Saturday, November 18, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.0 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 9.7 secs from 23 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 12.9 secs from 231 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 65.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.1 ft @ 12.8 secs from 222 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.4 ft @ 12.6 secs from 210 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.2 secs from 218 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 13.2 secs from 206 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.9 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 9.5 secs from 313 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 8-10 kts. Water temp 59.0 degs.
Notes: 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).
Summer - 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).
Summer - 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.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Saturday (11/18) in North and Central CA Gulf swell was producing waves at up to head and clean but weak with most sets smaller. Protected breaks were waist high and clean and weak. At Santa Cruz surf was hear flat with maybe some thigh high sets and clean but swamped by tide early. In Southern California up north set waves were waist high and semi lined up and clean with moderate offshore wind in control. In North Orange Co surf was near flat with some thigh high sets and clean breaking on the beach early. In South Orange Country best breaks were up to waist to maybe chest high and clean and weak. In San Diego surf was knee to thigh high and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting north-northeast windswell at head high and pretty hacked from north wind at exposed breaks but clean elsewhere. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting north-northeast windswell at chest to shoulder high and chopped from north wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (11/18) another gale was falling south through the Gulf Fri-Sun (11/19) with 21-23 ft seas targeting Hawaii well with less energy at California. A somewhat stronger system is to follow tracking south through the Gulf Mon-Wed (11/22) with up to 21 ft seas aimed south initially at Hawaii then turning southeast towards CA. And another is forecast falling southeast Fri-Sat (11/25) with up to 30 ft seas targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest. A little increase in swell activity is possible.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday AM (11/18) the jetstream was pushing off North Japan with winds to 140 kts but instantly splitting with the northern branch ridging hard northeast up and over the Bering Sea then diving south over Western Alaska and over the Northeastern Gulf forming yet another backdoor trough reaching well south into the Gulf bottoming out 600 nmiles north of Hawaii being fed by up to 130 kt winds offering some support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere there. The northern branch of the jet turned east from there and and split again pushing into Oregon and Baja. The southern branch was very weak pushing southeast over the dateline moving over Hawaii then merging with the northern branch pushing into Baja. Over the next 72 hours the backdoor trough is to be pinching off and fading early Sun (11/19) no longer offering support for gale development. And yet another trough is to develop while falling southeast on Mon (11/20) being fed by northwest winds at up to 140 kts offering better support for gale development fading in the Central Gulf on Tues (11/21) the elongating to the southwest and pinching off Thurs (11/23) before dissipating.Beyond 72 hours a bit more cohesiveness is forecast to the west with the jet building to 170 kts and pushing mid-way to the dateline on Fri (11/24) before splitting with the northern branch feeding yet another backdoor trough in the Northern Gulf on Sat (11/25) falling south and being fed by 110 kt winds offering limited support for gale development. The north and southern branches are to be merging over Oregon likely making for a weather event there. At the time the split point in the West Pacific is to be near 170E, certainly further east than weeks past.
On Saturday (11/18) swell from another backdoor gale was pushing south through the Gulf and tracking towards Hawaii (Another Backdoor Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours yet another backdoor gale is forecast in the Northwest Gulf on Sun PM (11/19) producing a broader area of 35-40 kt northwest winds south of the Eastern Aleutians with seas building to 23 ft at 52N 158W. Fetch is to fall southeast Mon AM (11/20) at 35-40 kt from the north over a moderate sized area with seas building to 25 ft over a decent sized area at 48N 157W. In the evening fetch is fade from 35-40 kts from the north over a modest area with seas 28-30 ft in the Northern Gulf at 50N 153W aimed southeast and south. Fetch is to be falling south Tues AM (11/21) at 35-40 kts over a modest sized area and a little bit more cohesive aimed south and southeast with 32 ft seas at 45N 154W targeting Hawaii well with sideband energy at the US West Coast. Northwest fetch is to fade in the evening at 35 kts aimed south and southeast with seas 32 ft at 39N 153W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast. Wed AM (11/22) fetch is to fade from 30-35 kts now from the west targeting the US West Coast exclusively with seas fading from 26 ft at 35N 149W targeting both Hawaii and CA. This system is to be gone after that. Something to monitor.
