Forecaster Blog: Monster SW Groundswell For Victoria Next Week

26 Apr 2016 5 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | Forecaster Blog

Issued 3.30pm Wednesday, 27 March 2016. By Ben Macartney.

If you’re keen on the idea of surfing Victorian surf-breaks like Bells Beach and Winki Pop at size – as in seriously big size – then this applies to you. There’s now high confidence on a large to extra-large – possibly even ginormous swell-event unfolding across Victorian coasts over the course of next week, following a major activation of the long-wave trough through Australian longitudes during the first week of May.

According to latest GFS model runs, this will manifest as a deep, complex low pressure system; initially developing below Western Australia on Sunday before tracking northeast, up below the Bight as it continues to intensify on Monday and Tuesday.

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The Torquay reefs are set to return to life in a big way mid-next week. Photo: Sloane.

The Torquay reefs are set to return to life in a big way mid-next week. Photo: Sloane.

If this proves accurate, the low will extend a vast WSW/SW fetch exhibiting broad swathes of 30 to 50kt winds towards South Australia and Victoria early to mid next week; giving rise to phenomenal seas and swell within close-range of Bass Strait. A major SW groundswell subsequently makes landfall across the region from  Tuesday 3rd onwards; speculatively peaking at stormy 8 to 12ft levels across exposed beaches, while wrapping into the Surf Coast at anywhere from 6 to 10ft. As the leading edge of this episode builds in on Tuesday it’s likely to be carrying a lot of west in direction – so it probably won’t be until Wednesday that we see stronger, more frequent lines of SW groundswell arriving from a direction better suited to the Surf Coast.

Going on the same GFS model guidance, a large high pressure system located downstream over the Southwest Pacific will steer a series of embedded fronts away to the east and southeast as they approach Bass Strait – and this bodes very well for local wind-conditions; hinting at a westerly wind regime characterised by early WNW tending WSW during the afternoons. Further, there are indications this episode will be a multi-stages affair, with a second frontal progression forecast to reinstate the low pressure over the same location; deep below the Great Australian Bight during Friday 6 and Saturday 7 May. This points to a second round of large SW swell for Victoria into Sunday 8th and Monday 9th May, but specifics on the size and timing of these episodes will become clearer later in the week.


Tuesday afternoon's GFS model run depicts surface winds, forecasting a vast 30 to 50kt fetch aligning squarely with Victoria early to mid next week.

Tuesday afternoon's GFS model run depicts surface winds, forecasting a vast 30 to 50kt fetch aligning squarely with Victoria early to mid next week.

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