Dec 24 – 29, SNAFU across Australia.
Words | Ben Horvath
Snow, Northern Aus Floods, Unbearable Heatwaves, Cyclones And Earth Tremors. A Snapshot Of A Radical Christmas Of Extremes Across Australia.
The main headline grabbing stories across our vast surf starved continent over the Christmas break besides the capitulation in the cricket and a bunch of early southerly ravaged retirements in the Sydney to Hobart has been the big wet. However, since checking in with Coastalwatch correspondents all over Australia in recent days i’ve heard tales not only of floods, but of really radical weather extremes.
For example whilst it has been bucketing down in Qld and northern NSW, Perth and SW Western Autralia have been enduring heatwave temperatures of 39°C to 40°C. As residents of Queensland and northern NSW sandbagged their homes to protect them from rising waters, much of Perth’s population sought respite from 40C heat by flocking to the beach, only to be forced out of the water by shark sightings at Triggs, whilst down South at Margaret River an earth tremor shook homes.
Meanwhile in Tasmania snow fell on Mount wellington as temps plummeted below zero on Boxing day.
On the swell front, parts of Tasmania and Vic have provided the best waves during a far from epic summer so far.
The local crew enjoyed a fun 6-8ft plus session at Shippies on Christmas eve and the open beachies in Vic have been highly rideable in the 3-5ft range, but WA and the east coast have been pretty small. One memorable Christmas eve sesh was enjoyed at a certain lefthander at the entrance to Port Philip Bay. Cahill – Bell warren said, “It was 4-5ft, glassy and bowling. Problem was it was crowded as.”
As mentioned above much of southern WA has been in the grip of a heatwave with predominantly offshore E winds and miniscule, clean 1-2ft waves down south. Perth’s been tiny. Pre Christmas a cyclone delivered floods and a day or two of unseasonal swell in the north of the state.
Coastalwatch’s Ben Ey said, South Aus has been unseasonably cool. There’s been a few little waves to grovel on at Victor Harbour, but generally conditions have been poor. The good news is the forecast for Wed arvo December 29, Thurs and Fri (NYE) on the west coast of SA is quite promising.”
In Sydney and surrounds Christmas Day dawned sunny, clean and offshore. Sth swell magnets were highly surfable in the 1-3ft range. South of Jervis Bay and also select Central coast magnets had fun 2-4ft waves at times. Boxing Day was a tad smaller, but nice and clean due to the warm all day offshores.
Queensland has been wet. JC said, “There’s been some small trade wind swell, but generally it has been onshore, small and far too wet to enjoy the beach.”
Here’s hoping for a more exciting start to the new year on the swell front. Coastalwatch has dispatched contributors to the west coast of SA and southern Vic eyeing some potential waves in those regions in the coming days. Catch you in the new year.
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