Newcastle-Hunter Surf Forecasts
Stronger pulse of S windswell peaks in the morning, possibly rebuilding in the late arvo. Max size at south-facing breaks, smaller elsewhere. Early WSW winds tend SW/SSE, then lighter SE/E later.
Stronger, mid-period south swell gradually builds, favouring south-facing spots for size. Early WNW to WSW winds see clean conditions ahead of a moderate/ fresh SSE to SE shift during the day.
Larger mid-period south swell gradually settles throughout the day, with early light and variable winds, tending north, then mod/fresh NE in the arvo.
Firming potential for a steep rise in short-mid period south swell, undersized early and steadily building, beneath fresh south to SSE winds developing during the day.
Large southerly groundswell builds in, possibly under moderate SSE winds, tending lighter ESE. Model variance keeps the door open to revisions to projected surf potential, stay tuned for updates.
Still sizeable SSE groundswell gradually settles throughout the day, favouring south-facing breaks under a north to NE wind-regime.
Short-Term Analysis (through Sunday 17 January)
Saturday: Southerly windswell shows good size in the chest to head-high range across south-exposed breaks throughout the day, while wrapping at smaller levels elsewhere. Early moderate to fresh WSW to SW winds see mostly clean conditions, before they turn S/SSE, then lighter easterly later.
Sunday: Stronger, mid-period south swell gradually builds, favouring south-facing beaches for size in the head-high to a foot or two overhead, while wrapping at lower levels elsewhere. Early fresh WNW to WSW winds open up clean conditions ahead of a moderate/ fresh SSE to SE shift during the day.
Long Term Analysis (Monday 18 January and beyond)
Stronger frontal system leads in a building south swell this weekend: The next south change in on track to move up the southern NSW coast later on Friday, leading in a dual SW/SSW fetch exiting Bass Strait and extending up the southern NSW coast overnight.
Saturday’s initial increase in south-windswell may underwhelm: The frontal boundary is projected to lead-in a compact 25-35 knot SW fetch across the southwest Tasman Sea overnight, before rapidly easing in strength as the front sweeps further northeast on Saturday morning. The upshot is a very short burst of swell-producing winds, perhaps only offering up a modest increase in short-period south swell: offering up inconsistent 2-3ft+ surf across southern exposures on Saturday, while wrapping at lower levels elsewhere.
The good news is we’re now looking at a more substantial push in south swell by Sunday morning; derived from a broadening area of SW gales exiting Bass Strait and extending northeast off Tasmania, across the southwest Tasman Sea. That should see larger, better quality 3-4ft sets across south-facing breaks on Sunday, making for an excellent window as early westerly winds opening up clean conditions, ahead of a shift to the S/SE at 10-15 knots in the afternoon.
South swell continues early to mid-next week: The aforementioned, expanding SW fetch-area is linked to a deeper parent low tracking NE into the Tasman through Saturday 16. That’s on track to generate another sizeable, mid-range pulse of south swell on Monday 18; presenting fair potential for another day of well organised 3-4ft sets, favouring southern exposures for size, beneath early light winds, tending north during the day.
Larger south swell event taking shape as a long-wave trough deepens through eastern Australian and NZ longitudes: We remain in anticipation of a large and long-enduring run of S/SSE groundswell across the East Coast mid to late next week. This event follows a long-wave trough amplifying as it moves through eastern Australian and New Zealand longitudes over the weekend and early to mid-next week, manifesting as a large, complex and quasi stationary low pressure system becoming established south to southeast of the Tasman Sea and NZ.
This broadscale storm works with big high pressure system migrating slowly eastward below the mainland, giving rise to a vast SSW/SW fetch area – initially straddling both Victoria’s and NSW’ swell windows over the weekend, before turning its swell producing focus directly to the Tasman corridor early-mid next week.
That increasingly looks like culminating in the development of an intense mid-latitude low, moving clear of Tasmania’s swell shadow as it feeds into the parent low on Monday. The upshot is increasing confidence for a large round of southerly groundswell, building steeply on Tuesday afternoon and peaking across Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast on Wednesday – followed by the North Coast on Thursday.
At this point there’s still notable divergence in the projected strength of the low, flowing through to some variability in the strength of the associated fetch. Nevertheless, there’s fair chances for double to triple overhead sets materialising across the more south-exposed breaks handling the swell at the peak of this event.
Further, the sheer size of the fetch area will deliver many days of powerful surf: transitioning from a more a more directional SSW angle in its early stages, to straighter south as a first pulse peaks across the NSW coast through the middle of next week, before the tail-end of the swell opens up more accessible options as direction trends SSE on Thursday and Friday. Trailing energy still likely to be keeping us in the water over the weekend of Saturday 23rd, but details on this will become clearer early next week.
Beyond that, we may be looking back to our easterly swell window for new swell sources into the final week of January through early February. That’s based on a projected reactivation of the monsoon trough over Australian longitudes over this time frame, speculatively leading in a return to tropical swell-activity over the Coral Sea and northern Tasman Sea during the first week or two of February. Stay tuned for more on this next week.