Forecaster Blog: Here comes Tropical Cyclone 13P

13 Mar 2018 10 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Issued Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The perquisites for classifying a storm as a tropical cyclone are not universal – and hence it’s not unusual to see various meteorological agencies assigning different classifications to a particular tropical low. An active system currently located over the eastern Coral Sea is a good case in point. As of Monday afternoon the Australian Bureau of Meteorology are yet to give a 998hPa tropical depression tropical cyclone status. In contrast, the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (a US based storm monitoring body) have already given the storm the not so sexy title; Tropical Cyclone 13P.

TC 13P's poleward track points to a sizeable increase in ESE swell across southern Queensland late Wednesday through Thursday morning, but it's fair to say conditions are unlikely to be exhibiting the same kind of power and symmetry as the TC Gita swell. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Saa1977.

TC 13P's poleward track points to a sizeable increase in ESE swell across southern Queensland late Wednesday through Thursday morning, but it's fair to say conditions are unlikely to be exhibiting the same kind of power and symmetry as the TC Gita swell. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Saa1977.

Classifications aside, TC 13P is on track to deliver a solid push in short-period ESE swell to southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts over the next 24 to 28 hours. For locations further south there’s also scope for a smaller pulse of NE swell showing up on Thursday and Friday, but even at this late stage the specifics surrounding peak wave height and period generated by the system are still looking a little murky.

This recent MSLP from the BOM depicts the 998 hPa low (aka TC 13P), currently drifting south at about 10 knots. Source: BOM.

This recent MSLP from the BOM depicts the 998 hPa low (aka TC 13P), currently drifting south at about 10 knots. Source: BOM.

On the one hand there’s general agreement among the various computer models indicating the storm will track south to southwest, towards the southern Queensland coast over the next 24 hours, but on the other they diverge on the precise track – and also on the strength and duration of the various fetch-areas developing across its southern and eastern flanks. Never the less, based on the latest GFS and EC runs it looks like TC 13P will most likely come within close range of the southern Queensland coast between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning; bringing a strengthening ESE fetch within point-blank range of the region from Wednesday onwards.

There are good indications TC 13P will drive a steep rising trend in ESE swell across southern Queensland coasts later Wednesday, speculatively showing peak size early on Thursday. Source: Wave Tracker.

There are good indications TC 13P will drive a steep rising trend in ESE swell across southern Queensland coasts later Wednesday, speculatively showing peak size early on Thursday. Source: Wave Tracker.

The close-proximity of the swell-source should have rapid effects on conditions throughout Wednesday; producing a strong building trend in short-range ESE swell and increasing SE winds across the coast. Having said that, the short-period associated with the rising swell may well inhibit any major increase in surf-heights inside the sheltered points and bays (like Kirra) until Thursday morning. 

On a final note, if you're thinking of a possible repeat of the epic TC Gita swell at Kirra, you might want to think again. The shorter peak period generated by TC 13P, coupled with the complexity of the wind-field generated by the system is likely to see a very different mood along the Snapper to Kirra stretch come Thursday morning. Of course, that would still be a very good mood if current model runs prove accurate.

For more detail on how conditions are looking for southern Queensland check the detailed forecast here.

For particulars on TC 13P’s potential impact on Sydney and the South Coast (not to mention an additional round of S groundswell) click here.


TC 13P's forecast to track south over the next 24 to 48 hours; remaining offshore but coming within close range of the southern Queensland coast later Wednesday/ early Thursday. Source: JTWC.

TC 13P's forecast to track south over the next 24 to 48 hours; remaining offshore but coming within close range of the southern Queensland coast later Wednesday/ early Thursday. Source: JTWC.


Tags: Forecaster Blog , TC 13P , Ben Macartney (create Alert from these tags)

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