First published Feb 23 2021
We've barely touched down after last week's incredible run of swell for Europe and now, we're firing up for a couple of days of XL greatness across the Old Continent.
Now though, a very different scenario is brewing – and it's looking big for some of the premium spots across Europe. A few (more) days of XL swell. We'll let MSW forecaster Tony Butt take it away.
“Last Friday Feb 19 a low pressure system was born off Cape Hatteras, moved northeast and deepened steadily, passing Newfoundland on Sunday and then deepening more rapidly as it moved out into the open Atlantic,” he said. “By Monday the system had expanded and intensified north of the Azores, with a large area of storm-force westerly winds on its southern flank.
“On Tuesday a peripheral trough developed, maintaining those winds, while the main centre continued to move northeast and began to weaken. At the same time, an area of high pressure west of the Azores has been steadily eastwards and is expected to expand from the Azores northeast towards the Celtic Sea during Thursday.
“The strong westerly winds combined with the north-easterly movement of the windfield itself generated a pulse of large, long-period swell, the bulk of which is forecast to hit west and southwest exposures in Ireland overnight Tuesday-Wednesday. A weaker tangential swell will arrive in mid and southern areas during Wednesday and continue through Thursday. Expect some good swell in most areas on Wednesday and Thursday, particularly westerly exposures, but the swell will struggle to reach some north-facing spots.
“In northwest Ireland, the first long-period waves begin to arrive tonight and the swell fills in during Wednesday, reaching ten feet or so at westerly exposures, persisting through Thursday but deteriorating in quality.
“Winds are fresh to strong southwest on Wednesday and strong westerlies on Thursday. In southwest Ireland, the swell hits with full force, increasing to well over 15 feet at exposed spots overnight, peaking on Wednesday morning and gradually decreasing through Thursday. Winds are fresh southwest then west. In Cornwall, wave heights reach eight feet or more by early Wednesday, before decreasing steadily with fresh southerly winds turning northwest.
“In southwest France and the Basque Country, conditions are much cleaner, with a lined-up, long-period swell arriving Wednesday morning and persisting through Thursday and into Friday; wave heights hitting ten feet at westerly exposures by late Wednesday, and light offshore or variable winds throughout.
“Down into Portugal, the swell is probably too west for Nazaré to be epic, but other spots will fire, wave heights hitting ten feet at exposed spots by late Wednesday, gradually decreasing through Thursday and Friday, with moderate southerly winds at first, becoming light east later.
“Lastly, the swell reaches Morocco during the day on Wednesday, averaging around six feet or so, then fills in during Thursday, hitting eight or ten feet at the most exposed spots before gradually decreasing over Friday. Winds are light and variable, with northerly breezes.”
Check your local forecasts before you head out.