E swell now looking very sizey as low forms in Coral Sea and drifts close to SEQLD
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 19th Oct)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Small S swell pulse Fri showing at NENSW S facing beaches
- Another round of NE windswell, favouring the Mid North Coast from Fri, extends into the weekend
- E swell now looking potentially sizey as surface low forms off CQ coast and drifts off SEQLD Coast Sun/Mon
- Expect solid surf building Sun and extending into Mon/Tues- tricky wind outlook depending on position and movement of low, stay tuned for updates
E swell bumped up a notch yesterday with some 3ft sets around, although quality was only so-so with an onshore flow. Lighter winds around rain showers did offer up some cleaner windows. Today has seen surf ease back to the 2ft range with a very occasional 3footer, the last of the extended E swell event we have had. Light winds have tended NE through the day, although with no real strength.
This week (Oct 19-21)
We are in between patterns at present with a feeble trough delaying the start of the next pattern. That will see an approaching inland low and high pressure system generate increasing NE winds across most of the Eastern Seaboard. The onshore flow is enhanced into a deeper tradewind flow up in the Coral Sea, which gets a boost from a trough of low pressure expected to form off the Central QLD Coast this weekend before drifting south as a surface low, bringing sizey swell from the East and dynamic weather. All of which is to say the dominant swell trains will be from the NE to E/NE through the short to medium term.
In the short run and we’ll see a low point in wave heights through Thursday, with small leftovers in the 2ft range through the morning. Through the a’noon we’ll see the NE flow start to kick, spelling an extended period with winds from this direction. Expect a small increase in size- just short period NE windswell up to 2ft+.
A bigger increase in NE windswell is still on the cards for Fri as both local NE winds and a proximate fetch to the NSW/SEQLD coastline increases in speed and extent. Expect winds to exceed 20 knots through the day and NE windswell to build into the 3ft range, likely a notch bigger (4ft) on the Mid North Coast. As mentioned on Mon, the last of a series of fronts rapidly transiting the Tasman this week is likely to supply some 2ft S swell Fri, mostly swallowed up by the NE windswell apart from reliable S facing swell magnets.
This weekend (Oct 22-23)
Dynamic looking weekend ahead as a trough of low pressure is expected to form off the CQ coast and drift south, energising a trade wind-style fetch into something much juicier. Winds look to be the major issue, as they tend NE through E/NE.
Sat looks relatively subdued with a slow building trend in NE-E/NE swell as the system starts to wind up and override the existing NE windswell. Expect size in the 3ft range to build into the 3-4ft range, likely bigger 4ft+ on the Sunshine Coast.
By Sunday morning it’s likely we will see a surface low off Fraser Island, and although windspeeds aren’t anything special, just the position of the low and the direct way the fetch aims up will see quite a solid increase in surf through Sunday. Winds south of the border should stay fairly fresh NE to E through the day- making a mess of just about everywhere.
North of the border we may see winds shift S or even SW on the Sunshine Coast as the low drifts south, with smaller odds for winds to shift SE on the Gold Coast. We’ll finesse these winds on Friday. Expect size to push up quickly on the Sunshine Coast into the 4-6ft range, extending down into the Gold Coast and South of the border during the day.
Next week (Oct 24 onwards)
Plenty of action on next week’s synoptic chart (see below). High pressure sits well south of Tasmania and anchors a fetch of SE-ESE winds from a trough in the Tasman, which is better aimed at Tasmania and the Gippsland Coast but will supply some small S/SE swell for the f/cast region likely from Tues, into the 2-3ft range and extending into Tues at least at similar sizes.
That swell will be overshadowed though by the more dominant E/NE-E swell as the low pressure off the QLD Coast drifts south. This will be a chunkier, longer period swell than the previous NE windswell so expect a bit more juice to it.
We may be looking at some serious size Mon, depending on the position and strength of the surface low. At the least it’s highly likely to exceed 6ft in size with some model runs suggesting the low stalling off the SEQLD coast and surf in the 8ft+ range. Serious size for October! Winds will depend on the position of the low but are likely to be onshore E to E/NE south of the border, SE on the Gold Coast and S-SW on the Sunshine Coast. Expect revisions!
Size holds into Tues morning before the low dissipates and moves away- so pencil in 6ft surf with potentially offshore winds for Tuesday.
We may see a wind change Wed as the next approaching cut-off low drifts towards Victoria/Southern NSW, possibly exiting around the Gippsland Coast. If this happens we will see an offshore NW’ly to W’ly flow develop, with a mix of mid period E swell and SSE swell.
Troughy bits and pieces everywhere on the charts for late next week, which means confidence this far out is extremely low. Odds are we will see easing swells into the end of next week, with winds dependent on the movement and position of the various trough lines.
Check back Fri and we’ll have a better view of next week, as well as a final tune-up for the weekend. See you then.