Palm Beach Surf Forecast, Updated local surf forecast for SE Florida

Updated: September 2, 2015 - Surf forecast for the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast.

REWIND:  Hopefully everyone at least caught some waves from Erika.  Sunday was the peak, with choppy chest-shoulder high waves. Wind died out and some were treated with a nice clean up sesh late in the day. By Monday it was gone for PBC, but upcoast still had a fun waist high swell.

Photo cred: Steve Cripe


Fred is dying out and there's no swell potential with it. It was too far away and not strong or big enough to send swell.

Erika is gone too, The remnants bringing rains to north Florida and southern Georgia. It may drift off the first coast over the next few days but will stay very weak. This may help local winds when we get to the next swell.

The next swell.
Yes, it looks like models are coming into pretty good agreement on Low pressure deepening over Bermuda over the weekend as a short wave dives southeast into the Atlantic.  This will be a rather large low, but not terribly strong.(strength is still to be determined at this point.)  It should be enough to send some swell to Florida though.  The details still need to be ironed out but it looks like the low will sit out there for a few days too, giving more than just one day of waves this time.

Because it's farther east over Bermuda, Upcoast will be the best bet to see the full impact of the swell. I'm not saying PBC won't see anything, I'm just saying it'll be bigger and better upcoast.  I do think the swell will at least make it into Northern PBC, but probably not much making it farther south at this point.  There have been some model runs(euro) that show a nice NNE fetch setting up along the eastern seaboard (more due to the high building east) that is more directed toward south Florida so it's still possible that it might turn out even better for us. The trend of the models have been weaker so this is an evolving situation.

Now, local winds.  Tricky right now because yesterday the GFS had howling onshore, today light offshores.  This is where the remnants of Erika come into play. If just that weak little bit of Erika can hang around a little longer, it'll keep winds light going into next week, or even offshore for some time.  Timing right now looks like Tuesday and Wednesday, Then leftovers upcoast Thursday.  This will be tweaked later.  The trend of the models have been weaker


THURSDAY-MONDAY: Pretty much flat and unrideable.

TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY:  Building NE swell. Waist high plus northern PBC, chest or so Treasure Coast. (subject to change depending on strength of low)



After that there's a couple tropical waves coming off the african coast that will have some potential to develop around mid-month.

Stay tuned!



I've been following this year's el Nino since it's been developing.  It is full blown now, even considered a strong el nino at the moment. 

Bad news is,  Not a lot of tropical activity so summer will be a bummer. Most things that will finally get going will be 'home grown' .... developing closer to the coast.  That could give a quick shot of swell, but will also make it stormy.  But that doesn't mean there will be nothing forming in the deep tropics.  We should get at least 5 storms that will move up from the tropics into Florida's swell window.  Also, El nino years the hurricane season shuts down early, like October... or sooner.

Good news is the winter should be above average for surf.  I think with the tropics shutting down early, You might think the winter will kick in early but a lot of times it stays stagnant for a month before winter starts to kick in. So October might be slow. The winter season will see a lot of southern track storms, Cool and wet for Florida which means frequent storms rolling by, and frequent chances for swell.  However, the NAO will still be the key factor.  If it doesn't go negative this winter, that won't allow the full potential of the el nino surf season to be realized here.  Having a negative NAO through the winter means all those big storms rolling through the south and east will move offshore, instead of just hugging the coast.  This of course will allow for good groundswell generation through the winter.  The past couple winters had mainly a positive NAO. Although the NAO can't really be predicted more than two weeks out, I've heard talks about comparing previous years like this year and having a negative AO and NAO.  So we have that going for us.

With the jet far south, this will also keep winter storms moving quickly.  So we may see raging windchop one day, with a nice clean-up the next, then another one one the way.  In other words, consistency.

In general, it looks like winter will start slow, the really kick into gear January-March with well below normal temps and above normal rainfall expected for the southeast. Also el nino winters see more tornado activity in Florida January-April.

After the winter, waves might continue into the summer.... I've researched the past 5 or so el nino years and found the Summer after the el nino is very active in the tropics. Good for wave, bad for getting hit.

So all in all the extended forecast looks good for surf, we're just going to have to wait....especially us here in south Florida. At least summer is half over for us, before you know it it'll be November and we will be getting good surf and good weather!


For more updates, Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for in the field and on the go updates: @surfnweatherman




NAO:  (We're looking for it to be negative in the winter)

The Arctic Oscillation: (looking for negative in the winter)

The PNA (we are looking for this to be POSITIVE in the winter)


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James Wieland
Surf Forecaster
News Channel 5
West Palm Beach/
Treasure Coast


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