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Atlantic Storm Take Two

by on Wednesday 29th January, 2014   112723 Visits   Comments

While the swell charts for both storms show a similar sized centre with waves in the 50ft+ range this chart comparing our estimated breaking wave heights (combining swell size AND period) shows the true story of relative power, particularly as you head further south.

Surfers itching for another opportunity to see those normally dormant spots lit up by Hercules-esque fire might not have long to wait. In its evolution Take Two is a very different storm but the results: massive swell and gale force winds coupled with huge spring tides make for a similarly apocalyptic vibe. However, in general, this is not a good storm for surfing anything but the most tucked away of locations.

Both storms offer big black blobs on the swell chart just west of the United Kingdom, but the differences are worth exploring: Hercules began life on the US East Coast, rapidly intensifying as it moved out of Canadian waters and it grew into a monster spanning the whole North Atlantic. Pushing east at the perfect speed to continue to build energy into the swell it was characterised not just by huge peak sea heights, but by an incredible peak period and consistent, sustained winds. In a similar fashion this latest storm starts life in the fertile breeding ground of the Gulf of Mexico on the front between colder Northern air and warm air rising over the Gulf. But unlike Hercules this storm remains unexceptional as it moves on a steady north easterly track into the middle of the Atlantic where it then undergoes a similar rapid deepening. Somewhat unusually during this period of explosive cyclogenesis the storm is forecast to turn to move south east bringing the bulk of the swell towards the Bay of Biscay, rather than Northern Scotland as might be more typical.

For the United Kingdom waves forecast to push towards 30ft@19 seconds in Cornwall coupled with 60mph winds.

As a result we see exceptional swell coupled with moderate to gale force westerly winds across Atlantic facing European coasts. For the United Kingdom there are, again, legitimate reasons for concern. Waves forecast to push towards 30ft@19 seconds in Cornwall coupled with 60mph winds and once again huge spring tides are a recipe for more incidents of coastal damage and flooding.

Moving further south into Europe the story remains of winds problematic at times with large swell – although here the differences in power will be felt more keenly. As you can see from the chart above the extra energy in the Hercules storm maintained the potential for the largest breaking waves right down to the Canaries and North Africa. For this new storm the waves will be impressive here, but not on the scale of the last storm.

Make sure you upload your photo from this storm HERE

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