Winter Storm Hercules Forecast Larger Than Perfect Storm

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When you see black on a swell graph, it’s usually a good sign for the big wave surfing elite. However, when is big surf too big? The massive winter storm that left East Coast residents in the US shivering in below freezing temperatures is predicted to slam Europe and North Africa on Monday, and it is much larger than the Atlantic’s infamous and deadly “Perfect Storm,” also known as the Halloween Nor’easter of 1991. Damage from the Perfect Storm totaled over $200 million according to, clocking in 75 mph winds, and killing thirteen people.

The now dubbed “Winter Storm Hercules” is producing seas so large, in fact, that meteorologists have never seen anything like it.

hurricane hercules, swell forecast, xxl, storm

So… if black signifies XXL potential, what the hell do white and gold mean?  (CLICK FOR UPDATED ANIMATED GRAPH ON STORMSURF.COM)

“It’s the biggest storm I have ever seen in the Atlantic Ocean,” reported Dan, KSBW TV8′s meteorologist. Since the storm graphs shows radar off the scale, we asked the expert meteorologist, also a Mavericks charger, for a swell prediction. Not only is he a television weather man, he also routes ships across the globe. Here’s what he had to say:

“[Hercules] is gearing up right now with bigger swell than the Perfect Storm many years ago. Arrival from Portugal to Ireland will be early Monday morning, January 6th, with Morocco getting some by late Monday. 

“There will be seas in excess of 70′ with an impressive area of over 300NM of 50′+ seas at 06Z Sunday during the peak. The Azores will be getting 40-50′ significant wave heights on Sunday. Ireland gets 50′+ while Portugal to France gets 40′+ sig waves.

“This swell will be much bigger than the two recent massive swells at Nazaré over the last two years. Gear up for massive Nazaré… and hope you don’t die! And hope you don’t have buddies on any boats in the North Atlantic…”

“You will certainly see some news related to these big waves… and not just on!”


“Big Monday” documents a historical big wave session in Nazaré filmed by Miguel Costa on October 28th, 2013. A skilled group of big wave athletes entered the 60 ft+ swell that hit the small fishing town, internationally known for Garrett McNamara’s “100ft” bomb – a World Record for largest wave ever surfed.

The last XXL swell at Nazaré’s North Canyon in October produced one of the most dramatic days the sport of big wave surfing has ever seen, as Maya Gabeira (BRA) took the wipeout of her life nearly drowning on one of the biggest waves ever attempted by a female surfer, rescued unconscious by tow partner Carlos Burle (BRA) who then returned to the lineup to drop in on one of the biggest waves ever recorded.

Will the “Big Monday” swell be outdone? Watch as Garrett McNamara, the current World Record holder for the largest wave ever surfed, describes the ride of his life at the Portuguese monster wave, in an exclusive Surf Channel interview:

Winter Storm Hercules went from heavy and exciting to seriously dangerous, as seas are now forecasted at 60 ft+ with what could be some of the biggest waves on record once the storm hits the coastline. As the anticipation for monster rides on Monday builds, transportation around the area may also be hindered for any passengers attempting to travel to the area. We saw what it did to the US East Coast, now frozen over and reported to be the cause of 16 deaths, and Hercules is growing stronger by the minute. 

Safe travels, as we prepare ourselves for what could be some of the largest waves on record in the Atlantic Ocean.

Check back for updates on Winter Storm Hercules on

(270 Posts)

Shannon Marie Quirk is the Editor-in-Chief of the, and Director of Digital Media for The Surf Channel and The Ski Channel Television Networks. She is a sports journalist with Bachelors of Arts degrees in English and Spanish Literature from UCLA, trained as a photojournalist by the Los Angeles Times and TransWorld Snowboarding Magazine. A San Francisco native, Shannon is a surfer, competitive snowboarder, and believes that athletes have a responsibility to take care of their playgrounds. FOLLOW: @ShannonReporting


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