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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:42 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
3.5 - California & 3.6 - 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 1/8 thru Sun 1/14

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 Storm Fades on Dateline
Stronger One to Follow


On Tuesday, January 9, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 12.6 secs from 304 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 5.6 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 5.8 secs from 201 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 20-25 kts. Water temperature 61.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.3 ft @ 15.4 secs from 264 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.7 ft @ 5.9 secs from 192 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 3.4 ft @ 6.0 secs from 207 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 6.4 ft @ 6.2 secs from 224 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 16.5 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 10.0 ft @ 9.0 secs from 286 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 25-31 kts. Water temp 56.5 degs.

See 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 Tuesday (1/9) in North and Central CA raw windblown windswell producing waves in the 3-5 ft overhead range and white capped and a mess. Protected breaks were 1 ft overhead on the sets and cleaner but still chopped. At Santa Cruz surf was shoulder to head high on the sets and pretty warbled and lumpy but cleaner. In Southern California up north surf was waist to chest high and blown out with chop and mud in effect. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the sets and a mess with onshore southerly winds chopping it up. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist and chopped. In San Diego surf was chest high and chopped and unrideable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting residual Dateline-West Gulf swell with waves head high to 1 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up. A beautiful day. The South Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at thigh to waist high and lightly chopped from moderate southeast wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Tuesday (1/9) swell from a gale that formed off Japan and tracked to the dateline Tues-Fri (1/5) with 33 ft seas initially fading to 22 ft later aimed east was nearly gone in Hawaii and buried in chop in California. A stronger system developed tracking northeast from the Dateline Sun-Mon (1/8) with up to 49 ft seas aimed east-northeast with remnants Tues (1/9) fading from 33 ft on the Northern Dateline aimed east. And yet another system is to form off the Southern Kuril's tracking east over the dateline Wed-Thurs (1/11) with 46-48 ft seas then falling southeast Fri-Sat (1/13) with 36 ft seas aimed east fading in the Eastern Gulf early Sun AM (1/14) off California. Secondary energy to redevelop in the Central Gulf Sun-Mon (1/15) producing 46-49 ft seas aimed east and lifting northeast while fading Tues (1/6). Another smaller system is forecast forming on the dateline Tues (1/16) with 45-46 ft seas aimed east making it into the Western Gulf. A solid storm pattern is projected.


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

North Pacific

On Tuesday AM (1/9) the jetstream was pushing solidly east-northeast off Japan with winds to 190 kts ridging half way to the dateline then falling southeast and starting to form trough on the dateline being fed by 170 kts winds offering good support for gale development. The jet ridged a little while moving over the Gulf of Alaska with winds to 180 kts then was falling hard south just off the California coast forming a trough over the coast before moving inland over Southern CA. The trough was supporting precipitation over the Golden State. Over the next 72 hours
the dateline trough is to fade out while wind energy builds off Japan to 200 kts pushing flat east over the dateline and into the Gulf of Alaska starting to form a developing trough there Fri AM (1/12) offering great support for gale development.The jet is to hold together pretty well east of there with most energy tracking northeast up into the Pacific Northwest. Beyond 72 hours wind energy is to hold decently supporting the Gulf trough into early Sun (1/14) and even Mon (1/15). But by then winds to be down to 150 kts limited from the dateline east though the trough is to still be present located in the Eastern Gulf. Support for gale development still possible then. Beyond wind energy is to slowly dissipate but the jet is remain consolidated from Japan running flat east over the Oregon-CA border, but showing signs of getting ready to split mid-way between Japan and the dateline. A very favorable pattern is expected till mid-next week.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (1/9) residual swell from a gale that developed over the dateline was hitting California and nearly gone in Hawaii (See Another Dateline Gale below). But swell from a strong that crossed the dateline is pushing towards Hawaii and California (see North Dateline Storm below).

Over the next 72 hours another gale is to develop off the North Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/9) producing a developing fetch of 45 kt west winds aimed east with seas building. On Wed AM (1/10) 45-50 kt west winds to be getting traction mid-way to the dateline with 43 ft seas developing over a moderate area at 44N 158E. By Wed PM (1/10) 45+ kt west winds to be building over a broad area a bit west of the dateline with a moderate area of up to 46 ft seas at 44N 165E aimed east. Thurs AM (1/11) 45-50 kt northwest winds are to be straddling the dateline with 47 ft seas at 42N 175E falling southeast targeting Hawaii pretty well. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds to be fading in the Western Gulf 1000 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii aimed east-southeast with 47 ft seas at 40N 175W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast directly and unshadowed. Fri AM (1/12) fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts over a broad area filling the Western Gulf with 40 ft seas at 38N 168W aimed east-southeast. Additional fetch to build in the evening 900 nmiles north of Hawaii at 40-45 kts from the northwest with 34-35 ft seas at 36N 169W. Sat AM (1/13) 40-45 kts west winds top push east well past Hawaii with 35 ft seas over a solid area at 34N 155W aimed east. The gale to fade in the evening with winds dropping from 40-45 kts from the west with seas 38 ft at 37N 145W targeting Central CA directly. This system is to be gone by Sun AM (1/14) but secondary energy is to be building right behind. Something to monitor.


