East Coast Swell Alert: Sunday, 19 April 2015

19 Apr 2015 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Issued Sunday, 19 April 2015

It’s shaping up as one stormy week of waves across the NSW coast following the imminent development of a deep East Coast Low (ECL) off the Mid North Coast on Monday morning. The low triggers a major swell event unfolding across the entire NSW coast over the course of the week.

There's potential for some big, clean waves across the region following the development of an ECL off the NSW coast this week. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member Sprucey.

There's potential for some big, clean waves across the region following the development of an ECL off the NSW coast this week. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member Sprucey.

  • An East Coast Low developing off the Hunter/ Mid North Coast on Monday gradually strengthens it combines with an intense high over the Great Australian Bight to generate a low-end gale force SSE fetch within close range of the southern half of the NSW coast.
  • A steep increase in SSE storm swell rises from 4 to 5ft levels across Sydney’s south facing breaks on Monday.
  • An overnight increase in SSE storm swell is likely to peak early Tuesday, generating 6 to 10ft plus storm-surf across Sydney's exposed beaches, gradin go a larger 8 to 12ft across Newcastle and Hunter coasts. 
  • Although gale force SSE winds are likely to keep surfable options to a minimum early, a S to SSW wind-shift may see better options inside sheltered southern corners during the afternoon.
  • The ECL is forecast to move slowly south on Tuesday, giving rise to a strong SSW fetch along the southern half of the NSW coast
  • This maintains slightly smaller SSE storm-swell across the region on Wednesday.
  • This may coincide with strong SW winds developing across Sydney and locations north as the low hovers off the South Coast and slowly weakens.
  • A steep easing trend in SSE swell follows into Thursday under strong SW to SSW winds. Friday morning should see 2 to 4ft leftovers under light W winds.
  • Revisions to this guidance are still likely depending on how the ECL evolves over the coming days.

Overview
The development of a deep East Coast Low off the Hunter/ Mid North Coast over the next 24 hours promises a sustained run of unruly SSE storm-swell enduring across the region for most of the week. Having said that, there’s some seriously good to excellent surf potential on offer at select southern corners and north facing breaks making sense of the storm-swell  - particularly from Tuesday to Thursday.

The ECL forms in the wake of a broad cold front sweeping up the NSW coast on Sunday. The front drags in an upwelling of cold air that’s set to collide with warm, humid air fed in by a high pressure ridge lying across the Mid-northern NSW coast. An upper level low moving across the southeast of the continent exacerbates this volatile collision of air masses – causing the low to deepen once as develops offshore on Monday. Warm sea surface temperatures of 24 to 26 degrees off the Mid North and Hunter coasts further support the evolution of the ECL. The other key synoptic feature driving this swell event is a high pressure system intensifying over the Great Australian Bight. The high is forecast to fill out to 1040 hPa as it moves below South Australia on Monday, forming a steep pressure gradient responsible for gale force SSE winds developing between the High and the ECL early to mid next week.

During it’s early stages a 30 to 35kt SSE fetch develops within close range of Sydney and surrounding regions throughout Monday, driving a strong increase in SSE swell towards an unruly 5 to 8ft late in the day. As mentioned an early SSW bias in local winds may see some good surfable options early before winds shift SSE at 25 to 35kts during the day. This first spike in storm-swell is set to peak on Tuesday morning and again conditions are likely to remain thoroughly blown across exposed breaks by strong S winds – leaving the most sheltered southern corners as the only viable options.

A steep increase in SSE storm-swell is now set to peak on Tuesday morning before gradually easing throughout the remainder of the week.

A steep increase in SSE storm-swell is now set to peak on Tuesday morning before gradually easing throughout the remainder of the week.

Although the strength of the ECL has been downgraded it still looms as a source of large to heavy SSE swell across Sydney and the Mid North Coast over the next 48 hours. Source: BOM.

Although the strength of the ECL has been downgraded it still looms as a source of large to heavy SSE swell across Sydney and the Mid North Coast over the next 48 hours. Source: BOM.



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