Swells from all over the compass with offshore winds this weekend and a major winter pattern next week
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 27th May)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Bigger E/NE swell on offer Sat, building a notch Sun as low drifts southwards with offshore winds- SW for a while Sun AM
- Short period S swell spike Sun PM/Mon AM
- E/NE swell leftovers on offer Mon with offshore winds
- Last pulse in quality E swell late Mon/ peaking Tues with freshening W’ly winds
- Winter style cold outbreak and complex low in Tasman brings series of increasingly strong S swell pulses from Wed- sizey on Thurs, check back Mon for revisions
Dreamy Autumn conditions since the last f/cast notes with morning offshore winds and light a’noon sea breezes. Combination swells have been in the water with shorter period E’ly swells trains playing second fiddle to longer period S-SSE swells which have come in at the top end or just over f/cast expectations. That’s seen 3-4ft surf yesterday, bigger 4ft surf today with plenty of spots overwhelmed by the long straight lines of swell. Weekend is still looking good, details below.
This weekend (May 28-29)
No great changes to the weekend f/cast. Winds still looking great- inland trough moves North and East, dragging a W’ly flow with it that should persist for much of Sat with groomed conditions. A later SW tilt to winds is likely from the Illawarra southwards as a front pushes through. That may not occur until after close of play, but keep tabs on local winds through Sat PM.
Sunday sees a more classic SW flow as the front strengthens and begins to interact with the surface low which has drifted down from the Coral Sea. Expect that SW flow to tend more W/SW through W’ly in the a’noon as the front moves offshore and a stronger pre-frontal flow begins to make an impact.
Saturday is the smaller day with the persistent long period S swell dropping down in the mix and newer E/NE swell from the descending low on tap. Expect clean surf in the 3ft range, possible 3ft+ across more exposed breaks in the Hunter.
Sunday will be a more robust day. Winds intensify around the low as it moves south, bringing long period E/NE swell but there’ll be a cap on wave heights due to the forwards speed of the fetch. Allied to that will be some shorter period directional S swell from the front as it pushes up the coast. E/NE swell will see some 4ft sets, with smaller 2-3ft S swell across S’ly exposures. Once that wind swings from SW to a more W’ly direction there should be a wide range of surf spots open for business, although more S facing stretches like the Hunter may still see some residual S’ly gurgle through the lineup.
Next week (May 30 onwards)
Right on cue, as head into the first week of winter, a nice cold outbreak and blast of W’ly winds with accompanying S’ly swells is headed our way.
Pre-frontal W/NW winds will tend NW and freshen through Mon- which should iron out any remaining S’ly sea state across true S facing beaches. Monday looks interesting. There’ll be some small S swell in the mix, residual E swell and in the a’noon a fresh pulse of E’ly swell coming from the outer extremities of the fetch feeding into the Coral Sea low ( see below), which will be located out near the North Island. It won't be massively larger but it will see wave heights back up into the 4-5ft range with the odd bigger set. Definitely worth a look around.
This E’ly pulse hangs into Tues, with some 4ft sets on offer, although they will be inconsistent due to the extra travel distance. Winds will freshen from the W on Tues to reach strong wind/low end gale force through the day. It’s going to be a wild day of stiff offshores. Expect swell to ease through the day.
From mid week we’re looking at a series of S swells, with plenty of size expected as the frontal system joins with the tropical low remnants and forms a large low pressure gyre in the Tasman Sea.
We’ll be revising the details on Mon, as we get closer to the action but the broad outline is a steep increase Wed from both severe gales out of Bass Strait and a long fetch of gales extending SE of Tasmania, all with fresh W’ly winds. That should push wave heights up into the 5-6ft range at S facing beaches after lunch.
Thurs looks even more solid. The fetch consolidates into a long, deep, straight S’ly wind field of gales extending down to 55S. It’s quite unusual to see straight S’ly fetches of that magnitude and while there’s still plenty of scope for this outlook to be dialled down, we’re expecting a solid blast of S’ly groundswell Thurs. Likely in the 6-8ft range across most S exposed breaks. Offshore winds should accompany this swell peak.
S swell then rolls off in size from there into next weekend with high pressure moving over NSW bringing settled conditions before a couple of N’ly days as the high drifts into the Tasman, at more typical Winter latitudes.
More S swell looks to be on the menu following that, although with nothing major indicated at this stage.
Check back Mon for the latest and have a great weekend!