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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:09 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
4.0 - 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 11/14 thru Sun 11/20

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   

Kuril Island Swell Hitting CA
North Gulf Swell Also Pushing Towards CA

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Tuesday, November 15, 2016 :

  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 4.6 ft @ 15.1 secs from 312 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 11.4 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 10.6 secs from 271 degrees. Wind west 6-8 kts. Water temperature 66.0 degs. At Santa Barbara no data was available. At Santa Monica swell was 1.7 ft @ 10.4 secs from 258 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 2.3 ft @ 12.5 secs from 276 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.0 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 10.9 secs from 283 degrees. Wind southeast at the buoy 4-6 kts. Water temp 59.7 degs.
    Notes

    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).
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 Tuesday (11/15) in North and Central CA Gulf swell was fading but still producing waves in the 1-2 ft overhead range and clean but with some south lump intermixed. At Santa Cruz the same swell was producing waves in the head high range and clean and lined up but generally soft. In Southern California up north residual Gulf swell was producing waves in the thigh high range and swamped by tide early and clean. Down in North Orange Co sets waves were waist to chest high and clean but unremarkable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting swell from the Kuril Islands producing surf in the 7 ft range Hawaiian and reasonably clean but with a little morning lump intermixed. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting a mix of east windswell and Kuril wrap around swell with waves waist to chest high and chopped from east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
Swell from a small gale that tracked from off the Kuril Islands to the dateline Thurs-Sat (11/12) with 32-35 ft seas was fading in Hawaii and pushing towards the US West Coast. Another small system developed in the Northeastern Gulf on Sun-Mon (11/14) with 26-30 ft seas over a small area aimed southeast. And another gale is to develop Wed (11/16) in the Western Gulf tracking east to a point off North CA on Sat (11/19) with 32 ft seas fading to 26 ft. Another system is to follow on the same path Sat-Mon (11/21)  with 34 ft seas initially with another behind it tracking from the North Dateline into the Gulf Sun-Tues (11/22) with seas 34 ft initially fading to the 20 ft range. Much moderate swell looks likely.  The storm track is active for the immediate future, even though the MJO is fading.  

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Tuesday AM (11/15) the jetstream was running east off Japan tracking across the North Pacific eventually running over the US West Coast near Southern Oregon. Winds were 110 kts off Japan, fading over the dateline, then rebuilding to 140 kts in the Gulf forming a weak trough there offering some support  for gale development but nothing remarkable. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to move inland over North California Wed (11/16) with winds building to 160 kts only serving to produce some weather there.  But back to the west a ridge is to be building over the dateline then falling southeast forming a new trough in the Western Gulf later Wednesday with winds building to 130 kts starting to offer some support for gale formation. That trough is to continue east nearly reaching North CA on Fri (11/18) with winds fading out, but a new patch of winds to 160 kts is to be rebuilding over the Western Gulf falling into the remnants of the older trough reinvigorating it and digging deeper again offering support for gale development into Sat (11/19). Beyond 72 hours that trough is to ease east and start pinching off Sun (11/20) just off Central CA with support for gale formation fading. Further to the west the jet is to become a bit less defined and almost .cgiitting off Japan on Sun (11/20) continuing that way into Tuesday (11/22).  Winds to be 150 kts over North Japan but fading on the dateline just past the .cgiit point with only 90 kts winds reaching the Gulf and offering far less support for gale development than days and weeks past. 

Surface Analysis
On Tuesday (11/15) swell from a gale that tracked off the Kuril's was fading in Hawaii and pushing towards the US West Coast (See Kuril Islands Gale - Swell #6 below). Also swell from a gale that developed in the Northern Gulf of Alaska was tracking southeast, expected to overrun the Kuril Island swell (see North Gulf Swell below). 

Over the next 72 hours starting Tues PM (11/15) a small storm is to develop just east of the dateline tracking east with 50-55 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii some. Seas building from 29 ft at 43.5N 171W. On Wed AM (11/16) 45 kt northwest winds to continue easing east with seas building to 32 ft over a small area at 41N 166W targeting mainly the US West Coast (290 degs NCal). In the evening winds are to fade to 40 kts from the west with seas fading to barely 30 ft over a tiny area at 41N 160W (289 degs NCal). Thurs AM (11/17) 35-40 kt west winds to be approaching North CA with seas 28 ft at 39N 153W (283 degs NCal). In the evening the gale is to hold while tracking east-southeast with northwest winds to 35 kts and seas 26 ft at 37N 147W (276 degs NCal, 287 degs SCal). More of the same is forecast Friday AM (11/18) with 35 kt west winds just off Central CA with 24 ft seas at 36N 141W (270 degrees NCal, 284 degs SCal). In the evening regeneration is forecast with 45 kt northwest winds developing off the Pacific Northwest targeting California and seas 24 ft at 43N 143W (302 degs SCal). Fetch is build more while falling southeast Sat AM (11/19) with 45 kt northwest winds and seas building to 30 ft at 40N 139W 600 nmiles off Cape Mendocino (286 degs NCal, 297 degs SCal). Fetch to fade in the evening with seas collapsing from 23 ft at 37N 135W. Larger raw swell is possible for North and Central CA with perhaps some larger energy wrapping into exposed breaks in SCal. Something to monitor.

