Monday, February 20, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 10.6 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 7.3 ft @ 13.1 secs from 335 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.0 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 13.1 secs from 256 degrees. Wind southeast 12-16 kts. Water temperature 58.1 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.9 ft @ 16.1 secs from 260 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.7 ft @ 11.9 secs from 255 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.9 ft @ 12.3 secs from 241 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 3.5 ft @ 12.5 secs from 258 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 14.5 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 8.3 ft @ 15.7 secs from 285 degrees. Wind southeast 18-23 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.2 degs.
46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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).
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.
On Monday (2/20) in North and Central CA swell from a gale in the Gulf was hitting producing waves in the 12 ft range and clean at select breaks but raw and lurpy. At Santa Cruz surf was 10 ft and blown to bits by strong southeast winds and buried in whitecaps. In Southern California up north the leading edge of this swell was starting to hit in the afternoon producing head high to 1 ft overhead waves with clean conditions and light wind with rain. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the sets and weak with textured conditions but reasonably clean. In San Diego surf was chest high and lined up but with a bit of onshore warble and bump. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northwest swell from a gale north of the Islands with waves 10 ft Hawaiian but pretty heavily textured if not lightly chopped from northeast winds. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was the same northerly swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead and chopped from northeast winds.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Monday (2/20) swell from a gale that tracked east through the Gulf Sat (2/18) with seas in the 32-24 ft range before moving into Oregon outer waters on Sun (2/19) was hitting California. Another gale developed north of Hawaii Sun (2/19) with 27 ft seas falling southeast and was hitting Hawaii. To the west a small gale tracked northeast off Japan Sun (2/19) with 26 ft seas racing to the North Dateline region 24 hrs later with up to 32 ft seas aimed east. Another broader system is to develop off Japan on Tues (2/21) with 36 ft seas then racing northeast and fading on Wed (2/22) over the North Dateline region. After that no additional swell production is forecast.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Monday AM (2/20) the jetstream was somewhat split pushing east off Southern Japan with both streams running parallel and in close proximity to each other at 140 kts, briefly merging on the dateline before splitting over the Western Gulf with the northern branch pushing north up over the Eastern Aleutians before falling south again and merging with the southern branch pushing northeast up into Central CA with winds to 150 kts. There was a trough over the dateline and another in the Eastern Gulf, both supportive of gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough on the dateline is to pinch off in less than 24 hours only to be replaced by another trough just off Japan Tues AM (2/21) lifting northeast and dissipating over the North Dateline region on Thurs AM (2/23) again offering some support for gale development. The trough in the Eastern Gulf is to move onshore over North CA on Wed AM (2/22). After that the jet is to become heavily split with the split point west of the dateline near 158E early Fri (2/24) with the northern branch tracking northeast over the Aleutians over the width of the North Pacific and into Alaska not falling south till it moves over Northern Canada forming a small backdoor trough off the Pacific Northwest mainly offering only weather/precip potential. Beyond 72 hours the same split jet pattern is to hold with the backdoor trough pattern holding off the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA offering weather potential, but not real troughs are forecast capable of supporting gale development. It appears the Active Phase of the MJO is moving east faster than expected and out of the East Pacific, with the Inactive Phase of the MJO getting ready to take over the West Pacific and take it's toll.
On Monday (2/20) swell from a gale from the Gulf was hitting California (see Gulf Gale below) and swell from a gale in the Southern Gulf was hitting Hawaii (see South Gulf Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours 2 more systems are worth monitoring.
A gale started developing Sun PM (2/19) just west of the dateline lifting northeast fast producing 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 25 ft at 38N 172E somewhat targeting Hawaii. It lifted northeast fast Mon AM (2/20) with winds building to 50 kts from the west just south of the Western Aleutians with 32 ft seas building at 48N 175E targeting mainly the US West Coast. In the evening the core of the gale lifted north into the Bering Sea with 45 kt west winds just south of the Aleutians with 30 ft seas at 42N 177E aimed mainly at the Aleutians with some energy aimed at the US West Coast. By Tues AM (2/21) the gale is to be gone. Possible swell pushing east but well decayed upon arrival on the US West Coast. Not much energy is to be targeting Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (2/22) building to 3.9 ft @ 16 secs late (6.0 ft). Swell peaking Wed sunrise (2/23) at 4.3 ft @ 14 secs (6.0 ft) fading some later afternoon. Residuals on Thurs (2/24) fading from 3.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0-4.5 ft).
