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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2019 4:33 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
1.5 - California & 1.0 - 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 4/22 thru Sun 4/28

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   

Small Gale Developing in S. Pacific
North Pacific Asleep

BUOY ROUNDUP
On Monday, April 22, 2019 :

  • Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/ Buoy 239 (Lanai) seas were 2.4 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 1.0 ft @ 12.4 secs from 170 degrees.
  • Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 5.3 secs with swell 2.2 ft @ 6.1 secs from 80 degrees.
  • Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 10.2 secs from 254 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 59.5 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.4 ft @ 10.2 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.6 ft @ 7.8 secs from 267 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.4 ft @ 6.6 secs from 277 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.6 ft @ 9.9 secs from 271 degrees.
  • Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.4 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 7.9 ft @ 8.4 secs from 317 degrees. Wind at the buoy (013) was northwest at 20-23 kts. Water temp 52.5 degs (042) and 48.9 (013).

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 Monday (4/22) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves at chest high and soft and warbled but with reasonably clean local surface conditions early. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and soft and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was flat and clean. In Southern California/Ventura local windswell was producing waves at thigh to waist high and soft but rideable and clean with no wind. In North Orange Co surf was chest high on the peak of the sets and reasonably clean but soft and crumbled with no local wind. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks were waist to chest high on the peak and clean but with some windswell creating unnecessary sections. North San Diego had surf at thigh to waist high on the sets and clean but mushed and a little closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was flat to thigh high on the sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves thigh to waist high and chopped early from moderate east trades.

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

Meteorological Overview
On Monday (4/22) in California local northerly windswell was producing somewhat rideable surf but nothing more. No swell of interest was hitting Hawaii. For the most part the North Pacific is asleep now and is unlikely to awake. A small cut off low is forecast to produce barely 20 ft seas northwest of Hawaii on Thurs-Fri (4/26) possibly producing windswell there. In the Southern Hemisphere a weak gale formed in the Central Pacific Fri-Mon (4/22) producing seas to barely 30 ft seas lifting northeast. Otherwise nothing of interest is forecast for the next week.

See all the details below...

 

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

North Pacific

Overview
Jetstream
On Monday (4/22) the jetstream was split over Japan with some energy tracking north over Asia towards the Bering Sea while most energy tracked east off Japan with winds maybe up to 120 kts in one pocket over the dateline and flowing east from there. another split pulled some wind energy southeast over Hawaii and then into Baja. Energy that split from the main flow over Asia returned merging with the main flow falling southeast over the Eastern Gulf producing a pocket of wind energy to 150 kts lifting northeast and pushing into British Columbia. No troughs were indicated offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the jet is to become more consolidated with most energy tracking off the Kuril Islands flowing east and starting to produce a small pinched trough just west of the dateline on Wed (4/24) pushing east and becoming cutoff on Fri (4/26) over the Western Gulf offering only meager support for low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to start pushing hard northeast off Japan with winds 110-120 kts tracking well up into the Bering Sea then falling just barely south of the Eastern Aleutians through the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska and into Washington on Sun (4/28) offering nothing with fragments of the previous jetstream flow cutoff over the Eastern North Pacific. No support for gale development is indicated and that pattern is to hold into Mon (4/29).

Surface Analysis
On Monday (4/22) no swell was in the water targeting either Hawaii or the US West Coast.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast with no seas exceeding 17 ft until Thursday AM (4/25) when a low pressure system is supposed to start building just east of the dateline producing a tiny area of 25-30 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii. In the evening fetch to build to 35 kts over a small area falling southeast with 18-20 ft seas over tiny area at 42N 178W falling southeast. Fetch is to be fading Fri AM (4/26) from 30 kts falling southeast with 20 ft seas at 38.5N 173.5W. This system to dissipate from there. Low odds of small 12 sec period swell resulting for Hawaii.

 

  North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

Tropical Update
No tropical weather systems of interest are forecast.

California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday AM (4/22) high pressure at 1030 mbs was centered 600 nmiles west of Pt Conception with north winds 20-25 kts off North CA and 20 kt off the coast of Central CA producing windswell. Tuesday (4/23) high pressure is to start fading with north winds 20-25 kts over North CA and 10-15 kts nearshore for Central CA holding during the day producing windswell. Wednesday (4/24) north winds to hold at 20-25 kts off North CA still producing windswell but 10 kts or less south of there. By Thurs (4/25) north winds to be fading at about 20 kts limited to the coast along North Ca with 10 kts or less south of there with windswell production fading some. Fri (4/26) high pressure is to be building off Oregon with north winds building to 20-25 kts along the North CA coast with windswell starting to build some but with northwest winds 10 kts over the Central CA coast. Sat (4/27) north winds to build to 30 kts over Cape Mendocino with windswell building some while northwest winds hold at 10-15 kts down into Central CA. Sun (4/28) north winds to be 30-35 kts over most of North CA waters with windswell building and north winds 15-20 kts for Central CA nearshore waters. By Mon (4/29) high pressure at 1040 mbs is to be in the Central Gulf with north winds 25-30 kts early for all of North and Central CA fading some through the day but still with pretty mangled conditions nearshore all day.

