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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 2:09 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
2.2- California & 3.0 - 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 7/4 thru Sun 7/10

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   

Small New Zealand Swell Heading Northeast
Another Forecast to Follow

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.

On Tuesday, July 5, 2016 :

  • Buoy 146 (Lanai): Seas were 2.0 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 12.2 secs from 194 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 14.2 secs from 200 degrees. Wind southwest 6-10 kts. Water temperature 68.9 degs. At Santa Barbara swell was 0.7 ft @ 14.5 secs from 179 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.0 ft @ 14.0 secs from 197 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 2.3 ft @ 14.2 secs from 190 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.4 ft @ 9.1 secs with windswell 4.7 ft @ 9.3 secs and southern hemi swell 3.1 ft @ 13.6 secs from 212 degrees. Wind west 4-6 kts. Water temp 57.7 degs.


    Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (7/5) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at waist high with some chest high sets at top breaks and lightly chopped from south winds. At Santa Cruz fading southern hemi swell was producing waves at waist to chest high on the sets and clean. In Southern California up north windswell was producing waves at knee to thigh high and textured early. Down south southern hemi swell was producing set waves at chest to shoulder high and textured from south wind. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore had waist to chest high sets at top breaks and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at chest high and chopped from easterly trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
Minimal fading energy from a gale that tracked across the South Pacific Sun-Thurs (6/23) was fading in California. A small gale developed just east of New Zealand on Fri (7/1) with seas to 37 ft over a small area aimed northeast. And another formed in the Southeast Pacific late Sat (7/2) producing 36 ft seas aimed briefly north. But neither system had much coverage or duration. Small swell is possible for Hawaii and California. But overall, the Inactive Phase of the MJO has been suppressing the potential for gale development. But we are moving into the a weak version of the Active Phase, so there's some hope that the storm pattern might wake up slightly in the Southern Hemi.

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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday AM (7/5) no swell producing fetch is occurring and none is forecast for the next 72 hours.

A weak version of the California coastal pressure gradient was in effect on Tues (7/5) with high pressure at 1032 mbs 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging east producing a weak fetch of 20 kt north winds off North CA coast centered near Cape Mendocino. An eddy flow was over Central CA with south winds in effect. The fetch is expected to become less defined and falling south while compressing along the CA coast on Wed (7/6) focused near Pt Reyes at 20 kts and fading from there on Thurs (7/7) with just a generic area of northwest winds at 15-20 kts covering a thing area nearshore of North and Central CA. Windswell dropping through the period. And even weaker fetch of northwest winds is expected on Fri (7/8). Small short period windswell is the expected result and fading steadily mainly for Central CA (see QuikCASTs for surf details).

For Hawaii, east trades were in control from the Islands extending 450 nmiles east of there at 15 kts driven by the same high pressure system (above) resulting in small to modest east windswell for exposed shores of Hawaii. The coverage of the fetch to shrink on Wed (7/6) then start building in coverage a little on Thurs (7/6) at 15 kts due mainly to the highs interaction with Hurricane Blas and continuing into Fri (7/8). The result is to be shrinking the building east windswell but of a short period.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Blas was 1050 nmiles south-southwest of Ensenada California on Tues AM (7/5) with winds 85 kts tracking west-northwest at 14 kts. The forecast has it continuing on this heading for the next 5 days but building in strength into Wed AM (7/6) 1200 nmiles south-southwest of Southern CA and 2000 nmiles east of Hawaii with winds to 120 kts with all energy aimed at Hawaii. A slow fade to follow from there with Blas down to depression status on Sun AM (7/10) 1080 nmiles east of Hawaii no longer offering swell production capability. The best odds of swell production are for Hawaii (Big Island) if all goes as forecast.

Big Island: Swell arrival on Sat (7/9) building to near 4 ft @ 15 secs late (6.0 ft faces). Swell holding on Sun (7/10) at 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces). Swell fading slowly from there. Swell Direction: 90 degrees

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (7/5) high pressure was still producing a weak version of the California pressure gradient but it was limited to an area over the Cape Mendocino area with north winds there 20 kts. An eddy flow (south winds) were in control southward from Bodega Bay southward. By Wed (7/6) north winds are to be back in control at 15-20 kts along the immediate coast of all of North and Central CA with the core falling south, continuing Thurs-Sat (7/9) but limited to a shallow area along the coast at only 15 kts. By Sunday the gradient is to start rebuilding but southward di.cgiaced to 25 kts near Pt Conception then fading again on Mon-Tues with winds only 20 kts focused near Pt Conception.

South Pacific

On Tuesday AM (7/5) a weak trough was well south of New Zealand covering a small area with no real winds feeding it, with a ridge dominating the rest of the South Pacific pushing into Antarctica from 150W east to South America. There was no support for gale development indicated. Over the next 72 hours through Fri (7/8) the trough is to slow ease east with 130 kt winds pushing under New Zealand late on Wednesday perhaps offering a little support for gale development there. The ridge is to move steadily east. Beyond 72 hrs another pulse of wind energy is to build under New Zealand on Sat (7/9) barely 120 kts feeding what is to become a broad trough over the Central South Pacific. On Mon (7/11) a pulse of 140 kt winds are to start building under and southeast of New Zealand lifting well north forming a well defined trough on Mon-Tues (7/12) offering good support for gale devleopment.