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/24) building to 2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell holding on Fri (2/25) holding at 4.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (6.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (2/26) 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 297 degrees
A broader gale is forecast developing just off Japan Mon PM (2/20) with 45 kt west winds and seas building from 30 ft at 38N 157E. On Tues AM (2/21) 45 kt west winds are to be racing northeast with seas building to 36 ft at 39N 159E. In the evening the gale is to racing northeast with winds 45 kt from the northwest over a small area aimed east with seas fading from 32 ft at 40N 170E. After that this system is to dissipate with seas from previous fetch fading from 27 ft at 42N 175E. Something to monitor.
On Thurs PM (2/16) a small gale started building just east of the dateline producing a tiny area of 40 kt west winds and seas building. The gale lifted northeast Fri AM (2/17) with winds 40-45 kts from the west with seas to 22 ft over a small area at 41N 162W. The gale built to storm status in the evening with winds 45-50 kts from the west targeting California and Oregon well with seas building to 34 ft at 42N 155W. On Sat AM (2/18) the gale continued east in the Gulf with a solid fetch of 40 kt west winds holding and seas 32 ft at 43N 149W. Fetch faded in the evening in the Central Gulf from 35 kts from the west with seas fading from 27 ft at 42N 142W. This system faded out from there Sun AM (2/19) off the Oregon-CA border with winds dropping from 30 kts and seas fading from 20 ft at 42N 136W. A pulse of swell is expected for California and Oregon up into Washington on Mon (2/20).
North CA: Swell hit on Mon AM (2/20). Swell to fade Tues AM (2/21) from 6.2 ft @ 12 secs (7.0 ft). Swell Direction: 285 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Mon PM building and peaking at sunrise Tues AM 92/21) pushing 4.2 ft @ 15 secs (6.0-6.5 ft). Swell fading some through the day and overnight. Residuals on Wed AM (2/22) fading from 4.0 ft @ 12 (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292 degrees
South Gulf Gale
Also by Sat AM (2/18) a low built just east of the dateline generating 35 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii well with seas building. In the evening the gale developed more with 40-45 kt northwest winds 900 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii with seas building from 23 ft at 33N 161W. The gale fell east-southeast Sun AM (2/19) with winds 40 kts over a tiny area producing seas up to 27 ft at 33N 156W targeting Hawaii with sideband energy. In the evening fetch started tracking east fading to 35 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 32N 150W aimed east at Southern CA. On Mon AM (2/20) fetch was fading from barely 30 kts well off Southern CA with seas fading from 21 ft at 31N 140W. In the evening this system is to dissipate. Raw swell expected for Hawaii with windswell for Southern CA with luck.
Hawaii: Swell to fade Tues AM (2/21) from 5.0 ft @ 10 secs (5 ft). Swell Direction: 360 degrees
North CA: Expect sideband swell reaching the coast on late Tues afternoon (2/21) pushing 4 ft @ 15 secs late (6.0 ft). Swell to continue building Wed AM (2/22) pushing 8.1 ft @ 14 (11.0 ft). Swell fading later afternoon and overnight. Swell Direction: 265 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Wed AM (2/22) building to 3.0 ft @ 15 secs later (4.5 ft). Swell peaking overnight. Swell fading Thurs AM (2/23) from 3.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 270-280 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday (2/20) a weak low pressure system was moving over the North Coast with south winds 20 kts from Pt Conception northward but light into Southern CA. Moderate rain was falling for all of North and Central CA with lighter rain down to Santa Barbara. An Atmospheric River event was occurring from San Francisco down to Monterey Bay. Snow was falling in the Sierra mainly above 7,000 ft starting before sunrise getting heavy later afternoon continuing heavy overnight as the final low in the series reinforces the precipitation event and moves onshore over North CA at 10 PM. Most resorts on the Sierra Crest to see accumulations of 29-32 inches by 7 AM Tues (2/21). Tuesday AM (2/21) southwest winds to continue for all of North and Central CA at 15 kts fading to 10 kts at sunset but light north winds are expected in Southern CA. Moderate rain expected for North and Central CA fading as the day progresses. Light rain down to maybe LA. Snow steady all day for the Sierra fading overnight. Additional snow accumulations of 14-16 inches expected on the crest with total accumulation from Mon 10 AM through 7 AM Wed of 45-47 inches. Wednesday (2/22) high pressure start building in with northwest winds 15-20 kts for all of California and 20 kt solid for Southern CA. Light snow showers possible for Tahoe northward as high pressure wrings the last of the moisture out. More of the same on Thursday with north winds 15-20 kts for the entire state. No precip forecast. Friday northwest winds fade to 10 kts mainly for North and Central CA. A backdoor low is to be building just off oregon with rain for Cape Mendocino later. Saturday the low is to ease southward and build with south winds 20+ kts for North and Central CA by late afternoon building overnight. Rain south to Santa Barbara overnight with snow for Tahoe starting later evening. Sunday south winds to turn westerly 20-30 kts to San Diego. Heavy snow for Tahoe and the Southern Sierra starting early continuing to sunset then fading some overnight. Monday (2/27) winds light northwest 5-10 kts for the entire state. Scattered rain down to LA. Steady light snow for the entire Sierra.
