Surf Forecasts and Marine Weather - No Hype - Just the Facts!
Late Blooming El Nino Feeds the Storm Machine! - Video Forecast HERE (11/27)
Buoys | Buoy Forecast | Bulletins | Models: Wave - Weather - Surf - Altimetry - Snow | Pacific Forecast | QuikCAST | El Nino | Tutorials | Great Circles | Video


Stormsurf Mobile App

Create Your Own Surf Forecast
Swell Calculator
Swell Decay Tables
Sea Height Tables
Swell Category Table
Convert from GMT:
 to timezone:

Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, January 5, 2017 4:58 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
2.0 - California & 2.8 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' 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 1/2 thru Sun 1/8

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   

Solid Dateline Gale Forecast
Snow for Sierras Well Into Next Week

On Thursday, January 5, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 10.3 secs from 256 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 7.7 secs from 259 degrees. Wind west 14-18 kts. Water temperature 59.2 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.6 ft @ 8.5 secs from 271 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.6 ft @ 7.7 secs from 261 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 0.7 ft @ 19.2 secs from 225 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 0.9 ft @ 12.2 secs from 241 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 4.8 ft @ 6.4 secs from 308 degrees. Wind northwest 16-18 kts at the buoy. Water temp 54.3 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).
- 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 (1/5) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves in the waist high range and chop starting to whitecap by mid-morning. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh high on the sets and reasonably clean early. In Southern California up north surf was flat to knee high and a bit warbled from onshore wind. Down in North Orange Co surf was flat and chopped with heavy fog early. In San Diego surf was knee high on the sets and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northwest windswell at head high to 1 ft overhead at top breaks and clean with decent form. The South Shore was getting little southern hemi swell with set waves chest high and clean. The East Shore was getting northwest wrap around windswell with waves chest high and lightly textured from northeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
The North Pacific continues mostly non-productive now and for the next few days due to a .cgiit jetstream pattern driven by La Nina. But that is setting up more rain and snow for the Sierras with 84 inches of frozen precipitation having fallen since Sun (1/1). Longer term a broad gale is to develop just west of the dateline Sat-Sun (1/8) producing moderate area of 28-30 ft seas aimed east while another system develops in the Gulf generating 23 ft seas aimed south. A stronger system is forecast for the dateline Tues-Thurs (1/12) with 43 ft seas aimed east and holding on the dateline beyond. So it's more snow for now and maybe some surf later.

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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (1/5) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds to 160 kts forming a trough over the Kuril Islands offering some support for gale development there. But the jet .cgiit just before reaching the dateline much as it has been doing for weeks now with the northern branch pushing north through the Bering Sea up into the Arctic Circle and then moving east over Alaska and into interior Canada with a backdoor trough starting to develop along the North Canadian Coast. The southern branch tracked east over Hawaii and into Central CA offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the .cgiit on the dateline is to hold then start fading some on Sun (1/8) while the trough over the Kurils pushes east to nearly the dateline with winds in the jet there fading from 140 kts. Support for gale development to continue then start fading. A small backdoor trough is to be pushing south off Central Canada offering limited support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (1/9) the backdoor trough in the Gulf is to fall well south eventually pushing into Oregon later Monday offering some support for local swell and weather production on down into California. But more importantly the .cgiit on the dateline is to dissipate while winds build pushing off Japan to 190 kts nearly reaching the dateline on Thurs (1/12) with weaker winds tracking east and into North CA with one pocket rebuilding just off the coast there to 140 kts offering more local weather energy into CA. Maybe the .cgiit will finally start fading.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (1/5) no swell of interest was in the water over the North Pacific. Generic low pressure was circulating off Japan and the Kuril Islands but offering no swell producing no fetch of interest.

