Strong S swell pulse incoming tomorrow, then easing off into the weekend
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 23rd Nov)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Stronger pulses Wed, peaking Thurs with winds becoming light
- Easing S swells Fri with light winds
- Slight rebuild in S swell Sat with S’ly winds expected
- Small leftovers Sun with freshening N’lies
- Small surf expected Mon next week with a slight S swell pulse Tues
- Tracking possible juicy developments as low pressure forms off QLD coast later next week, say tuned for revisions
Our S swell pulses are coming in close to f/cast expectations with size building from 2-3ft to 3-4ft at S facing beaches yesterday- mostly clean under an offshore W’ly flow that tended W/SW at times. That size has held into today with a few bigger long-lined sets to 4ft and clean conditions under a W-W/NW flow that is expected to tend to light E-E/SE breezes through the a’noon. Waves have been there for the taking if you can find a spot handling the straight S’ly swell direction, which has tended to close-out at quite a few beaches.
This week (Nov 23-25)
We’ve had the entrees for this S swell event and we’re now close to the main course with a deep low (977hPa) and gales tracking NE into the Tasman from behind Tasmania. These gales are on track to deliver the juiciest pulse of this event through tomorrow, with weak high pressure moving over NSW.
In the short run, this adds up to stronger S’ly groundswell through tomorrow with size and power bumping up considerably as longer period swell trains make landfall. Winds look good with light/variable offshore wind extending well into the mid-late morning before tending to light SE-E breezes through the a’noon. Expect size in the 4-6ft range with bigger 6ft+ surf across the Hunter and even bigger sets probable at deep water adjacent reef breaks which can take advantage of the longer swell periods.
Friday will see smaller surf as mid period S swell trains fill in behind the long period S swell Thursday. We should see some 3ft+ sets through the morning at S facing beaches, bigger 4-5ft on the Hunter, with a slow easing through the day. A weak high and weak front pushing through will see early offshore winds tend SSE-SE through the day, so get in early for the cleanest conditions.
This weekend (Nov26-27)
Saturday looks to have more swell energy to play with now, as Fridays' weak frontal system rebuilds wave heights a notch into the 3ft range at S facing beaches. Keep expectations pegged low for quality though with the remnants of the front and a high pressure ridge quickly building in behind it seeing a S’ly flow develop across the f/cast region.
The high is quickly shunted NE towards sub-tropical latitudes and with an approaching front and inland low we’ll see a quick return to N’ly winds, which will freshen through the a’noon. Expect lighter NW-N winds early with easing S swells to 2-3ft at S swell magnets, dropping back to sub 2ft surf through the day. There’s not much horsepower in the NE fetch off the coast so NE windswell production is expected to be marginal through Sun a’noon. Expect a shallow S’ly change to make Jervis Bay through the a’noon as a trough pushes up the coast.
Next week (Nov28 onwards)
Still looking like a quiet start to next week before a juicier outlook towards the end of next week (start of Summer).
The trough induced S’ly change will be in by Mon morning with mod/fresh S’ly winds and a small amount of NE windswell in the 1-2ft range which will quickly wane through the day. A small amount of short range S-SSE swell is expected through the a’noon, but with no great size or quality, likely in the 2ft+ range.
This source fades into Tues, with a small amount of S swell from the passing front in the mix, in the 2ft range at S facing beaches. A high pressure ridge from a stretched out belt of high pressure with a strong centre in the Bight brings a SE-ESE flow through Tues. In other words- small, weak and onshore surf is expected.
From mid next week the outlook does look more interesting. As Craig outlined in his article this week about cold outbreaks the Southern Ocean fronts have been active over the last few weeks.
It now looks like we are seeing more action start up from the tropics as well with a cross-equatorial surge and monsoonal flow across Northern Australia into the Coral Sea. Vorticity along this surge and trough line may see low pressure develop in our swell window later next week.
There’s still model divergence about the location of any low pressure development but plausible scenarios generate low pressure off the Central QLD to Fraser Coast late next week (see below), anchored by the strong high in the Bight.
That would initially favour sub-tropical QLD and NSW for swell production possibly as early as late next week, with temperate NSW dependent on the fetch tracking S to SE into the Northern Tasman.
This is just a broad heads up for an event a week and a half away, so expect serious revisions as we track towards through this time frame.
In the mean-time we have swell from the S to deal with.
Check back Fri for the latest update.