Dynamic weekend ahead as low drifts down from Coral Sea and hugs coast
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 21st Oct)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Another round of NE windswell, favouring the Mid North Coast from Fri, extends into the weekend
- Dynamic weekend ahead as surface low forms off CQ Coast and hugs coast over the weekend
- Mostly onshore winds and building E/NE swell Sat, possible late wind shift on the Sunshine Coast
- Big swell expected Sun, with winds tending offshore on the Sunshine Coast, SE on the Gold Coast and more E’ly south of the border
- Large swell extending into Mon with winds tending NW-N in SEQLD, offshore south of the border, before an a’noon NE breeze
- Slowly easing E swell through Tues-Thurs with NW-N winds expected
- Surf becoming tiny from Fri into next weekend
- Troughy pattern continues, stay tuned for constant revisions
Generally ugly conditions with mod/fresh NE winds on offer since Wed, and these winds have freshened through today and even tilted more E/NE in places. Mostly NE windswell in the 2ft range has been on offer with some S’ly swell in the mix at NENSW S swell magnets. NE windswell is now building across the region, albeit with low quality.
This weekend (Oct 22-23)
Very dynamic weekend forecast ahead as a low pressure trough forms off the CQ coast today and forms a small surface low which drifts south to hug the coast over the weekend, accelerating away to the south through early next week.
With the low expected to hug the coast or possibly even cross there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty over wind shifts and timing depending on how the low behaves over the weekend, so stay tuned in the comments below for real-time tracking.
Saturday should be relatively straight-forwards across the entire region. The trough of low pressure winds up off the CQ coast and anywhere below that will see freshening onshore winds. E/NE to NE across SEQLD, and tending NE to N on the Mid North Coast. It’ll be ugly for most of the region with a building E/NE swell - up into the 3-5ft range in SEQLD, grading smaller 3-4ft as you move south of the border towards Coffs. There may be a late switch of winds to the E-E/SE on the Sunshine Coast opening up protected options.
Sunday looks a wild day as the low approaches the Sunshine Coast (see below). First of all, expect plenty of size through Sun with strong winds and possible low end gales aimed up directly at the coast. Proximity equals size and this is likely to push up quickly into the 8ft range on the Sunshine Coast, grading smaller into more protected Points. That increase in size is likely across the Gold Coast from mid-morning and through the a’noon south of the border.
Winds will depend on the position and speed of movement of the low. Under current modelling we’ll expect winds to shift S then then SSW through SW on the Sunshine Coast through the morning, potentially shifting more W through the a’noon. Even a late NE seabreeze can’t be ruled out.
The Gold Coast should see winds tend SE and then S’ly through the a’noon.
South of the border winds will tend more E/SE to SE from Yamba north and more E’ly south of Yamba.
Stay tuned for revisions!
Next week (Oct 24 onwards)
The low moves south Mon, interacting with a strong high moving south of Tasmania and another interior low forming in a trough line late in the weekend. This will drag the fetch quite quickly through our sub-tropical swell window, and with it a brief window of offshore winds before a N’ly flow in it’s wake.
Winds should have already shifted W/NW to NW in SEQLD, with a N to NE breeze in the a’noon.
South of the border there’ll likely be a window of offshore winds extending through the morning in Far Northern NSW, with areas south of Byron-Ballina still possibly under the influence of an onshore flow.
By the a’noon NE winds should kick back in through Far Northern NSW, with the Mid North Coast still potentially having a more variable flow.
Plenty of size still expected through Mon with sets to 5-6ft in SEQLD, grading bigger 6-8ft through NENSW with the upper end of that on the Mid North Coast. A slight easing trend is expected through the day.
By Tues a trough line just inland offers up light NW-N winds through most of the region. The low will have moved well south of the region and become incorporated into a massive low complex which includes a slow moving inland system. That low complex is expected to maintain a N’ly flow across most of our sub-tropical region from Tues-Fri, with plenty of 4ft leftovers Tues easing to 3ft Wed and staying 2ft or less through Thurs/Fri.
Into next weekend and we may see a small S swell generated by W’lies out of Bass Strait, but that source looks very flukey this far out and barely worth pencilling in at this stage.
Check back Mon and we’ll see how it’s shaping up. For now, it looks like a continuation of the unstable, troughy soup we are getting used to.
See you then and have a great weekend!