Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Craig Brokensha (issued Monday 30th December)
Best Days: Tuesday and Wednesday at south swell magnets, Friday
The weekend started off poor with a tiny 1-1.5ft of swell and light N/NE sea breezes that strengthened from the NE as the day progressed.
This kicked up a small NE windswell for Sunday morning but an early and strong S'ly change kicked it in its guts and brought with it building levels of S'ly windswell during the day. South facing beaches reached an easy 5ft during the afternoon, with smaller 2-3ft waves at open beaches as the S'ly winds eased back a touch.
Today the S'ly swell is dropping from 3-4ft across south facing beaches in Sydney with more size on the Hunter, and conditions were better but far from perfect with a light onshore breeze. We should see the swell continuing to ease during the day as winds swing E/NE.
This week (Dec 30 – Jan 3)
Yesterday's strong S'ly change was attached to a deep and powerful low developing under Tasmania, and as this system moved east and into our swell window yesterday evening it generated a fetch of SW gales.
A small and inconsistent pulse of S'ly groundswell should arrive through tomorrow from this and peak at 2ft+ across south facing beaches. A secondary pulse of groundswell on Wednesday should keep similar waves hitting south facing locations, generated by a more favourable fetch of S/SW gales on the backside of the low. Winds will be favourable for locations picking up the most size with N-NE winds.
The next considerable increase in swell will be seen Friday as a strong cold outbreak moves in into the Southern Tasman Sea.
The models diverge around the structure of this system, with GFS being far more favourable than ECMWF.
I'm erring on the side of caution, and we'll probably only see 3ft or so of S'ly swell for Friday, peaking during the morning before easing into the afternoon. Check back here on Wednesday for the latest on this though, and also keep an eye on the computer model updates over the coming days.
This weekend onwards (Jan 4 onwards)
Friday's S'ly swell will drop away into Saturday morning as a small NE windswell generated by strong overnight NE winds breaks across north-east facing beaches.
A strong S'ly change similar to what we saw yesterday will move up the coast early in the day bringing with it a moderate increase in S'ly windswell that will then ease into Sunday. This revolves around the remnants of TC Christine once it moves across us, and the models are still divergent about this. Winds will be poor and from the S'th Saturday though and E/SE tending fresh E/NE Sunday.
Longer term there are some interesting tropical developments on the cards for mid-late next week, but we'll keep a close eye on this over the coming days.