Forecaster Blog: Tropical Cyclone Pam Heads South

9 Mar 2015 2

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Monday, 9 March 2015

The tropical depression north of Vanuatu was officially named Tropical Cyclone Pam during the early hours of Tuesday morning. Over the course of the weekend the major computer models began to fall into step regarding the forecast development and track of TC Pam – and although it continues to present reasonably good E swell potential for the entire East Coast - it’s definitely not shaping up as one for the history books. Tuesday morning's model runs continue to favour a gradual southward track as the system consolidates over the next few days, before intensifying dramatically as it begins to accelerate away to the southeast durng Friday and the weekend. In the short term it's equatorial position effectively places it outside of our swell window – and it should remain inside the swell shadow north of New Caledonia and Fiji as it tracks slowly south and intensifies for most of the working week.

FOLLOW THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SWELL ON THE COASTALWATCH WAVETRACKER

The newly named Tropical Cyclone Pam is gradually consolidating as it drifts slowly south-southeast. The system is forecast to intensify dramatically as it tracks poleward between Fiji and New Caledonia later this week. Source. Met Fiji.

The newly named Tropical Cyclone Pam is gradually consolidating as it drifts slowly south-southeast. The system is forecast to intensify dramatically as it tracks poleward between Fiji and New Caledonia later this week. Source. Met Fiji.

Never the less, based on the loose consensus of latest model runs TC Pam will contribute to a gradual development of a very broad, albeit relatively weak easterly fetch across the Southwest Pacific over the coming days; setting up over the region north of New Zealand from Wednesday onwards. While this generally holds low to moderate E swell potential for the region leading into the weekend of Saturday 14 March, it won’t be until the cyclone moves south of Fiji around Friday/ Saturday that the strongest, gale to hurricane force winds generated by the cyclone begin to drive far more significant wave growth throughout our swell window. For now all long-range models push the cyclone swiftly away to the southeast this weekend, providing a relatively short, 48 hour window for the system to do it’s thing before it slips further away into the swell shadow of New Zealand’s South Island – either during Sudnay 15 or by Monday 16 March. The swell implications of all this are for a mid range pulse of E groundswell filling in across the East Coast between Monday 16 and Wednesday 18 March. Keep in mind this is still contingent on the cyclone behaving as forecast and further changes to the outlook are likely depending on how it evolves. For more details on surf potential and swell arrival times see the South East Queensland and Nth NSW Surf Forecast and Sydney to South Coast NSW Surf Forecast.

Tropical Cyclone Pam's southward track will bring it into our long range E swell window this weekend. Source. Met Fiji.

Tropical Cyclone Pam's southward track will bring it into our long range E swell window this weekend. Source. Met Fiji.

Although TC Pam is widely projected to track southeast, it's still likely to generate a long-range pulse of E groundswell for the East Coast over the course of next week.

Although TC Pam is widely projected to track southeast, it's still likely to generate a long-range pulse of E groundswell for the East Coast over the course of next week.


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