Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast (issued Wednesday 2nd April)

thermalben's picture
thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 4:44pm

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 2nd April)

Best Days: Friday: chance for a peaky short range S/SE swell with offshore winds. Saturday/Sunday: building S/SE swell but with tricky winds (probably OK early morning in some locations). Monday - Wednesday: low confidence but should see some form of SE swell across the region. 

Recap: Small SE swell on Tuesday, easing overnight to become very small today. Mainly light winds offshore winds and moderate afternoon sea breezes.

This week (Apr 1-4)

Not major forecast changes for the rest of the working week. Freshening NE winds this evening will generate a tiny NE windswell for Thursday, but the models have slightly weakened the fetch (from what was only expected to be a weak fetch anyway) so surf prospects are quite limited. Keep your expectations low.

A southerly change is expected to push along the southern NSW coast Thursday, reaching Sydney in the evening, and the good news is that the change is expected to stall in and around the Hunter region, before slipping to the south and forming a low pressure system during Friday

The positive effects of this change - before we see any swell potential from the low pressure system that is - are twofold.

Firstly, despite the fetch trailing the change being of only moderate strength, its stalled nature will result in a stationary region of swell-generating winds within Sydney’s close swell window. So surf prospects are a little better from this system compared to your typical transitionary front.

Secondly, as the low retreats to the south, winds will veer offshore across the Hunter, Sydney and Wollongong regions - although locations south of about Jervis Bay will probably still be under the influence of a fresh E/SE breeze on Friday.

What this all means is that locations between Wollongong and Newcastle are looking at fun waves on Friday; nothing too special but clean and peaky building into the 2-3ft range at south facing beaches during the day (may be a little smaller at dawn). Expect smaller surf at beaches not open to the south due to the swell direction, and bumpy wind affected waves on the South Coast.

This weekend (Apr 5-6)

The weekend looks reasonably good, thanks to the low pressure system expected to form off the Far South Coast on Friday.

However, in Monday’s notes I mentioned that there was some disagreement between the models as to how this low would develop - and that we’d see a more clearer picture by Wednesday. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case - the models are still quite divergent and it’s not very clear just how much size we’ll see.

But, as I’m not one to sit on the fence, I’m going to hang with my Monday prediction for a reasonably solid S/SE swell from this low, biggest in the far south of the state but still building to a decent 4-5ft in the Wollongong/Sydney/Hunter region (with south facing beaches seeing the upper end of this size range). I think the peak of the swell will probably be on Sunday, so Saturday morning will probably start out undersized ahead of the upwards trend in the afternoon.

As for conditions we’re still likely to see mainly fresh S’ly winds for much of the weekend however localised periods of early W/SW winds - for example, along the Northern Beaches - are very likely. 

Anyway, let’s leave it at that for now and I’ll make a final pass at the weekend forecaster in Friday’s notes. 

Just as a side note - we’ll also see a small signal of long range E/NE swell in the water this weekend, originating from a deepening low well to the SE of Fiji at the moment. This system was detailed in Monday’s SE Qld notes but I left out of Sydney’s notes due to the Tasman Low being a far more dominant event. But now we're a little closer to the weekend, I just thought it was worth inclusion into today’s notes - I doubt we’ll see much more than a foot or two at exposed beaches, but it’ll be there in the mix. 

Next week (Apr 7 onwards)

As per Monday’s notes described, the low in the southern Tasman Sea is the dominant feature for the weekend, so next week’s surf potential will ultimately revolve around what pans out on Saturday and Sunday.

Right now there is a strong indication that this system will remain slow moving inside the Tasman Sea for several days, which means its influence will remain across the southern NSW coast through until at least the middle of next week. Due to the divergent model output, it’s still too early to pin down size estimates and local winds however it’s a reasonable chance that we’ll see anywhere between 3ft and 5ft across open beaches between Monday and Wednesday - maybe more if the low deepens more than currently forecast. More on this in Friday’s notes. 

Elsewhere, the small long range E/NE swell expected in the water over the weekend will ease early next week, due to the low falling in behind the swell shadow of New Zealand over the coming days. 

Other than that there are no other significant weather systems popping up in our swell window. I’ll reevaluate all of the data more comprehensively in Friday’s forecast.