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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2018 5:02 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
3.0 - 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 10/1 thru Sun 10/7

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   

Dateline Swell Hitting CA
Small New Zealand Swell Hitting HI

On Thursday, October 4, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 3.1 ft @ 14.8 secs from 201 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 10.4 secs from 210 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 67.5 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.0 ft @ 10.2 secs from 249 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.5 secs from 195 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.4 ft @ 14.9 secs from 220 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.3 ft @ 12.7 secs from 184 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 15.6 secs from 292 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was south at 2-4 kts. Water temp 61.0 degs (042).

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 Thursday (10/4) in North and Central CA northwest swell from the dateline was starting to show with set waves occasionally 1-2 ft overhead on the peak but with a little south texture and very inconsistent. It was flat in between sets. Protected breaks were thigh to waist high and slow and very clean, occasionally a bit bigger on the rare dateline sets. At Santa Cruz surf on the sets was maybe waist high at best spots, sometimes a little more and weak but clean. In Southern California/Ventura surf was thigh high and clean, mostly looking like a lake. In North Orange Co surf was waist high at best and very clean and very weak. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist to chest high on the peak and sometimes more and clean but generally weak. In North San Diego surf was waist to maybe chest high and weak and textured and crumbled. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting dateline swell with waves head high and up to 1-2 ft overhead on the peak of the sets and clean and well organized. The South Shore was still getting New Zealand swell with waves head high on the sets and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting wrap around swell with waves thigh high and pretty clean with light southeast winds early.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (10/4) swell from a gale that tracked from just off Japan towards the dateline with seas to nearly 30 ft was fading in Hawaii and starting to show in North and Central California. That gale then lifted northeast some and redeveloped in the Northern Gulf briefly on Sun (9/30) with seas again building to 29 ft over a tiny area aimed east. That portion of the swell is imbedded in the energy hitting the US West Coast now. Also swell from Hurricane Walaka was hitting exposed breaks on the southwest shores of Hawaii. Down south a gale tracked northeast along the coast of New Zealand with 29-32 ft seas aimed north on Tues-Wed (9/26) with swell hitting Hawaii now and pushing towards California. A series of 3 gales are tracking east under New Zealand with the first on Mon (10/1) producing 32-36 ft seas aimed east. Another pushed through that area on Wed (10/3) with 34 ft seas aimed east and another is scheduled for Sat-Sun (10/7) with 32-34 ft seas aimed east. Also the remnants of Typhoon Trami tracked northeast just off the Kuril Islands on Mon (10/1) producing only a tiny area of 30 ft seas aimed northeast. Nothing else real is forecast to develop other than Hurricane Sergio, which might recurve northeast from a point well southwest of Baja early next week. See all the details are below...


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

North Pacific

Surface Analysis
On Thursday AM (10/4) swell from a gale previously on the dateline was fading in Hawaii and starting to show in North CA (see Dateline Gale below). This gale redeveloped in the Western Gulf and swell from that is pushing towards California (See Northwest Gulf Gale below). Also the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Trami redeveloped weakly while pushing northeast off the Kuril Islands (See ET Trami below). And swell from Hurricane Walaka was hitting southwest shores of Hawaii (see Tropical Update below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems or fetch of interest is forecast. The remnants of Hurricane Walaka are forecast to rebuild on Sat (10/6) 900 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii tracking north-northeast generating 30 ft seas over a tiny area targeting only Alaska and fading while racing northeast and losing identity. No swell to result.


Dateline Gale
A small gale developed just east of the Southern Kuril Islands on Fri AM (9/28) producing a tiny area of 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft at 44N 155E. In the evening the gale built while pushing east producing a small area of east winds at 40 kts and seas building to 29 ft at 40N 163E aimed east. On Sat AM (9/29) the gale was tracking east approaching the dateline producing west winds at 35 kts with seas at 29 ft at 39N 170E. In the evening the gale is to reach the dateline with northwest winds 30-35 kts producing 26 ft seas at 38N 179E. The gale is to reorganize while lifting north Sun AM (9/30) with seas from the original fetch fading from 20 ft at 39N 175W targeting Hawaii well (see Short Term Forecast above). Possible swell radiating southeast towards Hawaii and the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Swell fading Thurs AM (10/4) from 2.2 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees

North CA: Small swell to arrive starting Thurs (10/4) building to 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (6.0 ft) in the afternoon. Swell fading Fri AM (10/5) from 4.2 ft @ 13 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295-296 degrees


Northwest Gulf Gale
Remnants of the Dateline Gale (above) redeveloped in the Northwestern Gulf on Sun AM (9/30) producing 40 kt northwest winds over a small area and seas building from 21 ft at 46N 172W aimed at Hawaii and the US West Coast. In the evening the gale built producing northwest winds at 45 kts over a small area with seas building to 28 ft at 48N 166W aimed southeast. The gale lifted northeast from there and faded Mon AM (10/1) with northwest winds 30 kts over a small area and seas 23 ft over a modest sized area at 48N 161W. The gale faded away in the evening.

Swell from this system is to arrive in sync with swell from the Dateline identified above and embedded in that swell for both Hawaii (345-350 degs) and California (303 degrees), just from a more northerly direction.


ET Trami
The remnants of Typhoon Trami turned extratropical and tracked northeast and became exposed east of Northern Japan on Sun PM (9/30) with 05 kt southwest winds and seas building from 30 ft at 36N 143E. On Mon AM (10/1) the gale was racing northeast with 40 kt southwest winds over and extending east of the Kuril Islands with 30 ft seas over a modest area at 43N 155E (305 degs NCal) aimed northeast. In the evening the gale was still exposed off the Northern Kurils producing 35-40 kt west winds and seas 25 ft at 47N 167E aimed northeast at the Western Aleutians (307 degs NCal). The gale is to moved into the Bering Sea Tues AM (10/2) with seas from previous fetch 24 ft at 51N 175E mostly targeting the Western Aleutians (308 degs NCal). Minimal swell to radiate east.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (10/5) building to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell continues on Sat (10/6) building to 2.5 ft @ 14 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Sun (10/7) from 2.8 ft @ 12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/6) building to 1.3 ft @ 19 secs late (2.5 ft). Swell building on Sun (10/7) to 2.5 ft @ 16 secs later (3.5-4.0 ft) Swell fading on Mon (10/8) from 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 303-307 degrees


Windswell Forecast
California: No windswell producing fetch of interest is forecast Thurs (10/4) though north winds are to start building to 15 kts late afternoon. But on Fri (10/5) high pressure at 1026 mbs is to start building 900 nmiles west of North CA ridging east into the CA coast with northwest winds building at 15 kts along the North and Central CA coast early and to maybe 20 kts later. Raw local north windswell is to start building later. the gradient is to build on Sat (10/6) with north winds 20+ kts for Central CA early and 15 kts for North CA and building to 35 kts for North CA later and 25 kts for Central CA. Larger raw local north windswell building fast. Sunday (10/7) the gradient is to build with 30-35 kt north winds over all of North CA early and 20 kts for Central CA and holding all day. Larger raw windswell expected. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Thursday evening (10/4) high pressure at 1026 mbs is to start building 900 nmiles west of North CA getting traction well east of Hawaii with 15 kts east winds starting to build extending 900-1200 nmiles east of Hawaii. Windswell building. On Fri (10/5) a broad fetch of east winds at 15+ kts is forecast setting up from Hawaii extending 1200 nmiles east of there starting to generate solid easterly windswell along exposed east facing shores of the Islands and being enhance by Hurricane Sergio 1800 nmiles to the east. On Saturday (10/6) high pressure at 1030 mbs is to continue producing east fetch at 15-20 kts starting 300 nmiles east of the Islands and continuing to the California coast and being enhanced by Sergio producing east windswell. More of the same to continue on Sunday (10/7). See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Walaka: A tropical system developed 600 nmiles south of Oahu on Sat (9/29). This system tracked west while slowly building, then turned northwest Mon (10/1) AM and was getting well organized with winds 105 kts (120 mph) building to 140 kts (161 mph) in the evening and at super storm status and then turning fully north on Tues AM (10/2) with winds 135 kts (155 mph) at 14.2N and 170.0W with seas 32 ft. Walaka started tracking faster to the north Wed AM (10/3) with winds 120 kts then moving 600 nmiles west of Kauai in the evening pushing some southwest swell in that direction. Walaka continued north on Thurs AM (10/4) about 650 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with winds 100 kts and forecast to fade quickly as it moves over cooler water.

