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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 6:26 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
2.7 - California & 3.7 - 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 2/6 thru Sun 2/12

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   

Another Southward Di.cgiaced Gale to Traverse N. Pacific
Strong Consoldiated Jet To Build

On Wednesday, February 8, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 11.5 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 8.1 ft @ 12.9 secs from 326 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 12.9 secs from 236 degrees. Wind west 2 kts. Water temperature 58.1 degs. At Ventura swell was 3.2 ft @ 10.1 secs from 276 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.9 ft @ 9.2 secs from 263 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 0.9 ft @ 14.7 secs from 233 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 2.6 ft @ 13.3 secs from 257 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.9 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.8 ft @ 9.9 secs from 247 degrees. Wind south 16-18 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.4 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 Wednesday (2/8) in North and Central CA locally generated south windswell was producing waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range and chopped with whitecaps and raining. Surf was flat and clean at protected breaks. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and heavily chopped with whitecaps and unrideable with south wind and rain still in control. In Southern California up north southwesterly windswell was producing waves at waist high and clean and lined up and fun looking. In North Orange Co surf was flat and clean with little lines wrapping in out of the north. In San Diego surf was waist high and clean at most breaks and rideable but nothing more. Hawaii's North Shore was getting local northwest swell with waves 10 ft but raw and lumpy and mostly unrideable. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting northwest swell wrapping in at 2 ft overhead and chopped from north wind.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Mon (2/6) a small gale developed off North Japan producing up to 37 ft seas on Tuesday tracking east and is expected to fade out just west of the dateline on Wed (2/8). Also a small gale developed just northwest of Hawaii on Mon (2/6) with seas building to 26 ft just 600 nmiles north of the Islands late Tuesday with weak remnants of it lifting northeast and targeting the US West Coast Wed-Thurs (2/9) with 18 ft seas. Beyond perhaps a stronger storm pattern is forecast with the jet and the MJO forecast to build. On Fri (2/10) a gale is to develop off Japan tracking east with 32 ft seas, then fading some as it passes over the dateline on Sun (1/12) with 26 ft seas and holding while tracking to a point north of Hawaii later Monday all on a very southerly track. Remnants to linger north of Hawaii into early Wed (1/15). Most energy to be focused on Hawaii.

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

North Pacific

On Wednesday AM (2/8) the jetstream was consolidated tracking east off Japan with winds 130-140 kts forming a weak trough just west of the dateline, then some energy peeled off to the north but returned just as quickly and fell into a trough just northeast of Hawaii being fed by 150 kts winds before lifting northeast and moving inland over North Oregon. There was some support for gale development in both troughs. Over the next 72 hours wind energy is to start building off Japan to 190 kts reaching a point just northwest of Hawaii by Sat AM (2/11). The trough previously near the dateline is to move into the Western Gulf being fed by these winds offering improved support for gale development. At the same time the trough previously northeast of Hawaii is to move inland over Central CA Sat AM (2/11) with a bit of a .cgiit pattern behind it. But for the most part the jet is to be zonal (flat) from Japan to the Western Gulf not offering much direct support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to make an impressive surge to the east fully consolidated from Japan to a point 900 nmiles west of Pt Conception running well south on the 33 N latitude line or less and at 180 kts. The .cgiit point is to migrate to 140W. No clear troughs are forecast but the momentum from this push will support gale development. It certainly looks like the Active Phase of the MJO is to start imparting energy to the jet.

