Fourth of July is the busiest, and often deadliest, day of the boating season. As a result, it’s paramount to be prepared not only with basic boating safety regiments, but also with the upcoming weather forecast. Here’s a look at the marine weather outlook across the U.S.A. and beyond for our favorite boating holiday:
Offshore high pressure will weaken through the Fourth, allowing the current strong NW winds impacting the offshore waters to ease below 20 knots. Meanwhile, inside the Southern California Bight and other nearshore protected waters, light and variable winds in the morning will trend light to moderate onshore in the afternoon. Overall fair weather is expected except for patchy fog in places, especially the morning hours. Small southerly swells will mix with local NW wind waves, strongest north of Point Conception. Note that stronger SSE/S swells from distant Hurricane Fabio will spread north up the West Coast especially later in the week (although much of Baja will see building swell from Fabio on Wednesday). Please monitor point forecasts on Buoyweather.com for details in your area.
Overall a fairly benign weather pattern is expected for the northern half of the East Coast, with light and variable winds in the morning trending onshore from 5 to 15 knots in the afternoon. Seas will be mostly 3 feet or less. A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms is expected in the area roughly between Cape Cod through northern New Jersey with a weak front nearby.
A surface trough will produce slightly stronger east winds up to 15 knots from Virginia through Georgia, along with 2- to 4-foot seas. Lighter east winds and slightly smaller seas are expected off the Florida east coast. A chance for showers and thunderstorms exists over the Southeast Coast through Florida, especially in the afternoon and evening hours.
The central and eastern Gulf will see mostly 5- to 11-knot east winds with seas 2 feet or less. Onshore sea breezes are likely to develop during the afternoon near the coast though. Slightly stronger SE winds are expected for parts of the western Gulf, mainly near the Texas Coast during the afternoon and evening hours. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms along the coast mainly between North Texas and the Florida Panhandle.
Strong trade winds and 5- to 8-foot seas are expected over much of the central and eastern Caribbean, with near gale force trade winds near the north coast of Colombia. A bit tamer conditions are forecast over the western Caribbean, especially near the Yucatan Channel.
Moderate to strong east trade winds are expected on the Fourth, along with associated short period 3- to 5-foot seas (up to 6 feet near the passages). This will mix with small, longer-period southerly swell that will mainly be noticed near south-facing shorelines. Expect mostly fair weather with an occasional isolated passing shower.
Light southerly flow is expected in the morning mostly below 10 knots, along with seas around 1 feet. Slightly stronger S to SE winds (and seas up to 2 feet) develop in the afternoon, mainly for northern Lake Michigan and the Canadian waters of Lake Superior. Overall shower/thunderstorm chances look low, except for late in the day/evening over western Lake Superior as a front approaches.