East Coast Swell Alert: July 16, 2014

16 Jul 2014 1 Share

Swell Alert Issued by Chief Swell Forecaster Ben Macartney.

What’s shaping up as the largest S swell event for the 2014 winter looms for the Eastern Seaboard following the development of a deep low pressure system east of Tasmania over the next 48 hours.

Although a heavy S swell won't produce the same kind of wave quality as last week's ESE groundswell, there will be good rideable options at locations offering some shelter from the brunt of swell and wind. Photo: Luke Wilson/ Bondi Surf Co.

Although a heavy S swell won't produce the same kind of wave quality as last week's ESE groundswell, there will be good rideable options at locations offering some shelter from the brunt of swell and wind. Photo: Luke Wilson/ Bondi Surf Co.

-  A deep low pressure system developing off Tasmania on Thursday rapidly intensifies and tracks north-eastward on Friday, extending a gale force SSW fetch throughout the western Tasman Sea.

- The fetch generates an exponential rise in S swell across the southern half of the NSW coast during Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, producing peak surf heights of 8 to 12ft across south facing breaks receiving the brunt of the swell.

- The bulk of the swell arrives across northern NSW throughout Saturday afternoon and wraps into southern Queensland coasts at lower levels with size dependent on exposure.

- A rapid easing trend in SSE swell follows across the entire East Coast from Sunday nowards, fading to low levels by mid next week.

Forecast Overview
What’s undoubtedly shaping up as the largest south swell of the 2014 winter looms across the Eastern Seaboard this weekend. The source is a deep low pressure system forecast to intensify east of Tasmania on Thursday before tracking rapidly northeast across the Tasman Sea on Friday and Saturday. Key forecast models are in tight agreement regarding the low’s evolution; indicating the system will combine with a high intensifying over the Bight to set up a compact belt of SSW gales extending out of eastern Bass Strait. Under more typical circumstances the system would usually hold surf potential in the 3 to 6ft range for the NSW coast, but in this case wave growth is heavily compounded by the slow north-eastward movement of the low pressure system as it deepens to 995 hPa and tracks slowly northeast Friday morning. This effectively extends the length of the SSW fetch northward along the NSW coast throughout Friday, producing a Captured Fetch – where the strongest winds produced by the storm are carried in the same direction and at the same speed as the associated wave field - thereby compounding the size of the swell being produced.

Offshore Virtual Buoy: NSW 15:
34° 0' 0"S x 151° 30' 0"E

Latest virtual buoy readings for Sydney pick up Friday's exponential rise in S swell during the afternoon holding peak size early on Saturday.

Latest virtual buoy readings for Sydney pick up Friday's exponential rise in S swell during the afternoon holding peak size early on Saturday.

Given the broad consensus among the key computer models there’s high confidence on a subsequent, exponential rise in S swell across the southern half of the NSW coast throughout Friday; probably starting out at very low, 1 to 2ft levels at dawn preceding a rapid rise from 3 to 6ft throughout the morning and a further increase into the 6 to 8ft plus range during the afternoon – perhaps even bigger on sunset. The onset of the bulk of this episode on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning coincides with strong to gale force SSW winds along the coast, so finding southern corners or north facing stretches offering adequate shelter from the swell will be paramount. Peak size associated with this episode should hold across Sydney and the Newcastle region throughout Saturday morning and propagate north to peak across northern NSW and southern Queensland coasts during the afternoon. Given relatively short range of the fetch and rapid north-eastward movement of low out into the central Tasman Sea on Saturday, wave heights should taper off fairly swiftly throughout Sunday and return to more manageable levels across all regions by Monday morning.

Source: BOM. All key forecast models are in close agreement; capturing SSW gales elongating across the western Tasman Sea on Friday.

Source: BOM. All key forecast models are in close agreement; capturing SSW gales elongating across the western Tasman Sea on Friday.

Latest Wave Tracker model runs depict a heavy 20 to 25ft wave-field developing over the southern Tasman Sea late Friday.

Latest Wave Tracker model runs depict a heavy 20 to 25ft wave-field developing over the southern Tasman Sea late Friday.


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