Southeast Queensland is overdue for a coastal crossing by cyclone

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

“This is an evolving situation. Be sure to keep an eye on our latest updates and forecasts.” - Bureau warning, 20/02/19

Thirteen days after it was named by the Fijian met service, Tropical Cyclone Oma has moved just 1,500 kms. Much of that time was spent idling between Vanuatu and New Caledonia, however Oma got the attention of the surfing community because of her forecast path: once it cleared New Caledonia it was predicted to move south and provide a large - and largely overdue - swell to SE Queensland and northern NSW.

Up until a week ago there was general agreement on Oma’s path, but the two major weather models have since diverged. The US model - GFS - has Oma staying offshore in a slow southwards drift, however the European model is more alarming with TC Oma drifting first south then west as it approaches the Queensland coast somewhere near Fraser Island.

The tone of coverage has changed now that people realise Oma may make landfall along a crowded stretch of coast. "It's now looking increasingly likely that it will continue on a westerly track towards the southern Queensland coast," said Sam Campbell from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Exactly twenty years ago Mike Perry wrote an article in Deep, the now defunct surf magazine, called ‘Season of Plenty’ where he detailed the incredible summer of 1998/99. Wrote Perry: "...from the ninth of December through to the eighth of March there were only about five days under three feet on the whole East Coast."

Only three cyclones formed in the Coral Sea basin that season - Olinda, Pete, and Rona-Frank - making it a below average cyclone season there. The rest of the swell came from Tasman lows and a relentless trade wind belt. Perry wound up the article with this warning:

“This may be a more normal weather pattern to which we’re returning. But unlike the old days, there has been a massive buildup of property and construction along all of our coastlines and that means the potential for loss is enormous.”

Perry was wrong on the first point, season 98/99 was an anomaly and not the beginning of a normal weather pattern, but correct on the second. Extreme weather events are rare, hence the name, but history shows they do happen, and while strong winds and large waves create direct danger, it's complacency that's the real threat.

Historical statistics show a cyclone will make a coastal crossing in Queensland roughly once a season, however the vast majority occur in far north Queensland or in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Coastal crossings in south east Queensland, or even northern New South Wales, are less common. Those areas often feel the distant effects of rain, wind, and of course swell, but not the direct blast of a tropical cyclone passing overhead. But again, history shows those regions can't be too complacent. The bureau's archives document cyclones making landfall as far south as Port Macquarie.

Here are a few notable events where cyclones have made landfall south of Fraser Island (note that the covention of naming tropical cyclones didn't start until season 1963/64):

1954: On 20th February a tropical cyclone, dubbed 'The Great Gold Coast Cyclone', crossed the coast at Coolangatta with a recorded pressure reading of 973 hPa. Reports from Coolangatta/Tweed Heads had pressure readings to 962 hPa. The worst damage in that area occurred around Cudgen in New South Wales where houses were blown apart and trees more than 1 m in diameter were twisted out of the ground. Widespread structural damage occurred along the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and around Brisbane. Waves at Kirra brought water onto the highway, picking up cars. 900 mm of rain was recorded at Springbrook in the 24 hour period up to landfall.

The floods and cyclone then hit the Lismore district, with gales whipping up large waves on the then 11.3 km wide Richmond River. The outer section of the jetty was swept away at Byron Bay taking with it all 22 vessels comprising the fishing fleet. The sea broke through and flooded parts of the town in Byron Bay. 30 people died in all.

Path of 'the Great Gold Coast Cyclone' in 1954

1957: In February 1957 a sustained cyclone tracked the Queensland and NSW coasts before crossing near Port Macquarie causing severe erosion.

1967: Season 1967/68 was well above average with cyclones such as Dinah and Glenda causing immense erosion along the Coolangatta shoreline. However, only one cyclone crossed the coast, that was in February when Barbara crossed the coast near Lismore. TC Barbara had already weakened but caused wind and wave damage.

1972: On the 11th February Tropical Cyclone Daisy made landfall on Fraser Island. 200 homes were damaged at Hervey Bay and more houses were unroofed in widely scattered townships. Forestry officials reported serious damage to forests near Maryborough and on Fraser Island. Flooding occurred throughout southeast Queensland with severe floods in Brisbane creeks. On the Gold Coast the mouth of Tallebudgera Creek silted up causing severe flooding upstream to commercial and domestic properties. Peak swell heights to 8.3 m were read at the South Nobby wave recording station on the Gold Coast. Severe erosion occurred down to Brunswick Heads and on the western side of Fraser Island where a 3 m storm surge was reported.

