Weekend Surf Forecast 22 - 24 February 2019
Issued Thursday, 21 February 2019
If you don’t reside, or are not currently en route to the Gold Coast, then you might be feeling a little nonplussed by all the kerfuffle surrounding category 2 Tropical Cyclone Oma. But the reality that’s quickly becoming apparent, is that TC Oma looms as an historic event; both with respect to surf-potential for southern Queensland’s points-breaks and also to it’s highly erosive capacity that’s likely to cause substantial damage across the coastal fringes in conjunction with mid-late morning high-tides.
As of Thursday afternoon, TC Oma has already delivered a full day of good to epic conditions as a leading pulse of ENE groundswell ramped up in size throughout the day – and conditions are primed to go ballistic as TC Oma draws near and adds a monumental SE swell into the equation throughout Friday and the weekend.
For the best part of the NSW coast, TC Oma isn't great news. Although the storm will generate a far more accessible mix of SE and NE swells, it's als set to fuel days of strong onshore winds, lasting right through to early next week.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
In all the years I’ve been surf forecasting, I can’t ever recall seeing a projected sea-state for southern Queensland like the one appearing on latest model runs. There’s now building confidence that Tropical Cyclone Oma will stall within 200 to 250 nautical miles of the region on Saturday; causing a rapid compounding of seas and swell as multiple, gale force SE, NE and Easterly fetches go to work within point-blank range of the coastline. Probably the biggest question needing to be answered here is, will it be too big to surf, even inside the most sheltered points? Well, I for one am thinking it be surfable inside the most sheltered points, but otherwise get waaaay too big for just about everywhere as the swell peaks later Saturday through early Sunday. The sweep, on the other hand, just might preclude paddling altogether, so unless you’ve got a ski and a mate who knows how to use it in extreme conditions, expect yourself watching from the safety of terra firma.
Still large ENE groundswell combines with steep rising SSE swell under near-gale-force SSE winds. Speculatively up to a stormy 5 to 8ft+ along exposed coasts, rising to a stormy 8 to 12ft later. Wrapping at anywhere 3 to 6ft into the points and bays and rising to 5 to 8ft into the afternoon with size depending on exposure. Significant revisions still possible over the next 48 hours. WIND: Southerly, SSE 25 to 35 knots, increasing to 30 to 40 knots in the morning; possibly 35 to 45 knots later.
Phenomenal SE cyclone-swell. Out of control 10 to 12ft+ early, building to 12 to 15ft+ across the most exposed coasts. Ranging anywhere from 5 to 10ft+ along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Southerly, SSE potentially 30 to 45 knots, easing in the afternoon.
Phenomenal SE cyclone-swell gradually subsides. Initially maintaining 10 to 15ft+ storm-swell across the most exposed coasts. Wrapping at 5 to 10ft+ along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. Subsiding marginally in the afternoon. WIND: Uncertainty linked to TC Oma: Possibly SSE to SE 30 to 50 knots, with scope for stronger gusts.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
It’s fair to say that, in years to come, you won’t be reminiscing on the epic conditions that TC Oma delivered across Sydney and surrounds. Regardless of a welcome increase in SE and NE swells linked to the storm, a strengthening onshore southeasterly airflow will keep your surfing prospects to a bare minimum. The onshore winds are supported by a building high pressure ridge and aforementioned cyclone. Together, they’re set to maintain strong south-easterlies across the coast all weekend, so unless you’re ok with very low-quality conditions you might want to give it a miss.
Short period SSE windswell combines with underlying NE groundswell. Up to a lumpy, junky 3 to 4ft along the most exposed open beaches, otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SSE 15 to 20 knots.
Rising SE windswell and still powerful NE groundswell. Potential for chunky, onshore 3 to 4ft sets across exposed breaks, chance for some degree of downgrading. WIND: SSE to SE 15 to 25 knots.
Combined SSE swell and underlying NE groundswell, reinforced by new SSE groundswell throughout the afternoon. Up to a chaotic 3 to 5ft exposed breaks, building to 4 to 6ft in the afternoon. WIND: SE 15 to 25 knots, easing in the afternoon.