Another Dateline Gale
Another gale developed off Japan on Tues AM (1/2) with 40 kts northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft aimed east at 37N 156E. In the evening 40 kt west fetch was tracking east with seas building to 32 ft over a small area at 37N 162E aimed east. The gale is to start building in coverage west of the dateline Wed AM (1/3) with additional 40 kts west winds and seas building to 33 ft at 38N 168E targeting Hawaii well. The gale started to fragment in the evening while lifting northeast with west winds 35-40 kts in a pocket south of the core and seas building to 30 ft there at 35N 172E. On Thurs AM (1/4) the core of the gale was over the North Dateline region while fetch lagged well south of there on the dateline at 35 kts from the southwest and west with seas fading from 28 ft at at 32N 175E. 35 kt west winds were pushing northeast in the evening with 27 ft seas at 38N 177W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. Fri AM (12/5) the gale was fading well to the north over and north of the Eastern Aleutians with winds 30-35 kts south of there over the North Dateline region with seas from the original fetch fading from 24 ft at 40N 174W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. The gale was solely over the North Dateline region Fri PM with west winds 30-35 kts from the west with 23 ft seas just south of the Aleutians at 49N 178W aimed east. Fetch was fading from 30-35 kts from the west Sat AM (1/6) over the North Dateline region with 22-24 ft seas at 50N 175W. The gale is to be gone from there. A long run of swell looks possible mainly for the US West Coast.

North CA: Swell fading Wed (1/10) from 5.0 ft @ 14 secs (7.0 ft). Swell continuing down Thurs (1/11) from 6.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (7.5 ft).


North Dateline Storm
A more interesting gale formed off Japan Sat AM (1/6) producing 40 kt northwest winds over a small area and tracking east. On Sat PM the gale built to storm status with 60 kt west winds and seas building from 37 ft at 36N 164E. On Sun AM (1/7) northwest winds were 50-55 kts over a tiny area aimed southeast while the storm lifted northeast with seas 37 ft over a small area approaching the dateline at 38N 173E. The storm tracked northeast in the evening with winds rebuilding to 55 kts over a solid area with 42 ft seas at 43N 180W aimed east. On Mon AM (1/8) the storm continued tracking northeast and over the North Dateline region with 55 kt west winds and seas building to 49 ft at 47N 177W aimed east at the US West Coast. In the evening the gale started moving over the Central Aleutians with 40-45 kt west winds over a decent area south of the Central Aleutians with 39 ft seas fading free and clear just south of the Aleutians at 49.5N 172W. Secondary fetch developed from 45 kts from the northwest Tues AM (1/9) with seas 33 ft over a modest area south of the Central Aleutians at 47N 179E aimed east. Fetch is to be fading from 40 kts in the evening tracking east with seas fading from 30 ft at 45N 175W. This system is to be gone from there. There's good potential for another long run of swell but aimed mainly east of Hawaii and a bit too far north to be optimal for California.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (1/10) building to 5.6 ft @ 15 secs later (8.0 ft). Swell continue on Thurs (1/11) holding at 7.5 ft @ 15 secs mid-day (11.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (1/12) fading from 7.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (10.5 ft). Residuals beyond possibly getting swamped by a strong swell. Swell Direction: 315-315 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (1/11) building to 5.6 ft @ 18 secs late (10 ft) but shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell holds on Fri (1/12) at 6.2 ft @ 16-17 secs early (10 ft) with secondary north energy intermixed at 5.3 ft @ 12 secs (6.5 ft). Shadowing still in effect for the SF Area. Swell holding Sat (1/13) from 7.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (10 ft). Swell fading Sun (1/14) fading from 6.2 ft @ 14 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295+ but mostly 298-301 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (1/9) low pressure was inland over California while high pressure at 1024 mbs was 600 nmiles off Pt Conception producing a gradient and north winds at 25+ kts sweeping down the coast of North and Central CA and brisk south winds over SCal waters ahead of a front pushing south. The front generated some frozen precipitation in the Lake Tahoe area with 3 inches of snow above 7500 ft generally reported. Wednesday north winds forecast at 20 kts early for San Francisco south to Pt Conception and 10 kts north of there. Light rain from Bodega Bay northward and 2-3 inches of snow for Lake Tahoe during the day. Thurs (1/11) north winds are forecast at 10 kts limited mainly to Central CA and less elsewhere while another low pushes into British Columbia. No rain forecast except for north of Point Arena. Friday north-northeast winds forecast at 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA fading to light northeast Saturday (1/13) ad calm Sunday. More of the same is forecast on Mon (1/15) except south winds developing from Pt Reyes northward with a front moving into Cape Mendocino. Light rain possible for Cape Mendocino. Weak high pressure develops off the coast Tuesday (1/16) with north winds 10-15 kts from Pt Reyes southward.

