Easing surf this week; becoming explosive next week
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 2nd June)
Best Days: Tues: clean easing E/NE swell.
Recap: Fun waves over the weekend. Favourable winds held out for longer than expected Saturday morning, with a peaky south swell delivering good beachies across most regions. Sunday started off pretty ordinary with fresh onshore winds and a building short range NE windswell, but winds swung NW in the afternoon, rapidly cleaning up the surf and providing excellent peaky beachies for the late arvo session. This swell swung a little more to the E/NE this morning and early offshore winds have maintained clean conditions. Size is now slowly easing though.
This week (June 3-6)
Mainly small surf for the rest of the week, originating from a couple of sources. The fetch responsible for the current E/NE energy is still active in the central western Tasman Sea (see image below), but it’s expected to refine its alignment more meridionally (north-south) over the next 24 hours, so consequently wave heights will ratchet down over the coming days.
Exposed beaches should still pick up some 2ft+ sets early on Tuesday and it’ll be nice and clean with light offshore winds, but you’ll have to make the most of it as we’re looking at smaller surf through the afternoon, and more so into Wednesday and Thursday. Expect smaller surf in the northern Hunter due to the swell direction.
As a side note, the South Coast is much more in the firing line for this swell so we’ll see bigger waves here through Tuesday; even Wednesday should still maintain small clean beachies at NE facing locations.
The only other notable synoptic feature for this week is a new surface trough that’s expected to slowly deepen across the western Tasman Sea later this week. Initially, we’re looking at freshening southerly winds along a thin strip close to the mainland from Thursday evening onwards, which should whip up a low quality short range south swell for Friday.
At this stage we’re looking at average quality waves somewhere in the 3ft+ range by the end of the day (probably smaller earlier) but bumpy due to a gusty southerly breeze. Surf size will be very small at remaining beaches due to the low period and acute southerly direction. Let’s take a closer look at this on Wednesday.
This weekend (June 7-8)
This deepening trough with a possible ECL (as I mentioned in Friday’s notes) is starting to take shape in the long range weather models, however there is still a great deal of uncertainty around the timing - current model guidance is pointing towards early next week as the most active period.
At this stage the most likely scenario for the weekend is a slowly strengthening short range S/SE fetch just off the coast that should gradually ratchet up wave heights at south facing beaches, but will probably leave very few options for surfers due to the accompanying gusty wind (again, much smaller surf is expected at beaches offering protection from this wind). At this stage I wouldn’t get too excited about there being any great waves, however let’s revise this in Wednesday’s notes - at least it’s an active forecast rather than a benign period under a blocking pattern.
Longer term (June 9 onwards)
Whilst still quite some time away, there are several indicators suggesting that we could be on target for the first East Coast Low of the season early next week. They are: positive SST anomalies along the eastern seaboard, a deepening surface trough over the western Tasman, a slow moving upper trough over the eastern states, and an infeed of moisture from the South Pacific, thanks to a stationary, broadening eastern fetch between New Zealand and Fiji.
As mentioned above, the timing is a little unclear right now but all things considered, the Mon/Tues time frame looks like we’ll see some explosive synoptic developments off the southern NSW coast that should generate a lotta large surf, strong wind and heavy rain for the region, and if it comes off we'll probably see sustained strong energy through the middle of the week too. More on Wednesday.