Katia Continues Northwest, Swell Continues to Build

As of 11:00 a.m. AST on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 (NHC Advisory #34): Hurricane Katia is a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, and is currently moving northwest (310°) at 9 mph. Katia is not expected to make landfall, with a forecast track turning progressively more northerly through Thursday.

The next few days will see increasing moderate-period southeast swell from Katia across the East Coast, with conditions peaking later in the week before fading into the weekend.

Starting in Florida, the Cape Canaveral buoy is currently reporting swell conditions of 4 feet at 12 seconds and is forecast to build throughout the day, with the swell heights increasing to 7-9 feet on Wednesday. The swell direction becomes more easterly as Katia passes to the North, with swell heights quickly fading late Thursday into Friday.

The long-range forecast shows another east-southeast pulse for Sunday-Monday, the result of another tropical system currently forming in the East Atlantic. Keep an eye on the latest forecast to see how that swell develops.

Up the coast, the Cape Hatteras forecast is showing a large southeast swell building into Thursday with conditions expected to reach 21 feet at 14 seconds (114°) as Katia passes. This station is located 150 nautical miles offshore and much closer to Katia’s expected path, which explains the rapid intensification of both waves and winds on Thursday. Most notable is the change in wind direction, with rotates a complete 180° from east to west in a 48-hour span as Katia passes the buoy.

By contrast, the nearshore Diamond Shoals station forecast shows much more favorable conditions on Thursday, with an extra-large, moderate-period ESE swell of 15 feet at 14 seconds paired with north winds. While Wednesday looks onshore and blown, if the winds turn and fade a bit overnight, it could be huge and offshore by Thursday afternoon.

New York sees increasing southeast swell through Friday, which will provide contestable surf for the 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York. The main event is already underway, with round 1 currently in the water in Long Beach.

If the east winds remain light, it’s possible the event could finish by the weekend. Friday looks particularly good in the morning, with a peaking southeast swell of 11 feet at 14 seconds and favorable north winds. The swell fades really quickly though, dropping to 3 feet at 8 seconds by Saturday morning, and although there’s another southeast pulse in the long-range forecast, organizers probably won’t roll the dice on that swell unless the winds force them to.

Our call is the Quiksilver Pro New York runs through the week on the rising Katia swell and finishes with a bang on Friday.

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