Kauai: Swell fading Thurs AM (10/4) from 5.0 ft @ 12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 235-240 degrees


Hurricane Sergio: On Tues AM (10/2) Sergio was 750 nmiles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico with winds 85 kts tracking northwest 9 kts producing 30 ft seas and in the SCal swell window (168 degs Pt Dume) and is to continue on that heading while building. Sergio started peaking Wed PM with winds 115 kts (132 mph) and then Thurs AM (10/4) with winds to 120 kts (138 mph) positioned at 14.7N 119.0W tracking northwest at 8 kts or 1150 nmiles south of Dana Point (183 degree path) with small swell radiating north. Swell arrival 53 hrs later assuming a 14 sec period or 9 PM Fri PM (10/5). The storm is to be on the 173 degree track to Santa Cruz and 1400 nmiles out. Something to look forward to. Sergio is to turn on a westerly course by Fri AM (10/5) and slowly fading, but theoretically turning to the northeast on Mon (10/8) with winds 80 kts while slowly fading making a beeline towards Central Baja. Maybe another pulse of swell to result for California.

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Fri AM (10/5) peaking mid-day at 4.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.5-6.0 ft). Swell fading Sat AM (10/6) from 3.7 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell holding Sun-Mon (10/8) at 3.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0 ft) and moving to 200 degrees. Swell possibly building after that. Swell Direction: 170-180 degrees

North CA: Low odds of swell radiating in exposed breaks late Fri (10/5) at 3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Sat AM at (10/6) at 3.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.0 ft). Residuals fading on Sun (10/7) from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 165-175 degrees


Tropical Storm Kong-Rey: On Thurs AM (10/4) Kong-Rey was positioned 350 nmiles south-southwest of Southern Japan with winds 60 kts tracking north-northwest at 12 kts with seas 22 ft. Kong-Rey is to continue on this track then turning northeast pushing through the Sea of Japan and fully enclosed in land Fri-Sat (10/6) offering no swell production potential. The models suggest remnants of this system to eventually track east into the North Pacific off the Southern Kurils on Sun (10/7) with seas 18 ft and fading from there. No swell to result for our forecast area.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (10/4) remnant weak low pressure was moving onshore over Southern Oregon with a weak front pushing southeast down the CA coast with light winds in control early and forecast building from the northwest at 15 kts over North CA late afternoon. Fri (10/5) high pressure is to be ridging east with north winds 15 kts over the entire North and Central CA coast early building to 20 kts later. Sat (10/6) north winds to be 20 kts for all of North and Central CA waters early then building to 25 kts later and 30-35 kts over North CA. Sunday (10/7) north winds to be 30 kts over North CA building to 35 kts later and 20 kts for Central CA. Monday (10/8) north winds to be 25-30 kts for North CA and 5+ kts from the Golden Gate southward. Tues (10/9) north winds to be 25 kts for Cape Mendocino-Pt Arena early but light south of there to Pt Conception. Wed (10/10) light winds are forecast for all of California except north of Cape Mendocino at 20-25 kts. Thurs (10/11) light winds are forecast everywhere in CA Central CA but turning north in Southern CA at 15 kts attributable to Hurricane Sergio moving onshore over Central Baja.


South Pacific

On Thursday AM (10/4) the southern branch of the jetstream was pushing east under New Zealand with a pocket of wind at 140 kts lifting northeast some forming a weak trough there offering support for gale development. East of there the jet was gently falling southeast but north of the Ice Line the whole way across the South Pacific in the California well window to 120W. Over the next 72 hours the same pattern is to continue but with the trough fading under New Zealand with the jet pushing east on the 60S latitude line from under New Zealand eastward and gently lifting north some into Sun (10/7) reaching up to 55S under New Zealand continuing support for gale development in this area. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with a generalized gentle trough under New Zealand reaching east to the Central South Pacific but with winds generally weak at 100-120 kts offering modest support for gale development. Basically this is to be a zonal flow. No change is forecast through Thurs (10/11) with continuing steady but generally weak support for gale development.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (10/4) swell from a gale that tracked along the New Zealand coast was hitting Hawaii and radiating northeast towards CA (see Small New Zealand Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

On Monday AM (10/1) the first in a series of gales developed under New Zealand producing 50 kts west winds and seas building to 33 ft at 57S 169E aimed east. In the evening fetch fell southeast building to 55 kts from the west with seas 37 ft at 63S 179W aimed east. Also secondary fetch at 40 kts built from the west directly under New Zealand with seas 33 ft at 57S 170E aimed east. On Tues AM (10/2) the gale faded from there with seas fading from 29-30 ft at 57S 180W. Maybe some small swell to result. At a minimum this system did serve to rough up the oceans surface.