Track for Tropical Cyclone Daisy

1974: In late January Tropical Cyclone Wanda came ashore near Fraser Island. Although it didn’t hit with powerful winds, Wanda brought lots of rain. In particular, the Brisbane River reached its highest level since 1893 on January 26. That Australia Day weekend saw significant portions of Brisbane covered by two feet of water. Fourteen of the total 16 people killed in the flooding following Cyclone Wanda were killed in Brisbane. Additionally, more than 300 people suffered serious injuries and several thousand homes were destroyed. An estimated $200 million in damages was caused.

26 years after TC Wanda, TC Nancy brushed the Moreton Bay coast as a Category 1 cyclone, however it didn't cross the coast. The BOM records show no incursions since. It's alarming that the last time a cyclone crossed the coast south of Fraser Island was 45 years ago. Assuming all things being equal - though of course they're not, the climate is always subtly changing - then a coastal crossing is timely. The south east Queensland coast is long overdue.

In the wake of the Great Gold Coast Cyclone of 1954, David Berry wrote in the Sunday Mail: "The Great Cyclone - as they are calling last weekend's hurricane - will not be the last to strike."

Check the latest Queensland Forecast Notes here

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 12:46pm

Great read.

I never knew any of this. Fancy a cyclone hitting Port Macquarie !

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 12:58pm

I met an old bloke the other day, Byron old-timer, one of the few surviving vestiges of Byron as a working class town.

He told me how the storm surge came over the berm at main beach, roughly where the surf club is and rolled straight down the main street in metre high waves.
In the '54 cyclone, that is.

I think the town was pretty demolished.

that was pre-rockwall in front of the swimming pool.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:19pm

Will wash right through the surf festival if it happens again

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 6:10am

Old bloke here showed me pictures of Pottsville main street with waves surging up it in the '54 cyclone. Back then the oval and 'market site' were an open drain with an old rickety bridge into town. Wave surge from the creek going straight up the main street.

He also showed us pics of the hill where your house is Ben. Massive old trees uprooted. Hope you did the bolts up tight on your new deck!

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:13pm

Wish I'd kept those copies of Deep. Season of Plenty issue, that was with Darryl Parkinson on the cover yeah Stu?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:17pm

Passed the memory test, Gra.

Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:23pm

... basically Horsies isn't a Deep ripoff much ay haha

Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch's picture
Graeme Murdoch commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:24pm

w spot varnish of synoptic chart as I recall

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:25pm

Touch of class, that is.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 4:41pm

I still treasure my 'Bloodlines' and 'Paths of Fate' issues, with MP on the former and Richo and Joe Engel on the latter - all doing immense full-commitment rail carves on the covers.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 4:45pm

That MP cover, with the ribs across the wave matching the angle MP is turning. Great stuff.

PC from memory.

Got all the Deep issues except Issue 9. I'm willing to pay if someone is reading this and has it.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 5:05pm

Agree, and also the ribs on the wave Joe is bottom turning on - absolute perfection. Taken from an Aitionn sequence during 1980 Stubbies. At the time I considered this the absolute ideal of a wave, still wouldn't say no to one like that today! Sadly I don't have 9 Stu.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Friday, 22 Feb 2019 at 12:17pm

Who was on the cover Stu net?
I scored a bunch of those and Aust surfer journal's from a store on the main street of coolie ten years or so ago.
Filled with magazines, new old stock.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 1:17am

Quite possibly have it. Who was on the cover? If I do have it though it's in storage. If yes Its yours......don't hold your breath waiting for it though.
Pretty sure al hunt would have it also.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:19pm

Surfers Paradise featured on the cover of the The Australian Womens Weekly, following TC Dinah in Jan 1967.

​​​​​​​

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:38pm
thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:47pm

Good find!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:21pm

Here's former BOM severe weather meteorologist Jeff Callaghan talking about TC Dinah (and others).

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 1:02am

Wow that's heavy, I am fascinated by these weather events.

He mentions an island inland from the gc and the flooding and storm surge.
I read a book about the hurricane in Galveston Texas in 1900 the same thing happened, terrible tragedy.
Book- Isaac's Storm
Author -Erick Larson.

It's Fu king brutal though.....

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:44pm

Hey Ben
I notice the long range bar charts for goldie and fraser say bigger at south facing beaches, should that be north east facing?

i remember the internet when it was just for inteligent people but.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:46pm

No, the biggest swell from this event will be out of the south (from the local storm force S'ly fetch).

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:52pm

ahh yes i thought that may be the case, just after writing this, looked at the wind/fetch and saw the south in it.

cheers for your reply ben

i remember the internet when it was just for inteligent people but.

