Welcome Tropical Cyclone Sarai
Overnight, the RSMC Nadi Tropical Cyclone Centre in Fiji announced that a tropical depression had intensified to tropical cyclone strength. It has been named TC Sarai.
TC Sarai is the second tropical cyclone of the 2019–20 South Pacific cyclone season, which begins on November 1st. Severe Tropical Cyclone Rita was named on November 24th though remained outside of our swell window.
The genesis of TC Sarai took place north of Vanuatu on December 23rd, near the Santa Cruz Islands. Over the following days, a developing area of low pressure became more organised and by Christmas Day was considered a tropical depression, before reaching the lower thresholds of a Tropical Cyclone late on Boxing Day.
TC Sarai is still postioned north of Fiji, and the Australian East Coast currently lies within the swell shadow of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji. However, TC Sarai is on a slow southward track and is expected to push into our swell window later today or tomorrow as it strengthens to Category 2 status. It will then begin generating swell for South-east Queensland, New South Wales and Eastern Tasmania.
At this stage, despite the reasonable distance between TC Sarai and the mainland, and the expectation that it will move slowly towards the east - both factors that can significantly temper the swell outlook - we are still anticipating a strong E'ly thru' E/NE groundswell next week, persisting for several days thanks to TC Sarai's lengthy duration within the swell window.
There is however concern as to the local winds and subsequent surf quality as the swell makes landfall. This is covered more comprehensively in your detailed Forecaster Notes.