Hawaii: Expect not much swell to result. Background energy to hit on Tues (10/9) at 1.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell fading away after that. Swell Direction: 198 degrees

Southern CA: Swell arrival on Fri (10/12) with period 21 secs and size tiny. Swell Direction: 220 degrees.

On Wed AM (10/3) another fetch followed behind generating 40 kt west winds with seas building from 33 ft at 58S 159.5E. On Wed PM (10/3) 40 kt west winds continued pushing east with with 35 ft seas aimed east at 58.5S 172E. On Thurs AM (10/4) west winds were fading at 35-40 kts from the west with seas 32 ft at 57S 177E. Fetch to fade from there in the evening with seas fading from 30 ft at 57S 178.5W. Maybe some small sideband swell to radiate northeast. Something to monitor.


Small New Zealand Gale
A gale developed south of Tasmania on Mon AM (9/24) producing a broad fetch of 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas 27 ft at 58.5S 146E. The gale lifted northeast in the evening with winds still 35-40 kts over a solid area but mostly impacting Southern New Zealand with 33 ft seas at 53S 158E and barely in the CA swell window (221 degrees). On Tues AM (9/25) southwest fetch was holding while easing east at 30-35 kts aimed northeast and just barely clear of New Zealand with seas 30 ft at 49S 170E just clear of Auckland Island and in the Hawaii (201 degrees) and CA swell windows (221-222 degrees). In the evening the gale barely held with 30-35 kt south-southwest winds holding and seas 29 ft at 50S 172E free and clear of any land (200 degs HI, (220 degs CA). On Wed AM (9/26) southwest fetch of 30-35 kts is to be producing 27 ft seas at 45S 180W (220 degs CA, 200 degs HI) aimed well north. In the evening the fetch faded and barely 30 kts from the southwest over a fragmented area with seas 25 ft at 49S 173W. Fetch dissipated Thurs AM (9/27) with no seas of interest left. Possible swell for Tahiti and Hawaii but much less size for US West Coast given the relatively low wind speeds and sea heights causing significant decay on the long journey north.

Hawaii: Swell to fade Thurs (10/4) from 2.1 ft @ 14 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (10/5) from 1.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (10/4) mid-day at 1.4 ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft). On Fri (10/5) swell is to build to 2.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (10/6) from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 220 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (10/4) late at 1.3 ft @ 18 secs (2.0 ft). On Fri (10/5) swell is to build to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (10/6) from 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell dissipating on Sun (10/7) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 220 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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

Windswell Forecast
On Mon AM (10/8) high pressure is to start lifting north into the Gulf of Alaska with north winds fading some at 25 kts early mainly along the North CA coast and 10-15 kts for Central CA and holding. More raw local north windswell expected down to Pt Conception but less raw and smaller. Tuesday (10/9) the gradient is to rebuild with north winds 35 kts between Pt Arena and Bodega Bay but 10 kts south of there with building windswell and slightly improved conditions south of the fetch to Pt Conception. Wednesday (10/10) the gradient is to be fading with north winds 20-25 kts over Cape Mendocino and Pt Arena but calm south of there with limited north windswell still being generated. Thurs (10/11) north winds to continue at 20+ kts limited to Cape Mendocino with light winds south of there and limited small short period north windswell expected radiating south to Pt Conception.

Hawaii: On Monday (10/8) the fetch is to retract east even more with no fetch 15 kts or greater within 450 nmiles of Hawaii early offering only modest odds for windswell production and retracting 700 nmiles away from the Islands on Tues (10/9). Sergio is to recurve northeast and be moving away from Hawaii. Wednesday (10/10) no windswell producing fetch of interest is forecast and that pattern is to hold on Thursday (10/11).


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours another gale is to pass under New Zealand Sat AM (10/6) producing a solid area of 40-45 kt southwest winds and seas building from 32 ft at 62.5S 178.5E aimed east. A generalized fetch of 40+ kt west winds to hold in the evening with seas building from 36 ft at 62S 169.5W aimed east. Fetch is to start fading Sun AM (10/7) with west winds 30-35 kts and seas 31 ft at 56S 172W. By evening fetch and seas are to be gone. Some odds for small sideband swell radiating northeast.

