The strong cold front that passed through south Florida over the weekend brought significantly drier and cooler air into the region. Winds quickly shifted to northerly at about 10 to 15 miles per hour across the Florida peninsula by early Sunday morning. Dew points tumbled into the mid 50's bringing a refreshing flavor to the weather.
Now, a large high-pressure system has built into the Northeast US. This high-pressure system has allowed for the development of a persistent east to northeast wind flow along the entire southeast coast from the Carolinas to the Florida Keys. The winds have created a large fetch over open Atlantic waters, enabling waves and seas to build significantly.
In nearshore waters, especially along the East Coast of Florida and Georgia, small craft advisories for strong winds, high waves and rough seas are in effect. In waters further offshore, winds are likely to approach or reach gale force, while seas are expected to build to 12 feet.
Along the coastal waters from near Savannah, GA south to near Stuart Florida high surf advisories, rip current advisories and potential beach erosion are on the menu. South of Stuart to near Homestead Florida, rip current advisories have been posted.
Depending upon location and coastal land configuration, winds along the coast could average 20 to 25 miles per hour with gusts to 35 miles per hour or more. Wind-driven waves and swell will be crashing onto beaches with waves in the surf reaching 5 to 6 feet.
West facing beaches on the Florida peninsula will be sheltered somewhat from the strong easterly winds, especially in nearshore waters (Fig. 1). Further offshore, small craft advisories, again for gusty winds, rough seas and high waves, are warning of unfriendly boating conditions.
This weather pattern will be slow to relax. As a result, gusty winds and rough seas can be expected through Wednesday.
Compared to Florida west coast locations, east coast weather reports this morning (Nov. 4, 2013), showed higher temperatures, slightly higher dew points, more cloudiness and stronger winds. These east coast conditions will be migrating westward throughout today. This will lead to an increasing risk of light shower activity across the entire south and central Florida area for the next few days.
All of these conditions, but especially the winds and waves, should keep most folks away from beaches the next few days. Dedicated surfers, however, will likely be drawn to the east coast beaches and the waves.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil