Stronger S swell pulse ahead with juicier developments in the Coral Sea next week
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 23rd Nov)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Stronger, longer period S swell Thurs, with light/variable winds, tending to seabreezes
- Easing S swells Fri with N’ly winds
- Not much action this weekend, small S swell leftovers Sat, weak NE windswell Sun with N’ly winds
- Small surf next week with a weak S swell pulse Tues/Wed
- Keeping eyes on the tropics for any low pressure development with good odds for low off QLD coast and solid E swell later next week, check back Fri for updates
Our S swell pulses have been a little undersized compared to f/cast expectations and certainly compared to more southern areas of NSW, where some have come in very hot (6ft+ surf reported on the Central Coast). Yesterday saw small surf at first, building to 3ft at S facing beaches in the a’noon but with onshore wind. Surf stayed less than 2ft in SEQLD. Surf has built into the 3ft+ range at NENSW S facing beaches today with early offshore winds now tending NNE. Size has remained less than 2ft north of the border.
This week (Nov 23-25)
We’ve had the entrees for this S swell event and we’re now close to the main course with a deep low (977hPa) and gales tracking NE into the Tasman from behind Tasmania. These gales are on track to deliver the juiciest pulse of this event through tomorrow into Fri, with weak high pressure moving over NSW.
In the short run, this adds up to stronger S’ly groundswell through tomorrow with size and power bumping up considerably as longer period swell trains make landfall. Size should build through the early mid morning across the Mid North Coast as the swell front arrives, mid-late morning from Ballina to the border and after lunch north of the Tweed, making the Sunshine Coast late in the a’noon. Expect size in the 4-5ft range at S facing beaches in NENSW, grading smaller 2-3ft in SEQLD at S facing beaches. Winds will be tricky as a small trough line hovers about the region. Early offshores are likely, tending S-SE south of Yamba and clocking around SE-NE through the day across most of the region in the a’noon.
.Expect plenty of size through Fri morning with sets to 4ft across NENSW at S exposed breaks, 2-3ft at S swell magnets in SEQLD, with size easing slowly through the a’noon. Early light/variable winds should have a W’ly component before tending NE to N’ly in the a’noon.
This weekend (Nov26-27)
Saturday looks to have more swell energy to play with now, as Fridays frontal system which tracks into the Tasman Sea, rebuilds wave heights a notch into the 3ft range at S facing beaches later in the a’noon. Expect easing, under-sized surf to 2-3ft at S facing beaches in the morning, smaller 1-2ft in SEQLD. Winds continue to look tricky as a trough line hovers around the region. We should see an early offshore breeze tending SE-ESE in the a’noon, with an a’noon NE seabreeze a possibility.
A high is quickly shunted NE towards sub-tropical latitudes and with an approaching front and inland low we’ll see a quick return to N’ly winds on Sun, which will freshen through the a’noon. Expect lighter NW-N winds early with easing S-SSE swells to 2-3ft at S swell magnets in NENSW, smaller 1-2ft in SEQLD at S swell magnets, dropping back to sub 2ft surf through the day. There’s enough horsepower in the NE fetch to generate some small NE windswell through Sun a’noon. Likely pushing up into the 2ft range through the a’noon, if you are keen.
Next week (Nov28 onwards)
Still looking like a quiet start to next week before a juicier outlook towards the end of next week (start of Summer).
The trough induced S’ly change with be working it’s way north Mon but NE winds should remain until late in the day or early Tues morning. Expect small NE windswell in the 2ft range which will quickly wane through the day.
This source fades into Tues, with a small amount of S swell from the passing front in the mix, in the 2ft range at S facing beaches. A high pressure ridge from a stretched out belt of high pressure with a strong centre in the Bight brings a SE flow through Tues. In other words- small, weak and onshore surf is expected.
From mid next week the outlook does look more interesting. As Craig outlined in his article this week about cold outbreaks the Southern Ocean fronts have been active over the last few weeks.
It now looks like we are seeing more action start up from the tropics with a cross-equatorial surge and monsoonal flow across Northern Australia into the Coral Sea. Vorticity along this surge and trough line may see low pressure develop in our swell window later next week.
There’s still model divergence about the location of any low pressure development but plausible scenarios generate low pressure off the Central QLD to Fraser Coast late next week (see below), anchored by the strong high in the Bight.
That would initially favour sub-tropical QLD and NSW for swell production possibly as early as Thurs next week, with size building rapidly from the E and extending into late next week and the weekend.
This is just a broad heads up for an event a week and a half away, so expect serious revisions as we track towards through this time frame.
In the mean-time we have swell from the S to deal with.
Check back Fri for the latest update.