Surface Analysis
On Wednesday AM (2/8) swell from a gale that formed northwest of Hawaii was hitting the Islands with rather raw conditions (see Hawaiian Gale below). Another gale developed off Japan (see Japan Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours the remnants of the Hawaiian Gale (previously north of Hawaii) were tracking east on Wed AM (2/8) producing a tiny area of 30-35 kt west winds and seas to 20 ft at 28N 150W targeting Southern CA and Baja. That fetch is to lift northeast fast in the evening at 25-30 kts with 17 ft seas moving east to 30N 144W targeting Southern CA. The gale is to try and redevelop off North CA Thurs AM (2/9) but with no fetch of interest resulting. In the evening 35 kt west winds to be pushing into Oregon coastal waters with 18 ft seas at 44N 130W targeting North CA and Oregon. Some raw local windswell is possible for all of California.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/9) building to 9.5 ft @ 12 secs (11 ft) mixed with much locally generated chop. Swell continues on Fri (2/10) at 8.0 ft @ 12 secs (9.5 ft). residuals fading on Sat (2/11) fading from 4.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 250-270 degrees

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (2/10) at 3.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Swell holding Sat (2/11) at 3.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Residuals dropping Sun (2/12) from 2.1 ft @ 12 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 270-280 degrees


Also a far broader gale is forecast developing off Japan starting Fri AM (1/10) being fed by a strong jetstream flow aloft. This systems is to not be so much a swell producer as a primer for more activity that is likely behind driven by the first real Active Phase of the MJO all season. 45 kt west winds are to be over a tiny area with seas building from 27 ft at 34N 152E. In the evening 40 kt west winds are to be racing east mid-way to the dateline with 28-30 ft seas moving to 37N 160E. Sat AM (1/11) 40 kt west winds to push to nearly the dateline with 32 ft seas building back at 39N 168E. In the evening 30-35 kt west winds to be over a broad area on the dateline with 28-30 ft seas building at 40N 174E. More of the same is forecast Sun AM (1/12) with 26+ ft seas over a solid area on the dateline at 38N 180W. Fetch is to be building in coverage some in the evening at 35 kt northwest of Hawaii with 26 ft seas at 40N 172W with 20-25 ft seas over a large area at roughly 34N 178E. More of the same is forecast Mon AM (1/13) with 35 kt west winds building in coverage and moving east with 25-26 ft seas at 34N 175W targeting mainly Hawaii but also aimed at Central and Southern CA. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 35 kts with 25 ft seas over a large area at 34N 163W. Tues AM (2/14) 35 kt west fetch is to be fading 700 nmiles north of Hawaii with 25 ft seas at 34N 169W with 20 ft seas reaching east to 35N 152W. Fetch is to dissipate in the evening with 24 ft seas at 33N 164W. Something to monitor.


Hawaiian Gale
A broad gale developed Mon AM (2/6) 900 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 30 kt northwest fetch and the leading edge of it impacting Kauai and seas building from 19 ft at 32N 180W (on the dateline). In the evening more of the same occurred with a fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds positioned 700 nmiles northwest of Kauai tracking east with 20 ft seas building at 30N 168W. More of the same occurred on Tues AM (2/7) with 35-40 kt northwest winds just 500 nmiles north of Hawaii with 23 ft seas at 29N 158W. In the evening the gale was easing east with 35-40 kt northwest fetch just passing east of Hawaii with seas building to 25 ft 31N 158W. By Wed AM (2/8) the gale was pushing east and out of the Hawaiian swell window. Raw local swell for Hawaii is the likely outcome.

Hawaii: Swell fading slowly Wed AM (2/8) from 8.4 ft @ 13 secs (11 ft). Residuals fading Thurs AM (2/9) from 5.6 ft @ 12 secs (6.5 ft). Dribbles on Fri AM (2/10) fading from 3.6 ft @ 11 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees


Japan Gale
Also on Mon AM (2/6) a small gale is forecast developing off Japan producing 35 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas building from 24 ft over a tiny area at 40N 150E. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds took hold over a tiny area with 28 ft seas building at 38N 154E. On Tues AM (2/7) fetch pushed east at 45 kts with seas building in coverage at 34 ft at 36N 160E. In the evening 40 kt west winds were solid in coverage over the West Pacific with 36 ft seas at 36N 168E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch stalled Wed AM (2/8) just west of the dateline and was lifting north at 35-40 kts with 30-32 ft seas at 38N 173E. The gale is to fade some in the evening with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 26 ft at 42N 172E. The gale is to fade from there but still producing 30 kt west fetch into Thurs AM (2/9) with 20 ft seas fading at 44N 170E. A decent pulse of swell is possible for the Islands if this.cgiays out as forecast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival later on Fri (2/10) pushing 4.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (7.5 ft) at sunset. Swell continues on Sat AM (2/11) at 5.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (8.0 ft) and fading from there. Sunday (2/12) swell to be fading from 4.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.0 ft). residuals into Monday fading from 3.7 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 305-310 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Wednesday (2/8) the final low in the series was moving into coastal waters of California with south winds 15 kts from Monterey Bay northward and forecast to near 40 kts for Cape Mendocino late evening. Light rain was occurring for Pt Conception northward early but expected to start fading late afternoon for Central CA but continuing if not building from Bodega Bay northward. Rain all day and evening for the Sierra except the highest peaks in the back country near Yosemite. Thursday (2/9) the front pushes through southward to Big Sur with 25 kt south winds mid-day (15 kt south winds down to Pt Conception) then starting to dissipate late afternoon. Rain moving from Bodega Bay southward to Point Conception late evening. Snow for the Sierra starting 3 PM with falling snow levels in the early evening below lake level. Accumulations of 18-24 inches at sunrise Fri. Fri AM (1/10) southwest winds are forecast at 5-10 kts through the day turning northwest from Pt Conception northward late afternoon. Modest rain early fading to light rain through the day clearing late evening. Rain reaching south to San Diego late evening. Snow for the Sierra all day fading early evening. 3-5 inches of additional accumulation. Total accumulation in Tahoe post rain equals 19-36 inches. Saturday clearing high pressure builds in with northwest winds 20 kts even into Southern CA 10 kts. A drying pattern sets up. North winds fade to 10-15 kts Sunday and 10 kts Monday and 5 kts Tuesday north of Pt Conception. Wednesday (2/15) south winds return to North CA reaching south to San Francisco late afternoon with a front just off the coast and rain to Bodega Bay and points northward.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
A storm developed in the Central South Pacific Tues AM (2/7) producing 55 kt west winds and seas building from 39 ft at 56S 157W. In the evening 50 kt west winds continued tracking east with 42 ft seas at 56S 148W. Most of this fetch was bypassing Hawaii to the east but sideband swell was targeting California, but really focused on Chile and Peru. On Wed AM (2/8) 45 kt west winds continued east with 40 ft seas at 56S 138W. In the evening 45 kt west winds to continue east with 38 ft seas at 56S 130W. Thurs AM (2/9) 40 kt west-southwest fetch is to build in coverage with 36 ft seas at 54S 123W. Fetch is to stall at 40 kts in the evening with 36 ft seas at 53S 121W starting to move out of the CA swell window. Fetch is to be fading Fri AM (2/10) from 40 kts from the southwest with 35 ft seas at 50S 115W and outside the SCal swell window. This system to fade from there. A decent pulse of southern hemi swell is possible for Southern CA southward (and even into NCal) if this.cgiays out as forecast. But m
ost energy is to be aimed at Chile and Peru.

Otherwise 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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast. but that is expected to be short lived with the Active Phase of the MJO and a favorable jetstream flow aloft in control.

South Pacific

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

More details to follow...


Active MJO Building Over West Pacific

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 Tuesday (2/7) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and solid over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but moderate to strong easterly from the dateline and into the KWGA. La Nina had not given up yet, or at least the Inactive Phase was in.cgiay over the dateline region.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderate to strong east anomalies were modeled over the dateline but strong westerly anomalies were west of 160E into the Maritime Continent. The forecast suggests east anomalies slowly easing east of the dateline 1 week out while west anomalies hold strength and ease slowly east reaching the dateline a week out. This suggests a battle between the remnants of La Nina on the dateline and a normal wind pattern trying to build in from the west. La Nina is loosing it's grip and the Active Phase of the MJO might finally appear for real in the West Pacific with west anomalies associated with it (the first time this Winter season).

