Forecaster Blog: A Large Easterly Groundswell is Taking Shape for the entire East Coast

24 Jun 2019 8 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Issued Monday, June 24, 2019

Before surf forecasting, you only had to turn your back on the ocean for a day or two and you’d risk missing out on good surf. Hence the old surfing adage “You should have been here yesterday” was born. Fast forward to the present and you could say this old saying has been turned on its head, to something along the lines of: “You should be here this time next week”. And yes, this is literally the message I’m conveying. Long-range model guidance is now lending increasing confidence to a major easterly swell arriving across the entire East Coast: building this weekend and maintaining serious size early to mid next week.

There are seriously good signs stacking up on the East Coast's forecast horizon. Photo: Uploaded to CW by ShaneB.

There are seriously good signs stacking up on the East Coast's forecast horizon. Photo: Uploaded to CW by ShaneB.

The onset of this event follows the gradual development of an expansive easterly fetch that’s forecast to progressively strengthen across the Southwest Pacific Ocean and northern Tasman Sea. This in turn follows the slow eastward migration of a large subtropical high across the Tasman Sea, over New Zealand and into the Southwest Pacific over the coming week. At the same time, we have a weakening MJO pulse moving out across the tropical Pacific contributing to an unseasonal deepening of the monsoon trough, leading to a potential tropical depression forming somewhere out near New Caledonia.

It may not have the visual impact of an ECL, but this broad easterly dip promises no shortage of sizeable Easterly groundswell for the entire East Coast. Source: BOM.

It may not have the visual impact of an ECL, but this broad easterly dip promises no shortage of sizeable Easterly groundswell for the entire East Coast. Source: BOM.

For now, this looks like triggering a building trend in ESE swell across far northern NSW and southern Queensland as early as Friday, leading in a major push in size and period culminating in powerful surf, loosely peaking in the 6 to 8ft+ range this weekend. These estimates – along with the projected timing – are likely to vary as the models continue to capture the development of the easterly fetch in varying guises over the next few days.

FOR THE DETAILED QUEENSLAND AND NORTHERN NSW FORECAST CLICK HERE

Given the tropical origins of this event, the strongest fetch-area looks like developing a little too far north to have quite the same impact on Sydney, Newcastle and the southern NSW coast. Never the less, the entire region is primed to receive a powerful, mid-period ENE groundswell early to mid next week; conservatively reaching peaks of 4 to 6ft plus across the more exposed open beaches under predominantly offshore, westerly quarter winds. At this early stage I should reiterate, there’s still plenty of wiggle room with respect to the projected size and timing of this event, depending on how the system evolves compared to forecast guidance – so stay tuned for updates as the week progresses.

FOR THE DETAILED SYDNEY TO SOUTH COAST FORECAST CLICK HERE

Latest model runs are consistently picking up a large sea-state developing out between New Caledonia and New Zealand this weekend. Source: Wave Tracker.

Latest model runs are consistently picking up a large sea-state developing out between New Caledonia and New Zealand this weekend. Source: Wave Tracker.

This frame depicts peak wave period, showing a sizeable ENE groundswell bearing down on Sydney and surrounds on Monday. Source: Wave Tracker.

This frame depicts peak wave period, showing a sizeable ENE groundswell bearing down on Sydney and surrounds on Monday. Source: Wave Tracker.


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