Fiji forecast

reecen's picture
reecen started the topic in Monday, 27 May 2013 at 7:38pm

What is the long range forecast for Fiji?
Looks like a solid swell hitting just before the comp, what are the weather gypsies predicting for the contest waiting period?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Monday, 27 May 2013 at 7:52pm
reecen's picture
reecen's picture
reecen Monday, 27 May 2013 at 8:00pm

Cheers,
Looking forward to it.
The prospect of not automatically heading to Restaurants when it gets solid makes the forecast so much more interesting this year.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Monday, 27 May 2013 at 8:17pm

Our perception of those two waves - Cloudbreak and Restaurants - has really changed in the last few years, hasn't it? It used to be that the swell would get big and the focus would automatically go to Restaurants. Indeed, it's why the pros rarely travelled to Fiji with anything bigger than a 6'8". Yet following the September 2011 swell (at least I think it can be traced to that swell) the idea of Cloudbreak as a legitimate big wave came to light and it's changed the focus in Fiji.

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 12:16am

Stu ,

Not overly sure which model i looked at just previous to logging on here , buy it may have been GFS . Which was mooting something a little BIGGER than you guys have so far suggested out of this first Pre contest swell peak .
From the small amount of time i spent looking at it , ( there was wide differences in between atleast two seperate Models ) struggling to deal or pinpoint what sort of Influence a NW infeed might have to the exact system that will produce these swells .
One really showed the cold pool trailing it rapidly intensifying / extreme pressure gradient as it passed Tassie . I reckon its watch this Space . TWT.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 9:43am

Southey, for this swell event we're basing our estimated figures on our internal model which has been performing pretty well in Fiji over the last few months (as per the sporadic reports we receive from there).

However, looking at the latest satellite passes from yesterday, we might see a few bigger waves in the 10-12ft range but I reckon a call of "peaking either side of 10ft" is still a reasonable figure.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 10:34am

I have similar thoughts to Ben, but what other punters may have missed is that if looking purely at combined swell Wave Watch forecasts for the Fiji region you'd see 4.4m @ 15 seconds but this contains a lot of windswell.

The raw data is actually 3.7m of SSW groundswell @ 15 seconds mixed in with 2.4m of SE windswell @ 8 seconds on Thursday.

lolo's picture
lolo's picture
lolo Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 12:25pm

Pretty hard to see this Thursday swell amounting to much. Plenty of size but the forecast has the trades blowing at 30 knots. If there's enough east in the wind it might get decent but I wouldn't be counting on it.

Plenty of swell looks to be backing it up though late in the first week of the waiting period though. I cant see them getting in the water until Thurs (6th) at the earliest. Might be surfable for the first day but then looks dreadful for a while.

reecen's picture
reecen's picture
reecen Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 1:46pm

@ Stu, yeah it makes you wonder how many glamour big sessions were missed when the comp moved to restaurants in the past.
Restaurants looks like an unbelieveable wave but I reckon it is a little boring to watch on a webcast.
Cloudbreak is just so much more fun to watch big or small

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 4:49pm

The Fijian National Weather Forecasting Centre have issued a "Damaging Heavy Swell Warning". However they attribute the swell to something unexpected...

e wrote:

A Damaging Heavy Swell Warning remains in force for: Low lying coastal areas of Southern and Western Viti-Levu [from Korovou to Suva to Sigatoka to Nadi], Kadavu and nearby smaller islands, Lomaiviti, Southern Lau, Yasawa and Mamanuca group. Local waters of Yasawa and Mamanuca, Southwest Viti Levu and Southern Lau, Koro Sea and Kadavu and Vatu-I-Ra passages.

Situation: An intense high pressure system to the far southwest of Fiji is slowly moving eastwards. It is expected to direct heavy southerly swells over Fiji by Wednesday.

Damaging heavy swells may lead to sea flooding of low lying coastal areas of Southern and Western Viti-Levu [Korovou to Suva to Sigatoka to Nadi], Kadavu and nearby smaller islands, Lomaiviti, Southern Lau and Yasawa and Mamanuca group.

Forecast:
TOTAL WAVE HEIGHT OVER OPEN WATERS
Tuesday 28th: 2.0m to 3.0m
Wednesday 29th: 5.0m to 6.0m
Thursday 30th: 5.0m to 6.0m

(source: http://www.met.gov.fj/aifs_prods/20015.txt)

Technically, there a high pressure system as noted, but usually one would attribute the swell to the vigorous fronts and low pressure systems moving through the lower Tasman Sea and over New Zealand.

Still, this is the first "Damaging Heavy Swell Warning" I've seen from the Fiji Met Office, so hats off to them (this is advice #7, which suggests they've had warnings out for a couple of days now).

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 5:26pm

I really shouldn't post after a long day following a Big W/End . .....

I did note that the lines west of NZ had tightened a little for the swell currently in the Water . As you guys have said , its a closer system with not as much Southern ocean " Pre Energy " to get it into the High teens low twenties Period .

The other reference was to a system that might have them questioning the End of the Waiting Period . ( ie ; next Thursdays image from Access G ). A 930 'ish Southern Ocean Low that if given the right Supporting Tasman feature/influence , Deliver some real Goods ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 29 May 2013 at 9:12am

The Fiji Weather Service are expecting 5-6m wave heights for the next three days (as per their latest bulletin, #13).

e wrote:

Forecast: TOTAL WAVE HEIGHT OVER OPEN WATERS
Wednesday 29th: 5.0m to 6.0m
Thursday 30th: 5.0m to 6.0m
Friday 31st: 5.0m to 6.0m

Whilst I think the height of this swell is somewhat overstated (probably 3-4m of long period swell with 2m of short period wind chop), it is somewhat at odds with computer model forecasts. Our internal model has 5-6ft surf at Cloudbreak all day today, building to 10ft+ tomorrow, then easing to 6ft+ Friday (wave heights in 'surfers feet').

Even if our model has undercalled the forecast heights, there is still a definitive trend with Thursday being significantly larger than Wednesday or Friday. As such I think the Fiji Weather Service are probably being overly cautious with a three day outlook of 5-6m wave heights (over open waters).

Will be interesting to see what transpires today and tomorrow.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 29 May 2013 at 9:15am

And the wind outlook for the next few days?

e wrote:

Southeast winds 25 to 30 knots, gusting to 40 knots.

I can't see there being a lot of action happening at Cloudbreak over the coming days. Restaurants should be unreal though.

roubydouby's picture
roubydouby's picture
roubydouby Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 11:41am

Just out of curiosity, how common/rare are swell events like we saw last year at Cloudbreak?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 11:47am

Good question roubydouby. By my (very rough) estimate we'd get on average a size of that size once every couple of years, but last year's event was much more rare because of the light winds (so, I'd be thinking it was probably a one in 5-10 year event). It'll be worth us doing some hindcast modelling on this in the future so we can have a better idea.

There's fascinating reading on this very topic in this article with Jon Roseman: http://www.swellnet.com.au/news/3633-recalling-big-cloudbreak-with-jon-r...