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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 11:42 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
5.0 - 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 1/15 thru Sun 1/21

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 #3 Slams North CA
Weaker Storm Pattern Forecast

BUOY ROUNDUP

On Thursday, January 18, 2018 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 10.4 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 5.3 ft @ 13.0 secs from 324 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.9 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 3.7 ft @ 13.5 secs from 277 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 61.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.9 ft @ 13.1 secs from 265 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.0 ft @ 12.8 secs from 255 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.6 ft @ 13.3 secs from 240 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 4.8 ft @ 13.4 secs from 267 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 24.1 ft @ 18.2 secs with swell 20.2 ft @ 18.9 secs from 286 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast 10-14 kts. Water temp 56.5 degs.

See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)

Swell Classification Guidelines

Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
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.

 

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
Current Conditions
On Thursday (1/18) in North and Central CA Gulf Swell #3 was peaking early (about 8 AM in the SF Area) with occasional set waves 25 ft Hawaiian and pushing through strongly. Tow only. Wind was light southeast putting a bit of southerly lump on the swell but still reasonably clean. Protected breaks were double to triple overhead and mud dredging closeouts and untouchable but clean. At Santa Cruz surf was double overhead plus on the sets on the outside at the Lane and 3 ft overhead inside and clean and lined up. In Southern California up north the previous swell was still decent with surf head high to 1 ft overhead and pretty clean and and lined up but with a bit of north winds indicated. In North Orange Co surf was 1-2 ft overhead and lined up and clean with light winds early. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high and clean and lined up with lines still out to the horizon. In San Diego surf was 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up. Hawaii's North Shore was getting leftover Dateline swell with waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range and clean and lined up. The South Shore was thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around swell and east windswell at 1 ft overhead and heavily chopped from strong trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Thursday (1/18) swell from Storm #3 that developed while pushing east from a point north of Hawaii with seas building to 50 ft early Wed (1/7) off the Oregon-CA border aimed east was hitting North California strongly and expected to push down the coast into exposed breaks through the day. A far weaker gale formed in the Northwestern Gulf tracking east Thurs-Sat (1/20) producing 33 ft seas aimed east. And a weak system was also developing off Japan Thurs-Sat (1/20) with up to 45 ft seas aimed east but is to not make it to the dateline. After that things are to settle down. Maybe a weak gale is to form over the dateline on Tues (1/23) with 24 ft seas aimed southeast, but that's it. Get some while you can.

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Thursday AM (1/18) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan with winds 150 kts over Japan, but quickly weakening just east of there and almost splitting on the dateline. East of there the jet remained consolidated starting at a point well north of Hawaii with winds rebuilding to 160 kts over the Gulf of Alaska forming a developing trough 600 nmiles off the Central CA coast then riding slightly and pushing inland over Oregon with winds still 140 kts. There was decent support for gale development in the trough but elsewhere things were not favorable for gale formation.
Over the next 72 hours the trough is to ease east with it's apex pushing inland over Pt Conception early Sat AM (1/20) mostly providing weather there. But after that the jet is to really fall apart. By Sun (1/21) winds over Japan are to be 150 kts but only reaching just off the coast, then weakening east of there and split with some energy peeling off to the north and tracking over Eastern Russia while the remaining energy tracks east over the dateline and into the Gulf of Alaska. The energy that pealed off to the north is to rejoin the main flow in the Gulf but still winds are to not exceed maybe 90 kts, with no troughs indicated offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the same pattern is to hold till Tues (1/23) and then things fragment worse. By Thurs (1/25) winds are to actually build to 180 kts over Japan extending east 1/2 way to the dateline, but then the dreaded split takes control just east of the dateline with a three way split setting up, with some energy tracking up into the Bering Sea, most tracking northeast through the Gulf and into North CA at 120 kts, and some tracking southeast into Mexico. No troughs were indicated. No clear support for gale development is indicated. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is going to take its toll. Its payback time.

Surface Analysis
On Thursday (1/18) swell from Storm #3 that developed in the Gulf Wed-Thurs (1/18) was hitting North California hard (see Storm #3 below). At the same time a gale was forming in the Gulf and another off Japan (see below).

Over the next 72 hours a small gale is to form in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska Thurs PM (1/18) with 45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas building from 32 ft over a tiny area at 45N 170W (296 degs NCal). On Fri AM (1/19) the gale is to be tracking east with 45 kt northwest winds over a small area with 33 ft seas at 47N 160W (299 degs NCal). By evening 45 kt northwest winds to continue with 33 ft seas over a small area at 47N 152W (300 degs NCal). Fetch is to fade from 35 kt Sat AM (1/20) with seas fading from 30 ft at 47N 146W. This system is to be fading and effectively gone by evening. Small swell possible for NCal but likely lost under larger raw local swell.

