Poor surf conditions for a while
Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 23rd October)
Best Days: No great days due to poor winds. Nice W'ly swell due next Thurs/Fri/Sat, local condition as yet unsure.
Recap: I’m disappointed at the Thurs/Fri groundswell event. It arrived later than forecast, was (unexpectedly) even less consistent than the Tues/Wed swell, and barely scraped into the lower end of forecast estimates (rare 4-5ft sets west of Melbourne, 6ft+ east of Melbourne - though having peaked overnight may have pushed a little higher under the cover of darkness). As expected, winds have been variable throughout the region, but had the Surf Coast seen a light northerly instead of a light southerly (as experienced elsewhere) then surf quality would have been perceived to be a lot better. As a side note, it’s interesting to see that the CdC buoy (SA) picked up larger wave heights from the Thurs/Fri event than the Tues/Wed event (the opposite of what occurred Cape Sorell, which is further south in latitude and on average usually sees larger waves).
This weekend (Oct 24 - 25)
With poor winds expected all weekend, there’s no need to waffle on about the synoptics (though, I’ll give it a crack, of course).
As mentioned over the last week, we’ve got a deep polar low firing up to our south-west, and this will generate a couple of new swells for the weekend that should increase surf size in Torquay from 2-3ft early Saturday to 4-5ft by the afternoon, holding into Sunday. It’ll be much bigger east of Melbourne.
However, a complex, dynamic low pressure trough over SA will move eastwards, crossing the Victoria region overnight tonight and bringing gusty southerly winds to all regions by early morning. This will then be reinforced by a strong front (related to the polar low swell source). Winds will be S/SW Saturday and should main strength from the S thru' S/SE into Sunday.
With limited options offering protection under this wind direction, there’s really not a lot to recommend this weekend.
Next week (Oct 27 onwards)
A stalled trough in the Tasman Sea and a slow moving high pressure system below Tasmania will maintain strong to gale force E’ly winds through Bass Strait for the first half of next week (see chart below). Local winds - more E/SE in direction - should start to throttle back from about Wednesday onwards but it probably won’t be until Thursday or maybe even Friday that conditions start to improve.
The weekend’s SW swell will be easing steadily early next week, and thanks to an upstream blocking pattern, we’re looking at regionally small groundswell conditions for the entire week.
However, the Surf Coast will pick up plenty of short range SE windswell, biggest west of Torquay with 3-4ft sets from Monday thru’ Wednesday, then down to 2-3ft Thursday and Friday. Expect smaller size from this source east of Melbourne, and with blustery side-shore conditions, it’s hard to imagine many locations offering worthwhile options under this pattern.
There is a chance for isolated pockets of light winds (around Wed) and we’ll take a closer look at this potential in Monday’s notes.
Elsewhere, the LWT developing west of WA over the coming days looks like it might ease in strength by the time it pushes into an appreciable region of our favourable swell window. West Oz is looking at a very big swell next week but the poor alignment of the storm track relative to Victoria means we’ll see a lot of west in the resulting swell direction, arriving from about Thursday onwards (peaking Fri/Sat). However there should be plenty of energy pushing through.
So, the swell potential for the long term will probably favour exposed coasts, and we’ll be relying on the local wind to play ball too. We'll firm things up on Monday.
Have a good weekend, see you Monday!