Swell Alert: Large SSE Groundswell to Rock the East Coast
Issued Tuesday, August 28, 2018
With the exception of the odd day of near epic conditions, like the SE groundswell of August 21st, it hasn’t exactly been a late winter to remember across much of the NSW coast. Indeed, the past week has seen a notable drop in sea-surface temperatures along the southern half of the NSW coast, coinciding with mostly small-scale southerly swell and straight sand-banks – which isn’t exactly a recipe for fond winter memories. Thankfully, the final days of the 2018 winter are set to come to a close in fairly spectacular fashion across the region. Even as I write, a deepening mid-latitude low is whipping up gale force winds over the southern Tasman Sea; setting ups a large pulse of SSE groundswell that’s set to rock the region over the next 48 hours.
- A building trend in SSE groundswell sets in throughout Wednesday, pushing wave-heights up into the 4 to 6ft plus range across Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast, with scope for larger 6 to 8ft+ sets arriving later in the day.
- SSE groundswell maintains peak size into Thursday morning; maintaining potential for large sets ranging from 6 to 8ft across exposed breaks under early light westerly winds to produce the biggest and cleanest surf for this event.
- A steady decline in SSE swell follows as winds swing north later on Thursday, lending the focus to south facing breaks throughout the afternoon.
- The tail end of this event levels off around the 3 to 4ft mark across Sydney and surrounds early on Friday before dropping another foot or so during the day.
- SSE groundswell propagates north to peak across northern NSW coasts throughout Thursday at anywhere from 4 to 8ft levels under offshore westerly winds.
- The groundswell wraps into Queensland’s exposed breaks at about 3 to 5ft, while producing smaller but still good surf along the points all day.
The impending SSE groundswell is linked to a mid-latitude low that’s now rapidly intensifying over the southern Tasman Sea; setting up a gale force SSE fetch within close range of the NSW coast. Although only short lived, the existence of this wind-fetch also coincides with a brief retrograde of the low pressure centre; taking it the storm on an anticlockwise loop over the southern Tasman Sea between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.
The retrograding heavily compounds deepwater wave-height to projected peaks of 20 to 30ft offshore; spawning a powerful round of SSE groundswell spreading out along the NSW coast on Wednesday and Thursday.
As mentioned above, the storm generates core winds of 35 to 45 knots overnight before beginning to weaken on Wednesday morning; and this is the source of a substantial push in mid-period energy arriving at peak intervals of 14 seconds along the southern half of the NSW coast on Wednesday afternoon.
However, these core winds are embedded within a broader, 30kt southerly fetch area spanning the low’s western sector – and the subsequent southerly bias in swell direction of about 170 degrees is likely to close out the majority of exposed beaches; while conversely lighting up select reefs and points favouring this combo of size and direction.
Large SSE groundswell will continue on Thursday; initially opening up some excellent bigger wave options under early westerlies. However, a firming ridge will soon see winds swinging to the north and freshening during the afternoon, lending the focus to south facing breaks as the swell begins to settle throughout the afternoon.
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