Surface Analysis  
On Tuesday (7/5) wave energy associated with the remnants of Swell #9S were still trickling into California, but well past it's peak. 2 other small swells were in the water tracking north (see New Zealand Gale and Southeast Pacific Gale below).

Otherwise no swell production has occurred or is occurring.

Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast tracking under New Zealand on Wed AM (7/6) producing an elongated fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed east starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening 40 kts west winds are to continue pushing east with seas building to 31 ft at 57.5S 165E. 40 kt southwest winds to continue moving east on Thurs AM (7/7) with 31 ft seas at 58S 173.5E. Fetch to fade from 35 kts in the evening while tracking east from there with seas 30 ft at 55S 176W. The gale to fade out thereafter. Something to monitor.


New Zealand Gale
A cutoff low developed southeast of New Zealand on Fri AM (7/1) generating 40 kt south-southwest winds at 45S 174W aimed north and seas starting to build. By evening winds build from the south-southwest at 50 kts and seas building to 31 ft over a small area at 45S 172W and up to 37 ft at 42S 169.5W at 06Z (unshadowed in NCal, barely unshadowed in SCal). Fetch was fading from 40 kts Sat AM (7/2) aimed northeast with seas fading from 35 ft at 40.5S 168W. This system was very short lived and small in coverage but was still capable of producing decent swell for Tahiti with small swell for Hawaii.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late on Thurs (7/7) pushing 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs at sunset (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell peaking on Fri (7/8) at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs 3.5 ft with sets to 4.6 ft). Swell fading on Sat (7/9) from 2.3 ft @ 14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). residuals on Sun (7/10) at 2.0 ft @ 12-13 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (7/10) building to 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.7 ft with sets to 3.4 ft). Swell continuing on Mon (7/11) at 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft) . Swell fading Tues (7/12) from 1.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 216 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (7/10) building to 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.4 ft with sets to 4.3 ft). On Mon (7/11) swell holding at 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). On Tues (7/12) swell fading from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 213-214 degrees


Southeast Pacific Gale
On Sat AM (7/2) a small cutoff gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific generating 40 kt southeast winds and seas on the increase. By the evening fetch built to 55 kts from the south -southeast aimed well at California with seas to 32 ft at 51.5S 124 (182 degs NCal, 184 degs SCal), peaking at 06Z at 35 ft over a tiny area at 51.5S 125W. Fetch was fading from 45-50 kts from the south Sun AM (7/3) with seas fading from 29 ft at 51.5S 127W (182 degs NCal, 185 degs SCal). This system was gone after that.

South CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun PM after sunset (7/10) with period 17 secs and size tiny. Swell 1 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.5 ft) on Mon (7/11). Swell Direction: 184 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon AM (7/11) with swell 1 ft @ 17-18 secs and size tiny (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell continuing on Tues (7/12) at 1 ft @ 16 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 182 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 the local California pressure gradient is to be gone on Sat (7/9) then building some on Sun (7/10) but focused near Morro Bay with northwest winds at 20 kts reaching north to Pt Arena. The gradient to hold on Mon-Tues (7/12) but still southward focused near Pismo Beach with peak winds to 25 kts but weakening to 15-20 kts up at Pt Reyes. No windswell of interest is expected to result for North CA down to Big Sur.

For Hawaii trades are to continue from the northeast at 15 kts on Sat (7/9) due to the interaction of Blas and high pressure to the north. But by Sun (7/10) Blas is to be positioned well east-northeast of the Islands with the gradient fading and windswell dropping out with no return forecast.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours a small storm is to develop southeast of New Zealand on Fri PM (7/8) with winds from the southwest at 50 kts over a tiny area. Seas building from 30 ft at 58S 179E. On Sat AM (7/9) the storm to track east-northeast with winds to 55 kts over a tiny area with seas 35 ft at 55.5S 163W. In the evening winds to hold at 50 kts with seas building to 39 ft at 53S 149W. Winds to fade from 45 kts Sun AM (7/10) with seas 34 ft at 52S 136W. Something to monitor.

More details to follow...

