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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Sunday, November 5, 2017 11:58 AM
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
2.0 - California & 2.0 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)

Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    

Issued for Week of Monday 11/6 thru Sun 11/12

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

Another North Gulf Gale Forecast
SHemi Swell Pushing Northeast


On Sunday, November 5, 2017 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.8 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 13.0 secs from 327 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 13.6 secs from 249 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 12-14 kts. Water temperature 67.5 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.9 ft @ 11.8 secs from 256 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.1 ft @ 12.3 secs from 238 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.8 ft @ 15.7 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.3 ft @ 12.5 secs from 242 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.9 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 9.6 secs from 318 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temp 56.1 degs.

    46006, 46059, 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 Sunday (11/5) in North and Central CA remnant Gulf windswell was still hitting producing waves in the waist to chest high range and weak and nearly whitecapped early. Protected breaks were waist high or so and slow and swamped by tide but almost clean early. At Santa Cruz surf was flat with clean conditions and too much tide early. In Southern California up north set waves were thigh high or so and clean but warbled and weak. In North Orange Co set waves were thigh high on the sets and clean and basically unrideable. In San Diego surf was thigh high or so and clean and very weak. Hawaii's North Shore was waist high with some chest high sets and pretty ruffled from east trades. The South Shore was thigh to maybe waist high on the sets and clean. The East Shore was getting windswell at knee to thigh high and chopped from steady east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Sunday (11/5) no swell of interest was in the water originating from the North Pacific. A gale is forecast forming in the Northern Gulf of Alaska falling south-southeast Mon-Thurs (11/9) producing up to 30 ft seas aimed mainly at California. Down south a gale formed in the Central South Pacific on Wed (11/1) producing 27 ft seas aimed northeast then rebuilt Thurs (11/2) producing 34 ft seas over a small area aimed northeast towards California. Otherwise a calm pattern is forecast both north and south. The Inactive Phase of the MJO has taken control and is to hold for the next few weeks.

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

North Pacific

On Sunday AM (11/5) the jetstream was pushing off North Japan with winds to 130 kts then started ridging northeast and splitting a little over halfway to the dateline, with the northern branch weak and pushing up north of the Bering Sea eventually pushing into Alaska and landlocked while the southern branch fell weakly into a pinched trough on the dateline, only to ridge again and fall into another weak trough midway between Hawaii and Baja eventually pushing inland over Southern CA. The jet was split and weak offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours
through Wed (11/8) more of the same is forecast with the jet very weak and the split point holding mid-way between Japan and the dateline with the northern branch entirely encased north of the Aleutians. That said, a backdoor trough is supposed to develop on Mon (11/6) falling south off East Alaska and building with winds to 140 kts on Tues (11/7) off the Pacific Northwest, but then getting cut off and fading Wed (11/8) while moving inland over North CA. Limited support for gale development possible. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with a hugely split and weak jetstream flow in control through Sun (11/12). Another backdoor trough might form off Northern Canada falling south Fri-Sun (11/12) but weak with winds not exceeding 100 kts, limited support for gale development in the trough.

Surface Analysis
On Sunday (11/5) a weak pressure and wind pattern was in effect with no swell producing fetch indicated anywhere in the North Pacific.

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is to develop in the extreme Northern Gulf of Alaska on Mon AM (11/6) generating a tiny area of 45 kt north winds and seas building. In the evening the gale is to build some producing a broader area of 45 kt north winds while falling south with seas to 28 ft at 52N 148W (316 degs NCal). On Tues AM (11/7) north winds to be 40 kts over a better sized area off British Columbia with 29 ft seas at 50N 147W (311 degs NCal). Fetch is to continue falling south-southeast at 40 kts with seas building to 30 ft at 47N 145W (306 degs NCal). The gale is to be off the CA-Oregon border Wed AM (11/8) tracking east with northwest winds 35 kts and seas 29 ft at 42.5N 140W (295 degs NCal). The gale is to fade from there with west winds 30 kts in the evening and 24 ft seas at 40N 135W (287 degs NCal). Possible northwest angled swell to result for Oregon down into CA late in the workweek but likely accompanied by weather. Sideband swell is possible for Hawaii late in the workweek too. Something to monitor.

