Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast (issued Friday 4th April)

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thermalben started the topic in Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 4:26pm

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 4th April)

Best Days: Tues/Wed: decent mid-range SE swell with generally good winds.

Recap: Surf size was very small on Thursday. A new south swell built across the southern NSW coast today (up to 2ft+ at south facing beaches) but conditions have been varied across the region - SW winds have been reported in some areas, while moderate to fresh S’lies have been reported elsewhere. Interestingly, at the time this report was prepared, all locations from the Coal Coast to the Hunter were under a S’ly airstream, however Bellambi (just north of Wollongong) was light and variable tending W/NW, Kiama and Point Perpendicular were W/SW and Ulladulla was W’ly. This is probably due to the developing low off the coast - however it’s unusual that we’re not seeing this trend in Sydney and the Hunter.

This weekend (Apr 5-6)

Finally! Model data has come into line for the weekend outlook (quite a relief too, seeing that we’re less than a day away) and the overall consensus is for a similar trend as to what we’ve been anticipating all week, but with a slight size downgrade.

Today’s swell is expected to eased overnight, so we’ll be starting from a low base early Saturday (1-2ft south facing beaches, smaller elsewhere). A small upwards trend is expected into the afternoon, ahead of a peak on Sunday in the 3ft+ range at exposed south facing beaches (smaller elsewhere due to the swell direction).

In fact a few marginally bigger sets are possible into Sunday afternoon, if the Tasman Low winds up a little more than currently expected early in the weekend. But right now we'll probably see peaky 2ft waves at most beaches and sets up to 3ft+ at locations with good southerly exposure.

Local winds are looking  pretty funky over the weekend, mainly fresh southerly in many regions but with localised regions of W/SW winds both mornings (mainly in and around the Sydney region, specifically the Northern Beaches). So with the predominant wind and swell out of the south for much of the weekend, those beaches picking up the most size will probably be quite bumpy.

Just as a side note - we’ll also see a small signal of long range E/NE swell in the water this weekend, (mainly on Sunday) originating from a deepening low well to the SE of Fiji earlier in the week. I doubt we’ll see much more than a foot or two at exposed beaches from this source, but it’ll be there in the mix. 

Next week (Apr 7-11)

The computer models are in good agreement about the overall synoptic pattern next week, which suggests the weekend's low pressure system will remain slow moving through the central Tasman Sea. However the models are in disagreement as to how strong the low will be, and what wind strengths we’re likely to see around its core. 

Splitting the difference across all of the model guidance still anticipates a further small upwards trend throughout Monday afternoon and Tuesday, peaking somewhere between 3ft and maybe 5ft at exposed beaches around Tuesday afternoon, give or take (maybe holding into early Wednesday). 

However as the low is expected to track slowly north, its swell will be focused mainly towards the Northern NSW Coast - so there’ll be an axis point whereby we’ll see smaller waves (and I think this will be just south of Sydney, probably in the Wollongong region). So anticipate smaller waves on the South Coast. 

We’ll also see a small reinforcing pulse of E’ly swell during this period (from the aforementioned South Pacific system earlier this week). In Wednesday’s notes, it was expected that the low would have slipped into the NZ swell shadow prior to a seocndary intensification phase, however upon further analysis it appears that it may have just squeaked just prior to then. I’ll rate it a low chance but don’t be surprised to see some long-lived E’ly swell in the mix (very inconsistent though) in the 2ft+ range later Monday and into Tuesday

Winds are looking dicey on Monday with a lingering S/SE flow however by Tuesday we should be back to a more stable pattern of light variable winds and sea breezes as a high pressure system settles across the region. So, Tuesday looks well worth your attention right now.

Size is slowly expected to ease from Wednesday onwards with good waves again courtesy of a light variable breeze (and an approaching southerly change for the South Coast late in the day) so this will also be well worth sniffing out some waves across the region. 

Beyond the middle of the week, there’s currently nothing else of any interest standing out in the charts. There are a suggestion from one of the global models (GFS) that we’ll see a significant tropical cyclone in the Coral Sea next week, but it needs to be noted that GFS has been throwing out widely varying paths of the cyclone in each successive model run over the last few days. So right now I’d consider this an unreliable source (especially considering most of the other models have a much more benign outlook). Let’s re-evaluate this in more detail on Monday.