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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 7:58 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
Swell Potential Rating = 4.0 - California & 2.0- Hawaii
Using the 'summer' 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 5/11 thru Sun 5/17

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   

Southeast Pacific Swell Tracking Towards CA
Series of Small Gales Forecast Under New Zealand

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.

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015 :

  • Buoy 51201 (Waimea): Seas were 6.5 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 11.8 secs.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.3 ft @ 7.0 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 14.6 secs. Wind north 10-14 kts. In Santa Barbara swell was 2.1 ft @ 10.2 secs from 258 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.5 ft @ 16.5 secs from 213 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.7 ft @ 15.1 secs from 208 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 & 029 (Half Moon Bay): Seas were 9.2 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 7.4 ft @ 7.9 secs. Wind northwest 16-25 kts nearshore. Water temp 51.4 degs.

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (5/12) in North and Central CA surf was chest high, crumbled and blown out.  Pure local windswell. Down in Santa Cruz southern hemi swell was producing surf at waist to chest high at top spots and weak and textured with chop early outside the kelp. In Southern California up north windswell was maybe waist high and weak with north winds on exposed break early. Down south waves were waist high with maybe a few chest high sets and weak and nearly chopped. Hawaii's North Shore was getting only east wrap around windswell at chest high with sideshore texture on it. The South Shore was getting leftover New Zealand swell with waves waist high and clean at top breaks. The East Shore was getting east windswell at head high and chopped from easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
For the North Pacific relative to Hawaii a weak gale was forming near the dateline on Tues (5/12) producing 22 ft seas aimed east offering hope for small northwest swell. Otherwise generic tradewind generated east windswell is expected to continue for the workweek into the weekend, reversing a previously forecast slackening of trades. Relative to the US West Coast, a tiny gale tracked through the Northern Gulf on Mon (5/11) generating 22 ft seas aimed east but was gone by Tuesday. Small swell possible. Windswell is to hold through Tues (5/12) then fade by Wed (5/13) with no return projected. In the southern hemisphere residual swell from a small gale that tracked east from New Zealand on Fri (5/1) with seas to 32 ft was fading. Another small but fairly potent gale started developing in the Southeast Pacific on Wed (5/6) with up to 44 ft seas late, then faded from 40 ft Thurs AM (5/7) with the core of the gale falling south and barely in the California swell window. Swell is pushing towards CA and points south of there. Beyond the chart are quiet, with only a tiny cutoff gale forecast forming east of New Zealand on Sun-Mon (5/18) generating at tiny area of 34 ft seas aimed north. Perhaps some activity to track under New Zealand on Tues (5/19), but it's way too early to believe that just yet.  

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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (5/11) high pressure at 1032 mbs was positioned 1200 nmiles west of North California generating the usual pressure gradient and north winds along North and Central CA at 20 kts producing ragged local short period north windswell. The southern quadrant of the high was also enhancing trades relative to Hawaii at 15-20 kts generating east windswell that was impacting the East Shores of the Islands.    

Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to retrograde west some but still holding the pressure gradient relative to Hawaii continuing to generate trades at 15+ kts resulting in east windswell for exposed breaks in the Islands. But by Wed AM (5/13) weak low pressure (remnants of a Gulf system - see below) is to be falling down the Pacific Northwest Coast cutting the legs out of the high, with north winds dissipating and windswell gone.  

West Pacific Low
A broad low pressure system started developing in the Western North Pacific on Mon (5/11) tracing east-northeast generating a fetch of 35 kt northwest winds getting traction on the oceans surface generating 20 ft seas at 35N 160E somewhat targeting Hawaii. Fetch built in the evening with northwest winds to 40 kts as the gale lifted northeast with seas building to 23 ft at 38N 165E again targeting the Islands. Those winds built to near 45 kts Tues AM (5/12) generating more 23 ft seas at 40N 172E again targeting Hawaii. In the evening winds to be fading from 35 kts with the gale lifting north with seas fading from 20 ft at 43N 178E. The gale is to reorganize just south of the Central Aleutians Wed AM (5/13) with 30-35 kt west winds aimed east and 22 ft seas up at 50N 180W targeting only the US West coast, holding into Thurs AM (5/14) with 20 ft seas fading at 46N 172W but too far away to be of interest. Some degree of small 13-14 sec period swell is pushing towards the Hawaiian Islands. 

