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Tropical Storm Michael Bringing Fun Surf to Northeast

Good afternoon everybody,

Well…the Atlantic Ocean has been displaying record-breaking behavior this week, as 3 named storms with >65mph sustained winds are existing simultaneously – Hurricanes Leslie and Michael, and Tropical Storm Nadine. Unfortunately, one of these, the category 4 Hurricane Michael (now tropical storm), wrought havoc on the Gulf Coast, and we express our most sincere thoughts and prayers for the residents of those areas affected. As East Coast surfers, it is at times difficult to reconcile our love for hurricane swell and the life-threatening nature of these storms, and we hope the reports we do on the “great waves” these systems produce are not interpreted as selfish or careless.

It’s looking like TS Michael could produce some south swell for the Northeast as it hops over from the Gulf to the Eastern Seaboard, where it is predicted to maintain as a tropical storm. S/SW winds kick up tonight, and small craft advisories and gale watches have been issued for NY and RI coastal waters for this afternoon through Friday. Winds are then forecasted to swing around to the N/NW direction Friday morning, with strengths of 25 to 30 knots.

Track of TS Michael as it departs eastward (courtesy of NHC).

Wave models are once again in disagreement on the timing of this swell’s arrival. The EURO WAM shows sizeable south swell arriving to the Northeast late Friday afternoon around 5pm (peak height/period of ~9 ft @ 10 sec predicted), while WW3 shows an earlier arrival of similarly sized swell at about noon. Both models however show the swell dying significantly by Saturday morning.

Swell predictions from WW3 for Friday afternoon. Purple colors indicate heights of ~7ft, and red is ~13ft (courtesy of

Tides will be rising Friday morning in New York and RI. First low tide is at 3:35 AM and first high is at 10:48 AM in Rhode Island. In New York, first low is 4:11 AM and first high is at 10:28 AM. Tides drop back to low in New York at 4:45 PM and 4:21 PM in Rhode Island.

The conflicting forecasts make it tough to make a good call on this swell. Assuming swells don’t drastically attenuate from the persistent north wind, Friday afternoon could see some really fun surf. As far as where to go, south swell hits many beaches in NY and RI, so you will certainly have spots to pick from. Make sure to bring a few boards to suit the range of possible conditions. As always, call our shops with any questions. Hope you all score some!


The BW Team

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