North CA: For planning purposes expect swell arrival on Mon (1/22) with swell building before sunrise to 11.2 ft @ 15 secs (16 ft) at sunrise and slowly fading from there and partially shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Residuals on Tues (1/23) fading from 7 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 294-300 degrees

 

Also a small storm was forming off Japan on Thurs AM (1/18) producing a small area of 50-55 kt northwest winds and seas building from 39 ft at 37N 153E. In the evening 50-55 kt northwest winds to be pushing east-northeast with 45 ft seas at 38N 160E targeting Hawaii somewhat. Fri AM (1/19) fetch is to be fading from 45-50 kts from the west while the core lifts northeast with 42 ft seas lifting northeast at 41N 164E. In the evening fetch is to fade from 40-45 kts from the west with seas fading from 37 ft at 42N 167E. This system is to be fading from there Sat AM (1/20) with 35-40 kt northwest winds and the core lifting north with seas fading from 30 ft at 43N 170E. This system is to be gone after that. Reasonable odds of modest swell resulting for Hawaii.

Hawaii: For planning purposes based purely on forecast data expect swell arrival on Mon AM (1/22) with pure swell 4.2 ft @ 18 secs (7.5 ft) and size creeping up peaking mid-afternoon at 4.6 ft @ 17 secs (8.0 ft). Swell slowly fading on Tues (1/23) from 4.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (7.0-7.5 ft). residuals fading Wed (1/24) from 3.0 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 312 degrees

 

Strong Storm #3
Yet another small but powerful storm developed Tues AM (1/16) in the Western Gulf 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii with 45 kt west winds over a small area getting traction on an already roughed up ocean surface with 30 ft seas at 35N 162W aimed east. By evening west winds were 50-55 kts in the Central Gulf with seas building from 38 ft at 38N 149W aimed east. The storm was lifting northeast Wed AM (1/17) and building fast with a decent fetch of 50-55 kt west winds off Oregon with 48 ft seas at 40.5N 140.5W targeting North CA well. Wed PM the storm was just off Washington with 50-55 kt west winds and seas 50 ft at 44.5N 134W targeting the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA. On Thurs AM (1/18) winds were fading from 40-45 kts off British Columbia with seas fading from 43 ft at 47N 131W targeting only Oregon-Washington and points northward with seas impacting the Pacific Northwest. This system is to fade from there. Large very raw swell is expected for the Pacific Northwest. Relative to North CA - the storm is to move to within 740 nmiles of the coast ensuring a raw and jumbled sea state in sync with swell arrival.

North CA: Expect swell arrival on just after sunrise on Thurs (1/18) building fast with raw proto swell 17.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (29 ft). Swell fading fast overnight fading Fri AM (1/19) from 12.0 ft @ 15 secs (18.0 ft). Swell fading Sat AM (1/20) from 11.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (17 ft). Sunday swell fading from 8 ft @ 12-13 secs (10 ft). Swell Direction: 282 moving to 292 degrees

Southern CA: Expect swell arrival just after sunset on Thurs (1/18) building fast with raw proto swell 7.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (12 ft) overnight. Swell fading steadily Fri AM (1/19) from 6.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (10.0 ft) at exposed breaks. Residuals fading Sat AM (1/20) from 4.2 ft @ 13-14 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292 moving to 301 degrees

 

  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 Thursday AM (1/18) a gale (previously a storm) was positioned just off North Vancouver Island with high pressure trying to build in under it but not quite making it with 5-10 kt south winds over San Francisco but a lighter more easterly flow southward to Pt Conception. But south winds associated with a front to build to 15 kts from Point Arena pushing south to San Francisco at sunset. Rain pushing south from bodega bay to to Morro Bay through the day into late evening. Snow developing for Tahoe by sunset and building overnight. On Friday (1/19) high pressure moves in with north to northwest winds 15 kts for all of California and up to 25 kts for Southern CA late afternoon. Light rain forecast through the day from Pt Conception northward. Light snow continuing through the day for the entire Sierra clearing overnight. 11-12 inches of accumulation for Tahoe expected but less than 1 inch for Mammoth. Saturday (1/20) north winds continue at 20 kts from Pt Arena southward down to San Diego holding through the day. A new front is to be stalled north of Cape Mendocino. Sunday the stalled front pushes south to San Francisco late afternoon with light winds early turning south and then quickly northwest 20-25 kts and fading over Monterey Bay at 10 PM. Moderate rain associated with the front falling from Cape Mendocino south to Half Moon Bay late afternoon and to Monterey Bay late. Light snow for Tahoe starts around 8 PM continuing overnight. Monday AM (1/22) high pressure arrives ridging into North CA with light winds through the day but building from the north for SCal up to Pt Conception at 15 kts. Light rain fading at sunrise for Morro Bay to San Francisco. Light snow for Tahoe fading through the day with a total of 2 inches of accumulation. Tuesday (1/23) light winds early but a new front is to be producing southwest winds for Bodega Bay northward but mainly Pt Arena northward at 20 kts. Rain for Pt Arena northward. Wednesday (1/24) a weak front is to push south to San Francisco mid-day and fall apart there with south winds 15 kts. South of there light northwest winds 10 kts. Steady rain pushing south from Pt Arena south to Monterey overnight. Snow developing for Tahoe overnight. Thursday (1/25) high pressure and northwest winds take control for the entire state at 15 kts. Rain dissipating early. Light snow for Tahoe (10 inches) down into the Central Sierra. Total Accumulation for the week for Tahoe 28-32 inches on the crest. 4-5 inches for Mammoth.

