Wednesday, February 22, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.5 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 4.7 ft @ 8.0 secs from 138 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 7.2 ft @ 11.4 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 13.8 secs from 264 degrees. Wind west 14-20 kts. Water temperature 57.9 degs. At Ventura swell was 2.7 ft @ 11.8 secs from 264 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 3.6 ft @ 11.8 secs from 258 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.8 ft @ 12.4 secs from 237 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 3.9 ft @ 12.5 secs from 267 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.0 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 7.0 ft @ 14.8 secs from 261 degrees. Wind northwest 14-18 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.0 degs.
46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 Wednesday (2/22) in North and Central CA swell from a gale in the Southeastern Gulf was hitting producing waves in the 3-4 ft overhead range and clean but warbled at exposed breaks. At Santa Cruz surf was head high or so and clean but with much warble and rawness in the water. In Southern California up north new westerly swell was hitting producing waves in the head high to 1 ft overhead range and clean with light offshore's locally but with warble and a raw quality to the swell. In North Orange Co surf was chest high on the sets and weak with textured conditions. In San Diego surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and pretty jumbled from northwest wind. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves chest high and textured from sideshore brisk trades. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting easterly windswell with waves waist high and chopped from brisk trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Wednesday (2/22) swell from a gale that developed north of Hawaii Sun (2/19) with 27 ft seas then tracking east and fading into Mon (2/20) off Southern California was hitting the CA coast from a rather westerly direction. Another gale tracked northeast off Japan Sun (2/19) with 26 ft seas racing to the North Dateline region 24 hrs later with up to 32 ft seas aimed east. That swell is pushing towards primarily Hawaii. And another broader system developed off Japan on Tues (2/21) with 34 ft seas then racing northeast and fading on Wed (2/22) over the North Dateline region. Beyond no swell producing weather systems are forecast with a heavily split jetstream pattern in control.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Wednesday AM (2/22) the jetstream was somewhat split pushing east off Japan with both streams running parallel but with about 600 nmiles in between them with winds no stronger than 130 kts, then merging a bit west of the dateline forming a trough before splitting heavily. The northern branch tracked north in to the Bering Sea on the dateline then fell southeast before turning east and tracking into North CA never exceeding 90 kts while the southern branch tracked east over Hawaii and then into Baja. There was limited support for gale development in the trough near the dateline. Over the next 72 hours the trough on the dateline is to lift north and pinch off on Thurs (2/23) no longer offering any support for gale development. At that time the jet is to start splitting mid-way between Japan and the dateline with the northern branch tracking northeast pushing up into the Bering Sea and continuing into Northern Alaska and offering no support for gale development. Instead support for high pressure is the likely outcome from the dateline eastward, nestled in between the two split branches of the jet. Beyond 72 hours winds are to build over and off Japan to 160-170 kts with the jet consolidated and pushing east there, but making it no further east than 170E (just west of the dateline) and offering no support for gale development. A backdoor trough is to develop off British Columbia on Sat (2/25) falling south over Central CA into Mon (2/27) but producing only weather given it's position over the coastline. At 180 hrs the split point is to ease east to the Western Gulf on Wed (3/1) but there's indications it is to split again somewhere off Japan. It appears the Inactive Phase of the MJO is taking control of the North Pacific for a while.
On Wed (2/22) swell from a gale previously in the Southern Gulf was hitting California (see South Gulf Gale below). Swell from a gale that developed in the West Pacific is pushing towards Hawaii (see West Pacific Gale below). And another swell from the same region is behind it (see Second West Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast. High pressure is to develop in the Gulf of Alaska by Fri (2/24) with 2 cutoff lows forming south of it (one north of Hawaii and the other off Central CA). The one off CA is to move east into Central CA later Sun (2/26) while the one north of Hawaii fades and tracks northwest. Neither is to produce any fetch of interest.
South Gulf Gale
Also by Sat AM (2/18) a low built just east of the dateline generating 35 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii well with seas building. In the evening the gale developed more with 40-45 kt northwest winds 900 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii with seas building from 23 ft at 33N 161W. The gale fell east-southeast Sun AM (2/19) with winds 40 kts over a tiny area producing seas up to 27 ft at 33N 156W targeting Hawaii with sideband energy. In the evening fetch started tracking east fading to 35 kts with seas fading from 25 ft at 32N 150W aimed east at Southern CA. On Mon AM (2/20) fetch was fading from barely 30 kts well off Southern CA with seas fading from 21 ft at 31N 140W. In the evening this system dissipated. Raw swell expected for Hawaii with windswell for Southern CA with luck.
