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

Updated: February 5, 2015 - First, For those who haven't heard, one of my friends went on a surf trip to Dominican Republic last week and has disappeared. His board was still in the rental, and some clothes.  He was last seen either at a surf shop in Cabarete or at the beach bar called Eze last Wednesday evening. Please if you know anyone down there share this information so everyone can be on the lookout for him. There is a massive search going on right now.  Although his board was found in the rental, nothing can be ruled out at this time.  He could be on land or in the water. With this amount of time that has gone by let's hope the water.

I appreciate anything you can do to get the word out.


Surf forecast for the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast.

REWIND: Some small waist high windchop picked up Wednesday-Thursday.


A series of fronts will blow through putting south Florida in the deep chill, and also setting the stage for some big swell.  Right now it's looking like this could be a good sized swell. And to just put icing on the cake....winds will be offshore! and both reliable models are showing a near perfect set up for great winter swell for us!

Here's what I'm seeing:

First front is through and wind picked up and is turning northeast through the day today.  Blowing in some NE windswell late Friday into Saturday. Wind will quickly slack off Saturday with just a slight onshore flow and some clean up to the faces in the afternoon.  Quickly the next mid/upper system swings through, inducing low pressure to form in the nook and turning local winds offshore by Sunday morning cleaning up the swell.  That low then bombs out over the ocean as it moves northeast to off Hatteras Sunday overnight. GFS back on track now with keeping it in the sweet spot and strong as the EURO has continued to do.  I figured yesterdays runs of the GFS were bogus!  The low then moves northeast staying over the ocean.  This will send a good-size swell our way that will start around Sunday afternoon, peaking late Sunday now before tapering off Tuesday.  This.... combined with some refraction action from the strong/persistent NW winds we will have going will keep us in the fun, clean surf for about 4 days.

Local winds look ideal right now too with offshore winds just about the whole time, (except they will be pretty strong) as the train of cold air and Northwest flow will stick around for about a week before turning onshore again Thursday afternoon. Another front swings through Monday night/Tuesday with a blast of NW winds and another low forming offshore. High pressure stays west of us and along the northern Gulf coast which will keep the NW flow going through mid February before turning onshore around the 15th.

It looks like a long run of clean waves for us! Get stuff done now, get in shape and know your limits!



FRIDAY:  Small in the morning with North winds, then wind quickly turns NE and cranks 20-25kts blowing in some choppy/drifty windswell. Should build to at least shoulder high or so by the end of the day. Very strong south drift. ***Florida's west coast should get real good through the day. Winds turn offshore for them with a nice punch of clean swell.

SATURDAY: Waist to chest leftover windswell in the morning, onshore wind lightens up through the day.  swelll dropping through the afternoon as wind lightens up.  Wind NE 10-15kts becoming east at 5kts late afternoon. So end of the day could be cleaner but it'll be smaller then.  High tide 12:20pm, Low: 630am/pm

SUNDAY:  Wind turns NW and picks up overnight and into Sunday morning.  Dawn patrol kinda small, then waist to chest, building shoulder-head high to 1-2' overhead through the day. swell peaks mid-late afternoon. Wind stays hard offshore all day at NW 20-25kts so some refraction swell might be mixing in. Staying pretty chilly all day too. highs in the 60s, lows in the 40s. Hi tide 7:30am, Low 1pm.

MONDAY: Chilly start to the day! temps in the 40s again with colder windchills! Chest-head high in the morning, should be real good.  Fading some in the afternoon now.  Wind stays offshore all day. NW-W 15-25kts High tide 8am, low 2pm

TUESDAY:  Chest high+ mix of refraction swell and longer period thicker swell. Clean with wind stays offshore all day. Wind W 20kts. Refraction swell fills in through the day so it may build a bit. 

WEDNESDAY:   Waist to chest+ refraction swell mixed with inconsistent longer period stuff. Staying clean all day with a northwest wind 10-20kts. 

THURSDAY:  Small, inconsistent leftover long period swell around knee-waist high.  Clean in the morning and wind turning onshore in the afternoon.  And that's all she wrote!!



After this long run of swells, onshore wind picks up late weekend with building windchop and we warmer temps....but doesn't last too long because models hinting at another low forming offshore and possibly sending more swell our way as we go into another cold pattern late February!  Details still undetermined for now but Stay tuned!

Next Update: LATE SATURDAY. Check my IG and twitter accounts for current updates...



El nino is a strong el nino event at the moment. It's different than the 97-98 in that the warmest water is farther back west than right along the south American coast. And the Atlantic completely opposite.

Good news is the winter should be above average for surf.   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 and winter 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, and even when they hug the coast they will tap into some arctic air and blow up into big mid-Atlantic snow storms which usually means strong NW winds for us and refraction swells!  The past couple winters had mainly a positive NAO and look at where that got us. Although the NAO can't really be predicted more than two weeks out, It's looking like cooler than normal water temps in the north Atlantic(with warm water south of it) will help push the NAO negative more this winter than the last.  It still looks like this winter will be slow to kick in, as originally stated here.  Not much in the way of cold weather November and December, but then kicking in January-March.  But as we've seen already this season, we are still getting good runs of waves without the cold, just not much clean surf.

With the jet far south by January, this will keep winter storms moving quickly.  So we may see raging windchop one day, with a nice clean-up the next, then another one on the way.  In other words, consistency and a little bit of everything. Windchop, groundswell, refraction swells....We will see a lot of it all mixed in which will make for a pretty consistent winter surf season. 

Again, in general, it looks like winter cold will get a start, but really kick into gear January-March with below normal temps and above normal rainfall and cloud over expected for the southeast. Also el nino winters see more tornado activity in Florida January-April so we could see some nasty squall lines accompany each front that moves through.

After the winter, good 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 though.  Hopefully we'll get a bunch that stay out to sea and none that hit us! 

So all in all the extended forecast looks real good for surf  for the next year! 


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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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