Friday morning looks really fun
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 2nd March)
Best Days: Wed: small east swell with generally light winds. Fri: punchy south swell with early offshore winds. Sat: easing south swell with early light winds.
Recap: Saturday delivered fun waves on an easing E/NE swell and generally light winds. Sunday failed to live up to expectations, with weak 1-2ft waves across open beaches at best (although the ripping late arvo thunderstorm kinda made up for it, at least for weather geeks). Today has seen a fun peaky south swell in the wake of yesterday’s late change, with early SW winds creating good conditions in some regions ahead of moderate to fresh southerlies.
This week (Mar 3-6)
Today’s southerly swell is already fading steadily across the region, so we’re looking at only small surf for the next few days.
Tuesday should see a peaky mix of swells up to 2ft at exposed beaches, with light winds somewhere from the north or north-east.
However, Wednesday looks a little better with a minor bump in E/NE swell from a moderate, stationary fetch north of New Zealand over the weekend. It won’t be very big but open beaches should pick up a few stray 2ft sets at times. Similarly light winds should provide reasonably good options all day (early morning should be the pick although model data is suggesting a peak in swell early/mid afternoon).
This small east swell should meander along into Thursday and Friday of a similar size. It won't be very consistent at all, but in the absence of any other energy, it should stop most open beaches from becoming flat.
Overnight on Wednesday, a strong frontal progression will enter the lower Tasman Sea and this will be the dominant source of swell for the end of the week. In actual fact, we’ll see a couple of strong fronts track south of Tasmania prior to this (one on Tuesday, another bigger front/low early Wednesday) but they’ll be caught up in a strong zonal pattern - westerly in alignment - and won’t favour the East Coast at all.
By Thursday morning, the Long Wave Trough will be moving closer to our swell window and this will allow the storm track to develop properly across waters east of Tasmania. Initially on Thursday a gusty southerly change will push across the coast and we’ll see a minor late increase in windswell (2-3ft by the end of the day, but low quality and only at south facing beaches), however Friday is where all the action will kick in as a strong short range S’ly swell tracks along the southern NSW coast.
South facing beaches are likely to see solid 3-5ft waves - but due to the strong southerly swell direction it will be much, much smaller at beaches without direct southerly exposure (2-3ft open beaches, tiny southern corners). The Hunter should pick up a few bigger bombs in the 6ft range at times.
As for Friday’s winds, we’re looking at great conditions in the morning with an early W/SW flow across most regions thanks to the front pushing out into the Tasman Sea. Sea breezes from the S/SE are possible during the day so pencil in a morning surf. I’ll fine tune this on Wednesday.
This weekend (Mar 7-8)
The parent low to the front generating Friday’s swell will kick up a smaller, but stronger groundswell for the weekend. It’ll probably maintain a similar size as per Friday at first (maybe a little smaller) but wave heights are expected to ease during the day and further into Sunday.
Early Saturday morning should see 3-4ft sets at south facing beaches (a few bigger bombs in the Hunter) and you’ll ave to aim for an early surf as freshening N/NE winds are expected throughout the day (light NW winds should be on offer at dawn).
Sunday will see slightly smaller surf from the south as this event continues to fade, but also a small NE windswell in the mix from the developing nor'easter on Saturday afternoon. Once again lcoally freshening NE winds will keep conditions a little below average away from the early morning session.
Next week (Mar 9 onwards)
The broad long term pattern seems to be swinging towards a reintensification of the trades across the Northern Tasman Sea (from about Sunday onwards), which suggests an extended period of east swell for the northern regions. This typically leads towards a small round of similar E/NE energy for our neck of the woods from the middle of next week onwards, however it’s still quite some time away so I’ll reassess things in Wednesday’s update.