Storm Hector is sweeping across Britain and Ireland, with some surprisingly strong winds for this time of year. It is also generating a nice pulse of swell for France and Spain.
Today’s chart shows a deep low centred over the Shetland Islands and moving steadily north-northeast. This system – called Storm Hector – deepened quickly yesterday afternoon as it tracked towards Britain and Ireland, and produced gale-force westerly winds over northern areas between midnight and early this morning. As Hector disappears north, another, weaker system is tracking across the North Atlantic, and is expected just northwest of Ireland by around midday tomorrow, Friday.
The strong westerly fetch on Hector’s southern flank is generating some large, ragged surf for northern and mid areas accompanied by strong westerly winds; and a short, sharp pulse of swell heading south, expected to arrive in Galicia, northern Spain and southwest France during Friday. Another pulse of swell from that second system will hit later on Sunday.
Northern areas will get the largest wave heights but will be mostly hampered by strong winds from a westerly quarter. The far north of Ireland and western Scotland might get better wind conditions on Sunday, with some average-quality residual swell.
Southern areas such as France and northern Spain are by far the best bet over the next few days, with a solid five or six feet at exposed spots tomorrow, dropping on Saturday and then another pulse later on Sunday. Wind conditions are good, with very light winds in the mornings and light perhaps moderate onshores in the afternoons in most places, but moderate north-easterlies in Galicia. In Portugal things are not so good, with persistent northerly trades severely hindering the mostly north-northwest swell.
Cover shot of Tom Lowe by Ian Mitchinson.