Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast (issued Monday 24th March)

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thermalben started the topic in Monday, 24 Mar 2014 at 4:17pm

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 24th March)

Best Days: Tues: easing combo of swells with improving conditions north of Wollongong (remaining onshore in the south).

Recap: Small, building E/NE swell all weekend (~2ft Saturday and early Sunday) building more definitively Sunday afternoon (3ft+) before kicking in strongly this morning with a long period E/NE groundswell from TC Mike (set waves currently around 4-5ft). Generally light variable winds for much of the weekend ahead of a gusty S’ly change in the early hours of this morning.

This week (Mar 25-28 onwards)

We’re now at the top of the cycle of this long-range E/NE groundswell, and it’ll ease steadily in size from Tuesday onwards. Early sets may hold in the 3-4ft+ range across exposed beaches, but with a slow downwards trend you’ll have to make the most of early session for the most size. Expect long breaks between the bigger waves due to the distant source of this swell.

There’s also a small southerly windswell in the mix courtesy of today’s change but that’ll also ease quickly into the middle of the week.

Conditions should start to improve in Sydney and across the Hunter on Tuesday as the lingering trough presently across the region slides slowly south. This will initially maintain moderate to fresh onshore winds about the South and Far South Coasts however we should see an extended period of variable winds north of Wollongong throughout much of Tuesday

By Wednesday, freshening NE winds feeding into the trough will deteriorate conditions at most beaches. We’ll see a peaky mix of swells at most beaches but apart from a possible early window of lighter winds at dawn, conditions will be bumpy right across the coast.

The rest of the week doesn’t have much promise. We’ll see mainly small residual swells from a couple of sources - a small pulse from the south is due into the South Coast later Tuesday and Sydney early Wednesday, but it won’t have much size and probably won’t be distinguishable from the local noise. Another long period S’ly swell is due on Thursday afternoon and into Friday, but again there won’t be very much size in it - just a couple of feet at best.

Thursday and Friday will mainly benefit from a slightly bent tradeflow in the northern Tasman Sea over the coming days. A trough of low pressure across inland NSW will steer the broader tradewinds more E/NE in direction, and as a result we’ll see a little more size than what we’d expect from the usual E’ly trade wind regime. I think our model guidance is slightly undercalling wave heights form this source, and by later Thursday and into Friday we should see 2-3ft sets at exposed NE swell magnets. 

Unfortunately winds will also hold from the same quadrant so we’re not expecting much in the way of quality. But there should be surfable conditions all week.

This weekend (Mar 29-30)

A small low pressure system is expected to form off the Far South Coast by early Saturday morning, and it may drive a weak southerly change into southern NSW throughout the day. Surf wise, we’re looking at a peak in E/NE trade swell on Saturday morning in the 2-3ft+ range at exposed beaches, but it’ll trend slowly downwards into Sunday.

Current model guidance suggests this low off the South Coast won’t be much of a swell producer for us. And at this stage the weekend wind outlook is a little all over the shop but I’m confident we’ll see a window or two of favourable conditions. More on this in Wednesday’s update.

Next week (Mar 31 onwards)

Nothing standing out in the long term forecast at this stage, just a steady trade flow south of New Caledonia that should provide small residual energy to most coasts throughout much of next week.