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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 6:13 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
4.5 - California & 4.0 - 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 11/7 thru Sun 11/13

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   

Swell #4 is Hitting Hawaii
One More Solid Gale to Follow - Maybe More Beyond

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
- Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
- Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
- up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.

Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 14.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 10.2 ft @ 15.3 secs from 337 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 2.3 ft @ 12.1 secs from 271 degrees. Wind northwest 6 kts. Water temperature 65.1 degs. At Santa Barbara no data was available. At Santa Monica swell was 2.1 ft @ 12.5 secs from 257 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 3.7 ft @ 10.4 secs from 271 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.3 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 5.7 ft @ 12.2 secs from 277 degrees. Wind northwest at the buoy 8-10 kts. Water temp 60.3 degs.

    46006, 46059, Hi-res Buoys

Current Conditions
On Tuesday (11/8) in North and Central CA residual Gulf swell was still hitting producing waves at 1 ft overhead and clean. At Santa Cruz the same swell was producing waves in the shoulder to head high range and clean and lined up. Lots of fun. In Southern California swell was still producing rideable waves in the waist high range and clean and lined up. Down in North Orange Co sets waves were head high and clean and lined up and rideable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting solid waves from Swell #4 with sets in the 15 ft range Hawaiian and clean. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting Gulf swell too wrapping in with waves 10 ft.cgius and lightly chopped from east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
Swell from the 4th in a series of gales in the Gulf of Alaska was hitting Hawaii and tracking towards California. This gale developed on the dateline Sat (11/5) and tracked into the Gulf on Mon (11/7) with 34 ft seas sending swell towards Hawaii and the US West Coast. And another was developing on the dateline Tues (11/8) tracking into the Gulf Thurs (11/10) with up to 33 ft seas aimed like the previous system. But after that, things settle down with a small gale forecast off the Kuril's on Fri with up to 38 ft seas targeting Hawaii but dissipating fast. Get it while you can. But the 12Z run of the model today suggests possible resurgence of the storm track long term.

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

North Pacific

On Tuesday AM (11/8) the jetstream was ridging northeast off Japan and not particularly strong, then compressed over the dateline with winds building to 200 kts falling into the Western Gulf of Alaska starting to build a new trough there while a previous trough was pinched and fading in the Eastern Gulf being fed by 150 kts winds. From there the jet ridged hard north pushing up into Northern British Columbia. There was great support for gale development in the Gulf of Alaska. Over the next 72 hours the new Gulf trough is to develop being fed by 190-200 kts winds early providing another good shot at supporting gale development then weakening into Thursday (11/10) while 140 kts winds continue streaming consolidated off Japan ridging slightly over the dateline and starting to build in velocity by Fri (11/11) on the dateline at 170 kts. Beyond 72 hours those winds are to start falling into the Gulf Saturday, but not congealing as in the past, instead producing a rather flat and weak looking trough in the Central Gulf on Sat-Sun (11/13) offering only minimal support for low pressure development. But late on Mon (11/14) the jet is to re energize in the Gulf with winds building to 170 kts and forming a small steep trough pushing east into Tues (11/15) offering good support for gale development. Back to the west a rather fragmented jet pattern is to develop, not .cgiit, but not particularly energetic either. It appears the Active Phase of the MJO may be starting to loose it's hold on the atmosphere by then.

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (11/8) swell from Storm #4 was hitting Hawaii and moving towards California (see Gulf Gale #4 below). And the 5th system was developing over the dateline (see Gale #5 below). One more weaker system is to follow. What a great early season pattern.

Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs PM (11/10) a small storm is to be tracking off the Kuril Islands producing 45-50 kts west winds and seas building from 38 ft at 45N 162E. On Fri Am (11/11) fetch is to be fading from 40 kts from the west and seas fading from 34 ft at 42N 169E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35-40 kts over a small area pushing over the dateline with seas fading from 31 ft at 40N 176E. On Sat AM (11/12) northwest winds to be fading from 35 kts with seas fading from 28 ft at 37.5N 175W. Fetch dissipating after that. Moderate swell for the Islands is possible.


Gulf Gale #4
Another gale developed on the dateline Sat AM (11/5) with 45-50 kt west winds over a solid area and seas building from 35 ft at 44.5N 179E. In the evening 45-50 kt west winds were tracking east-southeast in the Western Gulf with seas building to 35 ft over a broad area at 43N 172W. The original fetch faded but a new fetch of 40-45 kt northwest winds were building in the Western Gulf on Sun AM (11/6) with seas 33 ft over a large area at 40N 164W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast. 40 kt north-northwest winds tracked east in the evening with 34 ft seas over a large area in the Western Gulf at 43N 158W still targeting Hawaii but more so at the US West Coast. Fetch rebuilt briefly to 50 kts from the northwest on Mon AM (11/7) while lifting north into the North Gulf with seas fading from 32 ft over a large area at 41N 152W. Fetch fell southeast and faded from 35-40 kts in the evening in the Central Gulf with seas fading from 34 ft at 45N 149W and 26+ ft seas over a large area at 34N-47N 150W. Basically a wall of large seas were tracking east-southeast. Possible solid swell to result for Hawaii and more directly for the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late on Mon (11/7) building to 10 ft @ 17-18 secs at sunset (17-18 ft Hawaiian). Swell peaking a few hours past sunset. Solid swell in 10.6 ft @ 15 secs (16 ft Hawaiian) range expected Tues AM (11/8) fading slowly from there. Residuals on Wed AM (11/9) fading from 6 ft @ 13 secs (7.6-8.0 ft). Swell Direction: 340 degrees

