Last week, Hurricane Earl sent a long-period pulse of swell from the US east coast over to western Europe. It's a rare event that a swell will travel, uninterrupted across the Atlantic. But now, the first major hurricane of the season is about to do the same thing, only this time, it's a bigger swell with devil wind for some parts. Fair warning though, it's still a long way out, so keep checking back for updates.
Hurricane Fiona, a category 4 hurricane, has already made landfall in Puerto Rico, causing major power outages and killing at least four people. As always, we're left feeling a little conflicted when reporting on the surf-related positives which inevitably go hand in hand with, in this case, the most powerful Atlantic storm of the season. Earlier today, we launched an article detailing how we can all get involved with helping the stricken nation – including links of where you can donate to relief efforts. You can check that out here.
Hurricane Fiona has already send swell to the US east coast and is moving northwards. Over the next day or so, Fiona will generate that long period swell, that will travel right across the North Atlantic and reach the western flank of Europe on Tuesday next week, capping out around the 7ft@20 seconds mark in the UK and Ireland as of right now, but coupled with a NW, onshore wind. It's likely to be smaller in France and Portugal (3ft@18 seconds for the latter) with wind looking favourable at the moment.
UK forecaster Jamie Bateman said: “Western Europe will see another round of long-period, hurricane swell next week. While Earl delivered a rare, hurricane born swell earlier this month, here we are with another, two in as many weeks. Hurricane Fiona, currently a category four storm with Bermuda in its sights tomorrow, is taking a turn to the NNE/NE today this track will help produce a solid, long-period swell that will begin to fan out across the North Atlantic ocean basin by tomorrow.
“Initially this long-period swell will travel uninterrupted across the ocean. Things will change as the swell nears Europe early next week as a large, powerful low-pressure system looks to wind itself up to the north of Iceland through the weekend, sending a cold front and NW wind plunging southwards across Europe through Monday and Tuesday, reaching even the Mediterranean shores of North Africa.
“This NW wind will mostly put a show-stopping dampener on conditions, especially those surf zones further north in Europe which will see the swell and wind turn up at the same time - further south in Portugal and Morocco will just about hold onto the typical N/NNE tradewind pattern before even they too will see an onshore flow mid-week.
“Select deep water, NW wind protected breaks in Ireland and South Wales and West Cornwall will see some OK conditions but that NW wind will be generating local, WNW/NW wind-swell so even the most tucked away of places will have a bump to the line-up. So, for now, let's celebrate another hurricane swell but keep expectations way low.”