Well, right when you thought we'd seen the last of those XL swells in Europe, a blessed late season super session looks about to throw down on Friday and into the weekend, with wave heights jacking into the realms of beyond mere mortals.
Portugal may get it best. A few spring-flavoured peaks could rear up at Nazare. Galicia, too, seems likely to face the brunt of this one. Meanwhile, places like Cornwall will certainly be graced with this rifling pulse, but hampered with strong wind. Seek shelter.
“The North Atlantic chart at the moment is looking very winter-like, with a large low centred just west of Ireland,” says MSW forecaster Tony Butt. “It has a strong north-westerly fetch on its southwest flank, pushing some big swell into southern areas.
“The system is not expected to move very much until around late Thursday when it begins to weaken and move north. At the same time, high pressure pushes up from the southwest and builds just off Portugal, while a small peripheral low develops on the southern flank of the main system and moves over Ireland late Friday.
“The main bulk of the swell will hit Galicia, with wave heights reaching 15 feet or so at exposed spots early Friday, accompanied by fresh west or southwest winds.
“Down into Portugal, exposed areas will exceed ten feet, and swell-magnets such as Nazare will be bigger. Expect good wind conditions early Friday, before those northerly trades set in around mid-afternoon. At Nazare, breaking wave heights could easily exceed 20 feet, with the west-northwest swell producing good A-frames.
“The swell will also hit further north in places such as southwest Ireland and Cornwall, but it will be hampered by persistent winds from a westerly quarter.
“The swell peaks on Friday morning in most places and holds fairly steady during the day. Wave heights drop during Saturday but still remain over six feet in most places, with lighter wind conditions in southern areas.
“The best bet will probably be Portugal; that high pressure moving in from the west almost at the same time as the swell arrives. Conditions will be cleanest in the mornings, with northerly trades picking up during the afternoons.”