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late on Thurs (5/14) with swell 3.5 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft faces). Swell fading Fri (5/15) from 3.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 306-310 degrees

Gulf Low

A small gale developed in the Northern Gulf on Mon AM (5/11) producing 35 kt west winds resulting in 18 ft seas at 52N 157W.  Winds held at 35 kts in the evening falling southeast over a small area generating 22 ft seas at 51N 148W secs (310 degs NCal). The gale fell southeast from there but fetch faded and seas were less than 20 ft.

Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (5/14) with swell 4.5 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft faces). Swell fading Fri (5/15) from 4 ft @ 10-11 secs (4 ft). Swell Direction: 300 degrees


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


Tropical Update
Tropical Storm Noul was 50 nmiles south of Southern Japan on Tues AM (5/12) with winds 45 kts and accelerating to the northeast. The remnants of Noul are to be racing northeast tracking over Tokyo then moving over barely exposed waters off North Japan and to the Southern Kuril Islands on Wed AM (5/13). Further degradation is forecast. no swell production is expected. But the fact that it recurved at all, in May no less, is a significant clue of some change occurring in the upper atmosphere. 

Tropical Depression #7 developed into Tropical Storm Dolphin, with winds 50 kts on Tues AM (5/12) tracking west positioned 200 nmiles north of Pohnpei. Slow strengthening is forecast with Dolphin reaching Typhoon status (65 kt winds) Wed AM (5/13) then tracking west-northwest or just south of Guam on Fri (5/15) with winds 85 kts. A slow turn to the northwest is forecast on Sun (5/17) with winds 115 kts. The GFS model suggests a full turn to the north and north-northeast  by Tues (5/19).  But high pressure is to be blocking its path into the greater North Pacific, suggesting a turn to the north towards the Kurils long term. It's still a very long ways away.  But again, this storm eventual track might offer another clue as to what is occurring in the global weather pattern. 

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/12) high pressure at 1032 mbs was 1250 nmiles west of North CA and was getting shunted west by low pressure pushing down the British Columbia coast.  North winds were 20 kts pushing down the Central CA coast. On Wed (5/13) the gradient and north winds are to be in decline fading from 10 kts as remnant low pressure fades off the CA coast then moving directly over Central CA on Thursday and Friday. North winds to build to 15-20 kts on Sat (5/16) over Central and North CA as high pressure tries to build back, only to fade on Sunday (light winds again) and holding Monday. High pressure and 15 kts north winds to try to return on Tues (5/19).       


South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (5/12) the jet was .cgiit with the southern branch ridging south and tracking over Antarctica southeast of New Zealand with the northern branch tracking north of New Zealand. The two streams merged over the Southeast Pacific but with all energy running flat west to east (zonal flow) continuing into South America. No troughs of interest were present offering no real support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours much the same pattern is to persist with a .cgiit flow in the West pushing south to 65S and over Antarctic Ice, then tracking east, recovering over the Southeast Pacific. No troughs and no support for gale develop indicated. Beyond 72 hours the ridge is to build over the Central Pacific pushing hard south into Antarctica by Tues (5/12) covering the region from 170E to 100W by Tues (5/19) actively suppressing gale formation.

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (5/12) small swell from a gale that formed just east of New Zealand on Wed (4/29) and tracking east on Fri (5/1) with was still hitting California (see New Zealand Gale below). Also swell from a storm that developed in the Southeast Pacific was pushing north and east (see Southeast Pacific Storm below).  Otherwise high pressure at 1020 mbs was southeast of New Zealand pushing the storm track south there over the Ross Ice Shelf. East of there no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring. 

Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to broaden it's reach over the South Pacific strengthening to 1032 mbs on Thurs (5/14) and locking down the Central South Pacific and actively suppressing storm formation.     

In the Tasman Sea a modest sized gale is to develop with 40 kt winds aimed northeast generating 31 ft seas at 45S 151E targeting Fiji. Winds to build to 45 kts aimed north-northeast in the evening with 35 ft seas forecast over a tiny area at 45S 160E. Thurs AM (5/14) 40 kt winds to be pushing due north with seas 34 ft at 42S 160E. And yet more 40 kt south winds to hold into the evening pushing north with 30 ft seas fading at 39S 163E. Fetch to fade fro 40 kts Fri AM (5/15) with seas fading from 30 ft at 35S 169E targeting Fiji well. Assuming all goes as forecast, a nice pulse of swell should result for Fiji.     

New Zealand Gale
A small gale started developing south of New Zealand on Tues PM (4/28) generating 45 kt south winds with seas building from 26 ft seas at 51S 163E. By Wed AM (4/29) a tiny fetch of 55 kt south winds is to be in.cgiay lifting northeast with seas on the increase from 32 ft over a tiny area at 49S 172E. In the evening winds were tracking northeast and fading from 45 kts with seas building to 38-39 ft over a tiny area at 45S 180W. Winds were fading from 40 kts Thurs AM (4/30) with seas fading from 34 ft up at 41S 176W. This system is to be fading by evening with winds 35 kts and seas mostly from previous fetch fading from 30 ft at 40S 167W. Additional 40 kt southwest fetch to build on Fri AM (5/1) with seas 29 ft at 44S 160W. Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts in the evening and turning more purely westerly with seas to 32 ft at 42S 152W. Fetch is to be fading fast Sat AM (5/2) with winds barely 30 kts and no additional sea production of interest forecast. The bulk of the swell production has already occurred. Secondary 15-16 sec period energy is possibly going to be added if the models verify. Swell from the initial pulse is unshadowed by Tahiti relative to California. 

California (North and South): Swell dissipating on Wed (5/13) from 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) Swell Direction: 216 degrees initially turning to 213 degrees and becoming shadowed by Tahiti  

Southeast Pacific Storm
A gale briefly formed in the Central South Pacific on Mon PM (5/4) generating a  broad area of 30-35 kt southwest winds with 25 ft seas at 53S 147W. By Tues AM (5/5) southwest winds were holding at 35-40 kts and tracking east with seas building to 26 ft at 54S 145W aimed well northeast. Fetch faded from 30-35 kts in the evening with seas fading from 25 ft at 50S 137W.  Very limited swell production potential is possible from this initial fetch.  it mainly was just a primer for what developed behind. A new fetch starting building well west of it with winds 45 kts over a tiny area aimed east.

By Wed AM (5/6) 50 kt southwest winds were start building in the South Central Pacific aimed well to the northeast with seas building from 29 ft over a tiny area at 54S 144W. A solid area of 50-55 kt southwest winds started developing in the evening with seas building to 41 ft at 55S 137W aimed east-northeast. the Jason-2 satellite made a pass over the eastern quadrant of the storm reporting a 15 reading average of 39.3 ft with one reading to 44.8 ft where the model suggested 37-38 ft seas. The model was on track if not a little low. By Thurs AM (5/7) 50 kt southwest winds were on the edge of the CA swell window and fading in coverage while falling southeast with 41 ft seas at 52S 124W and aimed 45 degs east of the 182 degree track to Southern CA. Fetch was fading in the evening aimed almost east with seas mainly from previous fetch fading from 40 ft at 57S 118W targeting Chile and east of the California swell window. This system dissipated by Fri AM (5/8). Some degree of modest sideband swell should result for California, but with the lions share of the fetch targeting Central America down into Northern Chile. For California, low wave count per set (2 waves per set), and sets infrequent. 