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 2/7 the Active Phase of the MJO was over the far West Pacific. The statistic model projects a solid version of the Active Phase moving from the West Pacific to the dateline over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing. It looks like the Active Phase is on it's way per the models.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/8) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is moderately strong on the dateline and is to track east and hold strength then move to the Atlantic 2 weeks out and loosing strength. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/8) This model depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO was over the West Pacific tracking east while slowly fading, reaching the dateline 2/16 and into Central America into 3/3. The Inactive Phase is to follow tracking over the West Pacific 2/26 reaching Central America 3/20. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/8) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was all but gone over the KWGA with east wind anomalies moving east from the dateline and points east of there (but not west of there). The Active Phase is making progress into the far West Pacific and is to track east through 2/25 with moderate west anomalies in the far West Pacific and east anomalies fading over the dateline. A moderate Inactive Phase is to follow 2/26-3/28 but with west anomalies slowly getting more traction over the dateline region from March onwards. A weak Active Phase is to follow with solid west anomalies over the KWGA and dateline regions starting 4/5. 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 3/20 with El Nina taking hold 4/13).

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/7) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 164E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 180W and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. 26 degs anomalies reached to 140W. This is expected with La Nina in.cgiay. Anomaly wise there's no signs of La Nina. Warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific pushing east to 155W but not making eastward progress. Neutral anomalies are east of there to Ecuador except for one pocket of -1.0 deg anomalies down 100 m at 130W but not at the surface. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/2 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: (2/2) Negative anomalies at -5.0-10 cm's control 2 pockets stranding the equator from 110W to 145W and 5 degs north and south. Sea levels are slowly rising with La Nina loosing 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: (2/7) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Southern Chile north to Panama and then extending west over the Galapagos reaching to 130W. Temps are not as warm along Peru as days past but seem to not be getting any cooler either. And those warm temps extend far further westward along the equator now, reaching to 130W uninterrupted. Neutral to weak cool temps are west of there on the equator to 160W. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems not possible.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/7): A neutral trend is along Chile and Peru but a warming trend extends from Ecuador out over the Galapagos extending west now to 150W. In any other year one would wonder if El Nino was developing. Most interesting.
Hi-res Overview:
(2/7) There is no sign of La Nina cool waters from Ecuador west to at least 140W. The only real remnants are from 145W-170E and even those appear to be in collapse and heading west. La Nina is loosing coverage quickly. This is good news.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/8) Today's temps were falling at +0.112 or nearly neutral, but certainly not cool.  
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (2/8) temps were steady at -0.486. 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 are trending steadily warmer.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/8) This model indicates La Nina developed from June thru Oct in the -0.55 deg range then started fading with temps rising to neutral by Jan 1. La Nina is dead. The forecast has temps rising abruptly to +0.5 degs March 1 building to +1.00 degs in April and holding to July, then rising to +1.25 degs through Oct, suggesting a return of El Nino. This indicates that La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Jan Plume depicts temps are warming and are now at -0.2 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 no different than the Dec 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 (2/8): The daily index was positive today at +5.33, the 9th day in a row positive. The 30 day average was falling slightly at -1.18, negative for 9 days in a row and the first time it's been negative since November. The 90 day average was rising some at +1.34. All this suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO was trying to get a foot the door in early Feb.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (2/8) Today's value was rising more at -0.92. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it has 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: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.87, -1.06 and -0.70 in Oct. But in Nov, it was up to +0.80 and +0.45 in Dec. This looks much like the warm phase of the PDO.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec) is +0.21. It's been continuously positive since March 2014 other than 3 negative readings during La Nina centered at Aug 2016.
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive 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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