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 1:54pm

That is sobering

Geereg's picture
Geereg's picture
Geereg commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 2:49pm

The track maps are from a presentation Hamish McGowan from UQ gave, the Snapper photo came from Jeff Callaghan.
​​​​​​​

Gg

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 8:02am

Some great info and graphics on BOM.

For those interested, you can drill into the graphics etc here:

http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/history/tracks/index.shtml

On that 'map' / graphic you can click on the track line and get more info about each cyclone.

And, here is the historical rundown in words:

http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/history/eastern.shtml

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 2:58pm

How was the blue one which went through western Queensland then towards New Zealand !

Like a mad woman’s shit.

And the dark blue cyclone which hugged the entire Queensland coast . They do want they want.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 2:58pm

That Snapper photo! Lordy!

Though it's June so obviously not a cyclone swell. But still, I've never seen it that big and clean.

Also, first track map appears to show a crossing just south of Fraser - the green line - however it starts in WA and crosses the country so not quite a 'coastal crossing' for SE QLD. I've got a vague memory that TC was Vance.

Steve will know.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:01pm

Lost just about everything I owned in Vance.

And that’s not where it crossed WA.

Geereg's picture
Geereg's picture
Geereg commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:02pm

Similar number of years in each period - they reckon the difference was due to 'pacific decadal oscillation' - which is a bit like el nino / la nina but between the north and south pacific and over a longer period

Gg

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:02pm

Really? Do tell...if it's not that painful.

Also, the green line isn't Vance, though my memory is partly correct as Vance formed in the NW crossed the country but exited out the Bight.

halleys-comet's picture
halleys-comet's picture
halleys-comet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 5:18pm

From memory, Cyclone Vance initially formed in the Coral Sea, wound itself right across the Gulf of Carpentaria, past Darwin, the Kimberley, down the Pilbara Coast, then obliterated Exmouth, in late March '99. All oldies, women and children evacuated, town closed for clean up and reconstruction, then re-opened for the start of the July school holidays. It blew the anonometer apart at 297k/hr, at the time the strongest recorded winds on mainland Australia! Tidal surge over 7 meters
Hate to think of those sized forces hitting SE Queensland!

daComet

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:04pm

Good info, Geereg. Cheers.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:16pm

That Snapper swell is an ECL, also certain it's the same storm which caused the beach erosion damage shown in the womens weekly cover.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:25pm

I had a permanent van out at the lighthouse at Exmouth when Vance hit . I was inland at work at the time. Got flooded at Tom Price . Went out to the coast and my van had rolled end over end ( not side over ) about three times. The tie down slab lasted the first roll.

We’d been there a couple of years and all our shit was in there except for some tools .

Shit time for the town. A lot of people moved in to make coin on insurance work . More than a few people moved out. Changed the character of the town substantially. Some people made a lot of money. That’s when the development started to really change it from a little fishing town with seasonal tourism to the global hotspot.

The cyclone drove a star picket into the side of a shipping container. Bent over some of the old iron H bar telegraph poles . Most impressive was the glass bottom boat it rolled a few kms overland from Bundegi to VLF beach.

Denuded the cape pretty well.

Ningaloo was incredible then. Free range all the way to gnaraloo. No rules, fuck all people .good times.

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 4:27pm

what a bloody good yarn

i remember the internet when it was just for inteligent people but.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 5:21pm

Yep that was great - evoked the freedom on the west coast back then and before then.

tsunalu's picture
tsunalu's picture
tsunalu commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 7:37pm

The Naval base opening and then closing would have changed things up a bit too.
When I travelled through in the early nineties, bob hawke had a awesome surf team based at the bluff.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 7:11am

Get the yarn gold medal.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:28pm

That's pretty heavy Blowin, probably lucky you weren't there.

Been through quite a few myself, makes you humble and appreciate the force ol' mother nature can dish up.

tsunalu's picture
tsunalu's picture
tsunalu commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 7:03pm

Cyclone stuff all very interesting.
Aust. Day ref 1893 is controversial. Since Aust. Day was not acknowledged to be on this date until the 1940's and not celebrated in unison by all states until the early 90's.
Just saying.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:39pm

I’ve been through a few. Not as romantic as I’d imagined they would be ! A headache to be honest. Dangerous and messy.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:40pm

Agree with Fitz. Lucky you weren't there. I imagine it's easy to underestimate the power of a cyclone and only realise the severity of the situation when it's too late to escape.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:48pm

People die sometimes.

We used to get pissed. I wouldn’t do that anymore.

The fella who used to own the park - the full old Norwest rogue - hid under a couple of mattresses in the homestead , thought he was going to die. Another mate hid in some shonky cabins and watched other shonky cabins blow over the roof , both out at the lighthouse.

