XXL storm bearing down on Europe's western coasts

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Analysis

To date, autumn in the North Atlantic has been predominated by hurricanes tracking offshore from the North American mainland, however later this week a significant low pressure system will sweep south from Greenland and impact every west-facing coastline in Europe.

The storm is set to rival ‘Hercules’, the low pressure system that struck Europe in early January 2014 and initiated the protocol of naming significant mid-latitude storms. Hercules is also remembered as the storm that saw Jamie Mitchell launch an aborted mission at huge Belharra.

The storm, yet to be named though it will be 'Aiden' if it meets the threshholds, will form later today when the remnants of three low pressure systems: Hurricane Epsilon, the tenth hurricane of the Atlantic season; plus a deep low pushing off the Canadian shield; and a very large low centred south of Iceland, begin to merge into one system.

By Monday night the three systems will have consolidated into one, forming a storm that spans the North Atlantic, stretching from the Irish west coast back to Greenland and north to Iceland. The storm is then forecast to bomb, meaning to drop more than 24hPa in 24 hours, before reaching maximum intensity with a barometric pressure of 939 hPa, wind speeds of 65-70 kts, and Significant Wave Height of 66 feet, directed west towards the Irish coast and southwest towards the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Peninsula.

The swell will reach landfall the next day, Wednesday, with Mullaghmore breaking in excess of 35ft, however with the wind forecast to blow at 30kts from the west-southwest it may be coming around the corner more than is ideal forcing Irish surfers into even more protected nooks.

The swell will next reach the Bay of Biscay by the next day, Thursday, coinciding with a weak ridge that’ll see winds swing from westerly to light south-east and perhaps even light north-east later in the day. A similarly slack wind gradient will lay down over the whole Iberian Peninsula during the swell.

At Nazare, which will also peak in size on Thursday, this will play out with the wind turning light north-east late on Wednesday and then swinging between light south and south-east - which is straight offshore - through Thursday morning before a late seabreeze. Most large Nazare swells are accompanied by wind from the northern quadrant, with quality determined by how light it is. It’s very rare to have a swell of this size accompanied by wind from the southern quadrant.

So...size? Nazare is one of the trickier waves to accurately forecast owing to the process of constructive interference that makes its peaks stand tall. The Alpine wave size is reached, not simply by wind strength, but by two lines of energy - one incoming, one refracted by the Nazare Canyon - interfering with each other. It’s a wedge by any other name.

Coastline to the immediate north and south of Nazare should reach 30ft on Thursday, meaning the peak at Nazare should be in excess of 50-60ft. Wave size will vary with the angle of incidence.

The swell will also brush Europe’s western islands with a short-lived swell in the 15- 20ft range hitting on Thursday. 

Further south, across the Strait of Gibraltar, won’t see as much energy as further north. The storm won't quite form far enough offshore for significant spread, but nevertheless late Thursday to Friday morning will see parts of the Morroccan coast between 10-15ft though the swell will be short-lived.

Swellnet wave model - Bundoran, Ireland
Swellnet wave model - Hossegor, France
Swellnet wave model - Nazare. Portugal
Swellnet wave model - Oualidia, Moroccco

Comments

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 3:23pm

Got my boards packed, flight booked and am thinking I will paddle it this time.

Frogg

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 3:34pm

I've never felt FOMO so bad. Fuck this fucking virus!!!

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 3:35pm

I’m going

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 3:35pm

nowhere

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 4:11pm

A buddy texted the report for Wednesday.
Its going to be bombing.
Can't wait to watch the footage.
Waves on the south facing shores of UK from this one. Stinky winds though.
Locals only a Nazare!?!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 4:27pm

That looks impressive. Storm Aiden doesn't have the same ring as Storm Hercules. What about Great Storm Poseidon, Storm Zeus, Cyclone Uplift...

I know of one spot not at one of the more famous coasts that will be incredible with some real size in this one. Waves wrapping around the south coasts of Cornwall and Devon, whoa.

Walk around G's picture
Walk around G's picture
Walk around G commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 6:47pm

I'm pulling out straight away...... with some pre-existing niggling injury forsure ;)
I can't even fathom how crew actually surf waves of that size and power, they're all total madmen 'n Woman.
My hat's off to you, go charge it and make us mortal (cowardly) humans proud.

Yeeeww!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 7:13pm

This was a pretty good wrap up of Hercules:

https://magicseaweed.com/news/remembering-hercules-the-biggest-north-atl...

The author paddled a bit of it too.

Did any of you see that haunting footage of the woman and man washed off the cliff pathway at Biarritz? That's one I can't unsee.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 7:49am

WW3 has 5m at 20sec at a certain island on Thursday. Holy smokes!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 9:22am

And now France, Spain, and Portugal all toying with partial lockdowns as COVID gets another toehold. Not going to be easy for surfers to move between regions.

nemeakes's picture
nemeakes's picture
nemeakes commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 1:52pm

Nuts! Are there any good live surf cams I could tune into from the comfort of my office at work haha?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 1:56pm

There's going to be a live stream of Nazare, we'll keep you posted.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 4:20pm

Please do. Tonight's job, set up favourites for Euro (& Atlantic) surfcams...

nemeakes's picture
nemeakes's picture
nemeakes commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 4:54pm

Yew!! Cheers!! Your a proper legend Crangle ❤️

views from the cockpit's picture
views from the cockpit's picture
views from the ... commented Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020 at 7:30am

Yew I remember that footage of Biarritz VJ,
Silly girl.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020 at 12:57pm

Mullaghmore forecast lit up like a pack of Froot Tingles:

Walk around G's picture
Walk around G's picture
Walk around G commented Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020 at 9:28pm

Wowza!
5ft @ 9.7sec on Tuesday..... 35ft @18.1 the next day :0

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020 at 1:49pm

Coupla great ASCAT passes..

Cetus's picture
Cetus's picture
Cetus commented Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020 at 6:10pm

Any updates?

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020 at 10:48am

There is a Nazare surfcam - currently night, but you half expect a Blair Witch kind of jump scare.....cant imagine how jumpy and edgy the locals are!

Britabroad's picture
Britabroad's picture
Britabroad commented Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020 at 3:58pm

People are forgetting about the best wave in the UK for this swell. Thurso East will potentially be all time. Maybe not XXL but likely 10-12ft with light offshores.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020 at 4:05pm

We know :)
Will there be anything out in the Orkneys?

gasman's picture
gasman's picture
gasman commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 8:38am

Followed by a solid night in skinandis. What a time to be alive!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020 at 5:43pm
Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic commented Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020 at 6:01pm

Nick von rupp is there. looked pretty solid on the first smaller day...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahadH9de6mw

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020 at 7:54pm

In the vid Nick says 6.2m @ 22s

whoa

gannet's picture
gannet's picture
gannet commented Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020 at 6:14pm

Second wave of the set or the first one?

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 12:26am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbTzvLmVSLQ
Good live stream here for anyone that's still awake

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:42am

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:22am

Mental!

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:46am

Mullaghmore?

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 8:12am

To be sure

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 8:58am

I've seen that wave before, in a Gonad Man comic

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 8:36am

https://www.facebook.com/carvemag/posts/10158127457333780
video of that above wave. Ridiculous.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 8:39am

Wow BD..

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 12:00pm

Im struggling with the term ‘high waves’ haha.

Looking into it more, swell is a type of wavelength yeah? So is the correct terminology for waves high and low? Or high and low, big and small can be used interchangeably?

Does it matter? Yes! I would love to start pulling people up when it’s big (or small) -
“Cough, cough! Sorry, gonna have to correct you there mate. It’s pretty high out there, not big. I’ll be off now..” and drive off knowing I can sleep comfortably after being helping people that we’re sheltered from the truth..

I am the bone

shraz's picture
shraz's picture
shraz commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:17pm

'wave steepness' is the term you want there mate, wave height divided by wave length. wave length is directly related to wave period, so longer period waves (i.e. swell) have longer wave lengths so they are 'less steep' than shorter period (like stormy wind waves, closer together) with the same height.

Of course there's more to it than that, longer period waves have more power and move faster and will jack up way more in height when breaking, especially if you double them up like at Naz.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 8:57am

Faaark ....Twice the size of Thundercloud swell

surfiebum's picture
surfiebum's picture
surfiebum commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 9:14am

That is beyond mental!

nemeakes's picture
nemeakes's picture
nemeakes commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 11:30am

Found some raw footage taken by some grommies at Mullaghmore... Insane.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_uWVB43Dog&ab_channel=TomMurphy

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 11:40am

Go the Irish grommies!

Classic commentary.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 11:52am

How funny is that commentary - WSL, give those groms a job!

Kellya's picture
Kellya's picture
Kellya commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 12:04pm

Surf clip of the year to be sure.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 1:16pm

Definitely!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 12:06pm

Ha, all time!

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 2:01pm

That was brilliant. Loved the special comments from the groms!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 12:17pm

Latest buoy readings off Nazare 11pm -1am.. 6.9m @ 18.3s

Hmax and Hsig

Average period and Peak period

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 4:46pm

Latest buoy readings at 5am..

7.1-10m @ 19s.

Bring on the daylight.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 4:56pm

Any links to live feeds Craig?

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 5:01pm

Hopefully be one at 7pm, 8am their time. Fingers crossed. It'll be on the site if so.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 5:21pm

Thanks mate

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 5:47pm

Far canal, that's big. We had a swell here July last year. 2.5m @ 17sec, and a local magnet was 35ft faces.

Would love to be on Madeira now, just watching the madness.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 5:35pm

Sun beginning to rise on the MSW cam and damn it looks solid:

https://magicseaweed.com/Nazare-Surf-Report/194/

it's breaking huge and wide

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 5:38pm

Oh yeah- 4 more cams here
https://nazarewaves.com/en/webcams

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 5:53pm

I love that Nazare has 4 webcams, lots of facilities for surfers, heaps of spectators etc etc, yet that cafe viewing platform on top has a less-than-knee high balustrade.

