With Gert off the coast, we are already on our 8th storm this Hurricane season. Back in April, the Klotzback report was published that suggested the season would be a slightly below-average hurricane season. In the months preceding the report, the tropical Atlantic had seen considerable cooling. Since water temperatures in the Atlantic are an important variable for hurricane activity, the season was predicted to be less active than usual.
This past week NOAA has a different outlook on what to expect. With a more encouraging forecast for people who enjoy the more active seasons, NOAA suggested the season would be more likely to be closer to normal, or even above normal. This forecast found an “above average sea surface temperature” in the hurricane “main development region”. NOAA also found a near average or weaker than average vertical wind shear.
So what does this new hurricane season prediction say?
This year, around Aug. 20, the Atlantic enters its most active phase that lasts about six weeks. The statistical peak of this year’s hurricane season is Sept. 10.
On average, a hurricane season produces 12 storms typically between June 1 to Nov. 30. So far this year, the basin has already produced eight systems. According to the NOAA, from June 1st to November 1st the Atlantic and Gulf are likely to have:
- 11-17 Named Storms
- 5-9 Hurricanes
- 2-4 Major Hurricanes
So, why do surfer’s love hurricanes?
During a storm, the weather station becomes a go to in many surfer’s home. As a Tropical Storm builds off the coast, there seems to be little threat of it touching land. This is a perfect storm for increased wave height.
For a surfer, typically when a storm is named, it’s time to start checking local surf forecasts. Hurricanes often bring waves that can reach “double overhead” (aka waves that are 12 to 15 high or twice as tall as a surfer).
Prior to the storm, the winds create so much chop and crosscurrents that the wave patterns are too irregular for good surfing. This irregular pattern usually cleans up and surfers often get larger-than-normal waves rolling in nice sets.
What is it about hurricanes that draws surfers to the shore?
While named storms cause most to begin to pace, surfer’s often respond with anticipation and excitement. Storms bring the hope of larger West coast style surf to our normally much flatter East Coast waters.
However, the risk is high for “hurricane surfers”. When a big storm rolls in, local news stations warn against the dangers and Ocean Rescue gears up for “daredevil hurricane surfers” or anyone else who decides to have a go at dangerous surf. Once beaches are “officially closed”, those in the water must fend for themselves. A Florida surfer died while braving the waves whipped up by Hurricane Danielle in 2016 and hundreds of swimmers had to be rescued from the treacherous currents. The roiling seas caused by Hurricane Bill claimed the life of a novice surfer in New York in 2009.
So, before you charge the waves, know the threats and never head into the water alone.
What to expect with Tropical Storm Gerth?
“Swell from this system has already started to fill in across Florida today and we are looking at more surf from this throughout the state on Monday. The Southeast US is also starting to see some swell filter in and more is on the radar for that region on Monday, as well.”
According to Weather.com:
“While remaining several hundred miles off the East Coast, Gert will still generate some swells that should reach the Outer Banks of North Carolina Tuesday, then may briefly brush the rest of the Northeast seaboard from the Delmarva Peninsula through Wednesday.”
Will you wait, bookmark our Surf Cam page for quick access to all our local beach cams. And, check Surfline.com, magicseaweed.com or Swellinfo.com for the latest information on what the surf is foretasted to do through the storm.