Another couple of crew I knew peripherally from work died in cyclone George when their unrated donga accomodation was destroyed.

Here’s a tip - Never trust anyone when they tell you your lodgings are cyclone proof. If you’re not sure GTFO ! Not just able to withstand wind , but also impact from other shit flying about. That’s the wildcard.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:50pm

Wonder how Gary G rates his donga?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 7:47pm

Cat 5

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 10:32pm

As a property that provides significant public amenity, Gary’s donga enjoys a crowd-sourced rating system.

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 3:55pm

I’d say Gary’s donga is highly rated.

But it’s the unsecured loads that’ll get ya.

Much like a cyclone , it’s the unassuming eye that’s the danger.

spiggy topes's picture
spiggy topes's picture
spiggy topes commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 4:42pm

Have a mate who was making a film for Film Australia in the northwest during Vance. He was driving a hire car to Port Hedland I think with the day's film on board but was well out from the coast. He was caught out really badly on a dirt road and was crawling along when a gust picked up the car and hurled it into the scrub. Life flashing before his eyes moment but within an hour a bloke came along and pulled him back on the road and he got to town safe with only a big scare. He's the luckiest fella I know for hundreds of other escapes as well.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 4:57pm

It doesn’t get much luckier than driving away from Hedland.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 5:09pm

Driving away from South Hedland?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 5:58pm

Driving away from South Hedland is like winning life lotto.

Lived there for a while too. Was a local at The Spear Chucker. My missus worked at the most dangerous pub in the world - Guinness world record holder- the Pier.

I’d go and drink lunch there sometimes . Talking to her workmates , having a chat then 5 minutes later they’re on the little podium ripping their gear off and giving me the wink with their whispering eye.

Again....good times.

Great fishing and a couple of rare sneaky waves .

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 4:54pm

Wow that 1944 to 1976 chart. If that oscillation returns, there goes the insurance industry. Far too much has been built on low lying areas that flood - including the back paddock of Grandad's former farm.

Note the cyclone intensity too - lots of squiggles tracking specifically over the Fraser to Coolangatta coast (for cyclones that are shown within 200km of Brisbane).

Grandad went down from the coast to help in Brissy after the 1974 floods - such was the community spirit then with the old Queensland families. He neglected a pain in his chest, to help out. Soon after he went fishing up at DI with mates and a heart attack took him away, off the point in the boat, doing what he loved.

dimdim's picture
dimdim's picture
dimdim commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 4:59pm

I for one hope that Byron cops an absolute flogging. A couple of well spaced cyclones through the 80s and 90s would have slowed development.
"Honey maybe we shouldn,t have bought at Belongil !"

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 1:23am

Way to go captain negative....

dimdim's picture
dimdim's picture
dimdim commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 7:06am

Being anti-development is not negative. Wit a bit of timing nature can stop development in its tracks. Pro West Byron are you Lanky ?
Byron really was a nicer place 30 years ago mate.
A bit of inclement weather might help slow things down. Not everybody wants that though do they.?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 1:51pm

Neither,
Haven't spent any time there in ten years.
Last time I was situated in ballina for Employment reasons.
Never really had time for Byron as its full of wealth/ fake hippies driving around in mercs and beamers.(if I lived there again I would live around Shelley/ballina or probably a little futher inland and drive to surf.)
Was getting food there (Byron) one night in about 2004 and found a pamphlet that had data on the future of Byron and northern nsw.

It simply stated that in the year 2030
One third of Australia's population was expected to live between Brisbane and ballina.

Want to bitch about that statistic from 15 years ago ?
The writing was on the wall back then so to speak, all you have to do is pay attention.
Good luck with everything though.

Optimist's picture
Optimist's picture
Optimist commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 5:48pm

I knew an old guy in the 80's who had a farm on Noosa's north shore where I used to leave an old pig 4wd. I think it was the 72 cyclone that picked up his rather large caravan and chucked it right in the middle of Lake Cooroibah. That's windy alright.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 6:10pm

Well I wish anyone in the way of this one, good timing with their evacuation and good luck that things are still standing when you get back!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 6:46pm

Latest BOM forecast track is out. Currently about a 1,000kms east of Mackay heading SW on a line towards the Gold Coast, predicted to turn due west on saturday towards the Sunshine Coast.

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 6:46pm

Someone shared an [EYES ONLY] graphic from the bureau with me this morning. It showed the 5 day TC path forecast results...Model projects it's headed right for K'gari/Laguna Bay early Monday...

Ha! Hamish McGowan was my climate change lecturer at UQ. Talk about scaring the pants of ya.