For windswell relative to California: A weak pressure and wind pattern is forecast until the front associated with a gale in the Gulf (see above) arrives.

For windswell relative to Hawaii: On Sun (11/5) high pressure at 1030 mbs was in the Central Gulf of Alaska and was generating east-northeast winds at 20+ kts 600 nmiles northeast of Hawaii and targeting the Islands well, then fading through the day Mon (11/6). Some northeast windswell is expected for exposed east shores Mon-Tues (11/7).


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (11/5) a light pressure and wind pattern was in effect for all of California waters. Light winds are to hold into Tues evening (11/7) when south winds start building to 35 kts associated with a front pushing south from the Gulf of Alaska. Wednesday the front is to push inland into North CA with south winds 40 kts early down to Pt Arena and 30 kts to the SF Bay Area late morning. The front to dissolve near Big Sur late afternoon with south winds 20 kts there. Thursday (11/9) southwest winds to continue at 20 kts early for North CA down to Point Arena then fading and 10 kts or less south of there down to Morro Bay. A light wind pattern is to again set up Fri AM (11/10) holding through Saturday, with south winds again building to 25+ kts for Pt Arena northward mid-day Sun (11/12) as another low and associated front builds just off the coast.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
On Thursday (11/2) small swell from a gale that tracked through the South Central Pacific was radiating north (see South Central Pacific Gale below).

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.

South Central Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the deep Central South Pacific on Tues PM (10/31) producing a small area of 40 kt southwest winds with seas starting to build. On Wed AM (11/1) south winds built in coverage at 35-40 kts aimed north with seas to 26 ft at 48S 150W over a small area. Fetch is to track east in the evening at 35 kts with 26 ft seas moving to 46S 143W. On Thurs AM (11/2) fetch was rebuilding with south winds near 50 kts and seas 27 ft over a building area at 48S 135W targeting California well. Fetch is to be falling southeast and having less coverage in the evening at barely 45 kts with seas 33 ft over a tiny area retreating from 50S 130W. On Fri AM (11/3) secondary fetch of 30-35 kts is to be feeding into the gales core from the southwest and seas building to 24 ft at 47S 130W aimed northeast well. In the evening that fetch is to build to 45 kts well to the north over a tiny area with seas 30 ft over a small area at 40N 130W aimed northeast. On Sat AM (11/4) a tiny area of 45-50 kt west winds are to hold while tracking east with seas building to 31 ft over a small area at 42S 118W and starting to move out of the CA swell window targeting mainly Chile and Peru. Beyond this system is to be tracking east and out of the CA swell window targeting mainly Chile. Something to monitor.

Southern CA: Small swell is to be building starting Thurs (11/9) to 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs late (4.0-4.5). Swell to continue Fri (11/10) at 3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell continues on Sat (11/11) at 3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (11/12) from 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees

North CA: Swell is to be building starting Fri (11/10) pushing 2.2 ft @ 18 secs later (4.0 ft). Swell to continue Sat (11/11) at 3.1 ft @ 16-17 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading Sun (11/12) from 3.0 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 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 a weak swell production pattern is to take hold driven by a split jetstream and influenced by the Inactive Phase of the MJO.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...


