Forecaster Blog: QLD, NSW and WA Mid-Week Swell Increase

5 Jan 2016 0 Share

Matt McKay

Swell Forecaster

Forecaster Blog: A Big Week For QLD, NSW & W.A

NSW
A low-pressure trough is deepening off the NSW Mid North Coast ahead of an approaching upper level cold air mass. Within the next 24 hrs, this trough will spawn into a low pressure system before consolidating and migrating south, parallel to the NSW coastline. Of course, as is the case with most of these dynamic Tasman Lows, there is divergence amongst computer models. The GFS, NAVGEM and ACCESS-R models favour the southward movement whilst the ECMWF shows the system moving swiftly to the SE. For now, I’d be more inclined to hedge my bets on the majority here, and so, I’ll discuss the influence that this southward movement will have on potential wave heights across the Eastern Seaboard.

SEE ALSO: Super Saturday In NSW

As this low materialises tomorrow (Wednesday) we will see moderate SE winds across the Sydney-Hunter region, strong S/ SW winds north of Newcastle and comparatively lighter SE winds along the South Coast of NSW. Offshore wind speeds along the southwestern to western flank of system are forecast to reach 40 to 45 knots, whipping up a generous amount of swell for the East Coast. As you’d expect, local wave heights will also follow the aforementioned wind trend. It appears likely that the bulk of the swell will hit the Hunter/ Macquarie Coast, grading smaller as we move down the coast. I must stress that wave direction could be an issue north of Forster on Wednesday due to the southerly bias of the swell. However, by Thursday, the swell is forecast to tend SSE, opening up a few more options further north.

This Wavetracker image shows the localised spread of the impending swell. Larger waves are forecast along the Mid-North Coast, grading smaller as we move south.

This Wavetracker image shows the localised spread of the impending swell. Larger waves are forecast along the Mid-North Coast, grading smaller as we move south.

Anyway, we should see this swell build throughout Wednesday; speculatively peaking later Wednesday/ early Thursday. As you can see from the Wavetracker image, this swell will be very localised, making it difficult to pinpoint exact wave heights. Judging by the recent model runs, this system will start drifting further east by Thursday morning. From this, we will see winds tend SSW across the southern half of the coast, and SW north of Forster. As the day progresses winds will increase and tend more south, so you’ll have to find a sheltered spot if you want to go for a surf.

MID-NORTH COAST

Wednesday
Building S swell with E groundswell. 3-4ft early building to 4-6ft+ across south facing beaches. Grading to 3-4ft elsewhere. WIND: SW 15-20 knots tending SSW 25-35 knots.

Thursday
Fading S swell. 5-6ft early easing to 4-5ft across south facing beaches. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SW 10-20 knots tending S 20-25 knots.

SYDNEY

Wednesday
Building S/SSE swell with background E swell. 3-4ft early building to 4-6ft across south facing beaches. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SE 15-20 knots tending SSE 15-25 knots.

Thursday
Fading SSE swell. 4-6ft+ early easing to 3-5ft across south facing beaches. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SSW 15-25 knots tending S 20-25 knots.

SOUTH COAST

Wednesday
Building SE/ESE swell with background E swell. 2-4f early building to 4-5ft across south facing beaches. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SSE 10-15 knots (possibly offshore south of Nowra) tending SSE 15-25 knots.

Thursday
Fading SSE swell. 4-5ft+ early easing to 3-4ft across south facing beaches. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND:  SSW 15-25 knots tending S 15-20 knots.

SE QLD/ NTH NSW
Tropical Cyclone Ula has been quietly spinning away south of the Fijian Islands for what seems like an eternity. Yesterday she finally dipped far enough south into our swell window which should give rise to a new easterly groundswell which is forecast to pulse throughout tomorrow. A weak low pressure system/ coastal trough is also sitting off the Sunshine Coast. At this stage, it is forecast to move further offshore in the coming hours, making room for some early offshore winds across SE QLD/ Nth NSW tomorrow morning. By the afternoon winds will tend S/SSE thanks to the development of the Tasman Low along the NSW coastline.

SEE ALSO: What Did The Swell Do For Snapper On Saturday? 

Our easterly groundswell will fill in overnight; generating some great 3-5ft waves across most beaches and points. It is important to remember that our swell source is some 3000km away and so, you’ll have to be patient if you want to get some of these larger waves. It is also worth noting that TC Ula is forecast to weaken and move north, behind New Caledonia within the couple of days; effectively blocking any further swell from reachin our shores, so make the most the the impending groundswell.

There should be plenty of waves like this on offer tomorrow across Nth NSW and SE QLD. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member: lennitheox

There should be plenty of waves like this on offer tomorrow across Nth NSW and SE QLD. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member: lennitheox

By Thursday morning, there will be an obvious reduction in wave energy. That being said, there should still be some residual 3-4ft waves across the more exposed beaches and points. Morning winds look like they’ll be out of the SW/SSW before tending SSE, so get out there early to make the most of a fading swell.

Wednesday
Fun E groundswell. 3-5ft across eastern exposures. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Light and variable tending S/SSE 10-20 knots.

Thursday
Easing E groundswell. 3-4ft early decreasing to 2-3ft across eastern exposures. WIND: SSW 10-15 knots tending SSE 10-20 knots.

The predicted track of TC Ula. Source: JTWC

The predicted track of TC Ula. Source: JTWC

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Who could forget W.A? A coastal trough and ridge to the SE of the state will push some warm E/ESE winds our way over the next couple of days. The deep low pressure cell has recently passed the Kerugian Island chain will generate a fun bout of SW groundswell for Wednesday; speculatively reaching 4-6ft across the SW Coast. However, due to the long period nature of this swell, you’ll have to wait patiently for the inconsistent sets. By Thursday, our storm will be long gone, leaving us with some leftover SW swell. That being said, we should still see some 4-5ft waves across the SW coast before easing throughout the day.

Wednesday
New SW groundswell. Southwest coast: 4-6ft at exposed beaches, easing later. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft. WIND: ESE 15-20 knots speculatively tending S 10-15 knots late.

Thursday
Fading SW swell. Southwest coast: 3-5ft, easing. Perth/Mandurah: Inco 1-2ft. WIND: E 10-15 knots.

Those of you who are patient enough just might jag a few of these over the coming days. Photo: Dan Wyer

Those of you who are patient enough just might jag a few of these over the coming days. Photo: Dan Wyer

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