Thing about those historical track maps is they don't delineate the storm category, so most of the time when you see it tracking that far south it's already been downgraded to an ex-TC.

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 9:11pm

Yeah wow, thanks for sharing!

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 9:30pm

That womens weekly cover brings back memories either '67 [i was 7yrs old] or '69 [9 yrs old] i was down on the beach front helping my dad load sandbags in front of the Sands Motel. Trucks unloading boulders & old car bodies in amongst it as well. Remember the road under mined in some sections, big seas, shit weather.

Mr mick

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 20 Feb 2019 at 11:44pm

(3rd Feb/1990) TC Nancy crossed NSW Coast at Byron(Cat' 2)...5 drowned
Near Bne recorded 73kts Winds.(Increasing along Coastal border > South)
(Flash Floods Qld/NSW) $36m damage.

https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/cyclone-cyclone-nancy-queensland/

http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/cyclone/tcnsw.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989%E2%80%9390_Australian_region_cyclone_...

News Clipping: Cyclone Nancy wreaked havoc through-out NSW.
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/131176461

I can also confirm that Cyclone Nancy roared about up top of Banora Point.
I was sent to tarp a roof to save $3,000 worth of Gyprock. ( No extra Pay)
Touch & Go I made it down it one piece. Wasted no time packin' up. See ya!
If you ask me... I swear it orbited Fingal prior to crossing at Byron.

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 9:53am

Yep, this was my first cyclone swell. I remember, as a grommet, trying to paddle out from the boat ramp at Lennox. Offshore, but a vibrant pooh brown from all the big scrub soil washing out from Ballina. Made it out to the impact zone three times, only to cop multiple waves on the head and get washed in. Spent the rest of the morning watching from shore, wondering what might have been.

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Friday, 22 Feb 2019 at 1:01am

I was in foster for this event.
Watch two people surf this mysto reef on a north swell from this. Haven't seen the wave break the same or at all since.......
Deemed it to big for the 12 year old self at the time.
Can still remember it like yesterday.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 12:16am

Classic Movietone Newsreel with (Wicked Witch theme vs Army overture).

History of Gold Coast Beaches 1 (Cyclone footage >Movietone 1:35-4:05)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRkkz0xRKrw

History of Gold Coast Beaches 2 (Cyclones 0:25-0:40)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9YUpU_ef0w

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 6:20am

Awesome!

Some great footage in those.

Thanks for sharing TBB

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 1:08am

I wonder if bohdi I will show up?

Stay safe everyone and follow storm warnings.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 7:11am

Latest BOM forecast path has a NW swing towards Fraser Island on Sunday while maintaining strength. Gonna be a long wait for those in the firing line.

Also, latest EC and ACCESS have Oma slowly drifting north while GFS has it first drifting north then south before stalling, as a presumed low, off the mid north coast. If GFS comes off the east coast, not just the north coast, will get plenty of swell from Oma.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 7:16am

Sometime around 1979-80 I was staying at Crescent Head in the caravan park and a cyclone came way down the coast and we were all advised to possibly head up to the pub for protection as it was expected make landfall down that low. The caravans would have just blown away. It held off the coast but created a monster swell, Picked up from 3 foot to 8-10 foot in a two hour period in hot and glassy conditions. The locals came out of the woodwork and ripped the huge waves. I can still remember having to sacrifice myself by paddling into the impact zone to get out of the way of a guy on a perfect 10 footer - his eyes alternatively watching the section fall and me scrambling to get out of his way.

That afternoon people were surfing the in between 8 footers but every now and then a 15 foot set would break way outside the headland and sweep through. Guys were on the rock jump offs with their girlfriends calling out to them "please come back its too dangerous".

The first surf pulse swept up the river there in a 2 foot surge and dragged 20 or so kids screaming under the walkway right around into the lagoon with 50 parents running after them in a panic.

The cyclone stalled and hung off the coast. The next day was stormy and the beach was closed. I tried to get out but caught nothing before being swept in. One guy did make it out surfed the in betweeners with really high quality loose surfing all on his own.
The next morning a mate and I snuck out at dawn somehow between huge 10 foot sets and had it to ourselves for about an hour as no-one could get out. The drops took forever and the walls did as well. Still stands as some of the biggest waves I have surfed - all on a 6'2" McCoy single fin. Dramatic days but no rain or damage!!

Frogg

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 9:29am

Great comment Frog, I can't imagine a 15ft set rolling through there!

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 12:49pm

I have photos - quality not so good - an instamatic - can we post photos in our replies?