Another Backdoor Gale
Another backdoor gale developed in the Western Gulf on Thurs AM (11/16) with 30 kt north winds and seas building. In the evening north winds to build to 35 kts falling into the Central Gulf with seas building to 22 ft at 47N 157W. Fri AM (11/17) north fetch continued at 35 kts taking aim mainly at Hawaii with 23 ft seas at falling south at 43N 157W aimed well at Hawaii with sideband fetch at California. Fetch faded some in the evening from the northeast at 30 kts with 22 ft seas fading at 38N 159W targeting only Hawaii. A small area of 30 kt north-northeast winds continued falling south Sat AM (11/18) positioned 900 nmiles north of Hawaii producing 20 ft seas at 35N 160W. After that the low is to dissipate with barely 30 kt north winds 600 nmiles north of Hawaii in the evening with seas fading from 18 ft at 31N 160W. Swell is possible mainly for Hawaii with limited sideband energy from California.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Sun (11/19) building and peaking at 8.6 ft @ 13-14 secs at sunset (11.0 ft). Swell fading Mon (11/20) from 7.6 ft @ 12 secs early (9.0 ft). Residuals continue Tues AM (11/21) at 7.3 ft @ 11 secs (8.0 ft) and slowly fading. Still some energy is expected on Wed AM (11/22) at 5.4 ft @ 10 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 355-005 degrees
North CA: Minimal background swell possibly to arrive on Sun (11/19) building to 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell peaking Mon (11/20) at 2.3 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (11/21) from 2.2 ft @ 11 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 300-310 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (11/18) high pressure was over and just off North California generating a light easterly flow for North and Central CA and light north winds over outer waters of Southern CA. Up to 40 inches of snow fell over previous days at higher elevations (10,000 ft) in the Tahoe area with several resorts open for business (mostly green runs). No snow below 7000 ft was evidenced. Sunday (11/19) a front is to impact Cape Mendocino after sunset with south winds 20+ kts but otherwise a light wind pattern is forecast for the state with high pressure holding on though sinking south some. Monday the front is to stall over North CA with south winds 20+ kts from Pt Arena northward and light south winds down to the Golden Gate. Rain is to push south to maybe the Golden Gate then stall mid-day. Light rain for Tahoe in the evening. Tues (11/21) a far larger low is to be building in the Gulf trying to push east but getting shunted northeast by high pressure over Central CA. South winds are is forecast at 15+ kts for Pt Arena northward but south at only 10 kts down to the Golden Gate. Rain limited to Cape Mendocino early and pushing north. Dry for the rest of the state. Wednesday (11/22) more of the same is forecast with the front mainly north of the state and south winds 10-15 kts from Pt Arena northward with light winds for the bulk of the state. Rain limited to points just north of Pt Arena. Thursday (11/23) weak high pressure is to take control with light north winds for North and Central CA building to 15 kts for Monterey Bay south to Pt Conception later in the day. Friday (11/24) north winds are forecast at 15 kts from Monterey bay southward to Pt Conception but light elsewhere. Saturday (11/25) a light pressure and wind pattern is to set up.
On Thursday (11/16) no swell producing fetch was occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours yet another system is forecast moving from the East Bering Sea into the Northern Gulf on Fri AM (11/24) with 45 kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft at 52N 160W. Fetch is to fall southeast in the evening and fade from 35 kts with 29-30 ft seas at 48N 155W. Fetch is to fade from 30 kts from the northwest on Sat AM (11/25) with seas fading from 23 ft over a decent sized area at 45N 150W. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina Solid - Cool Pool Stable
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 Fri (11/17) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light over the East Pacific but moderate easterly from 180W strongest over the Central KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (11/18) Modest to weak east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. East anomalies are to slowly weaken while migrating east and mostly out of the KWGA by the 11/21, then return weakly holding over the bulk of the KWGA through 11/25. The Inactive Phase of the MJO appears to be driving a weak easterly wind anomaly pattern.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 11/17 a weak Active/Wet MJO pattern was in control of the equatorial far West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Active/Wet Phase holding weakly through the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts a dead neutral MJO pattern holding for the next 15 days.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/18) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO very weak over the far West Pacific and is to hold then slowly retrograde west and remain very weak over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model suggests much the same.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/18) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry pattern over the East Pacific and is to push east and fade over Central America gone by 11/26. A weak Active/Wet Phase is over the far West Pacific and is to push east into Central America through 12/18. A weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow in the West Pacific 12/6 pushing east through the end of the model run on 12/26. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/18) This model depicts a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was migrating east while weakening over the KWGA with near neutral anomalies over the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to continue migrating east and hold through 12/15 with sporadic pockets of east anomalies forecast over the period. Finally the Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the far West Pacific 12/16 and building with weak west anomalies in the KWGA 12/25 filling in some and then stalling in the KWGA through 2/13/18. The Inactive Phase is to follow behind through 2/15. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the extreme west KWGA and it is to ease east filling the KWGA by 1/28. A high pressure bias is over the East KWGA at 170E and is to move east into the East Pacific and no longer in the KWGA by Feb 1. If this verifies, the underpinnings of La Nina are to be fading and then gone by late December. This suggest that as winters builds (typically the peak of La Nina in the jan timeframe), support for La Nina is to be fading. But it takes 3 months for the ocean to respond to whatever happens in the atmosphere, so this winter is lost to La Nina regardless of what the low pass filter indicates. No significant oceanic change is 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: (11/18) 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 30 degs in the far West Pacific at 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line has retrograded heavily to 179W. The 24 deg isotherm was weak at 133W 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 modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -3 degs C down 100 meters at between 95-165W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool temps to the east at 170W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/14 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: (11/14) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between Ecuador to 155W.
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.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (11/17) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed. Upwelling continues along Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to 160W. The cool pool continues west from there but not as strong. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/16): A neutral to warming trend was along Peru. A warming trend is also indicated along the entire equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos west to 160W. It looks like the latest La Nina pulse is backing off.
Hi-res Overview: (11/15) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, 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 stable. Weak cool anomalies continued west from there out to 180W. 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: (11/18) Today's temps were rising slightly to -1.582, just barely warmer than the -2.248 low point reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/18) temps were falling some at -0.942 a little above the lowest temp reached so far at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a steadying pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/18) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.7 in early Nov to -1 in late Dec falling to -1.1 in early Feb. Then the trend is to turn upwards reaching -0.5 in April and -0.2 degs in July 2018 and holding there. This suggests a legit La Nina is expected for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (11/05) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos into Dec-Jan 2018, then fading but still very present into May 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Oct Plume updated (11/7) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.7 degs in Oct and holding through Dec, then slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Oct average indicates temps -0.85 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 now in the middle of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (11/18): The daily index was steady at 13.74. The 30 day average was rising some at 6.63. The 90 day average was steady at +7.95. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/18) The index was rising some at -0.89 (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, Oct=-0.60. 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 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, Oct=0.05 . 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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table