Make the most of the next two days
Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 21st October)
Best Days: Thurs/Fri: long period groundswell, with generally light winds and sea breezes. Late Thurs PM for the most size.
Recap: Tuesday started off small, but built through the day with new long period (18-20 second) energy reaching a peak late afternoon around 4-5ft west of Melbourne, and 6ft+ east of Melbourne. Conditions were clean for most of the day with locally light offshore winds across every coast ahead of moderate afternoon sea breezes. Size is now easing cross the region from 3-4ft and 4-6ft. Conditions are once again nice and clean with light winds.
This week (Oct 22 - 23)
*This week’s Forecaster Notes will be a little erratic as Craig’s on annual leave*
Let’s cut to the chase: there’s no major change to the forecast for the rest of the week.
Because I’ve spend most of the last week and a half detailing the synoptic specifics about these two long period groundswell events, and because there’s nothing new to add (the first swell is on the way out, the second swell has already been generated and is on the way), all we can do is sit back and wait to see if this next event performs as expected.
I’m anticipating the leading edge of this next swell to reach the Cape Sorell buoy tonight - probably the early hours of Thursday morning - so the early session on Thursday will probably start out undersized, with leftover energy from today. But, a steady increase will occur through the day and by late afternoon we should be seeing strong, though again very inconsistent sets across the region.
However, as mentioned on Monday, Thursday's perceived inconsistency will be a little less than yesterday as there’ll be decaying energy from today in the mix.
Surf Coast swell magnets should push up into the 5-6ft range by close of business, and east of Melbourne should push much higher, occasionally 6-8ft+. Of course, this size range won’t be seen everywhere (only the regional swell magnets) as local bathymetry will steer the energy towards some locations and away from others.
Conditions look to be great for most of the day with light variable winds, though local sea breezes are also likely (unfortunately, they’ll occur as the swell reaches a peak).
Wave heights will then steadily ease through Friday - though still be strong at first light - abating from a very inconsistent 4-5ft (Surf Coast) and 6ft+ (East Coast). Again, similar conditions are expected as per Thursday with light winds and sea breezes.
If anything there’s a slightly greater risk of easterlies cropping up on Friday (mainly the afternoon) but overall we should see variable conditions through the morning.
This weekend (Oct 24 - 25)
We’ve actually got quite a lot of groundswell on the way for the weekend, courtesy of a nice cycle of polar lows below the continent from tonight through into Saturday (see below). This is a great part of our swell window, as the more eastern storm track results in a little more south in the direction, which allows the energy to get into most coasts more efficiently.
However, an advancing trough of low pressure will cross the Victorian region overnight Friday, bringing gusty S/SW winds to the region that will be reinforced by a passing front to the south. A high ridging in from the west into Sunday will maintain wind strength but swing the direction to the SE.
This is a real shame as we’re looking at 3ft surf early Saturday west of Melbourne building to 4-5ft through the day, and holding into Sunday before easing. It’ll be bigger east of Melbourne but surfable options will be very limited.
Next week (Oct 27 onwards)
The high pressure system will continue to dominate our weather early next week, with gusty E’ly winds Monday and Tuesday.
Although we’ll see steadily easing SW swells from the weekend, the first half of next week should pick up an appreciable SE windswell from the associated E/SE gales through much of bass Strait. Open coasts west from Torquay should see 3-4ft sets but it’ll be smaller to the east, including the Peninsula and Island (though there’ll be a similar level of groundswell at first).
Winds will gradually ease from Wednesday and the SE windswell will concurrently ease, but we’ll still be under a spell of regionally small groundswell by this time, thanks to a synoptic blocking pattern upstream from this weekend onwards.
Fortunately, there are some interesting developments for the long term.
An amplifying Long Wave Trough well west of WA next week will slowly migrate eastwards. Small long period forerunners from the Indian Ocean activity will grace out coastline from Thursday onwards, though no major size is expected through into the weekend at this stage. However as the storm track shifts more favourably into our swell window later next week, we’ll start to see size prospects increase for the following week.
More on this in Friday’s update.