Total snow accumulation for for the week (thru Mon PM 4/29) per the GFS model: Tahoe = 0 inches and Mammoth = 0 inches

Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts).

 

South Pacific

Overview
Surface Analysis  
A weak gale was traversing the Central South Pacific (see Central South Pacific Gale below). Otherwise no swell producing weather systems of interest were occurring.

Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

Central South Pacific Gale
A gale started developing southeast of New Zealand Thurs PM (4/18) with 30-35 kt southwest winds building and lifting northeast with seas building to 24 ft at 61S 170W. On Fri AM (4/19) fetch was lifting hard northeast with a broader fetch of 35 kt southwest winds and seas 24 ft at 55N 158W aimed northeast. 35 kt southwest fetch continued in the evening with 23 ft seas at 52S 149W aimed northeast. So far no real swell was being produced that could survive the journey to the North Pacific.

But on Sat AM (4/20) winds were 30-35 kts over a broad area with seas 26 ft over a tiny area at 53S 149W aimed east-northeast. In the evening 40 kt mostly westerly fetch was tracking east with seas 27 ft at 54.5S 156W aimed east-northeast. On Sun AM (4/21) fetch was fading from 30-35 kts over a moderate sized area aimed east with 27 ft seas at 51S 152W aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch and seas faded.

But on Sun PM (4/21) yet another new fetch of 40 kt southwest winds were building southeast of New Zealand with seas building from 25 ft at 56S 168W aimed northeast. On Mon AM (4/22) 40 kt west winds are to be lifting northeast with seas building to 30 ft at 52S 148W aimed east-northeast. The gale is to be tracking fast east with winds 45 kts aimed east with seas 30 ft over a tiny area falling southeast at 54S 131W. The gale to continue falling southeast from there and no longer of any interest. Something to monitor. But to manage expectations, Minimal swell is likely to radiate northeast mainly for California.

 

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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.

 

MJO/ENSO Forecast

 

Final Kelvin Wave #3 Starting to Erupt

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 did not stop, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. As of January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then started building some late in Feb associated with another Kelvin Wave (#3).

LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Summer 2019 = 5.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)

Rationale: Assuming the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that weak borderline El Nino condition continue , and assuming a weak ocean-atmospheric coupling holds and ocean temperature anomalies in Nino3.4 hold in the +0.8 deg range, there is good probability for slightly enhanced storm production in the South Pacific during the Northern Hemisphere Summer time months. There is slightly increased intensity in number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in slightly increased odds for larger than normal swell, with increased duration and higher than normal period. This should be significantly better than the past 2 Summer seasons.

KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (4/21) 5 day average winds were from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific to the dateline, then turning westerly over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the entire Pacific except over the KWGA, where anomalies were modest westerly.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (4/22) neutral to light east anomalies were controlling the KWGA. The forecast is for solid east anomalies building on 4/23 and holding solid over the KWGA and over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific through the end of the model run on 4/29. There is to be a marked decrease in support for storm development and no real change is forecast.

Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East

Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:  
OLR Models: (4/21) A moderate Inactive MJO pattern was over the KWGA. The statistic model indicates a moderate Inactive MJO signal is to continue through day 10 of the model run then turning weakly towards the Active Phase at day 15 as the Active Phase moves from the Indian Ocean to the Maritime Continent and pushing into the Far West Pacific. The dynamic model indicates a variation on that theme with a stronger Inactive Phase in the West Pacific peaking at day 5 then fading into day 10, then dissipating at day 15 turning Active. The 2 models are generally in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (4/22) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was weak in the Indian Ocean and building, and forecast to start pushing east over the Maritime Continent through day 15. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase building to moderate strength while pushing east faster, in the Western Pacific at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical model): (4/22) This model depicts a building Inactive Phase in the West Pacific and forecast pushing east into Central America on 5/7. The Active Phase is to start building in the West Pacific on 5/7 pushing east into Central America at the end of the model run on 7/1. A weak Inactive Phase is to develop in the West Pacific on 6/20 pushing east to the Central Pacific at the end of the model run.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (4/21) This model depicts a weak Inactive Phase setting up in the KWGA today with east anomalies in control. East anomalies are forecast to continue holding in the core of the KWGA through 5/2 while weak west anomalies try to develop in the far West KWGA pushing east. Weak west anomalies associated with the Active Phase of the MJO are to build into the Central KWGA 5/5 holding through the end of the model run on 5/19. There is no active support for storm development for the next 1.5 weeks but then building after that.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (4/22) This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO in the KWGA with modest east anomalies in control holding till 4/29. After that weak west anomalies are to develop in the core of the KWGA as the Active Phase builds 5/6 through 5/25 with west anomalies holding. After that weak west anomalies and to hold even though a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO is to set up 5/24-6/28. A moderate Active Phase is to develop 6/29 holding through the end of the model run on 7/20 with stronger west anomalies forecast. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 2 contour lines is fully in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to California but not inland and forecast to hold steady position wise to the end of the model run on 7/20. The second contour line is to be holding until 7/8, then dissipating with only one contour line remaining. This model indicates that a tendency towards El Nino was previously in control during the Fall of 2018, but has been steadily fading since then and is to continue a slow decline for the foreseeable future, but not turning to La Nina. No meaningful El Nino will develop.

