The water temperature was down in the low, mid, and upper fifties for weeks. We recently jumped back above that 60 degree mark, and it’s safe to say we’re in a warming trend. The water could rise into the upper 60s in the coming weeks nearing 70 degrees if another significant cold front doesn’t come sweeping across the gulf. The water temperature got up to 63°F today! We’ll be comfortably wearing springsuits before you know it.
Watch it rise:
Clearwater Beach Station
Another strong front comes roaring through on Wednesday afternoon overnight into Thursday bringing more January/February cold weather. The surf comes up on Wednesday evening and first thing Thursday morning. Our dew points and humidity are extremely low today (51% in East Lake).
This cold front could bring our temperatures down near freezing on Thursday morning before dawn. Is this cold blast going to be enough to drop the water temperatures into the upper 40’s? It’s not uncommon to see the water fall into the 40s in February. After high pressure and cold air moved in during the last cold front I watched the water temperature drop from 59°F to 53° at the Clearwater Beach weather station. That’s six degrees almost overnight. Currently the water is at a chilly 54 degrees. If we see another 6 degree drop we’ll be looking at icy 48 degree water. Get out your 4 mil wetsuits, ’cause it’s cold!
Last winter the water barely cracked 70 degrees, with only one cold front bringing the water to 65°F. That was extremely unusual. It was a very strong el nino winter pattern where right up until the end of December it felt almost like summer. This winter it’s a, quote un quote, la nina pattern. Really it’s just the regular winter pattern. This winter there’s been a steady falling trend in the water temperature from early Fall through Winter. We’re now in the middle of January with water in the mid 50s. The chart below will show you how the water temperatures have steadily fluctuated on a cooling trend up to today.
In Florida every day is a beautiful day it seems. Years ago one of the local newspapers would give out free newspapers on days that weren’t bright and sunny days. Living in such a beautiful place, I need some cold gnarly weather to break up the monotony of everyday perfection and warmth, which is why this colder time of year is my absolute favorite time of year.
Mid-day Friday the surf comes up with the arrival of a significant cold front. Surf will start filling in as the west southwest winds across the middle gulf increase prior to the arrival of the frontal boundary. This should be a fun southy, waist high or better before the front. As early as noon we could be able to surf from all that southwest wind. The next morning, on Saturday, the northwest winds significantly increase in offshore waters. At the coast, surf will be in the head high plus range with lighter 15+ knot winds. Surf’s up all day on Saturday. Overnight the winds gust from the north, then switch northeast sometime before or right around sunrise. Sunday morning a small clean wave and strong side-offshore wind will remain.
The water temperature is currently around 71° in Clearwater, and has been there since the big cool down of the first cold front. The Fall/Winter pattern continues as temperatures cool again behind this significant cold front. Friday and Saturday we see a high just above 60°. Dawn patrollers and sunset gazers will feel things cool off with lows upwards of 49° in the overnight hours. There was a big full moon phase with strong tides, but we’re getting further away from those bigger tidal swings as you can see in the chart that takes us through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
You may remember back at the beginning of April, the Klotzback report was published summarizing the expectations for the upcoming hurricane season. Those finding suggested the season would Continue reading NOAA Hurricane Outlook
Texas is in for the best surf of the region in the coming week. Mid-day on Wednesday the swell begins to rise to the 9-12 foot mark, biggest by evening, this of course accompanied by 25 knot winds. First thing Thursday morning the swell will be dropping. After noon the wave heights remain about the same, and by evening the winds will go offshore.
There is a pre-front front coming to the southeast in a couple days opening the door for the second front, another west Florida wave-maker. The first will stall just north of West Florida. Continue reading Warm Front in Texas, Cold Front in West Florida: Published:03/26/17