Hurricane Arthur Surf Outlook

Ben Freeston

by on

Updated 1148d ago

Tropical Storm Arthur kicks off the Atlantic season and is likely to progress to Hurricane force in the next 36hrs. Rolling up the US East Coast the storm should produce some kind of surf for most beaches on its route and with this increase in forecast strength the size bumps up a little on yesterday's outlook. While it'll bring strong winds to the coast it should avoid landfall and be a welcome start for many surfers given a season predicted to be blunted by a developing El Nino.

With water temperatures on the Eastern Seaboard a touch warmer than usual (particularly so further North) and wind shear set to remain low over the next few days Tropical Storm Arthur should have the opportunity to develop to full blown Hurricane status over the next 36hrs. Three factors conspire against the storm developing great surf for most locations:

  • The bulk of the fetch and the path of the storm will be pushing swell away from the coast.

  • The storm isn't huge, again moderating the size of swell for locations not directly in the path of the storm.

  • The storm is moving quickly, meaning for most locations a rapid 'side swipe' is the best it's going to get.

You can see the effects of this on your local forecast, the swell barely shows on our forecast graph for most locations because it'll be there and gone very quickly. This means that the opportunity to find a window in the winds (likely to be strong to gale force+ at times depending on location) is reduced, the swell disappearing as fast as the storm that sent it.

South and Central Florida won’t see so much swell as the storm develops but by today Northern Florida should be seeing modest surf. The Outer Banks are then forecast to cop the brunt of it on Thursday, peaking into Friday, with potentially very strong onshore winds initially and through the peak. If the storm follows its most likely track and swings away from the coast further north, then New York might see the best of it on Friday evening and into Saturday, with longer period and offshore wind. However as with locations further south the swell will hit and disappear quickly, so getting your timing right will be crucial. Overnight the model numbers here moved north to the 5ft@15secs range at peak which will test the most committed beach break surfer so be careful with your timing before the peak, it's going to build fast if it comes in on these numbers.

As always submit your photos of the storm here UPLOAD A PHOTO and we'll be giving free MSW Pro subscriptions and other prizes for the best shots.

*Of course we’re back into the world of Hurricane level uncertainties with this storm. There’s reasonable consensus on the path but some disagreement on the strength - particularly as the storm heads north. As always check your local forecast or our Hurricane Center for the latest information.