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

Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (4/22) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29 deg temps reaching east to 170W even at the surface. The 28 deg isotherm line had retrograded west to 160W mid-Nov, then moved east and walled up to 153W near Christmas, then retrograded back at 160W in late Feb. But it made a major push east starting 3/16 from 150W to 140W on 3/20, and to 130W on 4/10 and to 121W on 4/14, and today pushing into Ecuador. The 24 deg isotherm was pushing into Ecuador 30 meters down. Anomaly wise, gentle warm anomalies are filling the entire subsurface Pacific at +1 degs or greater from the surface to 150 meters down. Embedded in that flow is a pocket of warmer water centered in the East Pacific at 110W at +2-3 degs (Kelvin Wave #3) almost reaching Ecuador and west to 139W. This Kelvin Wave is the warmest of any Kelvin Wave so far since La Nina faded into early 2018 and is to adding warmth moving into 2019. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/18 indicates cool water associated with the upwelling phase of the Kelvin Wave cycle just east of Ecuador were gone. Instead now warm water from Kelvin Wave #3 was filling the equatorial Pacific, weaker in the West Pacific at +2 degs and stronger over the East Pacific at +3-4 degs from 140W to 90W (attributable to a Westerly Wind Burst 12/30-1/16 and another 2/12-2/24). And there was a hint of more warm water dribbling from the Maritime Continent into the far West Pacific at 135E falling into the pre-existing warm pool near 160E. There is a river of very warm water traversing the width of the equatorial Pacific. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (4/18) Positive anomalies were gone from the interior Maritime Continent with weak negative anomalies there now. But positive anomalies were solid tracking east from 160E pushing over the dateline to a point east of the Galapagos (105W) at 0-5 cms with one imbedded pocket of +5 cms anomalies at 120W. But also pockets of neutral heights were developing north and south of the equator at 160W and 120W indicating the density of the warm pool was fading.

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: (4/21) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate temps were modestly warm straddling 20 degrees north and south of the equator from just west of the Galapagos west to the dateline. These temps are fading some compared to days past. Cool water previously was along the coast of Peru had collapsed and instead warm water was building off Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. There is some weak indication of a El Nino but nothing strong.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (4/21): A weak warming trend was over the equatorial Central Pacific with a pocket of stronger warming along the coast of Central and South America.
Hi-res Overview: (4/21) Warmer than normal water was from just off Peru up to Central America west over the Galapagos 20 degrees north and south of the equator continuing west of there to the dateline. It was holding compared to days past.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (4/22) Today's temps were warming today at +0.496. Perhaps this is to start of a warming trend. But the overall trend is falling in spurts for the last 3 months.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps:
(4/22) Today temps were steady at +0.623 today. Temps have been generally steady the last 6 weeks, but up some over the past 3 months.

Click for Full Sized Image

CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (4/22) The model indicates temps were at +1.00 degs on April 1 and are forecast building to +1.25 degrees in early June then fading slowly to +1.15 degs on July 1, fading slightly through the Fall to +0.80 degs in Sept, down to +0.75 degs in Oct and +0.5 in Dec 1
and steady into Jan. A weak El Nino like pattern is to hold if not build into July associated with the eruption of Kelvin Wave #3, then slowly fading through the Fall and Winter of 2019/20 with no more Kelvin Waves forecast. A multiyear warming event is in progress as suggested by this model.
IRI Consensus Plume: The March 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.65 degs today, and are to hold in the +0.75 range into July, then holding at +0.75 through Nov 2019. See chart here - link.

Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (4/22): The daily index was negative today at -3.46 and has been negative the last 13 days but was positive for 7 days before that, and was negative for 57 days before that (Feb 4-4/2 other than 3/23 & 3/24). The 30 day average was falling some at -3.51 suggesting a fading Active MJO. The 90 day average was falling at -7.33, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards El Nino (for now).
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (4/16) The index was neutral at -0.01 on 2/14 but has been rising ever since and pushed up to +0.99 on 3/3 (the highest its been in years), then fell some but rose again to +0.47 on 3/28 and was up to +0.85 on 4/14, down to +0.78 today. Still, it is not anywhere near as strongly positive as it should be if El Nino were developing. It suggest only ENSO neutral conditions.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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 solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real 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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http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/surfs-up-for-mavericks-invitational-in-calif/

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