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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2016 3:30 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 #5 is Moving Towards Hawaii
Weaker But Still Active Pattern Forecast

On Thursday, November 10, 2016 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 9.1 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 7.7 ft @ 13.8 secs from 358 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.7 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 16.4 secs from 288 degrees. Wind east 2-4 kts. Water temperature 65.8 degs. At Santa Barbara no data was available. At Santa Monica swell was 3.1 ft @ 16.6 secs from 272 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 6.1 ft @ 16.8 secs from 286 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.2 ft @ 14.3 secs with swell 6.5 ft @ 14.5 secs from 292 degrees. Wind northwest at the buoy 12-16 kts. Water temp 61.7 degs.

    46006, 46059, Hi-res Buoys

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 (11/10) in North and Central CA residual energy from Gulf Swell #4 was still hitting producing waves at 10 ft on the face and clean early but a little raw at many breaks. At Santa Cruz the same swell was producing waves in the head high to 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up. In Southern California up north swell was still producing rideable waves in the chest to shoulder high range and clean and lined up. Down in North Orange Co sets waves were 1-2 ft overhead and clean and lined up and rideable. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting waves from Swell #4 with sets in the 8-10 ft range on the face and clean and lined up. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting Gulf swell too wrapping in with waves 2 ft overhead 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 all fading in Hawaii and California. But another swell (Swell #5) developed on the dateline Tues (11/8) tracking into the Gulf Thurs (11/10) with up to 33 ft seas aimed like the previous system. So one more pulse of swell is expected, then things are settle down some. Still a small gale is forecast tracking from off the Kuril's to the dateline Thurs-Sat (11/12) with up to 35 ft seas targeting Hawaii well. Get it while you can. But by the weekend another small system is forecast for the Northeastern Gulf and another mid-next week north of Hawaii. So the pattern is to continue, albeit weaker.

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

North Pacific

On Thursday AM (11/8) the jetstream was tracking east-northeast off Japan with winds 160 kts reaching the dateline then weakening some and falling southeast into a modest trough in the Gulf of Alaska being fed by 130 kts winds, then riding northeast pushing over the Central Canadian Coast. There was decent support for gale development in the Gulf trough. Over the next 72 hours winds are to start building over the dateline on Fri (11/11) at 170 kts pushing east then starting to fall into the Gulf on Saturday (11/12) at 150 kts, but not congealing as in the past, instead producing a rather flat and weak looking trough in the Central Gulf Sat-Sun (11/13) offering only minimal support for low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours starting late on Mon (11/14) that trough is to reorganize some in the Gulf with winds building back to 160 kts and digging a little deeper while pushing east, reaching 170 kts Tuesday off North CA and then moving inland over North Ca on Wednesday (11/16). Support for gale development possible and also some weather for North and Central CA. At the same time starting Tues (11/15) a weak trough is forecast developing over the Northern Dateline region tracking into the Gulf on Thurs (11/17) and pretty steep with not too much wind energy associated with it. Limited support for gale development possible. Overall by Thurs (11/17) the jet is to still be consolidated tracking off Japan ridging some over the dateline then falling into the aforementioned weak trough in the Gulf and then moving inland over Central CA. Winds generally are to be 110 ks, and not as energetic as the past 2 weeks offering less opportunity to support gale development.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (11/10) residual swell from Storm #4 was hitting Hawaii and California (see Gulf Gale #4 below). And Swell #5 was pushing towards Hawaii and the US West Coast (see Gale #5 below). And a weaker system was developing off the Kuril Islands.

Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs PM (11/10) a small gale is to be tracking off the Kuril Islands producing 45 kts west winds and seas building from 35 ft at 45N 162E. On Fri AM (11/11) fetch is to be fading from 40 kts from the west falling southeast and nearly reaching the dateline with seas fading from 33 ft at 43N 171E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch is to be fading in coverage in the evening while falling southeast at 35-40 kts over a small area pushing over the dateline with seas holding at 36 ft at 42N 179E. On Sat AM (11/12) northwest winds to be fading from 35-40 kts over a small area with seas fading from 30 ft at 38.5N 174W. Fetch dissipating after that. Moderate swell for the Islands is possible roughly arriving on Mon (11/14).


Also a gale is to form in the Northern Gulf on Sat PM (11/12) generating a small path of 45 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building to 22 ft. 45 kt northwest winds to hold Sun AM (11/13) over a thin area generating 30 ft seas at 49.5N 160W targeting the Pacific Northwest. In the evening fetch is to fade from 40 kts with seas 31 ft at 48.5N 159W (307 degs NCal). On Mon AM (11/14) fetch is to fade from 35 kts from the northwest with seas 26 ft at 48N 156W (306 degs NCal). Possible decent swell to result for the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA.



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.

