Strong pulses from Ex TC Cody on the radar with some favourable windows of light winds
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 14th Jan)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- E/NE swell holds Fri with light morning winds, tending NE in the a'noon
- E/NE swell holds Sat AM, with fresh NE winds developing, lighter inshore early, generating local NE windswell in the PM
- E/NE swell down a notch Sun AM with a brief window of light morning winds possible before a S'ly change. Strong pulse of new E swell possible Sun PM
- Strong E swell Mon, with light winds expected
- E swell holds Tues AM, slowly eases, with mod/fresh S'ly to SSE'ly winds developing
- Punchy short range S to S/SE swell building Wed, tending SE and likely peaking Thurs and extending into the rest of the week before easing with SE winds
- More E swell from the tropics on the radar, stay tuned for details
A strong pulse from TC Cody filled in yesterday with a range of wave heights recorded across the region. Most spots were in the 3-4ft range but a few outliers recorded stronger pulses in the 4-6ft range. Conditions were generally OK to good with light winds. Clean lines from the E/NE to E have maintained 4-5ft sets early this morning- easing back a notch during the morning- with sweet surface conditions courtesy of light morning land breezes. Winds have clocked around to the NE and are freshening, confining cleanest conditions to northern corners.
This weekend (Jan 15 - 16)
TC Cody is the main game in town and the system has now undergone extra-tropical transition and is classified as a storm force sub-tropical low. The low is drifting slowly south-southeastwards towards the North Island with an extensive swath of storm force (50knot) winds along the south-western flank. These storm forces winds are embedded in an expansive gale force wind field. The slowed movement and enlargement of the wind field is on track to deliver more powerful long period E swell for the region in the f/cast period.
Saturday will see fresh N’ly winds develop, likely getting up in the 20-25 knot range. That will whip up shorter period NE’ly windswell, along with the current E/NE groundswell which will maintain pulsey 4ft surf across the region. Models are offering mixed messages on the chances of light NW winds early but it's worth hunting that period, just be prepared for strong N'lies at dawn. Better winds are more likely on the South Coast and Hunter.
Sunday’s surf conditions will be tricky to work around as a S’ly change works it’s way northwards during the morning. There’s likely to be a brief period of SW winds around Sydney early AM, possibly W to NW on the Hunter before the wind gets up from the S as the trough moves through. We’ll be looking at mix of leftover NE windswell and E/NE-E groundswell with both swell sources on an easing trend. That should see 3-4ft sets, with the NE windswell dropping out of the mix quickly, leaving pulsey E/NE swell as the main signal. Much stronger E’ly swell is en route with wave models suggesting this pulse will arrive later Sun a’noon. Keep tabs on local conditions from about 3pm onwards for much stronger sets in the 4-5ft range, possibly 6ft on dark.
Next week (Jan 17 onwards)
Sunday’s trough induced S’ly change weakens rapidly overnight leaving a light SW flow through the early morning. Strong, long period E swell in the 4-6ft range is expected, albeit a bit on the pulsey and inconsistent side. Some bigger 6-8ft sets are definitely on the menu especially at spots that can focus the swell energy and make the most of the longer period sets. Winds should tend light SE/NE through the a’noon.
Tuesday sees the lingering trough which has been hanging around the Central NSW Coast deepen, with a pressure gradient being tightened by the arrival of the leading edge of a new high pressure ridge. That will see S to SSE winds freshen during the day. There should be a window of lighter SW to S winds early and that will be worth chasing with strong E swell still in the water. The trough line looks to be just north of Sydney so the Hunter coast and possibly northern Central Coast is likely to see a NW to N flow through the morning but there’s considerable uncertainty around that. Sets will be a notch down on Mon, likely in the 4-5ft range with the occasional 6footer.
By mid week the trough deepens further, with an elongated long edge sitting on top of a large high. That energises a S/SE to SE fetch through the Central/Southern Tasman sea, bringing fresh to strong S to SE winds along the f/cast region and a building short range swell from the same direction. Expect a mix of slowly easing E’ly swell and building short range S/SE swell with heights in the 3-4ft range, mostly E swell in the morning and becoming dominated by S/SE swell later in the day.
SE swell is expected to build further into Thurs as the fetch intensifies. There is model divergence bait where the trough axis is located which will be crucial in deterring local winds. EC has the trough axis located on the Mid North Coast with SE winds extending up to that area.
GFS has the trough axis stalled on the Sydney coast, with areas of NE wind feeding into the trough extending up along the Hunter Coast. Stay tuned for Mondays f/cast and we’ll finesse that wind f/cast.
Into the end of next week and plenty of SE/ESE swell is expected as the strong high moves into the Tasman and winds feeding into both offshore and interior troughs maintain a broad windfield across most of the Tasman Sea. We’ll need to finesse the details on Mon but we’ll pencil in plenty of local SE/ESE swell in the 4-5ft range through the end of next week. Winds will be the problem with an E’ly flow not expected to abate during that time.
Longer term and there’s more action in the South Pacific next week. Models are divergent with GFS suggesting an intense gale force low in Tongan longitudes through next week, with a (small) long range E swell on track for early in the week 24/1.
EC has a much more modest but proximate E’ly flow which suggests a maintenance of small E swell. EC is also suggesting another tropical depression and possible cyclone in the Fiji area later next week.
We’ll flag these for now and come back Mon and see how the long range is shaping up. Plenty in there short term to focus on for now.
Seeya Mon and have a great weekend.