Forecaster Blog: Zonal Storm-Track Favours Fiji This Week

4 Oct 2016 0

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | FORECASTER BLOG

Issued Tuesday, October 4, 2016

There are days when the surf is tiny or flat along Australia’s East Coast, yet it’s possible to see large swell out to sea, travelling parallel and away from coast – seemingly so close, yet too far offshore to generate any substantial surf. These are of course deepwater SW swells, spawned by consistent frontal activity sweeping over Tasmania and Bass Strait and out across the southern Tasman Sea.

By and large, these sources are the bread and butter for NSW coast surfers; consistently generating refracted S swells that dominate our swell-regime year-round. However, we’re currently witnessing an extremely zonal version of this pattern, whereby a heightened period of frontal activity moves west to east across our swell window with little to no meridional (south to north) extension through the Tasman Sea.

SEE ALSO: 15 Reasons Why Parko Lives On The Gold Coast

Here's one way to beat the flat spell across the East Coast: Book a flight to Fiji this weekend. Photo: Beau Pilgrim.

Here's one way to beat the flat spell across the East Coast: Book a flight to Fiji this weekend. Photo: Beau Pilgrim.

Over the next few days as a series of vigorous, closely spaced fronts move clear of Tasmania on an uninterrupted eastward track bound for New Zealand’s west coast. Although the acute westerly orientation of the associated surface winds are set to generate impressive peaks in deepwater wave-height of 20 to 35 feet over the Southern Tasman Sea on Thursday, only a small fraction of this energy will radiate out along the NSW coast.

If you’re wondering where all that swell is going, you don’t have to look much further than New Zealand and Fiji. However, it’s the latter destination that really benefits above all others. Whereas NZ’s west coast is situated in the direct path of the aforementioned fronts (and therefore compromised by strong onshore winds), Fiji’s tropical location places it well north of the storm-track; placing it in the direct path of large SSW groundswells emanating from these sources, albeit sans onshore winds.

FOLLOW THIS SWELL ON THE WAVE TRACKER

Latest Wave Tracker projections indicate deepwater WSW will peak in the 35ft range over the far southern Tasman Sea on Thursday.

Latest Wave Tracker projections indicate deepwater WSW will peak in the 35ft range over the far southern Tasman Sea on Thursday.

This Wavetracker frame displays peak wave period, showing the leading edge of the SSW groundswell making landfall at peak intervals of 18 to 20 seconds early on Sunday morning.

This Wavetracker frame displays peak wave period, showing the leading edge of the SSW groundswell making landfall at peak intervals of 18 to 20 seconds early on Sunday morning.

Groundswell emanating from Thursday’s peak in swell production will take several days to cover the distance north to Fiji. A first, mid-sized pulse arriving on Saturday precedes the bulk of energy peaking on Sunday. For deepwater reefs like Cloudbreak, this is shaping up as an 8 to 12ft plus day under light offshore to variable winds – not to mention the odd shower and thunderstorm. The tail end of Sunday’s pulse will ease to more accessible, but a still large size on Monday. Going on latest model runs, this will be backed up by a second round of large to extra-large SSW groundswell on Tuesday; at this stage coming in a foot or two below Sunday’s episode.


Latest virtual buoy data shows a big weekend of surf looming for Fiji.

Latest virtual buoy data shows a big weekend of surf looming for Fiji.

Tags: forecaster , blog , fiji , cloudbreak (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
More From Forecaster Blog
Forecaster Blog Updated: Deep Tasman Low to break the East Coast Swell-Drought

Forecaster Blog Updated: Deep Tasman Low to break the East Coast Swell-Drought

A really, really big swell event is looking likely across the East Coast next week.

4 11 Jan 2018
Forecaster Blog: Tropical Cyclones Ava and Irving to Merge Over the Indian Ocean

Forecaster Blog: Tropical Cyclones Ava and Irving to Merge Over the Indian Ocean

A major storm is set to develop as two ex tropical cyclones merge over the southern Indian Ocean

5 9 Jan 2018
Recent

You'll Be Able To Ask Alexa For The Forecast

“Alexa, ask Coastalwatch for the surf report for Byron bay."

0 19 Jan 2018
We Should All Be Better Equipped To Handle Life and Death Situations In The Surf

We Should All Be Better Equipped To Handle Life and Death Situations In The Surf

6 16 Jan 2018
Five Easy Tools That'll Ensure You're On The Next Swell As Soon As It Hits Your Local

Five Easy Tools That'll Ensure You're On The Next Swell As Soon As It Hits Your Local

0 16 Jan 2018
The Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Surf Festival Is Back

The Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Surf Festival Is Back

1 16 Jan 2018
Gallery: The World Junior Champs Action From Kiama

Gallery: The World Junior Champs Action From Kiama

1 11 Jan 2018
Latest News

You'll Be Able To Ask Alexa For The Forecast

“Alexa, ask Coastalwatch for the surf report for Byron bay."

We Should All Be Better Equipped To Handle Life and Death Situations In The Surf

Would you know what to do if an emergency hit the line-up?

The Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Surf Festival Is Back

Australia Day Long Weekend Sorted!

Gallery: The World Junior Champs Action From Kiama

Vahine Fierro and Finn McGill show the world what's up.

Popular This Week

You Need To See Tahlija Redgard Charge These Freight Trains

Mick Campbell's other half on the Indo express!

Swell Alert: East Coast Lights Up Under Powerful SSE Groundswell

There's a big SSE swell inbound, but where and when will conditions turn on?

Forecaster Blog Updated: Deep Tasman Low to break the East Coast Swell-Drought

A really, really big swell event is looking likely across the East Coast next week.

Nick Carroll On: The Martha's Dilemma

A surf spot at risk might mean a few people giving up paradise in order to save it.

Go to Top