Another fetch is to develop directly behind on Sun PM (10/7) with 35-40 kt west winds and seas building from 29 ft at 57S 171.5E. On Mon AM (10/8) fetch is to build to 40 kts from the southwest with seas 31 ft at 57S 179.5W. West fetch to continue pushing east in the evening with 33 ft seas at 56S 168W aimed east. The gale to fade from there. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps Rising - ESPI Steady

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. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters in July and beyond, but could not sustain itself, suggesting the demise of La Nina but not yet turning towards El Nino.

Fall/Winter 2018 = 6.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that El Nino develops as forecast, and assuming and an ocean-atmospheric coupling becomes established in the Sept timeframe and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 build to the +1.0 deg range, there is good probability for enhanced storm production in the North Pacific starting in the late Nov timeframe (specifically the Gulf of Alaska and Dateline regions) with an increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (10/3) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then stalling south of Hawaii and turning light westerly from there over the dateline and filling the KWGA. Anomalies were light westerly over the East Pacific then turning moderate to strong westerly south of Hawaii to the dateline, and then moderate westerly filling the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/4) moderate to strong west anomalies were filling the entire East Pacific nearly to the dateline with weak west anomalies in the KWGA. Weak west anomalies are to hold in the KWGA for the next 2 days then decay with weak east anomalies building into the KWGA and nearly filling it from 10/7 through the end of the model run on 10/11. It appears the Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) is over and pushing east out of the KWGA.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/3) A modest Inactive/Dry signal was over the West Pacific easing into the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold steady with a full moderate Inactive/Dry Phase in control of the KWGA through day 15 in the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/4) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was strong over West Africa and is to be hold at moderate strength for the next 8 days while moving over Africa and then fading while moving into the the central Indian Ocean at the end of the model run 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/4) This model depicts a fading weak signal all but gone over the far East Pacific and is to push into Central America on 10/14. A strong Dry/Inactive pattern is over the West Pacific and is to be fading slowly while moving into the Central Pacific 10/14 then tracking east while fading pushing into Central America on 10/29. A modest Active/Wet signal is to follow in the West Pacific starting 10/24 pushing east to the Eastern equatorial Pacific at the end of the model run on 11/13.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/3) This model depicts strong west anomalies over the Eastern KWGA today and continuing east from there filling the East Pacific. These anomalies to hold through week 1 while moving east and out of the KWGA by 10/7 and out of the Pacific by 10/10. Modest east anomalies were over the Western KWGA 10/3 reaching east to 175E on 10/7 and then holding through 10/17 then retrograding west while weakening and mostly out of the KWGA by 10/19 while modest west anomalies redevelop in the KWGA about 10/21 and holding through the end of the model run on 10/31. This continues to look more like previous model runs where westerly anomalies are to hold steadily from here forward. It seems that El Nino is trying to take root, but not coupled yet with the Inactive Phase of the MJO likely to damped quick development.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/4) This model depicts a weak Active Phase of the MJO was fading over the KWGA today with strong west anomalies from the dateline and points east of there into Ecuador and it is moving east. The Active Phase and west anomalies are to be moving east and fading through 10/9 with an Inactive/Dry MJO signal over the western KWGA and building with weak east anomalies the KWGA reaching east to the dateline with the Inactive Phase holding through 10/27 but with east anomalies fading and retrograding west with west anomalies starting to develop in the heart of the KWGA on 10/18. The Active Phase of the MJO is to take root 10/24 with west anomalies at that time building to near WWB status and getting strong at WWB strength 11/12-12/14 and holding even while the Active Phase starts fading 12/6. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop 12/5 but west anomalies holding through the end of the model run on 1/1. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 125W at 3 contour lines and is to build east to 120W (over California) by 10/2 and to 115W in mid-October. A 4th contour line previously forecast to start 12/2 and holding through the end of the model run has return forecast and is to start on 11/30. The high pressure bias has dissolved south of California (9/11) and is to not return and is instead building over the Indian Ocean and reached 2 contour lines on 9/29. The atmosphere and ocean are slowly becoming coupled towards an El Nino bias in the Pacific Ocean. But the coupling is developing a bit less aggressively than expected. It's not clear when full coupling will occur, though we're now tempted to say mid to late Oct. This pattern is slowly becoming more favorable to support storm production in the Pacific regardless of whether El Nino develops, especially compared to the 2 previous years.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (10/4) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid building east at 180W. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 156W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there but now reaching east to 100W. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3 degs centered under 170W down 150 meters and reaching east to Ecuador in the +1-2 degree range. Basically warm anomalies are filling the entire Pacific subsurface region. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/30 paints the same picture with the Second Kelvin Wave pushing aggressively east from the Maritime Continent spilling into the West Pacific pushing under the dateline at +4.0 degs reaching east to 120W at that strength then east to 90W in the +1-2 degrees range. The remnants of the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was dissipating but still present at 90W at -1 deg C. Kelvin Wave #2 was poised to breach the surface from 105W to 130W. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (9/30) Positive anomalies were solid from the Maritime Continent over the West Equatorial Pacific and dateline and broad in coverage east to 120W at +5-15 cms indicative of a new Kelvin Wave (#2) building and pushing east. East of there it weakened some with 5 cms anomalies in a thin but continuous stream continuing on or near the equator to Ecuador and branching out along the Central American Coast. El Nino appears to be developing.