Additional secondary low pressure is to start developing well off Japan on Fri (1/6) lifting northeast and starting to get traction in the evening producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft. On Sat AM (1/7) winds are to be 40 kts from the northwest with seas 24 ft over a small area at 45N 167E targeting Hawaii well. In the evening the gale is to be lifting north with northwest winds 40-45 kt over a solid area aimed mainly east and targeting Hawaii well with seas 28 ft at 46N 167E. On Sun AM (1/8) fetch is to continue lifting northwest and fading at 40 kts over a smaller area with 25 ft seas up at 47N 159E targeting both the US West Coast and Hawaii. In the evening fetch is to be retreating just off the Northern Kurils at barely 40 kts from the northwest with 22 ft seas confined to 47N 162E targeting mainly Hawaii. Fetch is to fade from there. A decent pulse of swell for Hawaii is possible.

Also on Friday AM (1/6) a fetch of 30-35 kt north winds is to start developing over the extreme North Gulf of Alaska driven by a cutoff low over the North Canada coast and high pressure over the Eastern Aleutians. In the evening winds to build to 45 kts over a tiny area holding steady with seas building to 22 ft over a small area at 56N 143W. On Sat AM (1/7) the low is to grow in size with 35 kt north fetch building coverage in the Gulf with 24 ft seas at 52N 146W. Fetch to hold in coverage at 30 kts the evening with 21 ft seas falling south to 47N 145W. On Sun AM (1/8) the low is to hold just off British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest but fetch fading in coverage at 30 kts rom the north and seas 19 ft recessed up at 51N 145W. In the evening a secondary low is to develop in the original fetch producing 35-40 kt north winds and seas to 22 ft over a tiny area at 49N 145W. On Mon AM (1/8) the low is to race southeast with 35 kt west winds just off South Oregon producing a tiny area of 20 ft seas at 44N 139W moving towards the coast. In the evening west winds to be fading in coverage from 35-40 kt just off Oregon with 24 ft seas at 44N 135W. Possible small 13-14 sec period swell to result targeting the Pacific Northwest down into North CA.


  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 AM (1/5) winds were northwest along the Central and North CA coasts at 15 kts with skies clearing. Snow was fading out in Tahoe with accumulation of up to 84 inches since Sunday (1/1) at Squaw Valley. Light east winds are forecast Friday. A new backdoor low is to be building off the Central Coast by Sat (1/7) with south winds 25+ kts early from Pt Conception northward. Rain starting early for the North and Central coasts and reaching San Diego late afternoon with snow developing mid-Sat AM for the Sierra through about midnight then turning to rain. Accumulations of 16-30 inches possible at tahoe and Mammoth (the higher the elevation, the greater the accumulation within that range). On Sunday south winds continue at 20-25 kts all day from Pt Conception northward with tropical moisture becoming infused and heavy rain possible from Point Conception northward. Also heavy rain for the Sierras at higher elevations though Mammoth to get snow, at least through about 10 AM, then likely turning to rain. High elevations of Yosemite and just north of there to continue with snow all day. On Monday wind turns southwest 15 kts early from Monterey Bay northward and less south of there. Rain starts fading along the coast. Rain turns to snow well before sunrise at Tahoe coming down heavily, then and fades through the day. A more moderate system is off the coast Tues AM (1/10) with southwest winds 15 kts early from Monterey Bay northward building to 30-35 kts later. Rain building in intensity through the day for the same area heaviest from San Francisco northward but reaching south to Morro Bay. Light snow in Tahoe through the day building by late evening. Wed AM (1/11) the front pushes into the North and Central Coasts at sunrise with southwest winds 20 kts early fading later. Heavy snow for the Sierra. Thurs AM (1/12) another system queues up off Central CA with south winds to 30 kts mid-day and solid rain for the whole state including Southern CA. Solid snow for all the Sierra later in the day.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
Amazingly a gale developed under New Zealand on Tues AM (12/27) resulting in a small area of 50 kt southwest winds and seas building from 33 ft at 52S 177E. In the evening a small fetch continued producing 45-50 kt southwest wind with seas building 38 ft at 52S 177W tracking due east with some sideband energy aimed northeast. The gale started fading Wed AM (12/28) with west winds fading from 40 kts and seas dropping from 34 ft at 52S 171W. The gale dissipated from there.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival later on Tues (1/3) building to 1.2 ft @ 17 secs (2.0 ft). Swell to continue upwards overnight peaking Wed AM (1/4) at sunrise at 1.2 ft @ 16 secs (2.0 ft). The buoys are showing something better though, pushing 2.5 ft @ 15.9 secs (4.0 ft) at 13Z. Swell to hold decently through the day. Residuals fading out on Thurs (1/5) from 1.1 ft @ 14 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Expect bigger sets. Swell Direction: 198 degrees Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring. Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