Someone didn't get the Safetyism memo.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:00pm

Jardim do Mar webcam looking pretty damn tasty.

https://beachcam.meo.pt/livecams/madeira-jardim-do-mar/

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:15pm

Pumping!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:27pm

Heck yes!
Not huge yet, but probably 12-15ft. Ponta Pequena (next spot up the line) looks very very good.

willibutler's picture
willibutler's picture
willibutler commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:00pm

<script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
willibutler's picture
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willibutler commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:01pm

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:55pm

It didn't look that big until I saw this lad on one, yes please!
https://i.imgur.com/Dyh0axq.jpg

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:59pm

Oh dear...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:00pm

Lordy...

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:06pm

omg

willibutler's picture
willibutler's picture
willibutler commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 8:43pm
Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:30pm
udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:40pm

Jesus that was a set
Ski teams flat strap for the Horizon

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:43pm

Saw a huge set just then - no one in position way further out

anyone guess the size?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 6:57pm

I say it every time I see it at size, but jeez, Nazare is a freaking weird set up.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:08pm

2 just ridden at wide peak
they looked like those tiny ants

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:13pm

its that big they cant get to the bottom of the wave

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:23pm
gasman's picture
gasman's picture
gasman commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:25pm

That was quite the set that just charged through, ridden as well. That would have been enjoyed by that large crowd exhibiting Portuguese style social distancing on the cliff top!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:38pm
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:50pm

Jardim looks incredible. The shape of that wave is perfect

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 7:59pm

That photo (of Jardim) a few posts above looks like big Honolua Bay.

Those blokes will be having THE all time surf.....lucky bastards.

Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic commented Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 12:53pm

some footage of portugal.

hows is the burn on the first wave and the fact that the guys ran into each other.. surely you would adjust your line and go around them??

https://news.yahoo.com/surfers-tame-gigantic-waves-nazare-144626453.html...

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 1:00pm

Guy coming frm deeper was on a foil as well :o

Looks like he got fixated on the other surfer and then boom.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 1:20pm

Suck shit to him then!

Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic commented Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 2:41pm

the guy on the foil was absolutely flying.... I think the way to go on waves that big and bumpy..

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 12:38pm

The foil looked quite lame to me. Sort of disengaged from the wave.

Frogg

upnorth's picture
upnorth's picture
upnorth commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 5:26am

Chumbo wotd at Nazare? Conor Maguire having a dig at Mullaghmore

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 2:10pm

Andrew Cotton and Lucas Chumbo back to back waves for huge size nomination:

https://magicseaweed.com/news/watch-has-the-record-been-broken-for-bigge...

Still trying to find Steudtner's massive wave...

Very interested on who was on foils, the speed difference was enough for the distance that has to be covered quickly

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 3:37pm

It's at 4 mins 11 on the first clip Udo just posted VJ. That's the one i was losing my mind over. Crazy!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 3:59pm

That was nuts! Also pretty freaky his first wipeout, 2 skis searching for him on the inside and the spotter trying to tell them where. Maya's wave was epic too!

Then when he came ashore at about 4:00 - what a moonscape of a lineup! I imagine if we ever find water on other planets and surf it (say Europa or Titan or Ganymede, whichever one has water) - surfing would look like this.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 4:08pm

Udo's 2nd vid, 3:50 where the guys collide (Nick Von R in that?)
Even though it's an unfortunate event, it shows clearly just how much extra boardspeed you can achieve when you abandon the planing hull attached to the water - the serious jet of acceleration the foil boarder gets just before he hits hints at performance in 70ft waves. Which is mind blowing.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 4:30pm
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 10:30pm

Good footage Udo. How's old mate on the red board, ski driver picked him up @ 1.12 wonder why. Then later @ 3.45 he dives off his board to escape the wrath (maybe ?) and his gun is no where to be seen in the foam ! Looked like too high a tide or not quiet big enough or wrong direction for it. Only lefts ridden. Kudos to the paddle crew. In addition you can see here how the foil can out run the wash, where as at Nazare the conventional tow boards have to turn to the shoulder or race accross the face to get away from the wash. Interesting stuff.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 11:08pm

Yeh def not a good day out there
The front fin choice probably not quite right on the red board.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Sunday, 1 Nov 2020 at 11:33am

Epic interview. What a hellman!

Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy commented Sunday, 1 Nov 2020 at 12:42pm

The Conor Maguire Swell.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Sunday, 1 Nov 2020 at 10:33am

looks like a cartoon........cant believe the commitment these guys have got...

simba

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 2 Nov 2020 at 7:40pm
stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 11:33am

An overactive Atlantic storm season is breaking all the records; they're running out of names!

"There have been so many big storms in 2020 that meteorologists exhausted their English-language list of names and had to turn to the Greek alphabet, rapidly burning through Alpha to Eta. In September, there were five storms lined up in the Atlantic at once."