Welcome to Winter Part 2: Step-ladder S swells expected from mid-week, becoming very sizeable later in the weekend
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 6th June)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Tiny/flat Monday, small flukey pulse possible Tues
- Solid S'ly swell Wed, large sometime Thurs/Fri
- Solid S swell Sat, becoming very large Sun, extending into Mon
- More solid S swell expected next week
- Entire period with offshore winds, fresh at times, apart from light breezes Mon
After Fridays strong pulse that saw certain deep-water adjacent reefs showing 8-10ft surf the weekend steadily trended downwards. Winds were generally light with morning offshores that lasted well into the midday so clean conditions were on hand both days. Saturday saw size in the 3-4ft range early which eased through the day with Sunday a smaller 2ft - 2-3ft on the Hunter. Today has eased right back to tiny with freshening NW to W winds as another series of strong cold fronts being to sweep across the South-East. That will see a series of S swell pulses, becoming large over the weekend. Read on for details.
This week (June 6-10)
As Ben mentioned in Fridays f/cast notes we are now seeing a couple of intra-seasonal climate drivers having a strong influence on our synoptic pattern and subsequent swell regime. A strong node of the Long Wave Trough is steering fronts into the Tasman Sea while a negative phase of the SAM (Southern Annular Mode) is bringing the Southern Ocean storm track into a more northerly latitude, closer to the Australian continent and Tasman Sea. Both those factors will drive a series of strong cold fronts this week, with a step-ladder effect likely on swell pulses as each subsequent front works on an already charged sea state.
In the short run and front and post-frontal trough are already moving over interior NSW, driving a stiff W’ly through tomorrow. W’ly gales out of Bass Strait today will generate small amounts of refracted S swell which typically show from Sydney northwards into the Hunter. Expect a few 2-3ft sets at S facing beaches after lunch tomorrow with tiny/flat conditions elsewhere.
Wednesday will see a steeper building trend in new S swell as broader fetches of SW gales push off Tasmania and extend down into the lower Tasman. As for the last series of S swells there will multiple fetches acting across this area at any one time so expect very pulsey swell events over the next week. Size should start in the 2-3ft range at S facing beaches Wed and push up into the 3-5ft range during the day, bigger 4-5ft on the Hunter and parts of the Central Coast. Winds will shift from straight W to W/SW so some S facing stretches will have some wind issues.
Through the latter part of the week and another front pushing through Thurs continues to drive W to W/SW winds across the region. Mid period S swell in the 4-5ft range at S facing beaches should see some 6ft sets across the Hunter, before a slight easing off during the a’noon. There’ll be waves all day, biggest in the morning.
The step-ladder effect should be noticeable Fri as the next pulse of S swell fills in, with more period and size than the previous pulses. More W to W/SW wind is expected, but size will lift up into the 4-6ft range across S exposed breaks with bigger 6ft+ or even bigger at exposed deep-water adjacent reefs.
This weekend (June 11-12)
Lots more S swell on the cards for this weekend, lifting up into the next size range through Sunday, as powerful fronts continue to pour through the Tasman Sea.
High pressure support along an elongated front and another deep low pressure gyre forming well South-east of the South Island super-charge a deep southern fetch Fri into Sat with an area of 20ft seas sling-shotting agressively North-east into the Tasman Sea.
Offshore winds continue Sat, likely straight W’ly and size is expected to hold in the 6ft range through the morning, building into the 6-8ft range during the a’noon as longer period swell trains make landfall. It’ll be getting into the experts only category during Sat a’noon so choose your surf spot wisely.
Sunday looks even bigger. With models showing a significant swath of severe gale to storm force winds tracking NE into the Tasman on an already super-charged sea state this is looking like a very large straight S swell event. Under current modelling we are looking at size ramping up from 6-8ft during the morning into the 8-10, and then 10-12ft (bigger on the Hunter and exposed deepwater reefs) range at S exposed breaks. Longer swell periods will assist in refracting into more sheltered spots so there should be no shortage of size across the f/cast region on Sun.
Next week (June 13 onwards)
Lots of size into the start of next week and really, strong S swell is expected through to at least mid next week, possibly later, as the complex low pressure gyre remains slow moving under New Zealand and further fronts push into the Tasman Sea pipe. We’ll finesse these evens as we get closer to them but Sundays large pulse is likely to extend into Mon at size- with surf in the 10ft range at S facing beaches, smaller elsewhere. Light breezes are expected as a weak high pressure area drifts over the region. If you’ve got big waves in mind, pencil in Mon.
Size just slowly eases through Tues, though with plenty of long period S’ly energy and size in the 8ft range at S exposed breaks, slowly drifting downwards through the day. Another cold front is likely to re-activate W’ly winds across the region Tues. It looks pretty special to be honest.
Into mid next week and a renewal of strong S swell is possible as another severe gale fetch pushes past Tas Mon/Tues. Keep the step-up out it’s likely to get used again Wed as surf pushes back into the 6-8ft range with offshore winds.
Further out and long period SSE/SE swell is likely from under New Zealand into the end of next week or possibly weekend with light winds.
Check back in Wed and we’ll update this very juicy forecast.