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/13) at 8 AM with period 22 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to become rideable as period hits 20-21 secs late Wed pushing 2 ft @ 20 secs (4 ft). Swell to get solid on Thurs (5/14)  as period hits 18 secs by 10 AM with swell 2.5 ft @ 18 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft) and building to 3 ft @ 17-18 secs late (5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell holding Fri (5/15) with swell about 3.0 ft @ 16-17 secs early (5.0 ft with sets to 6.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (5/16) from 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft).  Swell Direction: 186-200 degrees

ern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/13) at 2 PM with period 22 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to become rideable as period hits 21 secs near sunset. Swell to become decent on Thurs (5/14) as period hits 19 secs by 10 AM with swell 2.5 ft @ 19 secs (4.5 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). Swell holding Fri (5/15) with swell about 2.5 ft @ 17 secs early (4.3 ft with sets to 5.5 ft). Swell fading from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft) on Sat (5/16). Swell Direction: 184-188 degrees  


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 remnant low pressure associated with a previous gale in the Northwest Pacific (details above) are to continue circulating over the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians on Wed-Sat (5/16) easing slowly east and minimizing  high pressure and potential for development of local north windswell relative to California. Trades and windswell to continue relative to Hawaii.

Note: 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. 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. 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).

(1st paragraph in each section is new/recent data. 2nd paragraph where present is analysis data and is updated only as required).
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) As of Tues (5/12) the daily SOI was holding well negative at -35.10. The 30 day average was falling at -10.11 and the 90 day average was falling from -6.80. The near term trend based on the daily and 30 day average was indicative of a building Active Phase of the MJO. The longer term pattern was indicative of a building Active Phase of the MJO. Weak low pressure was over Tahiti with strong high pressure building over Darwin. More of the same is forecast until Fri (5/15) when a new low pressure cell is forecast developing south of Tahiti  while a 1036 mb high holds over South Australia with the SOI expected to fall more. The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator.   

Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated moderately strong westerly anomalies continued in.cgiay over the Maritime Continent reaching to the dateline then fading some but still westerly to a point south of Hawaii. Weak easterly anomalies continued 1/2 way to the Galapagos then turned easterly on into South America. Down at the surface the TOA array indicated strong westerly winds to 17 kts (not just anomalies but a reversal of trades) over the central Kelvin Wave Generation Area associated with a developing tropical system north of there with anomalies holding to a point just south of Hawaii, then turning neutral to the Galapagos. A week from now (5/20) moderate to strong westerly anomalies are to start at 135E (over the Maritime Continent) holding to 165E, then weakening some and reaching to dateline. Neutral anomalies are forecast east of there to the Galapagos. This suggests the Active Phase (or at least a solid WWB) is to hold if not build a week out (a good sign) and positioned well in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area.  

A moderate Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) developed from 1/15-2/20 then regenerated 2/25 building steadily into the strong category by 3/7, before peaking 3/10 holding to 3/17. A more modest version of it continued into 3/27 then slowly faded into 3/30 but not out even to the end of April. Light westerly anomalies continued to 5/5, then rebuilding again starting 5/7 and starting to peak in the strong category 5/9. It is forecast to hold till 5/13, then fade some but far from out to 5/19. This was already a decent event attributable to the Jan-Feb anomalies, before it raged in mid-March faded some, then redeveloped in early May. Not a hint of easterly anomalies all year so far. See our new Kelvin Wave Generation Area monitoring model here.

The longer range Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) models (dynamic and statistical) run on 5/11 suggests a dead MJO signal was in.cgiay. No anomalies were occurring over the Pacific. The Statistic model suggests a continuation of the same for the next 15 days. The Dynamic model suggests a dead neutral pattern but with perhaps a weak Active Phase building over the West Pacific 8 days out then fading while the Inactive Phase develops in the Indian Ocean and holding for the next 15 days and making no headway. For now the models are generally in sync. The ultra long range upper level model run on 5/12 depicts a strong Active MJO pattern in.cgiay over the East Pacific and is to ease east reaching Central America on 5/20. A modest Inactive Phase to build in the far West Pacific 5/15 pushing steadily east and fading as if hits Central America on 6/3.  A dead neutral pattern bias towards the Active Phase is to take over the entire equatorial Pacific thereafter into 6/21. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.    