 

Kuril Island Gale (Swell #6)
On Thurs AM (11/10) a small gale started tracking off the Kuril Islands producing 50 kt west winds and getting traction on the oceans surface. In the evening 45 kt west winds held and seas were building from 35 ft at 45N 161E. On Fri AM (11/11) fetch was fading from 40 kts from the west falling southeast and nearly reaching the dateline with seas fading from 31 ft at 43N 172E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch was fading in coverage in the evening while falling southeast at 40 kts over a small area pushing over the dateline with seas holding at 33 ft at 42N 180W. On Sat AM (11/12) northwest winds were fading from 30-35 kts over a small area with seas fading from 27 ft at 38.5N 174W. Fetch is to dissipate after that. Moderate swell for the Islands is possible roughly arriving on Mon (11/14).

Hawaii: Residuals fading Tues AM (11/15) from 4.8 ft @ 14 secs (6.5 ft) and fading from there. Swell Direction: 325 degrees

North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (11/15) building through the day to 4.4 ft @ 17-18 secs at sunset (7.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292 degrees. This swell to get overrun by another swell coming from the Northern Gulf thereafter (see North Gulf Swell below).


North Gulf Swell

A gale formed in the Northern Gulf Sat PM (11/12) generating a small patch of 40 kt northwest winds extending south from the Eastern Aleutian Islands starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building to 20 ft. This fetch was in-phase with swell already moving south of this area from the Kuril Islands. 40 kt northwest winds built in coverage Sun AM (11/13) over a thin area generating a small area of 28 ft seas at 48.5N 162W targeting the Pacific Northwest (304 degs NCal). In the evening fetch held at 35-40 kts over a broader area with seas 26-30 ft at 47N 155W (302 degs NCal). On Mon AM (11/14) fetch was fading from 30- 35 kts from the northwest with seas 25 ft at 47N 155W (302 degs NCal). Fetch was fading in the evening from 30-35 kt from the northwest with seas fading from 23 ft at 46N 151W (301 degs NCal). This system faded Tues AM (11/15) with winds dropping from 30-35 kts and seas fading from 23 ft at 49N 149W (309 degs NCal). This system is to dissipate thereafter. Possible decent swell to result for the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA.

North CA: Swell arrival possible on Wed AM (11/16) at 9.0 ft @ 15-16 secs early (13 ft) but shadowed in the SF Bay Area. Swell fading Thurs AM (11/17) from 8.4 ft @ 14 secs (11.5 ft). Swell Direction: 301-304 degrees

South CA:  Expect swell arrival before sunrise Thurs (11/17) building to 3.6 ft @ 15 secs (5.0-5.5 ft) at sunrise. Swell fading Fri AM (11/18) from 3.7 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Residuals dissipating Sat AM (11/19) from 2.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 306-309 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 (11/15) a weak front was pushing down the North CA coast with weak south winds in front of it but high pressure behind. Light rain was falling and expected to reach San Francisco by nightfall. On Wed (11/16) high pressure is to build in more with northwest winds 15-20 kts for the entire state including Southern CA late. Light rain mainly for Pt Arena and points north of there early. Light snow for Tahoe and points northward (1-2 inches). Thursday (11/17) high pressure is to still be in control early at 20 kts from San Francisco southward fading some late (15 kts) as low pressure builds in the Gulf tracking east. Friday the front from that low is to starting moving towards the North Coast late with winds light everywhere but south north of Pt Arena at 15 kts building to 35 kts at Cape Mendocino late. The front is to push south some Saturday (11/19) reaching Monterey Bay late in the day with south winds 20-25 kts later in the day barely reaching Pt Conception late evening. Rain pushing south from the North Coast to Santa Cruz late evening. The low is to slowly dissipate along the coast lifting north into Oregon on Sun (11/20) with south winds 20 kts early in SF fading to 10 kts late. Rain continues from Santa Cruz northward through the day. No precip is to reach the Sierras. Monday a light wind flow is forecast with more low pressure building in the Northern Gulf and a local low off Southern CA.  South winds there 10 kts mid-day with light rain moving onshore at sunset. Tues (11/22) north winds are forecast at 10 kts or so for the North and Central Coasts with clearing skies.  