North California: Expect swell arrival on Tues (11/8) at 7 PM with swell small and period 18-19 secs and building rapidly. Swell peaking on Wed (11/8) at 4 AM at 10.5 ft @ 17-18 secs (18 ft) holding well through the morning. Swell fading some overnight down to 7.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (11 ft) early Thurs (11/10) fading to 6 ft @ 13-14 secs (8 ft) late. Swell Direction: 286-296 focused on 288-290 degrees


West Gulf Gale #5
And another small gale formed behind Gale #4 off the North Kuril Islands on Mon AM (11/7) with west winds 45 kts and seas 29 ft at 50N 169E. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds were falling southeast moving near the dateline with seas 29 ft over a modest area at 47.5N 175E. On Tues AM (11/8) fetch held at 40 kts from the northwest and seas 31 ft at 48N 178W. Fetch to hold in the evening at 40 kts from the northwest with seas 33 ft seas at 44.5N 172W. On Wed AM (11/9) additional fetch is to fall into the area from the north at 40-45 kts with seas 33 ft at 43N 164W. Fetch is to hold at 35-40 kts in the evening with seas 33 ft at 42N 158W. On Thurs AM (11/10) 30-35 kt northwest winds are to be fading in the Gulf with seas fading from 27 ft over a broad area at 37N-46N 150W. On Thurs AM (11/10) fetch is to be fading from 30-35 kts over a huge area in the Gulf aimed southeast with 24-26 ft seas over a huge area in the Gulf from 37N-49N 150W, very much like the previous system creating another wall of large seas tracking east. Solid swell to result for Hawaii and more directly for the US West Coast.

Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (11/10) late afternoon at Waimea Bay pushing 8.4 ft @ 17 secs at sunset (14 ft Hawaiian). Swell building some overnight peaking near 10 PM. Swell fading Fri AM (11/11) from 9.5 ft @ 15-16 secs early (14.5 ft) fading to 8.0 ft @ 14-15 secs late (11.5 ft). residuals on Sat AM (11/12) fading from 6.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 332-342 degrees

North CA: Rough data suggest swell arrival on Fri (11/11) a few hours after sunset. Swell Direction: 291 degrees


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


Tropical Update
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (11/8) a front was stalled 500 nmiles off the coast dissipating offshore after sunset with weak high pressure tucked up along Central CA. South winds were isolated to Cape Mendocino and only at 15 kts. On Wednesday weak high pressure is to try to build off Monterey Bay ridging north into North CA with north winds developing from Monterey Bay southward in patches at 15 kts and fading as another front builds over outer waters. On Thursday the front is to stall 600 nmiles off Central CA with north winds 10 kts for San Francisco southward and less north of there. Friday a local low is to build off North CA lifting northeast with south winds 30 kts for Cape Mendocino and less down to Bodega Bay and rain pushing south to Pt Arena late evening. Saturday light winds are forecast everywhere with very weak high pressure in control for the state. Light rain for Pt Reyes northward early in the day. High pressure again trying to get a toehold in later Sunday (11/13) over Pt Conception with 15 kt north winds there with another weaker front building off the Pacific Northwest with south winds 20 kts late for Cape Mendocino. Monday light winds are forecast everywhere but southwest for Cape Mendocino 15 kts with rain moving in late afternoon. Same thing on Tues (11/15) but with light rain working it's way south to San Francisco late.


South Pacific

Surface Analysis  
No swell of interest was in the water and no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring.

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


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




Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

On Tues-Wed (11/16) a small gale is to be developing just east of the dateline tracking east with 45-50 kt west winds and seas 28 ft pushing east. Something to monitor.

And another system is to be tracking off North Japan on Tues PM (11/15) producing 40-45 kt west winds and 28 ft seas targeting Hawaii. This is encouraging.

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.

More details to follow...


Active MJO Forecast for Next 2 Weeks

The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).

