was active on Thursday (7/14) resulting in northwest winds at 25 kts limited to mainly North CA offering good support for local windswell production with an eddy flow almost starting to form over Central CA. Over the next 72 hours the gradient is to build late Thurs PM into Fri AM (7/15) at 30-35 kts confined to North CA with the eddy flow well defined and covering South and Central CA driven by high pressure in the Central Gulf of Alaska at 1036 mbs ridging into Oregon. The gradient to hold into Sat AM (7/16) then start weakening and easing south with the eddy flow collapsing Sunday AM (7/17). Still north winds to be 25+ kts over North CA reaching south to Pt Reyes. Rideable windswell to result at exposed breaks in Central CA.
For Hawaii on Thurs (7/14) east trades were in the 10 kt range and offering no chance for windswell development. But the remnants of Celia were approaching from the east (see details in the Tropical Update below). Trades to slow clock to the northeast as Celia's remnants approach into Sun (7/17), but not exceed 15 kts. No windswell expected but hurricane swell is possible for exposed east shores of mainly the Big Island with windswell from it reaching into most northeast shores of the other islands.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Hurricane Celia peaked on Mon PM (7/11) positioned 1200 nmiles south-southwest of Pt Conception CA and 1631 nmiles east-southeast of the Big Island of Hawaii with winds 85 kts tracking west at 8 kts. Assuming swell period of 14 secs, swell arrival on the Big Island is expected on Thurs (7/14) at sunset and size well decayed and small. Celia was trending to the west-northwest on Tues AM (7/12) with winds down to 80 kts and fading from there, down to tropical storm status on Wed AM (7/13) with winds 60 kts and fading steadily. On Thurs AM (7/14) Celia was at minimal tropical storm status with winds 40 kts positioned 1,000 nmiles east of the Big Island tracking west-northwest at 11 kts., The official track has Celia 400 nmiles northeast of the Big Island on Sun AM (7/17) with winds 30 kts and then 200 nmiles north of Oahu on Mon AM (7/18) with winds 25 kts continuing west while fading. Local windswell generation is possible as Celia approaches the Islands.
Big Island (East Shore): Swell building Thurs (7/14) to 2.8 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Fri (7/15) at 3.2 ft @ 13 secs early (4.0 ft). Sat (7/16) a combo of windswell and Celia swell to be holding at 4.5 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft) then fading on Sun (7/17) from 5.0 ft @ 10-11 secs (4 ft). Swell Direction: 85 degrees
Hurricane Darby was 700 nmiles south of Central Baja Mexico on Thurs AM (7/14) tracking west at 10 kts with winds winds 70 kts. Some more strengthening is forecast with it peaking somewhat above minimal hurricane force (85 kts) on Fri afternoon (7/15) 1774 nmiles east of the Big Island of Hawaii moving on a steady westerly track, then fading after that. it is to fall below hurricane status on Sun AM (7/17) with winds 60 kts positioned 1425 nmiles east of the Big Island (85-90 degree track). No fetch is to be aimed well up into California. And this system is to be a long ways from Hawaii. The GFS model has remnants of this system 350 nmiles east of the Big Island tracking east on Thurs (7/21). Something to monitor.
Big Island (East Shore): Swell arrival computed to be Mon AM (7/18) with period 14-15 secs and size building to 2.8 ft @ at 14 secs near sunset (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 85 degrees.
More: And yet one if not two more tropical systems are forecast developing behind Darby following a similar path per the GFS model. Something to monitor.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (7/14) high pressure was ridging into North California resulting in north winds 25 kts along the North CA coast and 20 kt north winds reaching south but well west of Pt Conception with an eddy flow (south winds) developing nearshore for Central CA. Friday the gradient to bloom with north winds 30-35 kts over North CA then fading from 30 kts Sat (7/16) but the eddy flow well entrenched from Pt Arena southward. By Sunday the eddy flow is to collapse and the gradient is to fall south with north winds 20 kts moving into Central CA waters and up to 25 kts for North CA. Monday the gradient is to collapse as high pressure retrogrades to the Western Gulf with local winds for North and Central CA from the north at 15 kts and unchanged into early Thursday (7/21).
On Thursday AM (7/14) the jet was .cgiit over the West Pacific with the southern branch dragging over Antarctic Ice south of New Zealand continuing east to the Southeast Pacific finally lifting north near 120W forming a weak trough barely in the SCal swell window but with winds only 90 kts max, offering little support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the ridge is to hold over the entirety of the South Pacific, though weakening some on Sun (7/17) with winds only 90 kts in one pocket. Still no troughs are forecast. Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to hold covering the entire South Pacific into Wed (7/20) offering no support for gale development, but weakening steadily. There's some weak signs the ridge might finally dissipate on Thurs (7/21) in the far West Pacific, but that is very premature in being anything like reality.
On Thursday (7/14) a small swell was in the water hitting California (see New Zealand Gale below). Another gale developed under New Zealand Wed-Thurs (7/7) with swell from that starting to show in Hawaii (see New Zealand Gale below). And yet one more small fetch developed behind that in the Central Pacific (see Central Pacific Gale below). But after that, the forecast looks bleak.