Inactive MJO Developing - Cool Pool Well Developed

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. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sat (11/4) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but for one barb of west winds over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light over the East Pacific and light easterly over the KWGA except for one barb of westerly anomalies that are highly suspect.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (11/5) Light east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA and are forecast to start building to the strong category on 11/6 holding through the end of the model run on 11/12. The first Active Phase of the MJO in months is gone and the Inactive Phase is returning with a vengeance.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 11/4 a weak Inactive/Dry MJO pattern was over the West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Inactive Phase fading 8 days out with a neutral pattern taking hold thereafter though the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Active Phase building 10 days out in the far West Pacific hold hold 15 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/5) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO very weak and fading over the West Indian Ocean and forecast to build some in the for West Pacific 15 days out. The GEFS model suggests a variant of the same thing but with the Active Phase a little stronger pushing east through the Indian Ocean and into the West Pacific 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/5) This model depicts a modest Inactive/Dry pattern over the Central Pacific and it's to track east into Central America 11/20. After that a weak Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West on 11/20 pushing east to Central America through 12/8. A weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow moving into the West Pacific 12/10 and pushing east from there. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/5) This model depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO fading over the far East KWGA with east anomalies over the same area. The Inactive Phase is building in the far West Pacific and is to move east and hold through 11/24 with east anomalies fading 11/11 and a mostly neutral anomalies taking root. Another pulse of the Inactive Phase is to develop 11/25-12/15 with neutral anomalies forecast. Finally the Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the far West Pacific 12/18 with neutral anomalies then the Active Phase is to build in earnest on 1/8/2018 holding through the end of the model run 2/2 with building west anomalies possible. The low pass filter indicates a modest El Nino signal over the extreme west KWGA and is to ease east filling it by Jan 24. A La Nina signal is over the East KWGA near the dateline and is to move into the East Pacific and no longer in the KWGA by Jan 1. If this verifies, the underpinnings of La Nina are to be fading and then gone by late December. this suggest that this winters La Nina will not get a chance to develop very strong. Still, assuming it takes 3 months for the ocean to respond, this winter is lost to La Nina with no significant change expected until likely early April 2018. Even at that it will take about 5+ years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino before another El Nino develops. So a neutral ENSO pattern is likely to develop.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/5) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 degs centered at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is pushing east slightly to 165W. The 24 deg isotherm is weak at 122W today and shallow at 60 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and instead neutral to weakly negative temperatures at the surface and down to -3 degs C down 125 meters at between 110-155W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +1.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool at 155W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/30 depicts a large area of subsurface cool water filling the East Pacific (-4.0 degs) and erupting to the surface in broad pockets between 90W to 165W with a near neutral temperature pattern in the west.
Sea Level Anomalies: (10/30) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between Ecuador to 150W.

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: (11/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed. Upwelling continues solidly along Peru and Ecuador (building the past few days) then tracking west on the equator out to 140W. The cool pool continues west from there. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/3): A neutral trend was along Peru. A mix of pockets of warming and cooling are indicated starting just off Ecuador over the Galapagos continuing west to 160W.
Hi-res Overview: (11/3) A clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile pushing north up Peru and building in coverage, then turning northwest off Ecuador tracking west over the Galapagos and building out to 150W and stronger than days past. Weak cool anomalies continued west from there out to 175E. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/5) Today's temps were falling at -2.248, and below the previous coldest point so far this La Nina when they dipped to -1.9 degs on 10/11.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/5) temps were rising slightly but still cool at -0.482, but up from the most recent cool downward spike on 10/23 at -1.1 degs and warmer than a previous downward spike on 9/12 at -0.898. The long arc clearly suggests a downward trend. La Nina is in control.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/5) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.5 in early Oct to -1.0 in late Dec and holding through Jan. Then the trend is to turn upwards reaching -0.3 in April and +0.2 degs in July 2018. This suggests a legit La Nina is expected for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (10/13) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos into Feb 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume updated (9/19) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.4 degs in Sept, and fading to -0.6 degs in Nov, slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link.  The NMME consensus for Oct average indicates temps -0.75 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way. The CFSv2 is the outlier, colder than all other models. Still, given all the oceanic signals, we a tending to side with it more than the other models.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (11/5): The daily index was rising at 9.73. The 30 day average was falling at 8.42. The 90 day average was rising at +7.44. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/5) The index was falling slightly at -1.00 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17). The trend is stable for now. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 so we've bested that already. But the recent upward trend is offering some hope. Still it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO discounting the recent La Nina dip. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32. No 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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