Early Season Tropical System Making Waves?

Bates Hagood


Any old weather outlet will inform you that we are watching a disturbance that is forecast to form off of the Southeast coast mid- to late week.


As with most storms that form this time of year, this low is forming on a fading frontal boundary over the southwest Atlantic, near the Bahamas and Cuba. In other words, it is forming right in our swell window. It’s being fueled with energy from the southern jet stream, which becomes more active on an El Nino period (we are in moderate El Nino pattern now).


The disturbance could form a subtropical or tropical storm by Thursday or Friday (May 7 and 8). It is historically hard to accurately predict the path and intensity of a low this time of year. Water temps in the Gulf Stream currently favor intensification, but not so much closer to shore.


Regardless of prognostication, the low is forecast to send some swell our way as it lingers near the Southeast coast late week and into the weekend. It’s not looking like anything too intense, but certainly some fun waves averaging stomach to chest high with moderate to strong northeast winds as a high pressure lingers well to our north during the period and the low stalls over or near our beaches (Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10), creating unsettled weather and potential for surf.


Needless to say, the forecast is looking pretty good for moderate swell in the waist- to chest-high range from late Wednesday on through Sunday (and possibly even into next week, Monday, May 11).


Get your work done because there should be plenty of waves mid- to late week and into your weekend.