UPDATE: Wednesday October 2: Hurricane Lorenzo is currently just north of Flores Island in the western Azores, causing some very extreme conditions on Flores and Corvo, with wave heights over 15 metres. Maximum sustained winds are around 90 mph with higher gusts, and the system is moving quickly northeast at 40mph. This motion is forecast to continue for the next 24 hours or so, before it turns east towards Ireland.
Lorenzo will become an extra-tropical cyclone as it approaches Ireland sometime on Thursday, but it will continue to be a very powerful system. It is presently over relatively warm waters (around 24°C), but as it shifts northeast it will quickly encounter colder waters, along with increased wind shear in the atmosphere. However, the large size of the system and its very fast forward speed will offset this weakening for at least 24 hours. But it should start to weaken by late Thursday, before it crosses Ireland and then turns southeast over England.
Due to the fast north-easterly track of the system, it will generate a short-lived but very long period pulse of swell for westerly exposures in the south of Europe. In Portugal, wave heights reach ten feet or so from the west late Thursday and early Friday, with periods initially exceeding 20 secs., accompanied by moderate north or northwest winds.
In Biscay, expect some smaller, long-period swell at westerly exposures only, with wave heights increasing north of Hossegor, and light or moderate winds from a westerly quarter.
A southwest exposures in southwest England, Wales and southwest Ireland, the swell hits more square-on, with some small, very long period swell on Thursday accompanied by southerly winds, and then a dramatic increase on Friday with wave heights exceeding 15 feet at the most exposed spots, accompanied by gale-force winds from a westerly quarter.
EARLIER: Monday September 30: Hurricane Lorenzo is currently located about 1000 miles southwest of the Azores, moving steadily in a north-easterly direction. Maximum sustained winds are about 100 mph with higher gusts.
Lorenzo is expected to remain a major hurricane and continue moving northeast over the next 48 hours. It will pass very close to the western Azores on Wednesday, mostly affecting the islands of Flores and Corvo with hurricane-force winds and wave heights in excess of ten metres. The middle island group will also be affected, with huge swells, storm surges and storm-force winds.
Lorenzo is being steered around the southern flank a low pressure system currently off Newfoundland and expanding into the North Atlantic over the next few days. As Lorenzo becomes entrained into the peripheral flow of that system it will pick up speed and eventually become an ex-tropical storm itself. It is still expected to be a very powerful system somewhere west of Ireland by early Thursday, before it moves quickly north and weakens as it encounters much colder water and increased vertical wind shear.
If you happen to be in the mid or eastern Azores, you might get some good wrap-around swell with strong offshore winds at east-facing spots. If you are on Flores or Corvo, conditions will be apocalyptic, and the best advice is to leave those islands if you can. Hit the blue links on locations to check the report for your area.
Lorenzo will also generate a short-lived, very long period swell for western exposures in mainland Europe. In Portugal expect wave heights to reach ten feet or so by late Wednesday, with periods exceeding 20 secs. The WSW swell probably won’t produce those epic A-frames at Nazaré though.
Further north in Biscay, the swell will struggle to get in, but spots north of Hossegor will probably get some very long-period swell on Thursday.
In southwest England and southwest Ireland, wave heights get very large Thursday and Friday but are accompanied gale-force west or southwest winds. However, you might get some small but very long period swell at rare southwest-facing spots on Wednesday, before the storm hits.
Make sure to keep an eye on your local reports. More as we get it.
EARLIER: September 27. Here we go. The northern hemi's big wave season has only just opened for business in Europe, but already, there's potential for an XL Hurricane strike on the long-range forecast, as well as a strong swell pulse set to rifle in over the next few days.
Currently working its way across the Atlantic, Lorenzo is heading towards the Caribbean but could soon boomerang back and make its way towards Europe. Of course, and we can't stress this enough, it's likely Lorenzo will weaken in strength by the time it arrives Europe-way, so keep an eye on the site's probability meter and your local charts for updates (see here). But here's the run down of how it's looking right now.
Related content: Europe Hurricane Strike
“About half way between Cabo Verde and the Caribbean, Hurricane Lorenzo is moving towards the northwest, forecast to arc around to the northeast and remain a major hurricane for the next few days,” says MSW forecaster Tony Butt. “It's way too far ahead to tell yet, but current long-term forecasts are suggesting that it could pass really close the Azores some time next week, and then maybe generate a large swell for southwest-facing coasts of Europe. We'll keep you posted with more updates after the weekend.”
Forecast: UK and Ireland
On to more immediate matters though and the North Atlantic has gone into overdrive, a strong pulse has been lashing some of the coastline, with the crescendo likely to play out tomorrow.
“The North Atlantic currently contains an expansive area of low pressure centred just west of Scotland, moving very slowly east and gradually weakening,” says Tony.
“A strong westerly fetch on its southern flank has already generated some large swell for west and northwest exposures, as the system tracked across the North Atlantic over the last few days.
“A developing peripheral low, currently just off Newfoundland, will move quickly east and deepen, expected just west of Ireland by Saturday. High pressure over the Azores will persist for the next few days, with a moderate northerly flow on its eastern flank affecting Portugal. Most northern areas will be under the influence of a westerly flow and frontal systems associated with that low.
A large swell is already starting to hit extreme westerly exposures such as western Ireland. This will progressively fill in at places further south and east, reaching Galicia later tonight, Portugal and France during Friday
“A large swell is already starting to hit extreme westerly exposures such as western Ireland. This will progressively fill in at places further south and east, reaching Galicia later tonight, Portugal and France during Friday.
“In northern areas including Ireland, Cornwall and northwest France, strong westerly winds will coincide with the peak of the swell, with wave heights reaching eight to ten feet on Friday and decreasing steadily over the weekend. Northeast exposures might get some smaller, cleaner surf.
“In southwest France, the swell arrives late on Friday and continues into Saturday, coinciding with light variable winds or light onshores. Wave heights will reach ten feet at exposed spots on Saturday, quickly dropping on Sunday.
Don't fancy that XL session? Check out other spots across Portugal here.
“Down into Portugal, wave heights ramp up on Friday, hitting ten feet or more at swell magnets such as Nazaré, but with fresh north or NNW winds. This continues into the weekend with wave heights steadily dropping. Southwest-facing pointbreaks will have some very good, medium to large surf throughout the whole weekend.”
Remember to keep an eye on your local charts via MSW's homepage.