Frogg

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:35pm

I think the pics can be scanned and sent to a photo sharing site then linked here, but I'm not too good at that. So if I have a really good pic, I will email it to Stu and ask nicely for it to be put up in the thread.

Would love to see it frog :)

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 9:16pm

.

Frogg

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 9:19pm

thanks so much Frog - that really gives the scale of it! Must have been epic once out the back. One thing I notice there is the wave can grow from the takeoff as it gets to the middle part of the reef, did the big ones do that? Or maybe they just steamrolled through haha!

It's a special place as my formative years were in WA, so that break was the first classic east coast right hand pointbreak I ever surfed. Soon I will take my young one to experience it, but he's grown up on plenty of right hand points already :)

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 11:54pm

A lot of memories have come back of those swell so I will tell the tale in more detail.

We knew the cyclone was on the way but had no TV or internet and it was more just talk around the place about how far down the coast it was coming. I was out surfing the point at about 3 foot in the morning it first got big and from a wobbly 2 foot it had just filled in with a super clean groundswell. There were quite a few guys out on the main take off and they knew what they were doing but I sat just down a bit and on set after set the medium ones built up and wouldn't let them in and then it swung wide and there I was almost like surfing the point on my own grabbing wave after wave. That sort of thing usually lasts a short while before they twig and come your way but on that day I had so much fun for about an hour getting most of the good ones that came through.

After lunch it was 3-4 foot really nice and getting crowded (there were crowds back then) and some really good surfers had emerged out of the hills or driven up from Sydney and getting waves became harder. That soon became 6 foot and it was high quality but shifty and some big sections. Within an hour or so it was 8 foot and the level of surfing and comfort of the better guys was just way above mine in such serious waves. They were all hooting and going for everything.

Some guy blasted a bottom turn up vertical on one big outside peak and free fell back down and I can still remember some other guys saying "he's still got it". Who was he? I will never know but I reckon some local legend.

I then became even bigger and more hectic dodging big barreling waves (Crescent can barrel at that size) but more so surfers in super critical positions at high speed with limited option for missing the paddlers. I saw a lot of near misses and my sacrifice to avoid wrecking one surfer's ride (and to avoid being hit) by paddling towards the point rather than the shoulder to get absolutely annihilated as I literally paddled towards the point into the maw of an eight foot grinding barrel to let him get past still ranks up there with the dramatic moments I have experienced in the surf.

My last wave sectioned on me and I got washed in exhausted and went and got my camera. By now it was uncrowded as only a few people could get out and deal with the wide sets. Then out of nowhere these huge rogue waves started coming through every ten minutes or so breaking hundreds of metres outside the end of the point as the photos show. They washed a lot of people in but a tight experienced crew hung in close and duck dived them and then hunted down the 8-10 footers.
Surfers were walking out on the rock spine jump off spots and standing there for 20-30 minutes trying to time a gap and a jump off. Most eventually retreated. it was too hard and too serious.

After a while I went and stood of the walkway on the creek leading to the lagoon and suddenly saw a waist high tsunami like wave wash up the beach and keep going into the creek filling it up with rapids that swept all the kids who had been peacefully playing in the calm shallows off in a swirl of screams and arm waving 150 metres around in the lagoon. No-one drowned but it freaked out a lot of parents. The build up of water from the big sets just came in one sudden waves. After that a pulse developed and the creek flooded like a rapid every ten minutes or so. People started riding the surges through under the walkway on surf mats.

Eventually it just got wild as the cyclone came in closer washing everyone in. Lefts were peeling in fro the outer banks off the point meeting the right in huge closeouts.

That night we hung out at the pub wondering if our caravan and boards would be swept away in the night. It blew a bit but pretty much the cyclone just hung off the coast. The next morning was messy and stormy with no-one out but in amongst the mess some really good inside waves were peeling through. Despite the "beach closed" signs I paddled out but between wide sets and sectioning waves caught nothing. Then I had the pleasure of watching some guy on a red board in among the chaos find peeler after peeler and surf with with a fast loose "Larry Bertleman" style all over these waves with loose swooping round house cutbacks. In that era, it was really advanced stuff he was doing. Somehow he hung in close to the rocks and seemed oblivious to the wide sets and current and just picked of wave after wave in the grey misty weather with just me watching. An unknown ripper who just did his thing by himself for his own satisfaction - no audience or glory or cameras that day, just pure surfing for the love of carving.

