South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales (issued Wednesday 9th April)

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thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 5:56pm

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 9th April)

Best Days: Thurs: small leftovers at exposed beaches.

Recap: Bit of a mixed bag with wave heights falling a little short of expectations (size and strength). Still, 4ft waves were reported at most exposed spots on Tuesday with an easing trend evident today. 

This week (Apr 10-11)

Easing swells and mainly light winds are expected for the rest of the week. With the swell direction holding out of the SE, south facing beaches - especially those in Northern NSW - will continue to see the biggest surf, whilst it’ll remain pretty small north of the border (especially on the points).

Freshening northerlies are expected through the middle of Friday and the afternoon, but by this time the swell will be almost completely gone so get your fill on Thursday.

This weekend (Apr 12-13)

Right now we’ve got one of the more complex weather charts we’ve seen in quite a while. And whilst confidence is low as to the synoptic developments over the coming days, from a local surf perspective this mainly impacts the first half of next week rather than the weekend. 

So the short story for Saturday and Sunday is that we’re not expecting much swell at all, with just tiny residual energy across most locations. 

Freshening northerly winds in SE Qld and the Far North of NSW on Saturday will veer more NW along the Mid North Coast as a broad trough across inland NSW slowly develops into a surface low off the Southern NSW Coast.

These NW winds will tend more generally W/NW across most regions on Sunday, but at this stage there’s only an outside chance for a building SE swell across the lower Mid North Coast throughout the day - most locations will see only tiny surf.

I’ll take a final pass at this on Friday just to double check that something hasn’t snuck under the radar, but for now you'll be better off doing something away from the surf.

Next week (Apr 15 onwards)

The computer model forecasts couldn’t be any more tricky and divergent than they are right now. We’ve got two dynamic systems standing out at long range, each of which could very well have a much different effect on the SE Qld and Northern NSW coasts.

Let’s start with TC Ita - it’s now a Cat 3 cyclone and moving towards the Far North Qld Coast, well outside of any of our swell windows. 

Model guidance has been a little hazy on the specifics for quite some time but there seems to be a loose consensus forming that as TC Ita nears the coast over the coming days (and possibly makes landfall) that we may see a poleward turn, with the system tracking almost parallel to the coast in a south-east direction. It’s very hard to have a lot of confidence in this scenario but right now all we have is the long range model guidance to work with.

If this scenario happens, TC Ita couldn’t really be seen as a quality swell generating system - in fact, these kinds of intense, close range hybrid low pressure systems are more well known for bank busting, doing more damage than good. The swells they generate are punchy, random and benefit only a handful of locations, and they’re usually associated with a lot of wind and rain that doesn’t do any favours either. I’d feel a lot more comfortable if TC Ita stays well up north and leaves the SE Qld region alone. But obviously we'll have little say in the matter so let's revise the data in more detail on Friday.

Elsewhere, we have a very complex surface trough and low developing just east of Bass Strait later this week and into the weekend. However, the models have been moving the precise location of the trough around quite a bit from model run to model run over the last few days (no doubt under the influence of TC Ita, which they’re struggling to resolve properly). 

Personally, I have a feeling that the trough/low will push a little further to the north-east on Saturday than what the models are suggesting right now, but that it’ll still be focused into Bass Strait. 

Also, despite the low confidence in the initial stages of development over the weekend, there is a reasonable chance that the overall synoptic pattern will eventually move slowly east by early next week which should allow for a more prominent southerly swell to develop in the Tasman Sea. 

In fact there’s even a suggestion that we’ll also see a polar low/front rear up from the south around this time, combining with the weekend’s system to create an even stronger, broader fetch of S/SE winds in the southern Tasman Sea - all of which suggests an extended period of large swells from the south thru’ south-east from Monday to Thursday.

Let’s take a closer look at this scenario on Friday, and hope that TC Ita isn't on a path for bank busting in SE Qld.

Sheepdog's picture
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Sheepdog commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 4:20pm

Ben, you write; "I’d feel a lot more comfortable if TC Ita stays well up north and leaves the SE Qld region alone.............Let’s take a closer look at this scenario on Friday, and hope that TC Ita isn't on a path for bank busting in SE Qld."

Ummm........ No more koolaid, Ben...... ;) Jokes are meant to go in the "off topic" thread :p
I hope cyclone "dawg" smashes Port Douglas thru Innisfail, giving my old mates up there a few brown wedges at ratshit/yorkeys/ Buchans/Etty....
I then hope it touches up the whole coast which has had a very average wet season, filling all the dams from Cairns to Bundy.....
I then hope it parks off Agnes, giving the surf starved central coast boys and girls a bit of size, something they don't get too often.....
I then hope it parks off S.E.Q, giving serious point surf for the hardcore....
THEN.... I hope it merges with that southern low, forming a super storm.......
Probably asking huey for too much aye....

Sheepdog

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misanthrope commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 6:31pm

ACCESS G suggests that Ita may well "smash Port Douglas thru Innisfail" and beyond, but deliver little other than utter devastation: http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/charts/viewer/index.shtml?type=windbarb&.... I wouldn't wish a Cat 5 on my worst enemy. It will be interesting to see if the JTWC stick to their guns come 7 p.m.

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Sheepdog commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 6:41pm

It wont be cat 5 by the time it gets to Cairns..... My mum, sister, inlaws survived Larry....still live there.... It'll cross the coast in a very unpopulated area near Cape Flattery, and be category 1 before you know it......

Sheepdog

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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 8:46am

You can see Flattery from Cooktown. I'm glad I'm not there at the moment. I reccon it will come in at the Starcke, flatten Hopevale and Cooktown is going to get flogged. Lizard Island won't fair well either. And the jetty for the sand/silica mine at Flattery will probaly be lucky to still be standing. Quite a few "camps" along the coast in that region too.

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Sheepdog commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 9:39am

North Queenslanders are a tough mob...... They know the drill..... They know the consequences of living where they live, just as the southerners know about bushfires in summer.... Make sure your insured - dot the i's, cross the t's..... Evacuate further inland...... Pick up the pieces...... Start again..... It's just "stuff".... As long as you are safe.....
A big piss up at the Lakeland pub would be the place to be......

Sheepdog

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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 9:59am

Yeah SD, I was "based" in Cairns/PD/Cooktown for around 10 years. Everyone knows the drill well. I've lost count of the number of cyclones i"ve been in or run away from at sea.

Being an ex Cairns local I dare say you've been to the odd "cyclone party" there was one on every second street corner.

Be interesting at the Lions Den at the moment.

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Sheepdog commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 10:07am

Yeah.... Crazy times.... I see that wonderful Premier Newman and the media are milking it for all it is worth......

Sheepdog

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tobym commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 10:39am

There be some wild action on those Northern Reefs right now SD Not only the Coast thats going to be flogged.

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Sheepdog commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 5:11pm

cat4 now.... toby - too windy, man..... A few days ago further north would've been good....

Sheepdog

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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 5:49pm

New forecast notes are here: http://swllnt.com/ONHj0D