Forecaster Blog: SE QLD Get Excited!
(Video: Mash-up of Gold Coast Cyclone Swells by Craig Halstead)
Surfers along the South-East Queensland know how dismal the waves have been over the past couple of months. A persistent high-pressure ridge over the Coral and Tasman Sea’s, along with negligible tropical weather in the SW Pacific has seen a constant onshore flow deteriorate the very little waves on offer.
Whilst spring has left a lot to be desired, the beginning of summer may just be enough to get your froth back. And for those of you thinking about laying some money down for some more foam, think again. The flat spell that we’ve all come to know and hate is set to come to an end.
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Unprecedented positive sea surface temperature anomalies across the equatorial central Pacific are driving a record-breaking El-Niño. These warm waters are extending into the SW Pacific, creating favourable conditions for the initiation of tropical convection. A tropical low is set to develop to the north of Fiji within the next 24 hours. A broad high-pressure system to the south and west of this system is forecast to cradle this system throughout the next fortnight, effectively generating an excellent run of swell along Australia’s eastern seaboard.
Current model guidance is indicating that we may see the first signs of the swell across the QLD/ NTH NSW coast by Sunday, November 29. This mid-period swell from the E/ENE will start out at around 2ft during the morning and is forecast to increase to 3ft by the afternoon. A gradual increase in wave energy is then expected over the following days with fun 3 to 4-foot waves likely across exposed breaks.
At this stage, wave heights look like peaking toward the end of the week (Thursday or Friday); speculatively reaching 4-5ft. According to the recent long range model run, we may see this sustained run of swell hang around through to Tuesday, December 8 (there’s still plenty of scope for revision).
Whilst it looks like QLD will see the bulk of energy, the latest WaveWatch III data suggests that NSW may also benefit from this system as the swell propagates southwards, with moderate a moderate ENE swell likely across the state. At this stage, we are still unsure about local winds throughout the duration of this swell event so make sure you check the swell analysis for your region before you go.
Due to the dynamic nature of tropical storms, there is still some divergence amongst computer models in regard to the intensity of this system. The GFS model is favouring a more intense system whilst the ECMWF seems to be erring on the side of caution.
The good news is that there some agreement in regard to the slow movement and track of this storm. Initially, it is expected to drift toward the east, followed by a shift south. It is then likely that this system will get caught up in the high-level winds, migrating back into the central Pacific Basin. However it pans out, we should still see an extended run of swell throughout the first week of December. Make sure you check back regularly for an update.
Easterly swell goes from one level to the next into mid February.
There's NE swell on tap across the NSW coast for the opening days of November.
Epic winter conditions are on the horizon across the Eastern Seaboard.
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