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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2018 4:00 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
2.1 - California & 2.5 - 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 10/8 thru Sun 10/14

Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Intermediate/Advanced swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of
Intermediate/Advanced swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

New Zealand Swell Showing In HI
Bound for CA Too - NPac Might Stir Too

On Thursday, October 11, 2018 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 16.9 secs from 212 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 9.5 secs from 201 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 10.3 secs from 188 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 69.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.8 ft @ 9.8 secs from 261 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.3 ft @ 10.3 secs from 223 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.2 ft @ 12.0 secs from 219 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 3.7 ft @ 10.5 secs from 218 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.9 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 5.0 ft @ 9.0 secs from 317 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was calm. Water temp 58.5 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 (10/11) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at chest high and clean but with some warble running through it but not bad. Protected breaks were waist high with some bigger sets and clean but soft. At Santa Cruz swell from Sergio was hitting producing waves at waist to chest high and maybe head high on the bigger peaks at the best spots and clean and somewhat lined up but generally soft. In Southern California/Ventura Sergio swell was producing waves at waist high or so on the sets and clean and lined up but weak and mushed. In North Orange Co swell from Sergio was still hitting producing waves at chest high on the sets and clean and lined up but pretty soft and wonky from too much tide. South Orange Country's best breaks were chest to head high on the sets and super clean and lined up but real weak. In North San Diego surf was waist to chest high and lined up and clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting windswell with waves chest to head high and super clean but generally soft. The South Shore was getting new New Zealand swell with waves head high on the sets and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting east windswell at chest to shoulder high and slightly ruffled from modest east trades early.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (10/11) windswell from low pressure previously near the dateline was pushing into Hawaii's Northern Shores making for rideable surf. Minimal locally generated north windswell was hitting North and Central California. And Hurricane Sergio is still producing swell that is pushing in to exposed breaks in California and expected to build slightly Fri (10/12) before fading out. Of interest is a series of 3 gales that tracked east under New Zealand with the first on Mon (10/1) producing 32-36 ft seas aimed east, the second on Wed (10/3) with 34 ft seas aimed east and the third Sat-Sun (10/7) with 30-32 ft seas aimed east. A storm developed while pushing east through the Southeast Pacific Wed-Thurs (10/12) with 47 ft seas aimed east. And another gale is to develop under New Zealand Sat-Sun (10/14) with up to 41 ft seas aimed northeast. Up north the models continue hinting at a gale developing over the dateline pushing into the Northwestern Gulf Sat-Mon (10/15) with up to 36 ft seas aimed east. It's starting to look like a normal early Fall pattern setting up. 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 (10/11) swell from Hurricane Sergio was still hitting mainly Southern CA (See Tropical Update below).

Over the next 72 hours the models continue teasing about a gale developing mid-way between Kamchatka and the dateline on Sat AM (10/13) with 45 kt northwest winds ands seas building. In the evening a broader fetch of up to 50 kt northwest winds is to be pushing over the dateline with 34 ft seas on the dateline at 47N 180E targeting Hawaii and California. On Sun AM (10/14) the gale is to track east into the Northwestern Gulf with 45 kt northwest winds and seas to 38 ft at 45.5N 171.5W pushing east. In the evening the gale is to be fading in the Gulf with 35 kt northwest winds and seas 34 ft at 45.5N 164.5W. Monday (10/15) the gale is to fade while stalling in the Gulf with northwest winds 30 kts and seas 27 ft at 46.5N 157.5W targeting both Hawaii and California. The gale is to hold position in the evening with winds 30 kts from the west and fading with seas 22 ft at 49.5N 152W. The gale is to fade from there. Something to monitor. Possible teaser Fall swell to result for Hawaii and California.

Windswell Forecast
California: On Thursday (10/11) high pressure at 1024 mbs was fading 1000 nmiles west of North CA producing a weak pressure gradient nearshore with north winds 20 kts over Cape Mendocino fading to 10-15 kts over Pt Arena with light winds if not a weak eddy flow (south winds) south of there resulting in weak north windswell and improved conditions down into Central CA. A weaker version of that pattern is expected on Fri (10/12) with winds more northeast than north and isolated to the Oregon-CA border with minimal north windswell down into Central CA. More of the same is expected on Sat (10/13) but with north winds up to 25 kts over a tiny area with windswell holding while light wind holds from Pt Arena southward. Then the gradient dissipates on Sun (10/14) with light winds in control within 900 nmiles of the CA coast and no windswell forecast. See QuikCAST's for details.

