Southern Ocean Swell Alert: 9 October 2014

9 Oct 2014 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

- A large, intense low pressure system traversing the Southern Ocean extends a vast, gale force WSW fetch below Western Australia over the next two days, generating maximum significant wave heights of 30 to 40ft.

- A long period SW groundswell spreading northeast from the source arrives across the West Coast in the 6 to 8ft plus range on Saturday.

- The peak of the swell arrives across Indonesian coasts early on Monday at similar levels.

- A strong SW groundswell then fills in across South Australian and Victorian coasts on Sunday and Monday.

There will be big, clean conditions on offer across southern Australian coasts as a large SW groundswell fills in during Sunday and Monday. Photo: Devyn Coote.

There will be big, clean conditions on offer across southern Australian coasts as a large SW groundswell fills in during Sunday and Monday. Photo: Devyn Coote.

OVERVIEW
Surfers inhabiting the coastlines of Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria will have their hands full this weekend as a large, long period SW groundswell makes landfall. This impending swell event commenced with the evolution of an intense polar low, far below South Africa early this week; initially giving rise to heavy seas and swell below the 50S parallel, south of Madagascar on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday morning the system had further evolved into a larger, complex polar storm located over the far southern Indian Ocean, where it was generating a vast, gale force WSW fetch across latitudes bounded by 50S and 60S. The low carried these winds closer to Australian longitudes as it migrated east on Thursday and it will continue to support the fetch as it moves below Western Australia on Friday and over the weekend – in turn driving maximum significant wave heights to peaks of 40ft below the Great Australian Bight. Although the resulting SW groundswell isn’t exceptional when it comes to big swell events, it’s far southern location typical of spring ensures associated frontal activity will remain well clear of the Australian mainland – in turn resulting in a favourable northerly wind regime across much of the southern coastline as the groundswell peaks this weekend.

Source: BOM. This MSLP Chart depicts the synoptic scale low pressure system over the Southern Ocean, located roughly halfway between South Africa and Australia on Wednesday.

Source: BOM. This MSLP Chart depicts the synoptic scale low pressure system over the Southern Ocean, located roughly halfway between South Africa and Australia on Wednesday.

A favourable swell direction of 230 degrees coupled with high peak intervals of 16 to 18 seconds will ensure a significant chunk of this energy will penetrate semi-sheltered regions like South Australia’s southern coastline and Victoria’s Surf Coast. The swell reaches a peak across these regions on Sunday and Monday; probably generating larger surf in the 8 to 10ft range across exposed breaks while translating into well organised sets in the 5 to 6ft plus range across the Surf Coast. 

Source: BOM. The low is projected to maintain a vast area of WSW gales below the Australian mainland on Friday and over the weekend, in turn giving rise to a large SW groundswell inbound across SA and Victoria during Sunday and Monday.

Source: BOM. The low is projected to maintain a vast area of WSW gales below the Australian mainland on Friday and over the weekend, in turn giving rise to a large SW groundswell inbound across SA and Victoria during Sunday and Monday.

This wave tracker image depicts significant wave height, showing peak wave generation occurring deep below Western Australia late Friday/ early Saturday.

This wave tracker image depicts significant wave height, showing peak wave generation occurring deep below Western Australia late Friday/ early Saturday.


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