Season Opener Brewing For Southern Queensland (Finally!)

16 Nov 2016 3

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Probably not this big, but it might feel like it after this flat-spell, Photo by Jon Wright

Probably not this big, but it might feel like it after this flat-spell, Photo by Jon Wright

COASTALWATCH | FORECASTER BLOG

Forgotten what waves look like Queensland? 

By all accounts, southern Queensland surfers have been doing it tough of late. A look back through the Coastalwatch surf report archives reveals many weeks of tiny surf, by and large reported at 0 to 1ft or 1 to 2ft, with just a handful of days coming in at 2 to 3ft  - and that’s looking as far back as early September. Well, it looks, at long last, like the tide is about to turn. As of Monday, November 21, we should be looking at the beginnings of a long-awaited easterly swell-pattern becoming established across the region; marking the first notable E swell event for the 2016/17 summer.

SEE ALSO: 2016/17 Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Outlook

Southern Queensland points make a long-awaited return to life early next week. Hooray! Photo: CW user Tony Clarke.

Southern Queensland points make a long-awaited return to life early next week. Hooray! Photo: CW user Tony Clarke.

There’s now increasing confidence among the key computer models pointing to the first easterly tradewind swell of the season unfolding early to mid next week. The evolution of a slow moving high pressure over the Tasman Sea over the next few days coincides with the appearance of a tropical depression (TD) over the northern Coral Sea, forming roughly between Papua and the Solomon Islands. Although the various models suggest the TD won’t reach tropical cyclone thresholds, the presence of a slow-moving high pressure system to its south and southeast is projected result in a robust, 15 to 25kt E fetch developing inside our swell window for several days. Based on GFS runs, the TD drifts slowly poleward from Sunday to Tuesday; driving a steady building trend in short-range E swell across the region. 

CHECK THE DETAILED SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND FORECAST HERE

Latest Wave Tracker runs push the TD southeast towards New Caledonia this weekend, bringing a strengthening E fetch within range of southern Queensland as it goes.

Latest Wave Tracker runs push the TD southeast towards New Caledonia this weekend, bringing a strengthening E fetch within range of southern Queensland as it goes.

This is projected to commence at low levels during Sunday afternoon, preceding an overnight rise to 2 to 3ft by Monday morning. If this guidance proves accurate, this episode should come to a head on Tuesday and Wednesday next week; peaking in the vicinity of 3 to 4ft plus across southern Queensland coasts before scaling down again into Thursday 24 and Friday 25 November.

This event is also projected to coincide with early light winds tending moderate ESE during the day – a pattern that goes hand-in-hand with the onset of the tradewind swell-regime.

At this early stage it’s fair to say this event has a high probability of occurring, but there’s still clear model divergence surrounding the TD’s forecast behaviour from Monday to Wednesday. This divergence definitely keeps the door open to revisions - both surrounding projected wave-height and arrival times as the week progresses, so stay tuned to Friday’s update for a better idea on how this will play out.

FOLLOW THE EVOLUTION OF THE SWELL ON THE WAVE TRACKER

BONUS Video Below, The Best Fails On The Gold Coast in 2016, Video by Craig Halstead


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