Updated: August 1, 2014 - Detailed Surf forecast for the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast:
Rewind: flat, flat, flat, flat, rinse and repeat...FLAT.
ON THE MAPS: Weak low pressure in the Bahamas will move toward south Florida this weekend. It looked like this would bring an increase in southeast winds but now not so much so it'll stay less than knee high for the weekend. Upcoast will see a small bump up over the weekend. up to waist high and choppy.
Tropical storm BERTHA is a very disorganized storm with dry air all around it in the mid and upper levels, NE'ly shear, and an exposed center. Hurricane hunters found the system resembles a strong tropical wave rather than a storm. The storm will move into the Caribbean Saturday then full north into the Atlantic. This may happen over the mountainous island of Hispaniola which doesn't bode well for Bertha's survival. There is a chance it goes kaput right there. The NHC says it will stick together though, and once it emerges back into the Atlantic, conditions will be more favorable for strengthening. GFS strengthens it some, but keeps any fetch pointed away from us. Euro kills the thing into an open wave.
So what does this mean for surf for us? Well, it's not good. South Florida will remain flat. Central Florida (Sebastian north) will see a modest increase in swell Tuesday and Wednesday. Waist-chest, maybe bigger at the better spots but that's about it. It just doesn't look like it's going to all come together with this storm. First it goes into the Caribbean, winds are on the wrong side, by time it strengthens it's moving away from us....all negatives. Sorry.
Looking at the latest spaghetti model plots you would get pretty excited being a surfer along the southeast coast.
However...we need to look at the strength and size of the system, and where the strongest winds are pointing...and that not in our favor this time.
The Low Down
Water Temps: 85.
WEEKEND: Small SE windchop builds in upcoast. Maybe knee high down here, waist upcoast. Wind SE 10-12mph.
MONDAY: Flat down here. Small swell space coast knee-waist high.
TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY: Building small/modest swell from Bertha Upcoast only. The storm will not be in position to bring south Florida any swell. Sebastian northward. Waist high with some chest high sets and clean. Winds will be offshore,especially in the mornings and north of the cape. Turning onshore in the afternoon.
LOOKING AHEAD, LONG RANGE FORECAST: August is when we really ramp up the tropical activity very quickly. Even though June and July have been slow, they are supposed to be slow. Climatologically we should get more active now that we are in August, although nothing is on the maps behind Bertha at the moment.
Still waiting for el NINO to kick in. We have the warmer water but it's only shallow and we still don't have the pressure anomalies and wind that go along with el nino. It is still forecast to kick in around the end of summer, but models are trending it to be weaker that originally forecast. Here's a good blog post from NOAA explaining what's going on right now.
The effects right now are still somewhat the same, strong upper level shearing through the Caribbean. We also have a lot of dry Saharan air(SAL) in the tropical Atlantic which inhibits development. That's what killed last year's season, and TD#2.
El nino years bring some erratic tracks too, which can be good for surf if we get a storm to do some loops out there. El Nino years also keep the tropical activity close to home. A lot of home grown type storms that develop close to land, and fewer long track storms that cross the Atlantic.
El ninos usually last about a year though and as we go into next winter, we could be looking at a very good surf season. Also, I've researched the past 5 el ninos and made a startling discovery.... 4 out of 5 hurricane seasons AFTER the el nino years were off the charts with activity. 20+ storms form. We shall see.
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