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: (10/3) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile but warming nearshore and significant warming building compared to days past. A thin stream of very warm anomalies were stretched directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 120W and more solid than weeks past then weaker warming out to the dateline. Generic warm anomalies were north of there from Central America and south of Mexico building out to Hawaii and the dateline. Previous small pockets of persistent cool upwelling on the equator have vaporized. The remnants of the La Nina cool pool were gone. It's actually starting to look like El Nino.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/3): A modest warming pattern is in place extending continuously from the Ecuador over the Galapagos along the equator out to 120W and then weaker west of there to the dateline. There were 3 small pockets of cooling waters indicated, but not strong. This a significant turnaround. Temps were warming along the coasts of Chile and Peru too.
Hi-res Overview: (10/3) A pocket of weak cool water was present along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Otherwise moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the 125W then weaker out to the dateline. There were no longer any small imbedded pockets of cool anomalies. It seems we've turned the corner to a warm regime and are no longer in a mixed pattern where La Nina cool anomalies are present intermixed with warm anomalies.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/4) Today's temps were falling at +0.249 down from the all time high for this event on 9/25 +1.316. Two previous peaks occurred of +0.510 degs on 9/17 and +0.459 on 5/13. Otherwise temps have been steady in the -0.50 deg range.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (10/4) Today temps were on the rise again at +0.677, beating the previous all time high of +0.649 on 9/27, and that beating the previous peak at +0.490 on 7/2. Overall temps are slowly and markedly rising from the +0.25 degs range the past month. This looks like perhaps El Nino is developing.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (10/4) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising Oct 1 to +0.70 degs and to +1.00 degs in early Nov and to +1.2 degs in Dec fading back to +1.00 degs holding through April 2019 then slowly fading through May 2019 down to +0.75 degs. This suggests that perhaps El Nino is to build through the Fall of 2018. Most other models are also suggesting a possible turn to weak El Nino conditions by late Fall.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume depicts temps at +0.52 degs in August (predicted at +0.6 last month) and are to slowly rise from here forward, to +0.71 in October (+0.8 per last months forecast) and +0.8 to +0.9 in Nov through March 2019, then slowly fading to 0.7 in May. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and there's a 76% chance of a weak El Nino developing.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (10/4): The daily index was positive at +6.96 today. The 30 day average was falling at -10.33 suggesting an Active MJO was holding. The 90 day average was rising at -4.30. The 90 degree average turned negative for the first time in a year on 6/30 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was building in the atmosphere. This is expected for a month more before falling into steady negative territory by mid August.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (10/4) Today the index was steady at +0.07 today after falling to -0.43 on 9/22. It fell below it's all time recent high of +0.24 on 9/8. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. But this recent turn to negative suggest that perhaps La Nina is not gone or at a minimum the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave Cycle is occurring. In reality, we're in ENSO neutral state now and it's not unexpected that the Index will toggle between weakly positive to weakly negative. Recent points of interest in reverse chronological order are: -1.04 on 6/5, -0.70 on 5/20, -0.60 on 5/17, -0.36 on 5/11 and -0.38 on 5/10, -0.35 on 4/26, -1.02 on 4/5, -1.13 on 3/27. The trend suggests La Nina is all but gone. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina situations.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.88, July -0.23. 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 solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04. No real 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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