South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 2nd April)

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thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 5:54pm

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 2nd April)

Best Days: Thurs-Fri: small waves about the open beaches. Sat-Tues: small to moderate long range E'ly groundswell. Sun-Wed: moderate, pulsey S/SE tending SE swell from a Tasman Low.

Recap: Small persistent trade swell with light winds and afternoon sea breezes. 

This week (Apr 3-4)

Still nothing great expected for the remainder of the working week. Open beaches in SE Qld and Northern NSW will continue to pick up small levels of trade swell but it won’t be very big, just occasionally 2ft at exposed spots. Smaller surf is expected south of about Yamba.

Conditions wise, we’ve got a weak ridge of high pressure across the region which will result in early offshore breezes and moderate afternoon sea breezes.

Winds will veer more NE in direction across the lower Mid North Coast and will probably become fresh and gusty later Friday as a trough stalls near the Hunter region later Thursday and then retreats southward during Friday. But winds should remain lighter north of about Yamba, and more E’ly in direction during this period. Overall, keep your expectations low.

This weekend (Apr 5-6)

The weather charts still look rather interesting for the weekend, with a developing low pressure system off the southern NSW coast on Friday expected to take up a broad residency in the southern Tasman Sea  on Saturday.

However, in Monday’s notes I mentioned that there was some disagreement between the models as to how this low would develop - and that we’d see a more clearer picture by Wednesday. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case - the models are still quite divergent and it’s not very clear just how much size we’ll see.

But, as I’m not one to sit on the fence, I’m going to stick close to my Monday prediction - and possibly increase it a little more - going for a reasonably solid S/SE swell from this low, building to 3-5ft at open beaches along the Northern NSW coast throughout Sunday and holding this into the start of next week.

However the initial southerly component in the swell direction means that only a small percentage of this size will make its way north of the border into the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. And even in Northern NSW, south facing beaches will pick up the biggest waves, with smaller surf at remaining locations.

Regardless of the swell potential from this system, we’re also still expecting an inconsistent pulse of E’ly swell over the weekend, originating from a deepening trough well to the south-east of Fiji.

As per Monday’s notes, the 10m wind and MSLP charts depicts it as a weaker, shrunken version of TC Mike (and located roughly in the same neck of the woods). The leading edge of this swell is due in overnight Friday, and will build slowly all day Saturday towards a peak late in the day that should persist through Sunday morning across most regions, with set waves in the 3ft+ range at the height of the swell.

As for lcoal winds and conditions, it's a little hard to be confident as they'll all depend on how the Tasman Low develops. But right now there's a reasonable chance that we'll see periods of offshore winds in the early mornings, with a likely freshening S/SE breeze during the afternoons (which may become stronger along the Mid North Coast, due to its closer proximity to the Tasman Low). I'll reassess this on Friday.

Next week (Apr 7 onwards)

The low in the southern Tasman Sea is the dominant synoptic feature for the weekend, so next week’s surf potential will ultimately revolve around what pans out on Saturday and Sunday.

Right now there is a strong indication that this system will remain slow moving inside the Tasman Sea for several days, which means its influence will remain across the southern NSW coast through until at least the middle of next week. Due to the divergent model output, it’s still too early to pin down size estimates and local winds however it’s a reasonable chance that we’ll see anywhere between 3ft and 5ft across open beaches in Northern NSW between Monday and Wednesday - maybe more if the low deepens more than currently forecast. 

The good news is also that as the low moves further east into the Tasman Sea over the weekend, it’ll start to push into a more favourable part of SE Qld’s swell window. So whilst I’m not expecting much size from this low north of the border on Sunday, we should start to see much better swell prospects for the open Queensland points during the first half of next week.

And at this stage winds are expected to hold from the southern quarter which will also favour the open points (however very protected spots like Noosa will not see much energy from the Tasman low, and will be relying exclusively on the inconsistent, long range E’ly swell).

Just on that point: the secondary pulse of long range E’ly swell - from the same depression located south-east of Fiji - has been marginally upgraded in the latest model runs. Slightly stronger core wind speeds means that the leading edge of this secondary pulse will probably arrive a little earlier (Monday afternoon instead of Tuesday morning), and may push 3-4ft+ at the open beaches, holding through much of Tuesday before easing Wednesday. Just keep in mind that the sets will still be very inconsistent.