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




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

North Pacific

A tiny secondary fetch from the original gale forecast in the West Pacific is to develop mid-way between Japan and the dateline on Mon PM (1/9) with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 30 ft over a tiny area at 33N 158E while tracking east. On Tues AM (1/10) winds to build to 45 kt from the northwest over a tiny area with seas 34 ft at 35N 163E. 45-50 kt northwest fetch is to be tracking east in the evening with 36 ft seas at 37N 169E targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast well. Fetch is to be building in coverage at 50 kts Wed AM (1/11) on the dateline targeting Hawaii well with seas building to 39 ft at 37N 173E (308 degs HI). In the evening fetch is to briefly build to 55 kts from the northwest while the low starts lifting northeast with seas building to 43 ft at 41N 175E (315 degs HI, 294 degs NCal). On Thurs AM (1/12) fetch is to be fading from 45 kt from the west-northwest on the dateline with seas fading from 38 ft at 42N 180W (323 degs HI, 295 degs NCal). Fetch is to be fading from 40-45 kt on the dateline in the evening with seas 28-30 ft over a broad area roughly centered at 40N 175E aimed east. Solid swell possible for Hawaii with lesser energy for the US West Coast.

And additional low pressure is to be building southwest of this storm possible set to reinforce the existing fetch. Something to monitor.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

More details to follow...

La Nina Holding On Weakly In the Ocean - Stronger in the Atmosphere

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: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward di.cgiaced 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 Thursday (1/4) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but calm over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were weak over the equatorial East Pacific and light to modest westerly over the KWGA. East anomalies over the KWGA when they exist are attributable to La Nina being modulated by the MJO (a.cgiified during the Inactive Phase, weakened during the Active Phase).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak west anomalies were modeled over the western KWGA (far West Pacific near 135E) with east anomalies over the eastern KWGA (dateline). The forecast suggests this pattern is to hold but with east anomalies building in strength over the dateline a week out (1/12) and west anomalies building in the west. The first real easterly wind burst from this La Nina started on 9/23 and continued into 12/13, then started oscillating beyond. Easterly anomalies have been consistent, pulsing stronger at times, then weaker, attributable to La Nina and modulated by the MJO.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 1/4 a modest Inactive Phase was present over the dateline. The statistic model projects it fading away 10 days out with a neutral signal taking over but the Active Phase moving from the Indian Ocean to the far West Pacific and holding 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/5) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is weak and barely discernible in the East Indian Ocean and slow moving and building into the West Pacific 2 weeks out but still very weak. The GEFS model depicts it remaining weak but migrating to the far West Pacific 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/5) This model depicts a weak Active MJO in.cgiay over the West Pacific. It is to move to the dateline 1/15 and limp into Central America 2/4. A weak Inactive signal is to follow in the West Pacific 1/23 moving to the East Pacific 2/14 with a weak Active Phase building over the West Pacific at that time. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/5) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal was building from the west to the dateline today with modest east anomalies from La Nina holding on the dateline but not west of there. The Active Phase is to hold on the dateline through 2/20 with weak east anomalies continuing over the dateline til late Jan but west anomalies building in the west KWGA and easing east, finally reaching the dateline early Feb. Then a strong Inactive Phase is to set up in the west starting 2/20 pushing east over the dateline through 3/24 but with no east anomalies associated with it, and instead west anomalies holding. We suspect La Nina is having the effect of dampening the MJO, and producing weak east anomalies in the KWGA but not producing an outright bias towards the Inactive Phase of the MJO. Likewise the MJO is serving to dampen the effects of La Nina when in the Active Phase.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/5) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 168E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 175W and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. This is expected with La Nina in.cgiay. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific to 180W.  Neutral to weak negative anomalies are east of there to Ecuador at no more than -1.0 degs and only over a very shallow area, with neutral to warmer anomalies in control from 150 meters down and pushing east daily. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 depicts this pocket of of cooler water at -1.0 degs below normal in the East Pacific getting weaker and breaking up faster. La Nina is in control of the ocean at depth, but not strongly so and weakening and getting shallower.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/29) Negative anomalies at -5.0 cm with a few small pockets to -10 cm control portions of the equatorial Pacific mainly from 100W to 135W and 5 degs north and south. Slowly sea levels are rising as La Nina looses it's grip at depth.

