This image describes the combination of swells directed at Fort Walton Beach over a normal May. It is based on 1487 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the coast so we have chosen the most applicable grid node based on what we know about Fort Walton Beach. In the case of Fort Walton Beach, the best grid node is 43 km away (27 miles).
The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell directions and swell sizes, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. These occurred 57% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell was forecast.
The diagram indicates that the most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was S (which was the same as the dominant wind direction). Because the wave model grid is out to sea, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Fort Walton Beach and offshore. We combine these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To avoid confusion we don't show these in the rose plot. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Fort Walton Beach, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were forecast to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical May, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Fort Walton Beach run for about 43% of the time.
IMPORTANT: Beta version feature! Swell heights are open water values from NWW3. There is no attempt to model near-shore effects. Coastal wave heights will generally be less, especially if the break does not have unobstructed exposure to the open ocean.