And when put into context, the forecast for next week looks really good because of the prospects of dual swell trains of a similar size. This should boost the overall consistency at the coast and ensure plenty of waves at exposed beaches (in particular, as long as local winds are favourable, beaches that can handle a southerly wind could be really good next week, with A frames right across the coast).

And just one last system to put ion the radar - a tropical low just northwest of the Solomon Islands is expected to remain slow moving for much of the forecast period, under a slow intensification phase (that's likely to reach TC strength by early next week).

Right now there’s only limited confidence for a decent swell event from this system, mainly due to the primary fetch being on the low’s SW flank, which is aimed up into the PNG region. However it certainly can’t be ruled out and if the overall synoptic outlook shifts in favour of a slight southward track, this low could very well be a significant contender for SE Qld swell potential. But right now that’s all hypothetical, so I’ll reevaluate all of the data more comprehensively in Friday’s forecast and take another pass at it then.

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 6:15pm

I think you mean NE swell in your 2nd last sentence above Ben?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 6:18pm

Gee you're quick! Still editing.. I actually meant "SE Qld".

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 7:12pm

Hee hee. Gotta be quick around here!!!

mitchvg's picture
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mitchvg commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 12:00am

ASCAT is looking pretty legit. I spose if it wasn't the third system like this (the one dropping down at about 165W) your tone wouldn't seem so casual

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:48am

Well, it looks decent on the satellite returns but it's still a long way from the coast (and smaller than TC Mike).

But you're right - with a more interesting system located in our immediate swell window it's not as crucial to the discussion notes - if the Tasman low eventuates as hoped then it may even be difficult to spot the long range easterly energy in the water at some spots anyway.

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mitchvg commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 9:59am

Yeah it was a beautiful Autumn morning here in SEQ, getting excited! Even for the Sunny Coast with the combo as you mention.

btw, so you did know what vis was up to huh??? That's you over his shoulder isn't it :P

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 10:40am

Just a shame local winds are gonna force everyone to the points come later Monday as I would reckon there will be some damn sick A frame beaches with 3 swell directions in the water later Monday and into Tuesday!!!

Assuming SD's TC comes off in the Coral Sea that is!!! ;)

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donweather commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 12:00pm

SD, you may wish to consult your family in FNQ (and SE Qld, if any) if the long range GFS charts are anything to go by!!!! ;)

http://www.swellnet.com/reports/australia/queensland/gold-coast/wams

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Craig commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 12:14pm

Haha, yeah GFS is dreaming!

Although latest update still has the cyclone forming and giving a solid N/NE groundswell next weekend. Will be keeping a close eye on things, that's for sure.

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 12:26pm

And apparently she's ramped up very quickly this morning so who knows, maybe the outlier (GFS) might be on the money for this one. Although GFS has now changed from a SE track to a westward track so I personally just think it's slowly coming into line with EC and ACCESS G.....just taking it's time!!!

mitchvg's picture
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mitchvg commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 12:59pm

I'm going up north, maybe I should throw in a step up board too...

Sheepdog's picture
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Sheepdog commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 1:07pm

Thanks for your concern, Don... Cheers.

Sheepdog

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:58pm

Well bugger me, GFS could be on the money as this girl is ramping up very quickly indeed!!!!

http://jtwccdn.appspot.com/NOOC/nmfc-ph/RSS/jtwc/warnings/sh9714web.txt

http://www.bellmereweather.net/SatPics-MtSat.asp

udo's picture
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udo commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 6:23pm

Donald, love that bellmereweather link.

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Sheepdog commented Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 9:32am

Donweather...You said you weren't interested..... ;) 24 hours is a long time...... I could pro actively point more "stuff" out, directly and indirectly linked to this system, but hey....... "reactivism" is a beautiful thing... Yes I know it's not in the dictionary (should be)..... Cheers, Don, and "north swell craig" :0)

Sheepdog

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 11:23am

Well this one's taking her time....and with each GFS run, it pushes out the time for formation of a TC, which to me can only mean that Access G and EC are on the money with this one....unfortunately.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 4 Apr 2014 at 11:28am

donweather wrote: with each GFS run, it pushes out the time for formation of a TC
That's pretty common for GFS I reckon. Seems to always rapidly overheat tropical developments in the early stages. I think it might have even been discussed in some met papers (I recall discussing this with senior BOM forecasting staff many years ago).