South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are 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

Beyond 72 hours A secondary fetch of 40-45 kt northwest winds to develop in Central Gulf 900 nmiles north of Hawaii Sat PM (1/13) getting good traction on an already agitated seas state with seas rebuilding from 33 ft over a modest area at 37N 163W aimed east. On Sun AM (1/14) 45 kt west winds to pushing into the Central Gulf with 46 ft seas at 40N 153W aimed east directly at CA. Sun PM fetch is to be fading from 45 kts from the west pushing east with seas 48 ft at 41N 148W. This system is to be fading Mon AM (1/15) with 45 kt west fetch well west of the Oregon-CA border with 38 ft seas at 44N 141W. More swell generation possible.

Yet another small storm is forecast developing Mon PM (1/15) just east of the Central Dateline with 55 kt northwest winds and 39 ft seas building at 37.5N 175W. Winds to hold Tues AM (1/16) tracking east with 46 ft seas aimed east over a modest sized area at 37N 168W.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...


Inactive MJO 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 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 but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (1/8) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but moderate easterly over the entire KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/9) Moderate to strong east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to hold over the next 7 days with strong east anomalies expected over the core of the KWGA easing slightly east and becoming centered over the dateline/Eastern KWGA at the end of the model run on 1/16. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be building per this model.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: These have not updated since 1/31 when a moderate Inactive/Dry Phase was over the West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and pushing to the dateline over the 15 day run while weakening. The dynamic model depicts a variation on the same theme, but with the Inactive Phase building stronger over the next 15 days.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/1) These have not updated since 1/1. At that time the ECMF model depicted the Active Phase of the MJO modest in strength over the Indian Ocean and is to continue slowly easing east through the Indian Ocean 15 days out. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with it stronger.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/9) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Dry MJO pattern over the Central and East Pacific and is to slowly ease east into Central America 1/24. A weak Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West Pacific on 1/14 pushing east and moving into Central America on 2/13. Another pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/3 pushing east to the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 2/18. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/9) This model depicts a well formed Inactive/Dry pattern over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the entire KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to build over the dateline peaking 1/12-1/17 with east anomalies over the entire KWGA then retreating on 1/21. On 1/15 the Active/Wet Phase is to also start building over the far West Pacific getting decent positioning by 1/22 with west anomalies over the Western KWGA and then building east with weak west anomalies filling the western half of the KWGA through 1/25 then building solidly and holding through 2/26. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 2/27 holding through the end of the model run on 4/8 but west anomalies holding weakly in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/26, then start moving east reaching the dateline 3/10 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/3/18. Even so, no significant oceanic change is expected as it will take 3 months for the ocean to respond to what occurs in the atmosphere, providing the change is consistent and permanent.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/9) The overview pattern is that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 180W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak and retreated to 135W and shallow at 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise it is clear that in the East Pacific warm water gone and instead modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C but down only 50 meters at 110W with far less cool waters filling the area between Central America to 180W. Still, this is indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +3.0 degrees down 150 meters and appear to be making some easterly headway with the dividing line between cool and warm temps at 135W down 150 meters. Maybe a Kelvin Wave is developing from the Active Phase of the MJO/WWB that ran 12/15-12/27. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/3 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +4 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east at up to +4.0 at 175E and the leading edge at 140W.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/3) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 155W with no breaks and 1 small pocket to -15 cms.

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: (1/9) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains in control. Upwelling is building some nearshore along Peru and Ecuador with weak warm anomalies shallow near the coast of Chile and Southern Peru. Stronger cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W with a reasonably well defined cool pool evidenced over the entire region. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/8): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru, and in some pockets on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was a equal number of pockets of cooling water interspersed over the same area. A warming trend was developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/8) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in coverage and intensity over the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino 3.4 regions. A mature La Nina has evolved.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/9) Today's temps were rising slightly at -1.761 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/9) Today temps were falling hard at -1.477 setting another record peak. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/9) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.80 in early Dec and are to hover at -0.60 degs through April. A weak upward trend is to follow with temps reaching -0.5 in May and holding there through the summer. This suggests the peak of La Nina has occurred and it is to be fading some into the summer of 2018.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link  The NMME consensus for Dec average indicates temps -0.9 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to -0.5 in May and normal by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/9): The daily index was rising at -6.12 today. The 30 day average was falling at 6.60. The 90 day average was falling at +3.79. This suggests La Nina is in control.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/9) The index was rising at -0.84. The trend suggests La Nina is steadily loosing its grip (up from -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct= -0.60, Nov = -0.52, Dec= -0.18. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. 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, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05. 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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