Quiksilver Pro: Forecast, March 5, 2009

6 Mar 2009 0 Share

Forecast issued 7.40pm Thursday 5 March 2009

Short Forecast

SSE windswell 2ft+ at Snapper. Stronger S swell bumping up to 2 - 3ft at D-bah as conditions deteriorate later in the afternoon. WIND; light SE early going light NE late morning/ early afternoon and stronger E/NE later afternoon 10 – 15 knots.

Combination of ESE tradewind swell and S swell 2 - 4ft. WIND; early light E/NE increasing to 10 – 15 knots into the afternoon.

ESE and stronger S swell 3 – 4ft. Shorter period E tradewind on the rise into the afternoon. WIND; ESE 10 – 20 knots increasing to 20 – 25 knots during the afternoon.

ESE tradewind swell 3 - 4ft early, possibly rising to 4 – 5ft. WIND; ESE 10 - 20 knots increasing to 20 – 30 knots.

ESE swell 4 – 6ft, possibly larger 5 – 8ft. Wind; ESE 15 – 25 knots.

ESE swell 4 – 6ft. WIND; ESE 15 – 25 knots.

Forecast Overview
Some interesting new developments in the last twenty four hours. The tropical low off the north-eastern Queensland coast is expected to develop into a Tropical Cyclone either during Friday or by Saturday morning and the BOM, along with key global modelling, expect the low to move slowly southward, parallel to the coast over the weekend to be centred northeast of Mackay on Monday.

The impending Cyclone will begin to impact conditions across south-eastern Queensland on Sunday, but until then the forecast remains about the same;

A small amount of short period windswell became evident at around two feet during Friday afternoon and this energy will persist at about two feet plus at D-Bah on Friday morning, grading marginally smaller at Snapper and probably dying out into Rainbow Bay.

The outlook for Saturday is better, with stronger S swell present at two to three feet at D-Bah reinforced by a longer distance pulse of ESE swell originating out of the South Pacific. This should see stronger three foot lines running down the point but conditions are expected to deteriorate during the afternoon as E/NE winds increasing in strength in response to new ridge of high pressure begins to firm up over the central Tasman.

The ESE swell originates from a strong ESE fetch developing just above New Zealand on Wednesday and early Thursday and as anticipated the strongest area of winds shifted north-easterly on Thursday, effectively cutting off the East Coast from the swell source. This is likely to keep a lid on the duration of this pulse; probably peaking around three feet at Snapper on Saturday before dropping back a foot overnight.

Although the ESE swell will be smaller on Sunday it should be reinforced by stronger S swell moving in overnight, maintaining wave heights ranging from three to four feet all day.

Southern Tasman Low
This pulse arises from a low in the Tasman, which on Thursday afternoon was centred east of Tasmania near 45S, 155E. Quikscat recorded a powerful, near gale force S to SSW fetch wrapping around its western flank as it shifted out into the Tasman but initially the S fetch falls inside the swell shadow of the NSW coast.

Hence a resulting powerful increase in S swell impacting Sydney and Newcastle on Friday won’t have a major impact as it arrives on Saturday, producing two to three foot surf at Duranbah by the time it wraps around Cape Byron.

The low further intensifies as it drifts deeper into the south-central Tasman on Friday and the still strong, 25 – 35 knot plus southerly fetch will align more favourably with south-eastern Queensland, and this should see a stronger pulse of S swell impacting the region at three to four feet on Sunday.

Further Outlook
The outlook from Sunday onwards is compounded by the anticipated southward movement of a Tropical Cyclone moving down the north-eastern Queensland coast and stronger easterly tradewinds developing across our short range swell window as a high pressure system builds into the Tasman.

WW3 anticipates a phenomenal increase in easterly swell early next week, building up in response to a short range easterly fetch reaching gale force strengths south of the Cyclone as it tracks southward within close range of Gladstone, pushing wave heights up towards four to six feet on Monday and possibly to a peak of six to eight feet on Tuesday as ESE winds blow at twenty to thirty knots.

These conditions hint at excellent conditions further down the point early next week but it’s worth viewing this scenario as speculative. Recent WW3 runs are driven by computer modelling that places the low further south, within close range of Frazer Island by Monday afternoon.

Several other reliable models indicate the low will still be centred further north, within close range of Bowen, and further, some reliable long range modelling suggests the pressure gradient spanning the northern Tasman won’t exceed twenty to twenty five knots, indicating the increase in E swell is unlikely to exceed four to six feet into the middle of next week.

Overall, surfing conditions remain heavily dependant on the evolution of the impending Cyclone as it moving southward and this will inevitably become clearer throughout Friday.

For those interested in the outlook post waiting period, there are still some promising developments looming across our longer distance easterly swell window, with some computer modelling continuing to hint at enhanced tropical activity over the South Pacific through the middle of March.

By Friday 13 or Saturday 14 we’re likely to see a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea shifting eastward across New Zealand, potentially coinciding with the evolution of a significant tropical low or cyclone over South Pacific region bounded by Fiji and New Zealand. This would drive a strong rising trend in easterly groundswell into the middle of the week beginning Monday 16, but confidence on this remains low for the time being.

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