Hawaii: On Thursday (10/11) no windswell producing fetch was occurring in the Hawaii swell window with no windswell production indicated. No change is forecast through Sun (10/14) with no windswell producing fetch forecast and no windswell expected. See QuikCAST's for details.


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


Tropical Update
Hurricane Sergio: On Sunday AM (10/7) Sergio was 1200 nmiles southwest of Los Angeles with winds 90 kts (104 mph) tracking west at 8 kts and seas 24 ft. By Mon AM (10/8) Sergio is to start turning the the north with winds 80 kts near 15N 128W starting to producing small swell radiating northeast. In the evening Sergio is to be recurving to the northeast with winds down to 75 kts (86 mph) at 16N 128W again pushing some small swell towards California. On Tues AM (10/9) Sergio was tracking northeast and gaining momentum with winds 70 kts (81 mph) producing limited swell pushing towards California. On Wed AM (10/10) Sergio was accelerating northeast at 13 kts while moving over cooler waters with winds falling to 55 kts (63 mph) and at only tropical storm force. Seas 20 ft. Swell generation starting to fade out. In the evening Sergio continued tracking northeast at 14 kts positioned 800 nmiles south-southwest of San Diego with winds 55 kts and seas 20 ft pushing towards South Central Baja and expected to hit there on Sat AM (10/12).

Southern CA: The final push from Sergio is expected on Fri (10/12) fading from 3.7 ft @ 13 secs early (4.5 ft). Nothing left on Sat AM (10/13) Swell Direction: 195 degrees turning to 180 degrees

North CA: Friday (10/12) swell is to be fading from 2.6 ft @ 13 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Maybe some dribbles fading Sat AM (10/13) from 2.1 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees moving to 180 degrees.


California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (10/11) north winds were 15-20 kts over and just off Pt Arena northward with light winds south of there. Friday (10/12) north winds are to maybe be 15 kts for Cape Mendocino early but light everywhere south of there but north in Southern CA at 5-10 kts early building to 15 kts later attributable to Hurricane Sergio moving onshore over Central Baja. Saturday (10/13) light winds are forecast over the whole state. A light wind regime is to set up after that Sun (10/14) through Wed (10/17). A light north flow is to set up on Thurs (10/18) at 5-10 kts for North and Central CA early and 15 kts in the afternoon.


South Pacific

On Thursday AM (10/11) the southern branch of the jetstream was lifting northeast under New Zealand reaching up to 55S forming a weak trough being fed by 100-110 kts winds offering some support for gale development and extending east from there across the width of the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to continue but with additional wind energy pushing northeast into the trough at 120 kts on Sat (10/13) and building northeastward pushing up to 52S offering improving odds for gale development southeast of New Zealand into Monday (10/15). Beyond 72 hours starting Tues (10/16) more wind energy is to start building under New Zealand at 140 kts pushing east feeding the pre-existing trough southeast of New Zealand with yet more energy developing on Thurs (10/18) pushing north at 150 kts feeding yet more potential development in that area. An environment more supportive of gale development than at any other time for the balance of this past summer is to develop if one is to believe the models.

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (10/11) small swell was radiating northeast from 3 gales that tracked under New Zealand, with swell from the second hitting Hawaii now and bound also for California (see New Zealand Gale 1, New Zealand Gale 2 and New Zealand Gale 3 below).

Over the next 72 hours a gale started building Wed AM (10/10) over the Central South Pacific with 45 kt west winds over a small area and seas building from 30 ft at 53S 150W aimed east. In the evening southwest winds built to 55 kts moving east with seas building to 45 ft at 56.5S 137.5W. Thurs AM (10/11) the storm is to be racing east with west winds 55 kts and seas 48 ft at 58S 123.5W and moving towards the western edge of the SCal swell window. By evening fetch is to be 50-55 kts from the west but east of the SCal swell window with seas 51 ft at 58.5S 109W and no longer of interest to our forecast area. Maybe some small sideband swell to radiate northeast towards California but most energy is to be focused on Chile. Something to monitor.

Also starting Fri AM (10/12) a gale is to develop directly under New Zealand with 50-55 kt southwest winds and seas building from 34 ft at 59S 159E aimed east. In the evening southwest winds are to build in coverage at 45-50 kts tracking east with 41 ft seas at 56.5S 170.5E. On Sat AM (10/13) fetch is to be fading from 45 kts from the southwest with seas 37 ft at 58S 179W aimed east-northeast. In the evening southwest fetch is to be 35-40 kts with 33 ft seas at 55S 175W. Maybe some 40 kt southwest fetch to rebuild Sun AM (10/14) aimed well northeast with 30 ft seas at 53S 171W. In the evening fetch is to fade from 35-40 kts aimed northeast with a large area of 29 ft seas at 50S 165W. Fetch is to fade from there. Something to monitor.


