Windy conditions ahead for Southern NSW, with a few small windows

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 29th March)

Best Days: No great days due to mainly onshore winds. Thurs AM may have a brief window of small clean short range NE swell. Saturday should see a decent improvement on the surface, with lumpy but fun waves. Mid-next week looks better with a building trade swell swell. 

Recap: It's been tiny for the last few days. A small NE windswell is building this afternoon as local winds freshen.

This week (Mar 28th - 31st)

Note: Forecaster Notes will be brief this week because Craig’s on leave.

A small NE fetch developing off the coast this afternoon will generate a minor windswell for Thursday morning though no great size is expected - just a slow 2ft at open beaches, occasionally bigger at a handful of reliable NE swell magnets south of the Cenny Coast. 

Winds should be light and variable around dawn ahead of a vigorous southerly change that’s expected to rocket up the coast during the morning, reaching Sydney late morning and becoming gale force into the afternoon.

These winds will generate an afternoon increase in short range S’ly windswell though there won’t be much quality in it. Size will depend on wind strength and it’s possible that by early evening south facing beaches could be in the 4-6ft range, but the only surfable options will be inside protected southern corners, and they’ll be tiny owing to the initially low swell period.

Thursday's southerly change is expected to merge with the remnants of TC Debbie - which will have drifted south from tropical Qld - off the Northern NSW coast on Thursday evening. This will then form a Tasman Low and maintain southerly gales across the NSW coast into Friday

As such we’ll finish the week with large, confused S’ly swells and strong cross-onshore winds. South facing beaches should manage 5-6ft+ sets - a little bigger across the Hunter - but as the primary focus of the Tasman Low will be to the north of Sydney, the trailing fetch will weaken with increasing southerly latitude so there won’t be a lot of quality on offer. Protected southern corners will offer the only clean conditions and they’ll be a lot smaller in size.

So, you won't be missing much if you can't surf. 

This weekend (Apr 1 - 2)

Saturday should be OK though it may be a little lumpy and leftover from Friday’s winds.

The Tasman Low will be retreating E/SE to a position off the South Coast (in the central Tasman) but it will be focused mainly up into the Coral Sea. As such we’ll see a smaller spread of swell from this system in Southern NSW.

Winds should be light W/SW early, tending moderate SW thru’ S/SW during the day, ahead of a gusty S’ly change overnight. South facing beaches should manage 4ft+ sets early (smaller south of the Illawarra, due to the short fetch length) with an easing trend during the day. Beaches not open to the south will be smaller. 

The overnight S’ly change is expected to swing to the SE into Sunday as a new ridge of high pressure moves into the Tasmanian region. There’s a slim chance for an early SW breeze at a few select locations (such as the Northern Beaches) but in general it’s looking a little ordinary on the surface. We should however see a rebuilding trend back up to 3-5ft at south facing beaches, with smaller surf elsewhere owing to the swell direction. 
Also in the water throughout Sunday (mainly the afternoon) will be a very long period (18-20 second) S’ly groundswell - originating from a sneaky polar off the Ice Shelf south of SA today and tomorrow (generating very large surf for Victoria late Saturday and into Sunday). This swell will peak on Monday though late afternoon should see some long lines filling into south facing beaches in the 3-4ft range on dark - though you may not be able to discern them from the pre-existing short range S’ly swell.

Next week (Apr 3 onwards)

Sunday’s late arrival of long period S’ly groundswell should level out through Monday before easing into Tuesday, Set waves will be extremely inconsistent but could reach 3-4ft at reliable south swell magnets. 

Also in the water on Monday will be an unrelated mid-range S’ly swell from the parent low related to Saturday night’s change. This should contribute some 3ft sets into the mix. Plus there’ll be small easing leftover swell from Sunday’s efforts. 

Winds look to be early light SW tending moderate SE during the day. 

Looking further ahead and a strengthening ridge through the central/Northern Tasman Sea from Sunday onwards looks like it’ll be broad and long enough to supply a spread of trade swell for Southern NSW during the middle of the week. This should build from 2-3ft Tuesday into the 3-4ft range by Wednesday and Thursday

Some models are suggesting a surface low will form at the tail end of the fetch, close to NSW, early-mid next week which could set up a stronger, larger E’ly swell for the latter part of next week - but this is still quite some time away. 

See you Friday!


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 30 Mar 2017 at 8:17am

Maroubra is picking up the NE swell nicely this morning with sets in the 2-3ft range. Looks a little smaller everywhere else though.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Friday, 31 Mar 2017 at 4:21pm

These Forecsaster Notes will be a little later than usual today due to the weather event in Northern NSW. Apologies for the inconvenience.