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.  

As of the most recent low-res imagery (5/11) a weak warm water/El Nino like regime continues in control of the entire equatorial Pacific definitely getting a better grasp. Warmer water is building over Ecuador and the Galapagos, steadily per the last two updates. This is the likely result of a new strong Kelvin Wave impacting the coast there. Warm water is also holding along the Chilean and Peruvian coasts pushing north up to the equator but nothing remarkable. Warmer water extends west from the Galapagos along the equator but only reaching 2-3 degrees south of the equator until it reaches the dateline, then expanding in areal coverage. In reviewing last years data at this same time, the warming is looking stronger, but not over the top.   TAO data indicates +1.0 anomalies are in control over the entire equatorial Pacific, the warmest in years. +2.0-2.5 deg anomalies are now depicted advecting west from the Galapagos. Also the pocket of 1.5 deg anomalies that had been on the dateline has rebuilt with west wind anomalies over it. The CDAS NINO 3.4 Index suggest water temps have backed off some, currently down to +0.9 degs. One would expect this area to start warming after the big Spring Kelvin Wave starts erupting and advecting west, starting maybe a month out (5/28).

Subsurface Waters Temps on the equator are no longer warming but are pushing hard east. As of 5/12 a +2.0 C anomaly flow was in control under the equatorial Pacific from 150 meters up. And a large pocket of +5 deg anomalies was starting to impact the Galapagos Islands driven by the extended WWB that occurred 1/15-2/20 and additional strong westerly anomalies in March, feeding even more warm water into that Kelvin Wave. This Kelvin Wave was expected to start erupting over the Galapagos on roughly 5/1 peaking on 6/10. Actual data suggests it hit on 4/28 and started to erupt on the surface (5/7). Peak water temps still extend westward to 140W, meaning there is a month of peak warm water still in the pipe. Also of interest is the apparent downwelling of more warm water on the dateline , the result of non-stop westerly anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Satellite data from 5/8 depicts 0-+5 cm anomalies over the entire equatorial Pacific east of 170E (expanding west some) with a core to +10 cm from 145W to the Galapagos indicative of an open pipe with an embedded solid Kelvin Wave. The latest chart of upper Ocean Heat Content (5/8) indicates +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies are tracking east between 175E and the Ecuador coast with +1.0-1.5 degs from 170W eastward and +1.5 deg anomalies from 151W eastward. And a core of 2 deg anomalies are indicated between 130W eastward with a small pocket of 2.5 degs anomalies at 90W. This also suggests the peak of the Kelvin Wave is still offshore a bit. In short, a strong Kelvin Wave is in flight and starting to impact the Galapagos. See current Upper Oceanic Heat Content chart here

It is do or die time. Either the ocean temps will warm significantly enough to kick off some degree of real El Nino, or it's more Modoki El Nino. We'll know more by June 1. The good news is more westerly anomalies are building over the dateline, complete with associated tropical development north of the equator, suggestive perhaps of developing co.cgiing between the ocean and the atmosphere (in the classic El Nino sense). And 1 tropical system in the West Pacific  (Noul) has recurved northeast with another forecast to follow that path behind.    

Pacific Counter Current data as of 5/7 is steadily improving. The current is pushing modestly west to east over the entire equatorial Pacific and with a strong pulse just west of the Galapagos on the equator and again in the far West Pacific. . A very weak easterly current was positioned 2-3 degrees south of the equator. Anomaly wise - modest west anomalies were in control on the equator over the West Pacific north of the equator and building to the strong category in a pocket just west of the Galapagos directly over the equator in the east (120W to Ecuador) and strong over the far West Pacific centered near 130E. Sure looks like El Nino is setting up.