No swell producing fetch of interest is occurring or forecast.
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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast with a split jetstream in control.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Taking Root Over the KWGA
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 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 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. 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 early 2017, it appears to be fading.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sunday (2/19) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were modest westerly in pockets over the equatorial East Pacific but modest easterly over the KWGA. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak east anomalies were modeled over the dateline and the Kelvin Wave generation area with weak west anomalies over the far East Pacific. The forecast suggests moderate east anomalies are to build over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area holding into 2/26, then starting to weaken. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is already taking root in the KWGA and is to hold for at least the coming week.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 2/19 the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and fading south of Hawaii with the Inactive Phase building over the Maritime Continent and moving into the West Pacific. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase building over the West Pacific making it to the dateline 2 weeks out and very strong. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase weakening as it moves east nearly gone 2 week out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/19) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was moderately strong over the Atlantic moving towards Africa and is to track east and loose strength and fade while moving into the Indian Ocean 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts the same thing. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/20) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was in the Atlantic and effectively gone. A modest Inactive Phase is over the dateline and forecast tracking east into Central America 3/12. Another very weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific 3/12 reaching to Central America 4/1. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not be as strong as projected a week ago.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/20) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was over the dateline and is to track east through 2/24 with neutral anomalies over the KWGA. A moderate Inactive Phase is to follow 2/26-3/16 but with weak west anomalies holding in the West Pacific and east anomalies over the dateline. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow 3/20 with neutral wind anomalies in play. The MJO is forecast to start building in strength from here forward having more influence on wind anomalies in the KWGA as La Nina dies (gone per the low pass filter on 4/9 with El Nina taking hold 4/25).
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/20) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 163E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 179E and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. 26 degs anomalies have grown in coverage reaching to the Galapagos now over a shallow pool, making a major surge east in the past week. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific but are no longer pushing east, retracting back west to 170W. Neutral anomalies are east of there to Ecuador except for one pocket of negative anomalies down 100m at 125W at -1.0 degs but not at the surface and loosing coverage. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/12 depicts warm water is building east forming a nearly continuous path from the West Pacific to nearly Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with remaining negative anomalies weakening and getting shallower.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/12) Negative anomalies at -5.0-10 cm's still control 2 pockets stranding the equator between 100W to 140W and 5 degs north and south. Negative sea levels are snot giving up just yet.
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: (2/20) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Southern Chile north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos reaching to 160W. One pocket of cooler water was building in a small are along Columbia now reaching to the Galapagos. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems unlikely.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/19): A warming trend is along immediate Chile and Peru extending north to Ecuador and then west out over the Galapagos extending west to the dateline except one pocket of cooler water along Columbia. If anything a growing warming trend is developing from the Galapagos westward to 140W.
Hi-res Overview: (2/19) There is no sign of La Nina cool waters from Ecuador west to at least 160W. Instead warmer than normal water is in play over that entire region. The only real remnants are from 160W-170E and even those appear to be in collapse and heading west. La Nina is dead and it's remnants are loosing coverage quickly. This is good news.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/20) Today's temps were rising at +0.986.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (2/20) temps were falling some at +0.195 degs. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs but now are spiking warm and well outside the previous trend.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/20) The forecast has temps rising abruptly to +0.5 degs late March building to +0.8 degs in April slowly rising to +1.0 in July, then rising slightly to +1.5 degs into later Oct, and +1.7 by Nov suggesting a return of El Nino. La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. But the El Nino outcome indicated by this model seems improbable.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Feb Plume just updated today (2/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at neutral 0.0 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.5 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (2/20): The daily index was rising some at -9.27, the 7th negative day after 14 days of positive readings. This negative reading is driven by low pressure over Tahiti. The 30 day average was falling to -2.20. The 90 day average was falling some at +0.62. All this suggests a near neutral pattern was taking hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (2/20) Today's value was steady at -0.97. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. But that since backed off but has held in the -1.2 range since. Now even this indicator suggests La Nina is loosing it's grip. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags changes in the ocean driven by the ENSO cycle. The expectation is this index will continue rising.
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) are: +0.21, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec) has not updated for Jan yet.
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table