New Zealand Gale 1
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.

Southern CA: Swell arriving on Thurs (10/11) building to 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell holding Fri (10/12) at 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (10/13) from 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 218-220 degrees

North CA: Swell arriving on Thurs (10/11) building to 1.6 ft @ 17-18 secs later (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell holding Fri (10/12) at 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Sat (10/13) from 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 217-219 degrees


New Zealand Gale 2
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 faded from there in the evening with seas fading from 30 ft at 57S 178.5W. Maybe some small sideband swell to radiate northeast.

Hawaii: Swell holds on Thurs (10/11) at 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft) with energy from under New Zealand at 1.3 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (10/12) from 1.5 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft) with swell from under New Zealand at 1.3 ft @ 16 secs (2.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (10/13) from 1.3 ft @ 16 secs (2.0 ft) with energy from under New Zealand fading from 1.1 ft @ 15 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 218 degrees and 198 degrees.

South California: Swell arrival on Fri (10/12) with swell building to 1.6 ft @ 20 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell building later Sat (10/13) to 3.1 ft @ 18-19 secs (5.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (10/14) at 3.0 ft @ 17 secs (5.0 ft) early. Swell fading Mon (10/15) from 2.5 ft @ 16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (10/16) from 1.8 ft @ 15 secs early (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 216 degrees.

North California: Swell arrival on Fri (10/12) with swell building to 1.5 ft @ 20 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell building Sat (10/13) to 2.7 ft @ 18 secs (5.0 ft). Swell continues on Sun (10/14) at 2.7 ft @ 17 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Mon (10/15) from 2.3 ft @ 16 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading Tues (10/16) from 1.8 ft @ 15 secs early (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 215 degrees.


New Zealand Gale 3
Another gale passed under New Zealand Sat AM (10/6) producing an area of 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas building from 29 ft at 56.5S 173.5E aimed east. A generalized fetch of 35-40 kt west winds held in the evening with seas building to 32 ft at 57.5S 175.0E aimed east. Fetch started fading Sun AM (10/7) with west winds 35 kts and seas 30 ft at 56S 171W. By evening a new fetch of 35 kt west winds developed under New Zealand with 29 ft seas at 56S 172E aimed east. By Mon (10/8) seas were below 30 ft and of no interest. Some odds for small sideband swell radiating northeast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (10/13) building to 1.3 ft @ 18 secs later (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (10/14) fading from 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Mon (10/15) from 1.5 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (10/16) from 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Dribbles on Wed (10/17) fading from 1.1 ft @ 13-14 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 198 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon afternoon (10/15) building to 1.2 ft @ 18-19 seas late (2.0 ft). Swell building Tues (10/16) to 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (10/17) at 2.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/18) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 210 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon afternoon (10/15) building to 1.1 ft @ 19 seas late (2.0 ft). Swell building Tues (10/16) to 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell peaking on Wed (10/17) at 2.4 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading on Thurs (10/18) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 210 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 there's low odds of a low pressure system building 900 nmiles north of Hawaii on Thurs AM (10/18) starting to produce north winds at 35 kts and seas 17 ft at 36N 160W aimed south. The gale is to build from there with 40 kt north winds in the evening but lifting north with seas building some possibly setting up small swell targeting Hawaii initially.

Windswell Forecast
Mon-Thurs (10/18) a local light wind pattern is forecast with no windswell producing fetch forecast.

Hawaii: Mon-Thurs (10/18) no windswell producing fetch is forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours persistent southwest fetch is forecast just southeast of New Zealand starting Mon PM (10/15) into Wed AM (10/17) at 35 kts with seas 26 ft Tues AM (10/16) into the evening at 43S 163W. Something to monitor.

Details to follow...