South Pacific

Overview
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

 

QuikCAST's

 

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

North Pacific

On Tues PM (11/15) a small storm is to develop just east of the dateline tracking east with 50 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii some. On Wed AM (11/16) 45 kt northwest winds to continue easing east with seas building to 34 ft over a small area at 45N 166W. In the evening winds are to fade to 35 kts from the west with seas fading to 28 ft at 38N 160W. Thurs AM (11/17) 35 kt west winds to be approaching North CA with seas from 26 ft at 39N 153W. In the evening some regeneration is possible with north winds to 40 kts and seas 26 ft at 39N 146W. More regeneration is expected into Friday evening (11/18) with 45 kt northwest winds off the Pacific Northwest targeting California and seas 31 ft at 44.5N 145W. Fetch is to fade while falling southeast Sat AM (11/19) with 30 ft seas at 43N 142W. Fetch to fade in the evening with seas fading from 26 ft at 40N 139W. Something to monitor.

 
South Pacific

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

More details to follow...

 

On Sat PM (11/19) a small gale is to develop in the Northwestern Gulf tracking east-southeast with 45 kt northwest winds generating a tiny area of 24 ft seas at 48N 162W. On Sun AM (11/20) 40-45 kt west winds to push east with seas building to 28 ft over a small area at 46N 156W. Fetch is to fade in the evening from 40 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 45N 148W. Fetch is to fade from 35 kts Mon AM (11/21) with the gale just off the Oregon coast and seas fading from 22 ft at 45N 139W.  Most swell to target Oregon with sideband energy down into North CA.   

One more tiny gale is to develop over the Northern Dateline region Sat PM (11/19)  producing 45 kt west winds and 30 ft seas over a tiny area at 48N 174E. Fetch to build to 45+ kts Sun AM (11/20) with seas building to 33 ft over a tiny area on the dateline at 48.5N 178W. Winds to fade from 45 kts in the evening with seas 32 ft at 47N 172W.  This system is to slowly weaken while tracking into the Gulf Tues AM (11/22) with seas down to 23 ft at 42N 151W.  Something to monitor.   

 
South Pacific

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

More details to follow...

 

Active MJO Fading Some

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 Tuesday (11/14) 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 and weak 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 east anomalies were modeled over the Eastern KWGA near the dateline today and are forecast to hold for the coming week (through 11/22). The first real easterly wind burst from this La Nina started on 9/23 and is to hold at least through 11/22. We are 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 11/14 a modest Active MJO signal was indicated over the dateline. The Statistic model projects that pattern holding position and slowly dissipating for the next 2 weeks while the Inactive Phase of the MJO builds over the far West Pacific moving to the dateline 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with the Inactive Phase of the MJO weakening as it tracks east, almost gone 2 weeks out west of the dateline. 
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/15) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the Atlantic. It is forecast to track east and fade in the Indian Ocean 6 days from now. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/15) This model depicts a weak Active pattern easing into Central America while the Inactive Phase of the MJO is building over the Central Pacific tracking east into Central America on 11/30. A weak Active Phase is to build in the West Pacific on 11/27 tracking east to Central America on 12/20. A weak Inactive Phase to follow in the West Pacific starting 12/20.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/11) This model depicts a weak Active MJO signal present over the KWGA with weak west wind anomalies in.cgiay. It is to ease east and fade 11/18. Then the Inactive Phase develops in the West Pacific starting 11/17 holding through 12/10 but with neutral wind anomalies holding in KWGA. A weak Active Phase is forecast to follow 12/15-2/8 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: (11/14) 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 a tongue of warmer water at depth reaching east to 160W. This is an upgrade. Neutral to weak negative anomalies are 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 11/9 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: (11/14) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate no cool water along the immediate coast of Peru, with instead much warmer water taking control there up into Ecuador and west to the Galapagos.The effects of teh Active Phase of the MJO are at least temporarily evident. Cool water only becomes 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 (11/14): A weak warming trend is developing along Peru and Chile. A mostly neutral trend is in control of the entire equatorial Pacific with pockets of warming and cooling waters present as they have been for months along the equator from the Galapagos to 160W but balanced towards a neutral pattern.
Hi-res Overview:
(11/14) 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: (11/15) Today's temps were falling some at +0.362. We're likely at or near a peak of a warm pulse.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/15) temps were steady at -0.585. 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 (11/15) This model has upgraded suggesting La Nina held from July thru Oct 1 in the -0.55 deg range. But the forecast has temps slowly warming from here forward with temps at -0.4 degs Jan 1 rising steadily from there reaching neutral in March 2017 and up to +0.3 degs late April and +0.4 degs in July. This is very interesting with the model holding the strength of La Nina at minimal ' La Nina' territory and moving towards weak El nino territory next summer. Not likely, but interesting.
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 (11/15): The daily index has again turned negative, down to -18.20 today. It was well negative for most of October, then turned positive on 11/1 and held steady at roughly +2.0 until 11/10, and is now toggling either side of neutral. The 30 day average was rising slightly at -3.02, 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 falling slightly +4.96. La Nina is evolving, but not strongly (so far).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/15) Today's value was rising significantly again up to  -1.39. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been so far in this event suggesting La Nina was getting better established. But that is changing now, moving in a better direction.
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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