I've heard that on the east coast the continental shelf extends far out to sea and that is the reason why our waves lack power. I want to know why does the surf forecast report swell height let's say head high on monday for thursday then come thursday it may drop down to waist high. Is it the continetal shelf thats responsible or is it that the low pressure systems weaken..or is it that the bouy is screwy?
this is a pretty standard questions that many ask.
On the east coast, most of the systems that produce swells our way move in a general west to east movement across the country. So, when the storms move off the coast, there is very little time from when the swell develops to when it reaches our beaches.
This makes forecasting for the east coast several days out very tricky. Forecasting for the east coast is thus very dependent upon computer models forecasting the intensity and location of the storms. These models are far from perfect, so when you are talking 5 days out, the models may show a storm producing a head high swell, but then only 2 days out the models may weaken the system or change the location of the storm. So, when looking at the 5 day forecasts, you should always keep in mind a significant amount of uncertainty. As you get close to the day, the forecast becomes much more reliable.
For the west coast on the other hand, the storms that produce their swells, often develop many thousands of miles away from the coast, thus giving much more time to track the swells as the propagate towards the beaches.
It toatally makes sense. I guess this is the same reason why are swell windows are so short, Where as on the west coast or lets say Hawaii will get a swell that will pump for a couple of days. The only time that I've noticed the swell lingering for a couple of days on the east coast is when it's a stationary system or a slow moving hurricane tracking north from the south. By the way the Puerto Rico forecast looks great will those same forecast mirror the Dominican Republic.
Yes, the east coast quick moving systems generally create quick shots of surf that dont stay around too long. And of course this is the norm, but there are always exceptions, like the slow moving nor'easters hanging off the coast for several days or the tropical storms developing thousands of miles away and slowly moving towards the coast.
Glad you like the Puerto Rico forecasts. You should be able to get a good idea of the Dominican surf by look at Puerto Rico, but we may add a couple DR forecast locations down the road.