MJO/ENSO Forecast


Sea Surface Temps Continue Rising - ESPI Rising Too

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 Wed (10/10) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then turning weak westerly over the KWGA. Anomalies were modest westerly over the East Pacific building to moderate westerly just east of the dateline and holding over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (10/11) modest west anomalies were over the East Pacific to the dateline then weak to modest east anomalies set up on the dateline and filled the KWGA. East anomalies are to be build slightly on day 1 and holding into day 2 then starting to fade slowly while moving east with very weak west anomalies starting to redevelop and almost filling the KWGA on 10/16 holding through the end of the model run on 10/18. It appears the Inactive Phase of the MJO is building over the KWGA, not good for support storm production.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (10/10) A moderate Inactive/Dry signal was over the West Pacific and the KWGA. The statistical model depicts that this pattern is to hold for 5 days then fading fast and gone by day 8 with a weak Active MJO Phase developing in the KWGA at day 15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but the Inactive Phase of the MJO rebuilding solid over the KWGA at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (10/11) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was strong over the West Indian Ocean and is to slowly fade while while moving into the Central Indian Ocean at the end of the model run 2 weeks out and very weak at that time. The GEFS model depicts a variation on the same thing but possibly rebuilding/retrograding over East Africa 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (10/11) This model depicts solid Dry/Inactive pattern is over the Dateline and is to be hold together pretty well tracking east pushing into Central America on 10/28. A modest Active/Wet signal is to follow in the West Pacific starting 10/24 pushing east to the Eastern equatorial Pacific and Central America on 11/13. A new modest Inactive Phase of the MJO is to be moving into the West Pacific on 11/10 and push to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run on 11/20.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (10/10) This model depicts modest west anomalies starting on the dateline and filling the Eastern Pacific but not in the KWGA. Weak east anomalies are filling the KWGA and are to hold through 10/15, then start fading and retrograding west with west anomalies starting to rebuild from the east retrograding into the KWGA starting 10/16 and filling the KWGA on 10/19 and building through the end of the model run on 11/7. 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): (10/11) This model depicts the early part of a weak Inactive/Dry MJO signal was over the Western KWGA and forecast building with neutral to weak east anomalies in the KWGA reaching east to the dateline on 10/12 and holding through 11/16 then retrograding west with west anomalies starting to develop in the heart of the KWGA on 10/20 and building in coverage and continuing forward. The Active Phase of the MJO is to take root 11/13 with west anomalies at that time building in coverage even while the Active Phase starts fading on 12/5. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop 12/7 but west anomalies are to build to WWB status then and holding mainly over the dateline through the end of the model run 1/8/19. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias is fully in control of the KWGA reaching east to 125W at 3 contour lines building east to 120W (over California) by 10/2 and is forecast to 115W late-October. A 4th contour line previously forecast to start 12/2 and holding through the end of the model run has again reappeared starting 12/14. 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: (10/11) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs solid building east to 178E. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east at 154W. The 24 deg isotherm was 125 meters deep at 140W then setting progressively shallower east of there but now reaching east to 102W. Anomaly wise warm anomalies are building indicative of the new Kelvin Wave (#2) at +3-4 degs centered under 165W 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 10/5 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 100W in the +2 degrees range. The remnants of the Upwelling Phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle was all but gone with one tiny pocket at 90W at -1 deg C. Kelvin Wave #2 was breaching the surface from 100W to 130W solidly. But more so, warm anomalies are starting to filling the entire region on the equator from 105W-165E. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/5) 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 but not down into South America. 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: (10/10) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were barely biased cool along the outer coast of Peru and Chile but warming strongly nearshore. A thin stream of very warm anomalies were stretched directly over the equator from Ecuador westward to 120 strongly and modestly out to 160W and more solid than weeks or even days past. 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 are gone with no sign of returning. And now warming was building south of the equator from Peru west to 160W down to 12S. It's actually starting to look like El Nino.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (10/10): A modest warming pattern is in place extending continuously from the Ecuador over the Galapagos along the equator out to the dateline and now mainly south of the equator. Temps were also warming dramatically along the coasts of Chile and Peru.
Hi-res Overview: (10/10) A pocket of weak cool water was present just off the outer coasts of Chile and Peru but warm water was building along the immediate coast of Chile and broader off Peru. Otherwise moderate warm water was on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos out to the 140W then weaker out to the dateline and it was getting pretty warm between the Galapagos out to 125W. 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: (10/11) Today's temps were steady at +0.547 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: (10/11) Today temps were down slightly at +0.763, below the peak of +0.795 on 10/9, 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 (10/11) The forecast calls for a steady increase from here forward rising Oct 1 to +0.80 degs and to +1.00 degs in mid-Oct and +1.1 degs in early Nov and to +1.25 degs in Dec and Jan 2019, then fading slowly from there to +1.10 degs in 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) (10/11): The daily index was weakly positive at +1.42 today. The 30 day average was rising at -5.70 suggesting an Active MJO was fading. The 90 day average was falling some at -4.58 and has been steady for a month now. 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): (10/11) Today the index was rising at +0.39 today, the highest so far this event. The reading from 8/14 (+0.11) was the first time it's turned positive in a year. 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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