Swell

  • This weekend, big swell, bad winds.
  • But we're keeping an eye on middle of next week for something wild.
  • Huge surf currently forecast, could see more than a week of waves from some XL swell magnets.
  • Patterns similar to extreme winter of 2013-14 - the Hercules winter.
  • We've been watching this for a while now. Into this weekend, there's a large swell heading for Europe but that's coming with dicey winds – what's got us hanging on tenterhooks though is into the middle of next week because, my oh my, things are looking particularly wild, if (and that's a big if) this all comes together.

    And by wild, we mean; days upon days of XL-XXL surf, especially around Portugal's favourite amphitheatre at Nazare, with more than a week of solid surf on the charts right now. Those other spots that can cop the brunt of a North Atlantic thrashing could light up too. Remarkably, the wind is holding good for mainland Europe at the moment. This means, we're keeping a very close on eye on it all, as this thing has a load of complexity surrounding it.

    Live cam: Nazare

    This Saturday, there's going to be large seas with sketchy wind for the UK and Ireland. Seek shelter and you may score. Check your local forecast.

    This Saturday, there's going to be large seas with sketchy wind for the UK and Ireland. Seek shelter and you may score. Check your local forecast.

    We can't stress this enough though; we are still a way out from this all coming together and there is a lot that needs to happen to make this a reality. We're seeing multiple swells and that means, there's also multiple things that could throw a spanner in the works.

    Our Nazare long-range showing a whole bucket of favourable wind and pumping surf. Bring your big boards.

    Our Nazare long-range showing a whole bucket of favourable wind and pumping surf. Bring your big boards.

    Let's let MSW forecaster Tony Butt breakdown this early look: “The blocking anticyclone that has been in the North Atlantic for the last ten days or so (blocking means it's in the way of low pressures, which are needed to generate swell) is starting to finally crumble away – and although we're calling this early, it looks like there's going to be plenty of activity in the North Atlantic over the next few weeks.

    “Today, Thursday December 2, sees that high centred over the Azores, and weaker than it has been lately, with its northern edge heading west, against relatively low pressure in the far north. By the weekend, high pressure builds again between the Azores and Iceland, but this will probably shift quickly eastwards, expected over the Low Countries by the middle of next week.

    But then, after the weekend, here's the North Atlantic on Monday evening, you see that big ol' blob of swell in the middle...

    But then, after the weekend, here's the North Atlantic on Monday evening, you see that big ol' blob of swell in the middle...

    ...it's going to hit western Europe, sending swell just about everywhere. Oh and look, there's another storm swinging in behind it! This is the one to watch. Let's see where it's heading...

    ...it's going to hit western Europe, sending swell just about everywhere. Oh and look, there's another storm swinging in behind it! This is the one to watch. Let's see where it's heading...

    “An area of low pressure develops off Greenland later today, moves east and then southeast, and is expected over the North Sea by the weekend. The squeeze of isobars on its southern flank – and this means some largish surf for exposed spots.

    “Oh but then, after the weekend, a more powerful low develops behind that ridge, moving from Newfoundland towards Scotland, with a large area of strong westerly winds covering almost the entire northern half of the North Atlantic. This will generate a more solid, long-period swell for around the middle of next week.

    “What all this means is right now, local conditions are difficult to predict such a long way ahead, but at the moment it looks like the first pulse of swell will be accompanied by fresh winds in most places north of Lisbon, but perhaps cleaning up later; and the second pulse might have much better local conditions, particularly in areas south of the English Channel.” Yeah, we're looking at you, Morocco.

    ...right up north! This means the swell will reach the likes of Nazare with (hopefully) favourable winds. Head south of the English Channel.

    ...right up north! This means the swell will reach the likes of Nazare with (hopefully) favourable winds. Head south of the English Channel.

    But, is it normal to have this much activity going on in the North Atlantic? Kinda, remember 10 days of Nazare? One of the most spectacular swell events in history.

    "What's going on with the North Atlantic is pretty normal behaviour - "flipping" from one state to another, from having a big high blocking the whole ocean and not letting any lows form (or those that do form go right around the top and sneak down the other side, producing surf in the North Sea), to a stream of low pressures, queueing up one after the other, generating large, long-period swells for southern areas and large, stormy conditions for the north," explains Tony.

    "We are noticing it more than usual because it is the first time this season that the North Atlantic has really got into this "fluid" state. Before that high blocked the whole North Atlantic, late summer and autumn were fairly hesitant, with mostly small to medium swells and the odd larger one, some good surf at places that thrive on smaller, cleaner conditions (southwest France, Nazaré), but nothing like what we are seeing now."

    And the last time we saw something similar? "The pattern reminds me a bit of the beginning of the Extreme Winter of 2013-14, when there were a few small to medium, good-quality swells in the autumn, and one solid, long-period swell towards the end of October (which we all got excited about). Around the first week in December, I could see something special forming on the long-term charts, and it looked like everything was about to change, drastically. About a week later, the North Atlantic went into overdrive for the next two months, with a continuous run of never-before-seen swells, hitting 30 feet on a regular basis with periods over 20 secs, and causing unprecedented coastal erosion along the west coasts of Europe."

    Remember Hercules? Yeah. That winter. If you don't see here!

    Keep an eye on your local spots. Here's some handy quick links for you: France | Morocco | Nazare | Mundaka | UK (though this could be one for mainland Europe, sorry UK peeps!)

    Source : https://magicseaweed.com/news/swell-alert-next-weeks-european-meltdown/12636/

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