On Thurs (7/14) high pressure at 1032 mbs was locking down the Central Pacific with virtually no swell producing fetch in the Hawaiian or California swell window. Over the next 72 hours through Sun (7/17) the high is to weaken and ease east but still is to be locking down the entirety of the South Pacific. no swell producing fetch is forecast.
New Zealand Gale
A cutoff low developed southeast of New Zealand on Fri AM (7/1) generating 40 kt south-southwest winds at 45S 174W aimed north and seas starting to build. By evening winds build from the south-southwest at 50 kts and seas building to 31 ft over a small area at 45S 172W and up to 37 ft at 42S 169.5W at 06Z (unshadowed in NCal, barely unshadowed in SCal). Fetch was fading from 40 kts Sat AM (7/2) aimed northeast with seas fading from 35 ft at 40.5S 168W. This system was very short lived and small in coverage but was still capable of producing decent swell for Tahiti with small swell for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Residuals on Sun (7/10) at 2.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees
South CA: A secondary pulse to arrive late on Thurs (7/14) building from 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft with sets to 3.0 ft). On Fri (7/15) swell building to 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft) in the afternoon. Swell to fade on Sat (7/16) from 1.8 ft @ 14 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 202 degrees
North CA: A secondary pulse to arrive on Fri (7/15) building to 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft) in the afternoon. Swell to fade on Sat (7/16) from 1.5 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
New Zealand Gale
A gale started tracking under New Zealand on Wed AM (7/6) producing an elongated fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed east starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening 40 kts west winds were pushing east getting traction on the oceans surface with seas building to 32 ft at 57.5S 165E (199 degs HI, 214 degs NCal and unshadowed, 214 degs SCal and shadowed). 40 kt southwest winds continued moving east on Thurs AM (7/7) with 32 ft seas at 58S 174E (210 degs NCal and almost shadowed, 211 degs SCal and shadowed, 193 degs HI). Fetch faded from 35+ kts in the evening while tracking east from there with seas fading from 29 ft at 58S 177W (207 degs NCal and shadowed, 208 degs SCal and just becoming unshadowed, 190 degs HI). The gale dissipated thereafter.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (7/14) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell continuing up slightly on Fri AM (7/15) pushing 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft with sets to 3.0 ft). Swell fading some on Sat (7/16) from 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding Sun (7/17) from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell holding Mon (7/18) at 2 ft @ 14 secs (2.5-3.0 ft) then fading Tues (7/19) from 1.8 ft @ 13 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (7/16) at sunset with period 18 secs and size near 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building on Sun (7/17) to 2 ft @ 16-17 secs late (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell holds on Mon (7/18) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.7 ft with sets to 4.6 ft). Swell continues on Tues (7/19) at 2.2 ft @ 15-16 sec early (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 211 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (7/16) at sunset with period 18 secs and size near 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell building on Sun (7/17) to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.7 ft with sets to 3.5 ft). Swell holds on Mon (7/18) at 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft with sets to 3.0 ft). Swell fades Tues (7/19) at 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees
Central Pacific Gale
On Tues AM (7/12) a weak gale developed while lifting up into the aforementioned trough in the Central South Pacific producing a small area of 40 kt south winds and seas to 30 ft at 58S 158W. In the evening those winds to continued tracking northeast and holding speed while loosing coverage with seas fading from 28ft over a small sized area at 53S 151W. By Wed AM (7/13) this system is to be gone. Small swell is possible.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (7/20) at 2.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading Thurs AM (7/21) from 2.0 ft @ 14 sec early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 201 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (7/20) at 2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading Thurs AM (7/21) from 1.8 ft @ 15 sec early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
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 high pressure is to start retrograding from the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Western Gulf over the weekend with the gradient starting to fade out on Monday (7/18) with north winds over Central and North CA dropping to 15-20 kts and then 15 kts on Tues (7/19) and only over a shallow area along the North and Central CA coasts. Windswell potential fading to next to nothing by then. And the high to continue to retrograde west winds barely 15 kt north winds holding Wed-Thurs (7/21) but fading from even that beyond.
For Hawaii trades, or for that matter wind, is to not be an issue Mon (7/18) with the remnants of Celia passing north of the Islands and winds less than 15 kts. More of the same Tuesday then high pressure and trades return on Wed (7/20) at 15 kts from the east holding Thurs (7/21) while turning northeast as the remnants of Darby approach from the east.
Beyond 72 hours no swell production is forecast. There's suggestions of a cutoff gale forming just east of New Zealand on Mon (7/18) producing 40-45 kt south winds aimed north and seas to 28 ft over a tiny area at 41S 180W. A similar situation is forecast for Wed-Thurs (7/21) too. Otherwise, that's it.
More details to follow...
