Tony Butt’s 3 Day Outlook for Europe / UK

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Surf report for Thursday 03 May 2012

 

Best bet

Northern Scotland

 

General synopsis at 12:00 UTC

Not much action on today’s chart, apart from a flabby cut-off low drifting around off the coast of northern Portugal and another cut-off system just near Newfoundland, slow moving. There is a small northerly fetch just south of Svalbard in the far north, which might generate some swell for the extreme north, but apart from that, pressure gradients over the entire north Atlantic and over most local areas are quite weak.

 

Forecast

Over the next few days the low next to Portugal will disappear, and that new cut-off low by Newfoundland will gradually drift out into the open North Atlantic, expected about 500 miles west of the Azores by Sunday. A moderate westerly fetch on its southwest flank could generate some west swell. Meanwhile a low develops over Scandinavia which enhances the northerly fetch in the North Sea and begins to produce a pulse of swell for northern Scotland and northeast England. Local pressure gradients remain slack everywhere.

 

South Coast of England

Friday:

Very small or flat everywhere, with light northeast winds

Saturday:

The northeast winds pick up to fresh perhaps strong for a while, whipping up some short-period easterly swell; wave heights up to about three feet at exposed spots

Sunday:

The easterly swell drops steadily and winds veer east and then southeast, moderate to fresh

 

Northern France and Channel Islands

Friday:

Very small or flat in most places, although some very small long-period swell in the west, with light to moderate north or northeast winds

Saturday:

Mostly short-period northeast swell, biggest on north-facing coasts in France; wave heights up to about four feet and fresh to strong northeast winds

Sunday:

The northeast swell drops off fairly quickly; winds ease off to moderate and swing easterly

 

East coast of England and Scotland

Friday:

Short-period north swell increasing during the day with wave heights reaching about four feet at exposed spots and fresh northerly winds

Saturday:

The north swell becomes more solid, with wave heights up to six feet or so and moderate to fresh north or northeast winds

Sunday:

Winds die down to very light easterlies and the north swell steadily drops while cleaning up at the same time

 

Southwest Norway

Friday:

Poor-quality northerly windseas, increasing to about six feet at direct exposures, with winds increasing to strong perhaps gale-force north or northwest

Saturday:

Gale-force north or northwest winds at first, gradually decreasing, with a large, poor-quality north swell; wave heights hitting eight feet or more exposed spots

Sunday:

Winds turn northwest or west, moderate or fresh, and the swell drops steadily but begins to filter a bit better into southwest-facing spots

 

North Coast of Scotland

Friday:

A largish north swell with wave heights up to eight feet or so at exposed spots, accompanied by fresh to strong northerly winds

Saturday:

The swell gradually drops in size but doesn’t improve much, with moderate to fresh north or northwest winds

Sunday:

Winds drop right off to very light northerlies and the swell steadies off and improves in quality; wave heights about five feet at northerly exposures

 

Western Scotland and northwest Ireland

Friday:

Mostly poor-quality north swell with wave heights around six feet at north-facing spots and fresh northerly winds

Saturday:

The north swell gradually drops and improves slightly, while winds veer to moderate north-easterlies

Sunday:

Winds veer to light east or southeast and the north swell disappears; wave heights down below three feet in most places

 

Southwest Ireland

Friday:

A very small long-period west swell with wave heights up to about four feet at exposed spots in the west; light northeast winds

Saturday:

Poor-quality northerly windseas, with wave heights about four feet on west-facing coasts but pretty flat in the south; fresh to strong northeast winds

Sunday:

Winds turn southeast, fresh to strong, generating poor-quality windseas, this time biggest at south-facing spots

 

Southwest Wales

Friday:

Very small or flat everywhere, with very light easterly winds

Saturday:

Continuing very small or flat, with moderate northeast winds

Sunday:

Mostly flat, with a small, choppy southeast windsea generated by moderate southeast winds

 

North Devon and Cornwall

Friday:

A tiny long-period swell might produce surfable waves in the far west; wave heights below three feet and light northeast winds

Saturday:

Winds pick up to fresh easterlies and any swell disappears

Sunday:

Winds veer southeast, moderate or fresh, and wave heights continue very small

 

Northwest France

Friday:

Small, quite poor quality surf with wave heights below three feet and light to moderate west or southwest winds

Saturday:

A small, peaky southwest swell might produce some rideable surf at southwest-facing spots; wave heights around two or three feet and windless conditions

Sunday:

Wave heights continue very small and winds increase to moderate southerlies

 

Southwest France

Friday:

Small, poor-quality surf with wave heights barely reaching three feet and moderate west or southwest winds

Saturday:

Continuing very small with moderate southwest winds veering northwest in the afternoon

Sunday:

Winds decrease to light westerlies and surf conditions remain poor, with very little in the way of swell

 

North coast of Spain – east of Gijón

Friday:

Almost no swell at all, with wave heights below three feet everywhere and light southwest winds

Saturday:

Continuing very small, below three feet in most places, with light northerly winds in the afternoon

Sunday:

A small, short-period west swell doesn’t improve things much, with light to moderate west winds, turning northwest in the afternoon

 

North coast of Spain – west of Gijón

Friday:

Some rideable surf at the most exposed spots on the west sides of peninsulas, maybe two or three feet, with light variable winds

Saturday:

Remaining very small and deteriorating in quality, with moderate southwest winds veering west in the afternoon

Sunday:

Almost no swell anywhere, with light to moderate southwest winds, swinging north in the afternoon

 

West coast of Galicia

Friday:

Poor-quality southwest swell with wave heights up to about five feet and lumpy, and fresh southerly winds

Saturday:

Winds veer westerly, light to moderate, and wave heights decrease; conditions remain poor for surfing

Sunday:

Winds turn to moderate south-westerlies and the swell quality improves slightly; wave heights about three feet

 

Portugal

Friday:

Poor-quality west swell with wave heights up to six or seven feet and moderate to fresh westerly winds

Saturday:

Winds decrease to light to moderate westerlies and wave heights start to decrease; surf quality remains poor

Sunday:

Winds go very light but the swell becomes very small and lumpy, although you might find some peaky beachbreak surf

 

Long-term prospects:

The charts are now looking more and more summer-like as we move into late spring. The upper airstream remains quite slack over the next week or so, with the odd cut-off system breaking off the main flow. These systems might produce west or southwest swells for exposed areas. The northern North Sea is looking slightly more active, which could mean some swell for the extreme north.

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