Pre-dawn the next morning my mate and I got ready and could see in the dark that the mess was gone and we were watching a solid cleanly spaced groundswell move down the point. We could see the whitewater in the dark but could not judge the size well. I guessed 4-6 foot. We launched halfway up the point still in the dark and just paddled like madmen sideways out into the lineup without any idea of whether we had timed it right or not. Somehow we got out clean and then began paddling up the faces of these huge majestic waves with light spray blowing of the top in the morning offshore. It was easy 8 foot and probably ten foot and super high quality walls that stretch way out into the bay. We caught a bunch of great waves doing long drawn out turns and playing it safe. Then we would paddle out into the empty line up again watching the dawn break and the day unfold.

A crowd was brewing on the rocks but for at least and hour no-one could get out. So we had it to ourselves. Eventually the locals and big wave rippers from up and down the coast filtered out and took over the line up. We shifted down the point and picked up the wider ones and leftovers before retiring to savour a milk shake and sit on the point and watch for a while. It got hot and sunny again and over that multi day period I surfed so much staring into the bright sunshine that I went snow blind and had to hide in the caravan for a day until my eyes recovered. I couldn't keep them open or face any light.

Eventually it all settled down and the cyclone drifted off into its cool water grave and the influx of surfers left town and we got back into a routine of surfing - a fun series of uncrowded unheralded swells that rose and fell from southerlies and trade winds. Some days the cycle of travelers would ebb and the car park would be virtually empty and a swell would pop up out of nowhere. One afternoon every 15 minutes a two wave 4 foot set would appear on a flat ocean. I spotted them and realised they weren't a fluke and had a very pleasant hour or two on my own out there - apparently just sitting like a weirdo on a flat day off the point enjoying the sunshine but actually catching a lot of quality waves picking the best of the two waves at my leisure - such a special little surf.

Eventually we too headed home with more surf under our belts in a 3 week period than I ever came close to until trips to the Mentawais many year's later.

Here ends my ode to Cyclone Fever!!!!!

frog

Frogg

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 9:26pm

Note latest GFS run has this cyclone doing exactly what you described above by next Friday (forecast Thurs night 21/2/19) - and also note that the model forecasts of where it is going have behaved like a herd of cats...

https://www.windy.com

GFS model is the yellow tab bottom right, then click play :)

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:26pm

Wow , awesome §tory !

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:26pm

Wow , awesome §tory !

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 7:17am

Buleigh Heads Beach
Mon-Wild+Closed
Tues-Big+Best
Wed-2.7m King Tide drowned out retreating Swell
Thurs-Swell + Tide is backing out some more

21st Feb Thursday- 4:00 am (BOM news) + 5:00 am (BOM Track Map)
http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDQ65002.shtml

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 8:18am

Hey Stu,

Where did "1957: In February 1957 a sustained cyclone tracked the Queensland and NSW coasts before crossing near Port Macquarie causing severe erosion." come from?

No mention of it here: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/history/eastern.shtml

or here: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/nsw.shtml

???

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 8:50am
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 11:17am

Thanks Mate.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 8:47am

'Windy TV' has Cyclone Oma parked off Fraser Island come Sat Night...

Please forgive me, but as evil as this sounds...
As all 2019 Cyclones-Oma backtracks to regurgitate Townville next month.
[ Subscribe to Facebook for Emergency Flood Shelter Locations or drown ]

Swellnetonians send regards to Townsvillians.
(( ((O)))>~~^~~/\~~~/(C....'~~big wave to little bro's family~~#ownsville~~!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 9:31am

Subscribe to facebook or drown, hmmmm

3rd choice?

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 9:59am

For those interested in the wonderful world of modelling results, checkout https://www.cyclocane.com/

On Monday there was almost total unanimity in those spaghetti models, which I never see. Normally there's about 50% consistency in a general path, another 25% will agree on another path, and remainder are all over the place (e.g. heading to Casey Station, Mumbai, Uluru...). Now as you can see there's a decent amount of variance. Though two potential paths are coming through - one tracks NNW and that one going SSW then WSW.

Noosa Festival of Surfing starts next weekend. Wonder where all the sand will be at that point....

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 11:22am

For those interested in the wonderful world of modelling results, checkout https://www.cyclocane.com/

^^^ ... That's awesome.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 12:20pm

Latest path update from BOM has NW path continuing this weekend and the circle of destructive winds starting to brush the coast.

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:18pm

Stu, how do I post a pic? I've got some readings from a temp wave buoy placed in the northern part of Moreton Bay that some may find interesting. There's a pronounced uptick in heights coinciding with the swell's arrival mid-morning.

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:20pm

We recommend 'imgur' for image hosting (http://imgur.com/). You don't even need to register with them (although if you do, it'll help you find previously uploaded files).

Simply upload a photo via the 'Computer' link on the RH column, follow the instructions and then copy the URL provided under 'Direct Link (email & IM)'.

Then in the comments thread, wrap the image URL with image tags, ie [img] and [/img].

