[ 0 ] March 8, 2013 |

Solid NNW and NNE swells will impact the Caribbean over the weekend and early next week. Swell eases mid/late next week.

Two powerful systems over the Atlantic are poised to deliver solid, long lasting swells to the region in the coming days.

The strong storm that impacted the central and eastern US earlier this week pushed off the Virginia Capes on Wednesday, March 6th. Satellite imagery on the morning of March 7th indicates strong winds over the western Atlantic that are well directed towards the Caribbean.

Figure 1: Satellite imagery of the strong low pressure system over the NW Atlantic on the morning of March 7th.

Further analysis of this system and observations from ASCAT aboard the EUMETSAT METOP satellite confirmed a strong area of 50kt+ winds off the Mid Atlantic coastline that are directed towards the Caribbean.

Figure 2: ASCAT pass valid late Wednesday night, March 6th.

Swell from this system will initially show for the central Caribbean on Friday then come up over the weekend. Solid surf continues for Monday before easing next Tuesday/Wednesday. Breaks more towards the eastern Caribbean will see this swell fill in late Friday but more so over the weekend. NNW/N swell continues early next week but easing mid next week.

The second area of focus is a strong, complex low that is encompassing much of the North Atlantic waters north of 30N. Satellite observations confirm a very long fetch of strong N to NNE winds aimed at the Caribbean with winds in excess of 50-60kts. This system lingers over the north Atlantic on Friday then gradually shift E through the end of the weekend and move inland over Europe early next week.

This system will provide a solid, long period shot of NNE swell the central/eastern Caribbean that fills in over the weekend and remains solid into early next week before easing.

Figure 3: Broad view of the north Atlantic showing the swells generated by the two powerful low pressure systems. Swell from these systems will impact the Caribbean in the coming days.

Based on the above information and observations, there will be no shortage of swell for the Caribbean for Friday through early next week. Easing swell is expected for mid/late next week. The major concern will be the local winds/conditions for various breaks around the Caribbean. There are many nooks and crannies and tucked away breaks that will go off during this event but here we will concentrate on arguably the most popular — and most convenient — Caribbean destination for many surfers, Puerto Rico.

An approaching trough will disrupt the typical trade wind flow over the island so we are expecting N/NNE winds for Friday. As a result, the more protected/sheltered breaks will offer the most favorable conditions.

Figure 4: Local wind forecast for Puerto Rico for Friday, March 8th.

A similar pattern will remain in place on Saturday with N/NE trades again expected to be an issue at the more exposed breaks. The sheltered/protected spots will again offer the most favorable surf and conditions.

Figure 5: Local wind forecast for Puerto Rico for Saturday, March 9th.

It does look like we will see a more typical trade wind pattern set up over Puerto Rico early next week as high pressure extends north of the island. This should open up more favorable conditions for more breaks next week.

Figure 6: Wind forecast for early next week returns to a more typical trade wind regime.

The wind outlook for other portions of the region looks a bit more favorable with a more typical trade wind pattern expected to be in place for the Windward Islands over the weekend and into early/mid next week.

Looking briefly at the US East Coast it looks like there will be no shortage of swell over the coming days. Unfortunately, it looks like this will be accompanied by onshore winds for most spots the next few days. That being said, it does look like Long Island will see more favorable conditions over the weekend and the more southerly facing spots in NC will also see favorable/more manageable conditions the next couple of days. Winds potentially improve some for more easterly facing breaks along the EC early next week as the lingering swell eases. Check your regional forecast for more specifics regarding that potential for your local area.

Blog written by Kurt Korte and The Surfline Forecast Team

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Category: Island Lifestyle, Surf Culture

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