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
No swell producing winds of interest were 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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours yet another small gale is forecast forming on the dateline on Tues (1/23) producing 35-40 kt northwest winds and 25 ft seas aimed southeast for 12-18 hrs, then fading.

At the same time something is to try and take root over and just off Japan, but not forecast to be meaningful at this time.

No other swell producing weather systems are forecast.


South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.

More details to follow...

 

Strong Easterly Wind Burst Continues - Active Phase 2 Weeks Away

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 Wed (1/17) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but strong easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/18) Strong east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to hold over the core of the KWGA today through 1/22, then moderating and tracking east but still in control of the entirety of the KWGA through the end of the model run on 1/25. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be peaking per this model over the KWGA with the Active Phase exiting the far East Pacific.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (1/17) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is moderately strong over the dateline with the Active/Wet Phase locked in the East Indian Ocean. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and moving to 150W and out of the KWGA at the end of the 15 day run and holding strong. The Active Phase is to be moderate moving over the Maritime Continent and into the West Pacific at the end of the 15 day model run. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially, but with both phases getting progressively weaker and almost gone 15 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/18) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the West Maritime Continent and is to track east into the West Pacific 15 days out weakening some but still cohesive. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with the Active Phase weaker 15 days out and not making quite as much eastward progress.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/18) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Dry MJO pattern exiting over the East Pacific and is to ease east into Central America 1/23. A moderate Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West Pacific on 1/21 pushing east and fading steadily moving into Central America on 2/17. Another moderate pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/7 pushing east to the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 2/27. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/18) This model depicts a well formed Inactive/Dry pattern peaking over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the entire KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to continue peaking through 1/20 with strong east anomalies over the entire KWGA then retreating on 1/26. On 1/22 the Active/Wet Phase is to also start building over the far West Pacific but not getting decent positioning until 1/27 with west anomalies over the Western KWGA building east filling the KWGA by 2/3. The Active Phase is to hold through 2/22 with weak west anomalies in the core of the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 2/13 building east and holding through 3/31. A weak active Phase to follow and in control through the end of the model run on 4/17 with only light west wind anomalies indicated. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/26, then start moving east reaching the dateline 4/2 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/15. No significant oceanic change is expected this winter as there is a 3 month delay for the ocean to respond to whatever occurs in the atmosphere, providing that change is consistent and long lasting (months in duration).

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/18) The overview pattern depicts that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east but losing ground steadily. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 180W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak but has migrated east to 115W and deepening to 100 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific it appears modest negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -1 degs C in the far East Pacific and loosing ground each day with far less cool waters filling the area between Central America to 180W, and getting progressively shallower. Still, this is indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down 150 meters and appear to be making steady easterly headway with +1.0 degs anomalies in the East Pacific at depth with the dividing line between cool and warm temps now at 115W down 150 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/13 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +3.5 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east under it at up to +3.5 at 175E and the leading edge at 125W.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/13) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 145W with no breaks and 1 small pocket to -15 cms. But this area is loosing coverage positioned mainly south of the equator. This is encouraging.

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: (1/17) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern is quickly dissipating fading significantly in the past few days. Upwelling is holding nearshore along the immediate coast of Peru and Ecuador but with a building pattern of warm anomalies out beyond the coast of Chile and Peru. Pockets of cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W but with a far smaller footprint than months and even weeks and days past. Pockets of weak warm anomalies are indicated just north and south of the route.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/17): A warming trend continues solidly along Chile and Peru and is building, starting to advect west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was almost no pockets of cooling water over the same area. A warming trend is developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/17) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a La Nina cool stream is still present starting off well Southern Chile and off the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in intensity over the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. A small area of warm anomalies are building along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru and Columbia. It appears La Nina may have peaked out.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/18) Today's temps were steady at -0.841 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs 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: (1/16) Today temps were steady at -0.616 after rising fast last week, and after falling hard on 1/10 to -1.577 setting a peak low temp. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/16) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.90 on Jan 1 and are rebounding forecast up to -0.5 early Feb then fading some to -0.75 through April. No change is forecast through the summer. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but that it is to possibly hold through Summer into next Winter (2018-2019). This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link  The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/18): The daily index was steady at +18.00 today. The 30 day average was rising to +0.07 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was gone. The 90 day average was rising at +3.73 suggesting La Nina was weakly in control and maybe fading some (mainly due to influence from the Active Phase of the MJO in Dec-Early Jan).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/18) The index was falling slightly again to -0.91. The trend suggests La Nina is stable (was -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.

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, Nov = -0.52, Dec= -0.18. 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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Local Interest

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Mavericks Invitational Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
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http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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