Hurricane Bertha Surf Outlook

Chris Hunt

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Update 6th Aug

Attention moves to Europe as Bertha makes her way up the US East Coast, preparing for her voyage back across the Atlantic. While there is still some degree of uncertainty about the conditions after the storm merges with the low pressure system situated over Europe, most models agree with a direct hit for the UK, giving room to favourable wind conditions for northern Spain and southern France.

Currently, Bertha is located at 39ºN/65.4ºW, with maximum sustained winds of 45kt, moving northeast at 24 km/h. Over the next few days, we can expect to see the following:

  • Bertha will continue to move northeast until reaching around 48ºN when she is expected to move directly east

  • Moderate swell relief to Europe over the weekend, accompanied by strong winds in the UK and Ireland

  • Best conditions delivered to southern France and northern Spain over the weekend with light favourable winds and the peak of the swell

New Jersey,Avalon
Swell peaking on Wednesday
3-4ft@10secs
Winds favourable
Easing during Thursday

New York, Long Beach
Swell peaking on Wednesday
3-5ft@10secs
Winds favourable
Easing during Thursday

Nova Scotia, Lawrencetown
First forerunners on Wednesday afternoon and peaking on Thursday
5-7ft@11secs
Winds favourable
Easing during Friday

Cornwall, Fistral Beach
Moderate to strong winds should compromise the overall conditions
Swell peaking on Saturday
4-7ft@9secs
Moderate to strong onshore winds

Landes, Hossegor
Swell should peak on Saturday morning with a series of pulses will providing waves until the middle of next week
6-7ft@8secs
Light offshore winds most days

Pais Vasco, Sopelana
Swell peaking on Saturday and easing during the weekend with a new pulse on Monday
4-6ft@8secs
Light variable winds

The fate of Bertha is still somewhat uncertain, so be sure to check your local forecast and keep an eye on the Hurricane Centre for further information.


Update 5th Aug

Bertha is currently located at 33.4ºN/72.9ºW, with maximum sustained winds of 55kt, moving North-Northeast at 35 km/h. The question was whether Bertha could make the transition into an Extratropical storm, and at the moment, due to it's location combined with a big cold upper air mass and less wind shear, we're likely to see this transition between Thursday and Friday. The main problem, however, is the level of uncertainty surrounding the storms actions after this transition.

Assuming that this transition will happen, Bertha is likely to make her way across the Atlantic, merging with the Low Pressure system sitting in front of Europe. If that were to happen, the storm will hit Ireland, the UK and parts of France, thus delivering swell to Spain and Southern France. Alternatively, if the storm doesn't merge with the existing Low Pressure system, we may see her head directly towards France, only bringing wind swell to the French coast.

  • Bertha is now a Tropical Storm and will continue North today – A sharp turn East, due to the mid-Atlantic westerly winds is expected in the next few days.

  • Most Southern spots on the East Coast will continue to see swell today, while the more Northern states will receive the peak tomorrow.

  • As she heads east, the storm is likely to combine with another low pressure system and generate waves for Europe.

Central Florida,Cocoa Beach

Swell starting to ease in Florida
2-4ft@10secs
Favorable Winds
Short Duration

South Carolina, Folly Beach

Swell starting to ease
4-6ft@11sec
Winds moderate and offshore
Easing during Wednesday

North Carolina, Outer Banks

Swell peaking this afternoon
6-8ft@12sec
Winds moderate and cross-shore
Swell easing on Wednesday, but still within the 4-6ft range

New Jersey,Avalon

Swell peaking on Wednesday
3-4ft@10sec
Winds favorable
Easing during Thursday

New York, Long Beach

Swell peaking on Wednesday
3-4ft@10sec
Winds favorable
Easing during Thursday

Nova Scotia, Lawrencetown

First forerunners on Wednesday afternoon and peaking on Thursday
5-7ft@11sec
Winds favorable
Easing during Friday

As ever, submit your photos of the storm HERE.


Since our last update, it looks as though Tropical Storm Bertha has strengthened somewhat during it's approach to the US coastline. Bertha is likely to be upgraded to hurricane status by tomorrow (Tuesday) morning when it will be sat directly off the coast of Georgia. And it's not just the status of the storm that is likely to be upgraded, surfing conditions on the East Coast are also set to improve significantly.

Located at 26.1ºN/73.6ºW, the storm is moving north at 26 km/h with maximum sustained winds of 60kt. Bertha will send some waves to the East Coast during the beginning of this week. The more southern states are likely to start seeing some waves today, but in most cases the peak should arrive late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Over the coming days we are then likely to see the following:

  • Shear will drop significantly allowing the storm to rebuild strength.

  • Bertha will continue in a more northern path during today, before making a turn toward northeast.

  • Wednesday and Thursday will see the hurricane enter an area with cooler water temperatures (around 20ºc) and intense wind shear, dropping its status to an extratropical cyclone.

Central Florida, Cocoa Beach

Swell peaking late on Monday or early Tuesday
2-4ft@10sec
Winds favourable
Short duration

South Carolina, Folly Beach

Swell peaking on Tuesday
4-6ft@11sec
Winds cross-shore and moderate in strength
Easing during Wednesday

North Carolina, Outer Banks

Swell peaking on Tuesday
4-6ft@11sec
Winds cross-shore and moderate in strength
Easing during Wednesday

New Jersey, Avalon

The peak of the swell is expected on Wednesday
3-4ft@10sec
Light, favourable winds
Easing during Thursday

New York, Long Beach

Swell peaking on Wednesday
3-4ft@10sec
Winds favourable
Easing during Thursday

Nova Scotia, Lawrencetown

Swell peaking on Thursday
4-6ft@12sec
Winds favourable
Easing during Friday

If Bertha can maintain it's strength during the tricky transition into colder waters, there are signs that she could then track back across the Atlantic. The most optimistic outcome for European surfers is that she then merges with another low pressure system currently south of Greenland and create a storm likely to deliver storm swell to the UK and Northern French coasts with strong winds accompanying it's arrival. Further south, the beaches of France and Spain could see a reasonable pulse of swell that'll be bigger than in recent weeks but nothing particularly exceptional for this time of year.

Hurricanes bring with them a degree of uncertainty, so as always check your local forecast or our Hurricane Center the latest information.


Chris Hunt

Content manager at magicseaweed