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: (1/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a very thin cool pool of water along the immediate coast of Peru but locked from migrating anywhere. Very warm water is again building off Ecuador and migrating to the Galapagos. Very warm water also has solid coverage just off the coast of Peru reaching up to a point just over the southern Galapagos Islands and west of there. A cool bubble previously between Costa Rica to the Galapagos is gone. A thin cool water stream was on the equator between the Galapagos out to 100W, but with one pocket of warm temps in the middle of it. A broad area of cool temperatures remains from 145W westward to 160W but appears to be fading. La Nina is fading in the East Pacific and holding in the Central Pacific suggesting the a westward di.cgiaced La Nina is remains in control.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/4): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru. A warming trend has also developed between Ecuador and the Galapagos out to 100W. It's neutral west of there with pockets of warming and cooling waters present much like it has been all Fall. The cool pattern in the Central Pacific is not as prominent as weeks and months previous and is weakening in the East.  
Hi-res Overview:
(1/4) A La Nina cool pool is present over the equator from the Galapagos west to 170E and broadest south of Hawaii. La Nina is holding coverage in the west and loosing coverage in the east.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/5) Today's temps were falling at +0.494.  
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (1/5) temps were falling slightly at -0.313. Temps are oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.3 to -1.0 degs.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/30) This model suggests La Nina developed from June thru Oct in the -0.55 deg range then started rising to -0.5 on Nov 1 and up to -0.2 degs on Dec 1. The forecast has temps gently rising to neutral on Jan 1, then slowly rising from there to +0.5 degs in April and steady out till Sept. This indicates that La Nina is effectively over and a return to normal temps is expected in Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume depicts temps are warming and are now at -0.3 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to neutral 0.0 in March 2017 warming to +0.2 degs in May and holding into the Fall. This is warmer than last months forecast and suggests La Nina is over. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/5): The daily index was falling some at 10.27 after rising hard 5 days earlier. The 30 day average was rising at +4.97. The 90 day average was steady at -0.45. All this suggests a neutral pattern was in.cgiay and that La Nina was weak.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (1/5) Today's value was rising at -1.15. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been so far in this event suggesting La Nina was getting better established. But that has backed off, with it trending generally upwards (a better direction) and suggesting La Nina is fading.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Oct) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.90, -1.09 and -0.88 in Oct. But in Nov, it was up to +0.53
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Oct) are: +1.53, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03, +1.25 +0.52, +0.45, +0.56 and up to +1.88 in Nov.
The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive until Aug 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 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: Add to Google
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location

Powerlinessurf Jeff Clark Inside Mavericks

Local Interest

Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for the week starting Wednesday (1/14):
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

- - -

Click here to learn more about Casa Noble Tequila! 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:

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


Contact | About | Disclaimer | Privacy
Advertise/Content | Links
Visit Mark Sponsler on Facebook Visit Stormsurf on Instagram Visit Stormsurf on YouTube
Copyright © 2023 STORMSURF - All Rights Reserved
This page cannot be duplicated, reused or framed in another window without express written permission.
But links are always welcome.
Buoys | Buoy Forecast | Bulletins | Models: Wave - Weather - Surf - Altimetry - Snow | Pacific Forecast | QuikCAST | El Nino | Tutorials | Great Circles | Calculator