Overview: The 2014-2016 El Nino is all but gone except for remnants in the upper atmosphere. La Nina is developing but weaker than expected.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Monday (11/7) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and solid over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but moderate to strong easterly over the KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO appears to still be in.cgiay but other indicators suggest the Active Phase is.cgiaying a role. Maybe easterly anomalies are solely attributable to La Nina.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak east anomalies were modeled over the eastern KWGA on the dateline 11/8 and are to be steadily fading over the next 3 days, with a near neutral wind pattern expected by 11/12, then rebuilding slightly into 11/15, but still weak and limited in coverage. This is a continuation of the first real easterly wind burst from this La Nina which started on 9/23 and is continuing through today. We are now thinking it will not end anytime soon but rather will just pulse, stronger at times, then weaker, in true La Nina fashion, modulated by the MJO.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: As of 11/7 a moderate Active MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA in the West Pacific. The Statistic model projects that pattern holding and slowly weakening for the next 2 weeks while easing east to the dateline. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Inactive Phase of the MJO developing in the West Pacific 10 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/8) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the West Pacific. It is forecast to build 2 days out in the West Pacific at moderate strength continuing east for 6 days then crashing in strength as it passes south of North America 8 days from now, weakening steadily and holding position there. The GEFS model depicts the same thing but with the Active Phase weakening less and making more eastward progress reaching Africa 12 days from now. We suspect that the Active Phase of the MJO is in.cgiay by virtue of the SOI (see below) and is to track east for the next 2 weeks. This is good news.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/8) This model depicts a weak Active pattern easing east from the dateline pushing into Central America on 11/18. A stronger Inactive pulse is forecast over the West Pacific on 11/16 tracking east and reaching Central America 12/8. A modest Active Phase is forecast for the West Pacific 12/6 tracking east.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/8) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal present with neutral wind anomalies in.cgiay. It is to ease east and fade near 11/20. Then the Inactive Phase develops in the West Pacific starting 11/18 holding through 12/4 but with neutral wind anomalies holding in KWGA. A weak Active Phase is forecast to follow 12/9-1/19 with weak west anomalies for the KWGA. Overall the MJO signal is projected to be very weak and this pattern is to hold as we move deeper into Fall. We suspect La Nina is having the effect of dampening the MJO, and producing weak east anomalies in the KWGA but not producing an outright Inactive Phase of the MJO. Likewise the MJO is serving to dampen the effects of La Nina when in the Active Phase.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/8) No Change - Actual temperatures are stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 158E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 180W and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. This is expected with La Nina developing. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific to 175W with neutral to weak negative anomalies east of there to Ecuador. The cool subsurface flow is weakly negative with one tight pocket that was down to -4 degs now only at -1 degs at 140W down 125 meters but otherwise no cooler than -1 degs below normal anywhere down at 150m. The Kelvin Wave pipeline is full of neutral to slightly cooler than normal water. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 10/30 depicts the same thing but a bit cooler. La Nina is in control of the ocean at depth, but not strongly so.

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: (11/7) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates a small cool pocket of water along the immediate coast of Peru but it appears to be fading compared to days past and no longer reaches the Galapagos. Warmer water is in control along the coast of Ecuador reaching to the Galapagos. Cool water becomes more defined just west of the Galapagos and continues along the equator continuously out to 125W, a little stronger than weeks past. Cool water that has had a larger footprint west of there out to at least 160W is looking weaker now, as if La Nina is moving east. La Nina is in control of surface waters of the Central Pacific, and is now starting to take control of the East Pacific too, but with less energy.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/7): A mostly neutral trend is in control of the entire equatorial Pacific. Pockets of warming and cooling waters are present as they have been for months but balanced towards a neutral pattern.
Hi-res Overview:
(11/4) A La Nina cool pool is most present in the Central Equatorial Pacific from 120W to 175E. But a thin continuous cool stream extends from the Galapagos to 120W on the equator. La Nina is building slightly.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/8) Today's temps were warming some at +0.569, down from a slightly warmer peak 2 days ago. We're moving into a cooler pulse here now.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/8) temps were steady at -0.668. We're moving into a warmer pulse here now. Temps are oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.3 to -1.0 degs until the warming spike in late Sept. Temps bottomed out at -1.0 degs near 7/21-7/26.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/8) This model suggests La Nina held from July thru Oct 1 in the -0.55 deg range. The forecast has upgraded some with temps holding at -0.5 degs into Jan. Then temps are to start rising steadily from Jan 1 reaching neutral in March 2017 and up to +0.2 degs late April. This is very interesting with the model holding the strength of La Nina at minimal ' La Nina' territory.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Oct Plume depicts temps have reached their peak minimum at -0.6. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to -0.2 in Jan 2017 and neutral in April, starting to turn weakly positive after that to +0.6 in June. This is up slightly from last months peak low temp of -0.7 degs and barely in La Nina territory. See chart here - link. 

Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (11/8): The daily index was well negative for almost a month, but started turning positive on 11/1 and is holding steady at +2.80 degs today. It reached it's peak low recently at -35.46 on 10/28. The 30 day average was rising slightly at -4.78, up from -5.10 on 10/31. This strongly suggests the Active Phase of the MJO or some other mode of variability was having the same effect as the Active Phase of the MJO. The 90 day average is down some +5.18. La Nina is evolving, but not strongly (so far).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/8) Today's value was rising slightly at -1.80. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been so far in this event suggesting La Nina is getting better established.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Sept) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.87 and -1.06 in Sept.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Sept) are: +1.54, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03, +1.25 +0.52 and +0.45 in Sept.
The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive until Aug 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 suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.

See imagery in the ENSO Powertool


External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave

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