Swell Alert: Victoria’s Surf Coast about to light up under heavy SW groundswell

4 Sep 2017 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Issued Monday, September 4, 2017.

It’s not unusual these days for the height of winter storm-activity to spill over into early spring – and that’s definitely what’s happening across Victoria over the next couple of days. Along with a similarly heavy SW swell that lit up Victoria late in June, this event is shaping up as one of the largest to hit the state this year – and it looks like local conditions will be notably better than the previous event as the swell peaks later Tuesday through early Wednesday.

The swell is the culmination of a deep, slow moving low pressure system now positioned immediately south of Victoria and Tasmania. The gradual evolution of this complex low pressure system commenced below the mainland during the first days of September; initially coalescing below WA and the Bight on Friday and Saturday before steadily intensifying below SA and Victoria on Sunday and Monday.

Since Saturday the storm has been generating broad swathes of 30 to 50 knot SW/WSW winds in conjunction with a large, 1034hPa Indian Ocean high centred northwest of the low – and it’s not done yet. Over the next 24 hours the storm maintains a vast area of SW and SSW gales inside Victoria’s swell window; effectively compounding wave-growth as the fetch continues to act upon the same sea-surface area.

On a more technical level, the swell is loosely split into two components; starting with an initial WSW push on Tuesday morning, that overlaps with a better angled and slightly longer period SW/SSW pulse starting to show throughout Tuesday afternoon. This latter pulse is derived from a long, 40kt fetch area that set up below the state on Monday; effectively rejuvenating wave-growth over the region surrounding the grid point 50S, 140E.

Latest Wave Tracker runs clearly depict the dual areas of WSW and SW swell that are set to overlap as they arrive across Victoria on Tuesday and Wednesday,

Latest Wave Tracker runs clearly depict the dual areas of WSW and SW swell that are set to overlap as they arrive across Victoria on Tuesday and Wednesday,

The upshot is likely to be a stronger and more consistent pulse in SW groundswell showing across the Surf Coast during Tuesday arvo and possibly Wednesday morning; probably generating large sets in the vicinity of 8 to 10ft at the premier Surf Coast reefs.  At the same time the low’s upper flank drives strong westerly winds across Bass Strait both on Tuesday and Wednesday, making for big, challenging conditions across the region on both days.

Both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon’s may see a slight WSW tilt in wind direction, but by Thursday morning wind will be back in the northwest, making for another excellent (and more accessible) morning of 4 to 6ft surf across the Torquay reefs.


Tags: ben , macartney , swell , alert (create Alert from these tags)

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