As hurricane Matthew skirted our coast yesterday, many ignored the urges to stay out of the water, Although we were spared from the massive destruction of such a large scale storm, surfers had high hopes.  But due to a quick, and possibly destructive, track close to the East Coast, the hopeful swell was not what many were expecting.

Fall Surf Prediction

According to Surfline’s fall surf prediction, what can we expect this fall?

“Like a switch, the Atlantic came alive late in August with tropical systems and cold fronts littering the weather charts well into early September. Then, after a brief respite mid-month, the tropics roared back to life with Karl, and now Matthew.” -Surfline

Surfline recently released it’s fall forecast by Mike Watson and the Surfline Forecast Team. According to their team we can expect an above average surf season.

Fall Surf Prediction

How did Surfline compile the Fall Surf Prediction?

ACE (the accumulated cyclone energy value) enables us to gauge how active a surf season will be by compiling storm intensity data. Like 1998 and 2010, 2016 is appearing to be “hyperactive”. They take into account forecast history and things like the appearance of La Nina to make their predictions.

What does hyperactive mean?

“In late September, the Atlantic was lagging behind in ACE and was around 75% of an average season. However, thanks to Matthew, ACE values are now right around average for early October during a typical season. Since Matthew is forecast to continue as a strong hurricane, it could play a big role in pushing ACE values above average when all is said and done.”, says Surfline.

Technically, the Atlantic tropical season does not come to a close until November, So, we have the potential to see a couple more tropical cyclones develop. Statistically, however, tropical activity tends to significantly decline in the middle of October.

According to Surfline, “As we look into the longer range, climate models are hinting at higher than normal pressures along the East Coast from mid-October through November. This may result in less surf activity than normal for the Northeast through Mid-Atlantic regions. Florida and parts of the Southeast could benefit from an East Coast ridge setting up to offer at least average surf heights through the remainder of fall.”

Let’s keep our fingers crossed. If you check out the Wave Height Prediction Chart, you will see that the Southeast and Florida see wave activity increase through fall (peaking in November) as cold fronts become more predominant. These cold fronts result in more consistent northeast windswell/swells.

Where are the top spots on the East Coast during fall?

Surfline predicts the winner to be Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with an average fall surf height of 4’. But Florida is not far behind with New Smyrna Beach Inlet averaging at 3.7′ and Sebastian Inlet at 3.3′.

AVERAGE FAIR OR BETTER DAYS SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER
Jax Beach 4.8 2.8 3.9
New Symrna Beach 5.9 6.3 5.2
Sebastian Inlet 3.9 3.9 4.2
Palm Beach 1.3 1.1 1.8
All in all, Surfline predicts Jax Beach to have 11.6 good surf days this fall. New Smyrna beach is expects to have 17.5 solid surf days.  Sebastien Inlet is predicted to have 12.3 good days. An Palm Beach is predicted to have around 4.2 good days. Let’s eep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

See the full Surfline report here.