North CA: Swell to continue building Wed AM (2/22) pushing 8.1 ft @ 14 (11.0 ft). Swell fading later afternoon and overnight. Residuals on Thurs AM (2/23) fading from 3.4 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 265 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Wed AM (2/22) building to 3.0 ft @ 15 secs later (4.5 ft). Swell peaking overnight. Swell fading Thurs AM (2/23) from 3.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 270-280 degrees
West Pacific Gale
A gale started developing Sun PM (2/19) just west of the dateline lifting northeast fast producing 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 25 ft at 38N 172E somewhat targeting Hawaii. It lifted northeast fast Mon AM (2/20) with winds building to 50 kts from the west just south of the Western Aleutians with 32 ft seas building at 48N 175E targeting mainly the US West Coast. In the evening the core of the gale lifted north into the Bering Sea with 45 kt west winds just south of the Aleutians with 30 ft seas at 42N 177E aimed mainly at the Aleutians with some energy aimed at the US West Coast. By Tues AM (2/21) the gale is to be gone. Possible swell pushing east but well decayed upon arrival on the US West Coast. Not much energy is to be targeting Hawaii.
Hawaii: Swell peaking Wed sunrise (2/23) at 4.3 ft @ 14 secs (6.0 ft) fading some later afternoon. Residuals on Thurs (2/24) fading from 3.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/24) building to 2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs late (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell holding on Fri (2/25) at 4.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (6.5 ft). Swell fading on Sat (2/26) 3.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 297 degrees
Second West Pacific Gale
A broader gale is forecast developing just off Japan Mon PM (2/20) with 45 kt west winds and seas building from 30 ft at 38N 157E. On Tues AM (2/21) 45 kt west winds are to be racing northeast with seas building to 36 ft at 39N 159E. In the evening the gale is to racing northeast with winds 45 kt from the northwest over a small area aimed east with seas fading from 32 ft at 40N 170E. After that this system is to dissipate with seas from previous fetch fading from 27 ft at 42N 175E. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (2/24) building to 3.6 ft @ 18 secs late (6.5 ft). Swell peaking Fri sunrise (2/25) at 4.8 ft @ 15 secs (7.0 ft) holding through the day. Residuals on Sat (2/26) holding at 3.8 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading on Sun (2/27) from 3.9 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell dissipating overnight. Swell Direction: 308-315 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sat (2/26) building to 3.1 ft @ 17 secs late (5.0 ft). Swell holding on Sun (2/27) at 3.8 ft @ 15 secs (5.5 ft). Swell fading on Mon (2/28) from 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 297 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Wednesday (2/22) high pressure was building in with northwest winds 15-20 kts for all of California and 20 kt solid for Southern CA by late afternoon. Light rain possible late afternoon into the evening north of Bodega Bay. No additional snow is projected in the Sierra. More of the same on Thursday with north winds 15-20 kts for the entire state but Southern CA to start becoming protected. Maybe some snow showers for Tahoe otherwise no precip is forecast. Friday northwest winds fade to 10 kts mainly for North and Central CA. A backdoor low is to be building just off North Oregon while a cutoff low builds off Central CA drifting east. Rain for Cape Mendocino later in the evening. Saturday the two lows are to converge off Central CA with south winds 10 kts for North and Central CA by late afternoon building overnight. Rain south to Bodega Bay during the day and building just off the Central Coast but not moving onshore till early evening. By 8 PM rain to to reach south to Los Angeles with snow for Mammoth and the Southern Sierra initially building north to Tahoe early Sun AM. Sunday south winds expected at 25 kts reaching into San Diego late afternoon. Rain all day for the entire state through at least 10 PM but dry for Cape Mendocino. Heavy snow for Tahoe focused on the Southern Sierra starting just after sunrise continuing through the day and continuing overnight. Monday (2/27) winds to be northwest 20-25 kts north of the Golden Gate and 15-20 kts for the remainder of the state. Snow fading slowly for the Sierra. Scattered rain from Bodega Bay down to LA fading through they day. Tuesday (2/28) northwest winds 15 kts but lighter for Southern CA. No precip forecast. Wednesday (3/1) north winds 10-15 kts north of Pt Conception. High pressure in control.