For example, [img]http://_______[/img]

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:29pm

Hmmm __§ounds difficult.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 12:51pm

Not sure if this or similar has already been posted, but interesting article and photos.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-21/cyclone-oma-is-not-the-first-cycl...

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 1:14pm

SEWS (Least Alarming Qld'er Version)
1920's NT/Qld adopted Forecasts & Radio messaging for Cyclones

1974 Brisbane Floods expose late Radio Warnings less than 25% effective.
Mayor Clem Jones stated a low cost Tracking + 'Warning System' is needed.
During 1974 such a low cost system was developed...[SEWS]
Acompanning the Cyclone Category System.

'Standard Emergency Warning System' is not a (Cyclone Alert)
Alarm alerts to public address relating to any number of hostile threats.

Dalek Riff similar to classic trippy Dr Who theme recorded by Oz Chick.
1974 SEWS Recordists & Music Vault are kept secret by BOM/EMQ

1974 First Mobile DJ - Red Light Disco.
I recall TC Zoe or weather event trialled the sound. (Off record/Non officially)

1974 Eve of Cyclone Tracey.
Govt DJ spun top secret 'SEWS' riff from the back of his Ute.
Worked wonders...scaring half the folk outta town.
http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2011/10/14/3340199.htm

Oz Identifies SEWS with TC Tracey but only the locals actually heard it.
Note: It was not heard on Darwin Radio or T.V. during Cyclone Tracey.
1975 onward it terrified as #1 Box Office Summertime Horror Movie.

1983 All States agreed on National Warning Signal
Cold War is averted & The Day After was just another scary Movie

1995 States agree that Joh's 'State of Emergency Alarm' is scary enough!
1999 Govt stockpiled Christian Tsunami Proof Shelters (20m above sea level)
1999 SEWS was adopted as #1 Nationwide scare Campaign.
https://qed.qld.gov.au/emergencymanagement/Documents/sews.pdf

Kylie's Giant thong made mince meat of Millennial Bug (Oz saves World)
https://www.souvenirsaustralia.com/blog/aussie-blog/aussie-icons-thongs/

Melbourne CBD/E.W.Signal wards off African Crime Gangs...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZptmEJoBl7I

Sydney CBD/E.W.Signal wards off Melbournites
Sydney Siren Shaped HQ + Clock + Flags + Big Brother + SEWS (Be afraid)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuW2iNLd_EQ

So there you have it...Total Protection. Nothing can go wrong....

Sydney blackout deactivates EWS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dT8aXtAB5U

Dutto! "Hey Kid! Pass your texta...Quit squirming yer arm ya brat!"...[ SOS ]

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:30pm

See how we go....

Noticeable height increase mid-morning. Check out the location though..

Location here:

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”

Walk around G's picture
Walk around G's picture
Walk around G commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 7:58pm

Yeh, but look at the period, weak a piss, like a Port Philip bay wave. Go to the ocean either side of where you're at, you've got something truely amazing going down, just a short drive away and it might be half a lifetime before it happens again......just saying.

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Thursday, 21 Feb 2019 at 5:51pm

Pinkenbah's going to be cranking!

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 23 Feb 2019 at 12:20pm

Any update on cyclone path ?

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Saturday, 23 Feb 2019 at 9:23pm

[1st Myth]...What Cyclone!
EX TC Oma is backtracking.

[2nd Myth]...Pinkenbah's going to be Cranking.
Is there a Brisbane Boardriders Club?
https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/Brisbane-Surf-Club/messages/boards/thread/4...

*est: 2010- Cribb Island Boardriders
Cribb Island Beach Club @ Brisbane Airport.
Surf Club Patron: Former Federal Treasurer W Swan
Club History: https://newsroom.bne.com.au/surfing-swan-drops-in-on-local-surf-club/

Where the bloody hell is/was Cribb Island? (Good Question!)
Town History (Parts 2+1):(Hi Peter...big thanx!)
https://peterlud.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/stories-from-cribb-island-2/

[3rd Myth]...Premier's Alerts are blocked by Facebook (True)
Qld govt prioritises facebook as #1 Alert Hub.
Note: World Govt's/Armies are equally subservient.
tbb enquired:
1) As to why facebook can sabotage & prevent Premier's Alerts.
2) As to why facebook profits from Govt's last line of help.
Official Govt reply:
a)"Because facebook are popular!"
b)"Govt is fine with facebook arrangements!"

tbb: Foreign Corp profits by blocking Govt Lifesaving Alerts. Fine?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 24 Feb 2019 at 1:13am

Tc oma down graded?
Disabling weather alerts , crazy!