La Nina Building
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 Thurs (7/14) east winds were over the equatorial Pacific east of 170W but near calm west of there through the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA). Anomalies were neutral over the most of the equatorial Pacific but light westerly in the Southern KWGA reaching east to 160W.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Neutral to very light east anomalies were over the KWGA on 7/14. A moderate easterly anomaly pattern is to develop in the KWGA 7/15 building through 7/21 reaching strong status near 130E suggestive of a fading weak Active MJO pattern turning to a moderate.cgius Inactive Phase.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 7/13 a modest Inactive MJO signal was over the West Pacific. The Statistic model projects it fading over the next week with neutral anomalies in.cgiay 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts a stronger Inactive Phase developing 4 days out, then fading 2 weeks out. Neither of these outcomes is encouraging from a swell production viewpoint.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/14) The ECMF model indicates no Active MJO signal. The forecast projects no change for the coming 2 week window. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same theme with maybe a hint of the Active Phase developing in the far West Indian Ocean 10 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (7/14) A moderate Inactive Phase was over the far West Pacific and expected to move east from there through 8/3. A weak Active Phase to follow in the west on 8/3 easing east through 8/23.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal was fading over the KWGA moving east with weak west anomalies in.cgiay and offering minimal support for enhancing the jetstream. It projects this Active Phase moving east and fading through 7/21. An Inactive MJO pattern to follow with weak east anomalies taking root 7/28-8/23. An Active MJO signal to follow 8/24 to 10/11 with west anomalies over the far West Pacific (barely in the KWGA) to 165E and stationary with east anomalies from 175W and points east to Central America. 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 dissipate (gone) south of California by 9/4. At the same time low pass anomalies are over the Indian Ocean and forecast to build into Oct, typical of La Nina.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/14) Actual temperature are building in the West Pacific near the surface to 30 degs C and the 28 deg isotherm line stable reaching east to only 166W. Warm anomalies at +1 degs rule from the West Pacific to 160W with weak negative anomalies between there and 130W. Neutral anomalies are east of there over a shallow pool near the surface and are fading. Cool subsurface waters are at depth erupting between 135W-160W with -3 degs anomalies reaching east down 100 meters to 130W (building east). The Kelvin Wave pipeline is chocked with a cold river rushing east. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/7 a pocket of +1.0 deg anomalies is building from 130E to 170E. Cool waters 3-4 degs below normal was under the entire width of the equator, undercutting any residual warm water above it and forming a bubble near 150W and upwelling from 120-150W but also reaching east to Ecuador. La Nina is in control of the ocean.
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: (7/13) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates cooler than normal water continues over the entire equatorial Pacific with negative anomalies along the coast of Peru pushing north and expanding coverage then extending west from Ecuador over the Galapagos, tracking solidly west out to at least 160W with with peak temps down to -1.75 degs (near the Galapagos and south of Hawaii). This cool pattern is building over all regions. La Nina is firmly in control of surface waters, with remnant El Nino warm water 3 degs north and south of the equator being pushed further north and south away from the equator with cool water now reaching up to 10N in pockets quickly edging out the warmer water. No warm water remains anywhere in the Nino regions on the equator.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/12): A neutral trend controls waters of Chile and Peru. Strong cooling that was in control from the Galapagos out to 140W is backing off some. A neutral pattern was off Africa. The PDO warm pool was pulsing solidly from Oregon out across the Pacific at 40N to Japan.
Hi-res Overview: (7/12) The El Nino signal is dissipating. A clear La Nina cool water pool is tracking from Ecuador and building south of Hawaii. A generalized pattern of +1-2 deg above normal temps remains 3 degs north and south of the equator and west of 180W. Cooler water is over the north dateline region 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: (7/14) Today's temps were steady at +0.034 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (7/12) temps were falling some at -0.220 degs.
Comparing Stongest El Ninos in the last 50 year - ERSSTv4 'centered' data
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/14) indicates temps on a steady downward trajectory falling to -0.75 degs in mid-Sept and holding through Dec, then slowly rising in Jan 2017 and neutral by March. This is moderate 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-June Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.7 by Sept then holding there to March. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (7/14): The daily index was falling negative at -20.60. The 30 day average was falling at +3.43. It transitioned from negative to positive (first time in 2 years) on 5/27. The 90 day average was rising from -1.87. El Nino was evident only in the 90 day average, and even that will soon be a distant memory.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (7/14) Today's value was building negative at -1.22. 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 positive, though a little weaker in June (as expected with La NIna setting in). Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-June) have been +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.60, +1.45 and +0.78. The Washington EDU index for the Jan-May period indicates +1.54, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62 and +2.35. The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive since then. 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
Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here:
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Monday (7/10): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScvxfU3FLDQ&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
For automatic notification of forecast updates, subscribe to the Stormsurf001 YouTube channel - just click the 'Subscribe' button below the video.
Titans of Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ
- - -
||Casa Noble Tequila If you are looking for an exquisite experience in fine tequila tasting, one we highly recommend, try Case Noble. Consistently rated the best tequila when compared to any other. Available at BevMo (in California). Read more here: http://www.casanoble.com/
Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table