Conditions are looking mostly sub-par on the surf-front over the next couple of days, as persistent, light to moderate onshore S to SE winds keep a lid on wave quality across all coasts. That doesn’t mean there won’t be surfable options – particularly as winds will be lighter at 5 to 10 knots early on Friday and Saturday. But it won’t be until Sunday morning that a favourable easterly shift in wind-direction will open up some better 3ft options along the exposed beaches, before they swing back to the southeast in the afternoon
Potential for strong SW groundswell, up to a lumpy onshore 5 to 6ft+ along the exposed beaches, easing to 4 to 6ft during the late arvo. Wrapping at 3 to 5ft along the Surf Coast reefs, subsiding later. WIND: SSE 5 to 10 knots, tending South and freshening to 10 to 15 knots during the day.
SW groundswell continues to ease. Windblown, junky 4 to 5ft+ early, easing to 3 to 4ft+ along the exposed beaches during the day. Sets up to a messy 3 to 4ft along the Surf Coast reefs early, down to 2 to 3ft+ later. Otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SSE 5 to 15 knots, tending SE to ESE and freshening to 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
Leftover SW swell. Mostly clean at 2 to 4ft along the exposed beaches, settling to 2 to 3ft during the afternoon. Wrapping at about 1 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs, fading in the afternoon. WIND: Easterly, ENE 15 to 25 knots, tending ESE to SE and easing in the arvo.
Surfing opportunities are looking pretty few and far between across the Southwest – perhaps even fewer along Perth’s beaches this weekend. A developing onshore WNW to NW airflow will quickly put a dampener on your prospects throughout Friday – so your well advised to get up at the sparrows to capitalise on early calm conditions. The entirety of Saturday looks pretty unappealing as moderate NW winds eventually turn west to southwest late in the day. That leaves Sunday as a better bet for some still wind-affected waves as a new SW swell coincides with moderate southerly winds.
Potential for reinforcing SW swell. South West: Sets around 3 to 5ft under onshore winds across exposed breaks, rebuilding to 4 to 5ft+ during the afternoon. Otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Slow sets up to 1ft. WIND: Early light and variable E to SE below 5 knots, tending WNW 5 to 10 knots, then NW and freshening into the afternoon. Tending WSW across Perth and Mandurah.
Easing SW swell under moderate onshore wind. South West: Sets around junky 3 to 4ft at the most exposed breaks, reinforced by new SW swell in the arvo. Perth/Mandurah: 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: NW to NNW 10 to 15 knots, tending Westerly ahead of a SW change in the late afternoon or evening.
Potential for new SW groundswell. South West: Scope for sets ranging from 5 to 6ft+ across exposed breaks, easing a tad in the arvo. Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1 to 2ft range. WIND: Early light South to SSE, freshening to 15 to 25 knots in the arvo. Tending SSW across Perth and Mandurah.
Not unlike Victoria, conditions across South Australian coasts are hampered by persistent onshore winds in the short-term; starting our SE on Friday before tending a little more east by Saturday morning. That leaves Sunday morning as a reasonably good opportunity to hit one the more exposed south-facing areas as a fading SW swell coincides with nor’east winds.
SSW groundswell gradually eases under onshore winds. South Coast: Junky 3 to 5ft+, Waits and Parsons, grading to 3 to 4ft around Middleton, smaller later. Mid Coast: Around 1ft+. WIND: SE 10 to 15 knots, tending SE and freshening to 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon.
Settling SSW swell under light winds. South Coast: Clean sets around 3 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, easing during the afternoon. Grading to a slower 2 to 3ft around Middleton, easing later. Mid Coast: Around 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: Early ESE 10 to 15 knots, tending South and freshening in the afternoon.
Smaller SSW swell continues to fade under light winds. South Coast: Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft+ at Waits and Parsons, grading to 1 to 2ft+ around Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5ft. WIND: Early light ENE to NE tending to sea-breezes up to 10 to 15 knots in the arvo.
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