This data suggests a general west to east bias in the current suggesting warm water transport to the east. 

Projections from the monthly CFSv2 model run 5/12 for the Nino 3.4 region remain off the chart. It suggests water temps are at +1.1 deg C (a bit on the high side) and are to steadily warm into July reaching +2.2 degs C, and continuing to +2.9 degs by Oct and +3.15 degs by late Nov, then dropping off. This suggests that perhaps we are moving from a multi-year steady state Modoki event to perhaps a full blown El Nino, and strong at that. But it is too early to believe just yet. The same thing happened last year. The model is likely a statistic model and is just picking up on the Kelvin Wave in flight, and will settle back down after it erupts over the Galapagos. Much more warm water would need to be transported east over the coming 6 months for a legit El Nino to develop (including surface warm water currently locked over the dateline), especially of the magnitude projected by the model (rivaling the all time great '97 El Nino). The mid-March consensus Plume suggests a continuation of Modoki ENSO, though some models are now suggesting something more. See the chart based version here - link. 

Analysis: Mult.cgie downwelling Kelvin Waves generated by suppressed trades and occasional Westerly Wind Bursts occurring late 2013 though 2014 in the West Pacific. Those Kelvin Waves warmed waters over the Eastern equatorial Pacific, but not sufficiently to declare an official El Nino until Feb 2015, and then very weak at that. Still some degree of teleconnection or feedback loop between the ocean and the atmosphere was in.cgiay with some greater force dictating the pattern (possibly the PDO).  The focus now becomes whether this warming and resulting teleconnection will persist if not strengthen in 2015. We are in the Spring Unpredictability Barrier (March-May). The real teller will be during the month of June. Water temps in the Nino 1.2 region are expected to be quite warm due to the arrival of a large Kelvin Wave currently in flight (see details above). If that warming is sufficient to start the classic El Nino feedback loop, then continued westerly anomalies and WWBs should continue through July-Sept and beyond, with a full scale El Nino developing. But if the cool upwelling Phase off the Kelvin Wave cycle develops in mid-June, then it will likely be another year of the Modoki El Nino cycle. The real interesting thing is westerly anomalies are currently in flight over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (in fact a legit WWB) indicating another Kelvin Wave is in development, much different than what occurred last year. The June to early July timeframe will either make or break development of a legit El Nino. Perhaps a true El Nino teleconnection is developing. But again, the real indicator will occur in June (see above).    

We continue monitoring Westerly Wind Bursts and Kelvin Wave development, suggestive of continued warming East Pacific equatorial waters for the 2015 (meaning enhanced support for the jetstream and storm development in Fall/Winter 2015-2016). 

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the  El Nino Update Updated 12/4/13 


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a series of three weather system are to be tracking east under New Zealand, but making little eastward headway once entering the far Southwest Pacific. 

The first is schedule for Fri PM (5/15) with 55 kt west winds building seas to  39 ft at 56S 165E (200 degs HI, 215 degs NCal/SCal and unshadowed by Tahiti). This system is to be gone by nightfall.

The second system is to have 50 kt winds aimed northeast Sun PM (5/17) with 39 ft seas at 55S 169E (199 degs HI, 215 degs NCal/SCal and unshadowed by Tahiti). This system is to be gone by Mon AM (5/18).

The third is to form Mon AM (5/18) south of the Tasman Sea tracking east wit 60 kt southwest winds holding at 55 kts in the evening getting good traction on an already roughed up ocean surface generating 46 ft seas at 56S 167E  (199 degs HI, 214 degs NCal and SCal). Winds to be in rapid decline Tues AM (5/19) fading from 50 kts with with 47 ft seas at 54S 178E (194 HI, 211 degs NCal and starting to become shadowed, 209 degs SCal and shadowed).  

Details to follow...


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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