No swell producing fetch of interest is occurring or forecast. A small gale is forecast in the Southeast Pacific Wed PM (2/22) producing barely 30 ft seas over a tiny area at 52S 137W aimed northeast then fading into Thurs AM (2/23) with seas dropping from 27 ft at 50S 130W. Maybe some tiny swell to result for Southern CA but most energy is to be focused on Mexico down to Peru (and small at that).
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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast with a split jetstream in control.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO In Control
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 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 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. 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 early 2017, it appears to be fading.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast: The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Winds in this area help determine the strength of the jetstream and the Phase of the MJO both of which help support or dampen storm production.
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Tuesday (2/21) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were modest westerly in pockets over the equatorial East Pacific but modest easterly over the KWGA. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the dateline and the Kelvin Wave generation area attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO with weak west anomalies over the far East Pacific (fading remnants of the Active Phase exiting east). The forecast suggests moderate east anomalies are to build over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area into 2/24, then starting to weaken and almost gone by 2/29. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is taking root in the KWGA and is to hold for the coming week, but fading a week out.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 2/21 the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and fading south of Hawaii with the Inactive Phase building over the Maritime Continent and into the West Pacific. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase building over the West Pacific making it to the dateline 2 weeks out and very strong. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase weakening as it moves east and weak on the dateline 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/21) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was moderately strong over the East Atlantic moving towards Africa and is to track east and loose strength and fade while moving into the Indian Ocean 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts the same thing. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/22) This model depicts a modest strength Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the dateline and forecast tracking east into Central America 3/12. A very weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific 3/19 reaching to Central America 4/3. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not be as strong as previously projected.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/22) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was fading south of Hawaii and gone in the West Pacific. A moderate Inactive Phase is building over the West Pacific and to hold control of the KWGA into 3/16 but with weak east anomalies over the West Pacific. Beyond a weak but broad Active Phase is to follow 3/19 with modest west anomalies in play and not fading through 5/21. La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/9 with El Nino taking hold 4/19.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/22) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 164E) 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. 26 degs anomalies reach to the Galapagos over a shallow pool, making a major surge east in the past week. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific but are no longer pushing east, retracting back west to 170W. Neutral anomalies are east of there to Ecuador except for one small pocket of negative anomalies down 100m at 135W at -1.0 degs but not at the surface and continuously loosing coverage. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/17 depicts warm water is building east forming a nearly continuous path from the West Pacific to nearly Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with remaining negative anomalies weakening and getting shallower.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/17) Negative anomalies at -5.0-10 cm's still control 2 pockets stranding the equator between 100W to 140W and 5 degs north and south. Negative sea levels are snot giving up just yet.
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: (2/22) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Southern Chile north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos reaching to 160W. One thin pocket of cooler water was positioned extending southwest off Columbia reaching to the Galapagos. Another pocket is along the immediate coast of southern Peru. But very warm waters were building along Ecuador and northern Peru. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems implausible.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/22): A warming trend is covering water of Chile, Peru and Ecuador extending west 1200 nmiles. It is also building north of the equator off Southern Mexico and Central America and then west over the Galapagos reaching a point south of Hawaii (150W) except for one small pocket of cooler water off Columbia. If anything, a growing warming trend is developing over the equatorial East Pacific.
Hi-res Overview: (2/20) There is no sign of La Nina cool waters from Ecuador west to at least 160W. Instead warmer than normal water is in play over that entire region. The only real remnants of La Nina are from 160W-170E and even those appear to be in collapse and heading west. La Nina is dead and it's remnants are loosing coverage quickly. This is good news.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/22) Today's temps were falling some at +0.629.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (2/22) temps were falling more at +0.031 degs. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs but now are spiking warm and well outside the previous trend.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/22) The forecast has temps rising abruptly to +0.5 degs late March building to +0.8 degs in April slowly rising to +1.0 in July, then rising slightly to +1.5 degs early Oct, and +1.7 by Nov suggesting a return of El Nino. La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. But the El Nino outcome indicated by this model seems improbably high.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Feb Plume just updated today (2/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at neutral 0.0 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.5 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (2/22): The daily index was falling again at -10.33, the 9th negative day after 14 days of positive readings. This negative reading is driven by persistent low pressure over Tahiti. The 30 day average was steady at -1.09. The 90 day average was falling some at +0.30. All this suggests a near neutral pattern was taking hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (2/22) Today's value was falling some at -0.98, moving in the opposite direction one would expect if La Nina was fading. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags changes in the ocean driven by the ENSO cycle. The expectation is this index will start rising.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.21, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77. 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