North California: Swell fading 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
A 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 held in the evening at 40 kts from the northwest with seas 33 ft seas at 44.5N 172W. On Wed AM (11/9) fetch held from the northwest at 40 kts with seas 31 ft at 42N 165W. Fetch held at 35-40 kts in the evening with seas 29 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 was fading from 30-35 kts over a large area in the Gulf aimed southeast with 26 ft seas over a solid area in the Gulf near 41N 148W. Decent 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 7.0 ft @ 17 secs at sunset (12 ft Hawaiian). Swell building some overnight peaking near 10 PM. Swell fading Fri AM (11/11) from 9.2 ft @ 15 secs early (13.5 ft) fading to 7.0 ft @ 14-15 secs late (10.0 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: Expect swell arrival on Fri (11/11) pushing 3 ft @ 18 secs at sunset (5.5 ft). Swell peaking Saturday AM (11/12) at 9.5 ft @ 16 secs (15 ft) holding decently through the day. Residuals fading Sun AM (11/13) from 7.3 ft @ 14 secs early (10 ft) and dropping pretty fast from there. 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 Thursday AM (11/10) a weak front was 600 nmiles off the coast with a calm wind flow early expected to turn light northwest later in the day. Friday a local low is to build off North CA lifting northeast with south winds 25 kts for Cape Mendocino late 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 south to Monterey Bay and dissipating mid-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 15 kts max late for Cape Mendocino. Monday the front to stall over the Oregon-CA border with light winds forecast everywhere but southwest for Cape Mendocino 15 kts with light rain moving into that area late evening. Same thing on Tues (11/15) but with light rain working it's way south to Monterey Bay overnight. On Wed (11/16) high pressure is to build in with northwest winds 15-20 kts for the entire state including Southern CA late. Light rain down to Pt Conception. Snow for the Sierras. Thursday (11/17) high pressure is to fade with a light wind pattern north of Big Sure, but north winds to hang on south of there at 15-20 kts down to Pt Conception. Low pressure is to be moving into the area from the west.


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 kt northwest winds Wed AM (11/16) and 33 ft seas at 45N 167W. In the evening winds are to build to 55 kts over a tiny area aimed southeast of Hawaii with seas 36 ft at 42N 165W. The gale is to track east-southeast from there with seas holding, then fading Thurs AM (11/17) from 34 ft at 38N 155W. Something to monitor.

South Pacific

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

More details to follow...


Active MJO Forecast for Next 10 Days

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 Wednesday (11/9) 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 easterly over the KWGA. These easterly anomalies are solely attributable to La Nina and are modulated by the MJO.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak west anomalies were modeled over the KWGA and are to hold a few day, then weak east anomalies are to return 11/13 continuing weak into 11/17. 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 11/9 a moderate Active MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA over the dateline. The Statistic model projects that pattern holding position and slowly weakening for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Inactive Phase of the MJO developing in the West Pacific 10 days out and weakly taking over.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/10) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the West Pacific. It is forecast to track east and fade in the Atlantic 8-10 days out. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/10) This model depicts a weak Active pattern easing east from the Central Pacific to Central America on 11/18. A stronger Inactive pulse is forecast over the West Pacific on 11/16 tracking east and reaching Central America 12/5. A modest Active Phase is forecast for the West Pacific 12/6 tracking east.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/10) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal present with weak west wind anomalies in.cgiay. It is to ease east and fade 11/16. Then the Inactive Phase develops in the West Pacific starting 11/18 holding through 12/30 but with neutral wind anomalies holding in KWGA. A weak Active Phase is forecast to follow 12/20-1/21 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: (11/10) 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 stagnant and weakly negative running from 170E at the surface tracking deeper and east to 110W down at 300 meters with temps maybe -1.0 below normal. The Kelvin Wave pipeline is full of neutral to slightly cooler than normal water. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/4 depicts a pocket of cooler water -3-4 deg anomalies in the East Pacific at mainly 140W down 125 meters. 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: (11/9) 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. 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 (11/9): 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 along the equator from the Galapagos to 160W but balanced towards a neutral pattern.
Hi-res Overview:
(11/9) 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, likely in it's mature phase.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/10) Today's temps were steady at +0.602, down from a slightly warmer a day ago. We're likely at a peak of a warm pulse.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/10) temps were steady at -0.682. 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 (11/10) This model suggests La Nina held from July thru Oct 1 in the -0.55 deg range. The forecast has this pattern holding with temps at -0.5 degs into Jan. Then temps are to start rising steadily from Jan 1 reaching neutral in March 2017 and up to +0.3 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 (11/10): The daily index was well negative for almost a month, but started turning positive on 11/1 and held steady at roughly +2.0 until today, down to -4.97 today. It reached it's peak low recently at -35.46 on 10/28. The 30 day average was rising slightly at -4.57, 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 +5.05. La Nina is evolving, but not strongly (so far).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/10) Today's value was rising significantly at -1.59. 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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