Few days of fun S swell before a coastal trough/low forms over the weekend bringing rain, wind, swell
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 27th June)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Tiny leftovers Monday
- Building, windy surf Tues
- Better surf Wed/Thurs as direction goes S/SE thru' SE and winds slowly ease
- Likely solid surf from the E/NE-E building over the weekend as coastal low forms, low confidence in outlook due to model divergence, check back Wed for updates
Small surf and sunny skies over the weekend. Saturday still had some 2-3ft sets on offer with light winds all day offering up some fun options. By Sunday size was down to 1-2ft, perfect for beginners wth clean conditions for most of the day. Small surf has continued into today with early light winds now tending S’ly and increasing as a cold front pushes through the Tasman.
Dynamic ending to the week looks likely as a trough and low form off the coast, details below.
This week (June 27-July1)
A potentially explosive pattern was mentioned last Mon, for the period leading into the first weekend of July and models are now firming on a strong coast hugging low moving south from the Coral Sea during this time frame. That portends plenty of wind, swell and potentially severe weather. More on this in a moment.
At present a robust but short-lived cold front is aggressively pushing north along the NSW Coast, with a high pressure ridge behind it, producing a quick sugar hit of S swell for the region. Relative calm then sets in behind it before the situation becomes incredibly dynamic by the close of the week.
In the short run and there’ll be plenty of S swell on the menu tomorrow in NENSW but not many good options as fresh S’ly winds turn S/SE as the high pressure ridge sets up along the coast. There’ll be 3-5ft of mostly short-range S swell on offer, at S exposed breaks in NENSW, smaller 2ft at SEQLD S magnets with size holding through the a’noon. An early clean window is possible across Far Northern NSW and the Southern Gold Coast, but most exposed breaks will have plenty of wind wonk through it, so sheltered spots will be the go, and they will be considerably smaller.
High pressure moves over Central/Coastal NSW on Wed, bring lighter winds and settled conditions. Surf will ease back quickly with a leftover signal of S swell, around 3ft+ at exposed S facing breaks in NENSW, easing during the day and 1-2ft across SEQLD swell magnets. SE winds will quickly lay down after lunch becoming variable in NENSW, and lighter SE north of the border. There should be some fun, workable options on Wed.
Another cold front and trough pushes through the Tasman on Thurs, bringing another S’ly change albeit much weaker and likely stalling out over the Mid North Coast leading a day of light winds, tending to weak S’lies. Compared to model runs on Fri this frontal system is weaker and more mobile and less of a swell producer. Thurs will be small with minor mixed bag of leftover S-SE swell in the 2-3ft range. Not much worth planning around but a few rideable waves at swell magnets.
Friday is where things get very dynamic. There will be some S swell in the water from Thursdays front but conditions are looking very iffy at this stage. A monster high moving well south of the Bight is expected to rapidly set up a strong ridge along the NSW Coast, although lighter winds are likely from Byron up into SEQLD, at least for most of Fri morning. Cradled by this ridge will be a very complex series of low pressure troughs, including an interior trough and a broad trough in the Coral Sea, with a potential surface low forming off the QLD or NSW Coast.
Models are still divergent on where the surface low forms so we will need to revise as we go on this dynamic event, likely day by day.
EC model forms a surface low off the SEQLD/Fraser coast drifting it slowly S to hover off the NENSW coast over the weekend and early next week. That will put the focus of huge seas and severe weather off the Mid North Coast to QLD border region over the weekend and early next week.
GFS model suggests a more southward located coast-hugging low with gales adjacent to the coast from the lower Mid North Coast down to South of Sydney. That puts the focus of large storm surf further down from the lower MNC to Sydney and southwards. Under the GFS scenario most of our region will see moderate E/NE swell from a fetch feeding into the low pressure system.
Back to Friday and depending on how the developing trough shapes up we’re likely to see light winds through the morning, potentially tending onshore and freshening through the a’noon, especially south of the border.
This weekend (July 2-3)
As noted above, we will be under the influence of a potential major weather event this weekend.
Strong onshore winds are likely Sat with mostly short range E/NE swell building into the 4-5ft range but with extremely low quality.
Sunday is potentially solid (>6ft) across the North Coast and onshore with strong E’lies although there is low confidence in the call due to model divergence (see above). Onshore winds are almost certain Sunday in NENSW so expect surf of low quality. North of the border we may see an offshore outflow depending on where the low forms and how it moves. Stay tuned for updates Wed. It’s likely there will be substantial revisions.
Next week (July 4 onwards)
Everything depends on the position and strength of the coastal low early next week. There’s a range of outcomes on offer, and most of them involve plenty of surf from the E-E/NE.
Onshore winds, rain and large surf could possibly extend into Wed under the EC scenario.
Or we could see an offshore flow develop as early as Mon next week, with large surf from the E/NE (5-6ft) easing as the coastal low drops southwards, leaving a long fetch of NE-E/NE fetch feeding into a remaining trough line extending through the Tasman up into the Coral Sea.
That would spell days of E/NE surf at moderate levels with offshore winds.
With such a dynamic outlook make sure you check back Wed (and in the comments below), we’ll update the situation then.