Weekend of solid S swell ahead
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Friday 5th March)
Best days: Sunday early with solid swell and light offshore winds. Monday early for N NSW and Mid N Coast with NW winds and swell beginning downward trend.
- Saturday solid swell with fresh S/SE winds, best in southern corners and along the points
- Sunday will see the peak of the swell combined with lighter offshore winds early, swinging around to NE by late arvo
- Monday light NW winds early with plenty of size still around. Stronger N/NE winds by the afternoon
- Tuesday N/NW early and downward trend for swell
- Swell gone by Wednesday and weak, troughy S change moving up the coast
Recap: 2-3ft of S and E swells across the region the last few days. Onshore across a large portion of the coast yesterday morning. This morning better with light winds ahead of S change creating nice conditions for most surf spots. Little N/NE breeze ahead of change made it a little bumpy for SE QLD.
Into The Weekend
Well well well, there are going to be some solid waves about for N NSW and the Mid N Coast this weekend, while SE QLD will still see some decent wave heights it’ll need to be at S swell magnets. The swell for the weekend and into the start of the week will be generated by a prolonged, active and elongated polar front is set to provide multiple S pulses, arriving overnight and keeping plenty of energy in the water until at least Tuesday.
Let’s dive on into it.
There are plenty of synoptic features associated with this system, strong winds with the initial trough moving up the coast, followed by the front and finally a ridge squeezing up against the low whipping up persistent gales and making the swell last into the start of the new week.
The winds have been blowing for a while already, with the winds breaching the tip of Tasmania last night. This pulse will provide the biggest waves for our coastline but it is a tricky one to forecast, being such an active and elongated front.
Add into the mix TC Niran and you’ve got a dynamic weekend along the coast to say the least. While I don’t expect Niran to provide much energy to the coast compared to the S swell, there could be some 2-3ft N swell arriving along the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast this afternoon and tomorrow morning, mainly seen at the exposed southern points. Basically winds are aimed too far offshore and without a supporting ridge Niran just didn’t quite line up right for a solid cyclone swell.
Back to the S swell that’ll create more of an impact for all coasts. At this stage it’s tricky to discern each pulse and the models are mixing swells but this is how I see it playing out.
I wouldn’t expect much new energy from the S to be identified this afternoon, maybe just some mid period stuff for the Mid N Coast.
The bulk of S swell will arrive after dark and overnight, filling in and building across the entire coastline tomorrow as the day goes on. It'll reach 6ft for the Mid N Coast by the middle of the day and N NSW by the afternoon, bigger at S facing beaches. It’ll be smaller for SE QLD as most of the S swell goes straight past.
Winds will be S/SW for the Mid N Coast early while elsewhere is S/SE. Either way the winds and solid swell will be keeping you in southern corners for most of Saturday.
Sunday morning will be a different day. We will see the swell peak and winds become light and offshore early before swinging through the SE to the NE by the late afternoon.
The Mid N Coast will see an 8ft peak in the morning. For N NSW it’ll be a similar 8ft peak but it’ll occur around the middle of the day.
SE QLD will see the peak more into the afternoon with 4-6ft waves at S swell magnets like Duranbah but only about 2-3ft along the points. Open beaches that pick up most of the S swell along the Sunshine Coast could see the occasional 3-4ft set but it’ll mainly be 1-2ft as most the swell marches on by.
The New Week
On Monday the swell will still be solid, up around the 5-6ft mark for N NSW and the Mid N Coast. SE QLD will remain a fair bit smaller. With light NW winds early you’ll be able to make the most of the S swell that hangs around.
By Tuesday morning you will notice the downward trend with the Mid N Coast and N NSW hovering around the 3ft mark early but easing into the afternoon. Meanwhile, SE QLD will only really see the remains at S swell magnets, hitting that 3ft mark on the sets.
Across the region winds will be light and N/NW early, tending NE and building ahead of a weak S change making its way into the Mid N Coast by the middle of the day.
This S change will be a fair bit weaker than the previous one but we will dissect it on Monday.