This is it. Our final forecast update as Ex-hurricane Sam is about to rifle swell into much of western Europe over the next few days. And we cannot wait.
Let's get straight to the meat of this from MSW forecaster Tony Butt: "Hurricane Sam transitioned to a post-tropical storm early Tuesday October 4, (that means, hurricane Sam downgraded to this state) as it tracked into colder water east of Newfoundland. On Wednesday, it expanded and accelerated towards the northeast and is now situated south of Iceland. It is expected to move north and then northwest over the next day or so, weakening and eventually losing its identity.
"A large area of storm-force winds developed on the southern flank of the system on Tuesday, which then moved northeast and maintained its strength for around 36 hours. This generated a pulse of long-period swell, which is just about to arrive and will produce some good surf at westerly exposures over the next few days.
"In Ireland, for example, the long-period forerunners arrive overnight, and the swell fills in on Thursday, peaking on late Thursday or early Friday with wave heights up to ten feet at the most exposed spots. Winds are from the south then southeast, stronger in the south.
"Expect a similar story in Cornwall and the UK southwest, with best conditions on Friday as the swell fills in and winds back to the southeast. Wave heights hit six feet or so on Friday, dropping through Saturday with continuing good wind conditions.
"Further south in Galicia, conditions are good for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with wave heights peaking at well over six feet at exposed spots, perhaps overpowering some of the most exposed beachbreaks.
"The swell filters into Biscay and arrives a bit later, picking up late Thursday and persisting through Friday and Saturday, spots around Hossegor hitting six feet, with winds from an easterly quarter. The beachbreaks might be better towards the latter part of the swell.
"Down in Portugal, Thursday and Friday see some good swell, with light winds at first but then hampered by northerlies. The west swell means that you probably won’t get those classic A-frames at Nazaré."
EARLIER: Monday October 4: Have you been looking at the US, wondering when/if Hurricane Sam will make its way over to the EU? Well, we've got some good news for you. As of right now, it looks like Sam's going to bounce across the Atlantic and uppercut the south west of the UK, Ireland and send swell to Portugal, Spain and France too.
Hot on the heels of true hurricane surf from Larry (remember, that long period pulse that was generated when Larry was off Greenland?) we now have Sam, which could be at its peak on Friday morning - but could get going on Thursday right through to Saturday. This is one you need to keep an eye on.
We'll let MSW forecaster lay down the forecast: "Hurricane Same is currently about 500 miles SSE of Newfoundland, moving fairly quickly towards the northeast. It is still a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of around 100 mph and higher gusts; and continues to gradually expand, with storm-force winds extending up to 240 miles from the centre.
"Sam is expected to remain a hurricane for at least the next 24 hours, with a warm eddy springing off the northern periphery of the Gulf Stream giving it some extra energy from the sea surface, along with a low vertical wind shear.
"Tomorrow, Tuesday, as it transitions to a post tropical system, it will continue to be a really powerful system with hurricane-force winds. But then as it continues to move northeast out into the open North Atlantic, it will inevitably hit much colder waters and increased shear, which will allow it to gradually weaken.
"The fast north-easterly movement will continue at first, steered by the pressure gradient between low pressure to the west and high pressure to the east. Around the middle of the week, it is then expected to slow down and loop around a low pressure south of Greenland.
"Sam has already generated a pulse of surf for the east coast of North America. Nova Scotia, for example, had some epic swell over the weekend, with wave heights around the six foot mark, accompanied by good wind conditions. Now, as Sam expands into a mid-latitude system, it will generate some long-period swell for west-facing spots in Europe.
"In Ireland, the first long-period forerunners arrive late Wednesday, with the swell filling in during Thursday and Friday. Wave heights could hit eight feet or more at exposed spots, with southerly winds, lighter in the north.
"The swell also hits Galicia around the same time, and then filters into the Bay of Biscay a bit later, with wave heights around six feet or so at westerly exposures, and light winds in many places.
"Some good conditions are also expected in the U.K. southwest as it picks up through Thursday and Friday, peaking at five or six feet, with periods initially up to 17 secs, and moderate south or southeast winds."
EARLIER: Wednesday Sept 29: Hurricane Sam is currently situated about 400 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, slowly moving towards the northwest. It is still a Category-4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 140 mph. It is still a relatively tight system, but is gradually expanding, with storm-force winds now extending about 140 miles from the centre.
Over the next few days, it will continue to travel northwest at first, then gradually arc around to the north, steered by a ridge of high pressure to the east, and pushed eastwards by an encroaching trough from the west. At the end of the week it is expected to pass to the east of Bermuda and then swing towards the northeast and accelerate. It will remain a very powerful system over the next few days, as it remains over warm surface waters and low vertical wind shear.
Another factor that sometimes impedes strengthening is when the hurricane itself generates upwelling, (upwelling is when cold water from below rises to the surface). In the case of Sam, the experts are suggesting that this won’t happen because of the accelerating motion of the system.
In the Lesser Antilles, the swell peaked over the last few days and is now dropping. Further north, in the Windward Islands, today Wednesday sees wave heights up to six feet at exposed spots, with light wind conditions. This continues through Thursday before ramping down on Friday.
As the system tracks north it will send swell to the U.S. east coast, hitting the Cape Hatteras area around Friday and becoming more solid on Saturday. Swell quality and local conditions will be good, as the storm stays well away from the coast.
The swell also hits areas further north later in the weekend, with Nova Scotia for example getting some long-period swell around five or six feet with good wind conditions.
Looking even further ahead, Sam could persist as a strong system as it transforms to post-tropical early next week, sending a pulse of super long period swell towards Europe. Stay tuned to find out.
EARLIER: Monday Sept 27. Here it is. Sam has developed into a major hurricane, a category 4 to be precise, which is just one rung below the most powerful of storms in category 5.
Sam's currently moving across the Atlantic, a little slow, but is due to send surf today and over the next few days. Keep an eye on your local forecast to check conditions.
"Hurricane Sam is currently located about 800 miles east of the Leeward Islands, moving slowly towards the northwest," says MSW forecaster Tony Butt. "It is a major hurricane, having already hit Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale (that's the scale we use to measure hurricanes with 1 being the weakest and 5 the most powerful), and is expected to remain so for the next few days. Maximum sustained winds are 130 mph, with higher gusts. Sam is relatively small in area, with storm-force winds extending about 100 miles out from the centre.
Forecast: Central Florida
"Over the next few days, the storm will continue moving towards the northwest, steered around a ridge of high pressure to the northeast. Later in the week, it is expected to turn towards the north and then accelerate, as a trough of low pressure pushes in from the west, with southerly winds on its eastern flank. It will persist as a major hurricane until late in the week, helped very warm ocean surface temperatures and very little vertical wind shear. Only towards the weekend is it expected to begin any serious weakening.
"A pulse of swell is already hitting the Lesser Antilles, today Monday, with wave heights typically in the four to five foot range at easterly exposures. This will peak today and drop through tomorrow and Wednesday. Further north in the Windward Islands, the swell picks tomorrow and peaks on Wednesday, perhaps hitting six feet at exposed spots.
"Later on towards the weekend, as Sam tracks north, it will send a pulse of long-period swell to the U.S. east coast, with the possibility of good local conditions as the storm stays well away from the coast. However, the small area of the storm and the accelerating movement towards the north will mean that the swell will probably be short-lived."
We'll keep you posted as Sam plays out. Stay tuned for more.