La Nina Continues Backing Off (for the Moment)

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: The 2014-2016 El Nino is fading out. La Nina is emerging.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (7/4) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but near calm in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA). Anomalies were neutral over the most of the equatorial Pacific but light westerly in the KWGA reaching east to 155W.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Neutral to very light west anomalies were over the KWGA on 7/5. A neutral to weak westerly anomaly pattern is to continue over the KWGA through 7/12 suggestive of a weak Active MJO pattern.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 7/4 a weak Active MJO signal was over the far West Pacific. The Statistic model projects this Active Phase easing east and dissipating over the next week, with a neutral pattern in control 2 weeks from now. The dynamic model depicts much the same pattern. There is likely some probability for some enhancement of the jetstream in the South Pacific over the next week.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/5) The ECMF model indicates a very weak Active MJO signal present over the dateline. The forecast projects it fading and inconsequential in the next day or two. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same theme.
40 day Upper Level Model: (7/5) A weak Inactive Phase was over the Maritimes Continent moving east and expected to reach the dateline 7/30 then the East PAcific on 8/14. A new weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to push into the West Pacific 8/9 moving east from there.
CFS Model beyond 1 week (850 mb wind): This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal was over the KWGA moving east with weak west anomalies in.cgiay and offering minimal support for enhancing the jetstream. It projects this Active Phase moving east and fading through 7/25. An Inactive MJO pattern to follow with moderate east anomalies taking root 7/26-8/24. An Active MJO signal to follow 8/25 to 10/3 with west anomalies over the far West Pacific to 170E and stationary with east anomalies from 170W and point east to Central America. The low pass filter suggests the remnants of El Nino are shifting east and are now south of Hawaii (rather than in the KWGA) and offering nothing to enhance the jetstream and are to dissipate (gone) south of California by 9/6. At the same time low pass anomalies are over the Indian Ocean and forecast to build into Sept, typical of La Nina.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/5) Actual temperatures are building in the west near the surface and fading in the east daily. A pocket of 30 deg temps were building in the far West Pacific with the 28 deg isotherm line retreating to 165W. No El Nino subsurface anomalies remain. Warm anomalies at +1 degs rule from the West Pacific to 160W with weak negative anomalies between there and 125W. Neutral to +1 deg anomalies are east of there. Cool subsurface waters are at depth erupting between 130W-160W with -3 degs anomalies reaching east down 100 meters to 140W (steady). The Kelvin Wave pipeline has been r.cgiaced with a cold river rushing east. But it appears to be not reaching Ecuador, but rather is westward di.cgiaced. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 6/27 a weak pocket of +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies is building from 130E to 160W and a tiny one at 110W (fading). Cool waters 3-4 degs below normal were under the entire width of the equator, undercutting any residual warm water above it and forming a bubble near 140W and upwelling from 120-150W but also making progress towards Ecuador. La Nina has begun.

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: (7/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates cooler than normal water continues over the entire equator Pacific with negative anomalies along the coast of Peru pushing north building while extending west from Ecuador over the Galapagos, tracking solidly west out to at least 160W with with peak temps down to -1.75 degs (near Ecuador and south of Hawaii). The cool pattern over the Central equatorial Pacific seems to have backed off some recently. La Nina is firmly in control of surface waters, with remnant El Nino warm water 3 degs north and south of the equator in pockets but quickly getting edged out. No warm water remains anywhere in the Nino regions on the equator.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/3): A neutral trend has developed weakly along Chile and Peru. The strong cooling trend from the Galapagos out to 180W appears to be backing off. The mirror image cooler trend that developed in the Atlantic on 6/9 dissipated, then returned 6/25, but has faded some today. Temps are cooling markedly along California due to high pressure and northwest winds in that area. The PDO warm pool is holding solidly from Oregon out to a point north of Hawaii and west from there to Japan.
Hi-res Overview:
(7/2) The El Nino signal is dissipating. A clear La Nina cool water pool is tracking from Ecuador and building some recently south of Hawaii. A generalized pattern of +1-2 deg above normal temps remains 3 degs north and south of the equator and west of 180W. Cooler water is over the north dateline region in the North Pacific with warm water off the Pacific Northwest streaming over Hawaii looking very much like the classic Active PDO pattern.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/5) Today's temps were steady at +0.012 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (7/5) temps were steady at +0.003 degs.

Comparing Stongest El Ninos in the last 50 year - ERSSTv4 'centered' data

Pacific Counter Current:  As of 6/6 the current was moderately but continuously from the east on the equator from 90W to 150E. Anomalies were stronger still from the east over the same area. There were no pockets of west anomalies indicated. La Nina is firmly entrenched based on this data, which is normal for this point in the El Nino lifecycle.

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/5) indicates temps on a steady downward trajectory falling to -0.1 degs early July and continuing down till mid-Sept at -0.65 degs and holding through Dec, then slowly rising in Jan 2017 and neutral by May. This is moderate La Nina territory but it's up from the -1.5 and -1.25 degs indicated even a few weeks ago.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-June Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.7 by Sept then holding there to March. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):   
Southern Oscillation Index (6/30): The daily index was neutral at -0.90. The 30 day average was rising from +3.82. It transitioned from negative to positive for the first time in 2 years on 5/27. The 90 day average was rising from -4.00. El Nino was still evident only in the 90 day average, but even that will soon be a distant memory.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (7/5) Today's value was steady at -0.94. It peaked on 3/12 at +1.57 then fell until 4/14, when it started rising again peaking 4/23 at +1.12. But it has been falling steadily ever since.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues solid. Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-May) have been +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.60, and +1.45. The Washington EDU index for the Jan-May period indicates +1.54, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62 and +2.35. April's value was the highest since 1941. The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been mostly above +1.5 all of 2015. 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

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