Forecaster Blog: Fun sized Easterly swell inbound across the NSW coast

14 Jun 2019 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Issued Friday, June 14, 2019

If you live on the East Coast you might be starting to wonder… Where have our East Coast Lows gone? The autumn and winter months are prime time for hybrid storms to develop over the Tasman Sea. Whether they originate from a transitioning tropical system, a coastal-trough or a cold front entering the southern Tasman Sea, the month of June usually sees a few such storms. Well, wonder no more. Come Monday we can look forward to the development of just such of storm-system; developing as a deep low pressure trough moves offshore to form a surface low somewhere off the mid-northern NSW coast.

Following an extended run of South swell across the NSW coast, a mid-range easterly pulse could be just what the doctor ordered. Photo: Harrison Doncaster.

Following an extended run of South swell across the NSW coast, a mid-range easterly pulse could be just what the doctor ordered. Photo: Harrison Doncaster.

To date, the various atmospheric models have been struggling to pin down the specifics surrounding the timing and locations of the lows lifecycle – but as of Friday evening we’re finally seeing some loose agreement surrounding these factors – and that lends increasing confidence to a new round of Easterly swell arriving across the NSW coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Latest ACCESS model runs from the BOM are in pretty close agreement with the big global models; hinting at a modest easterly dip developing on Tuesday and Wednesday. Source: BOM.

Latest ACCESS model runs from the BOM are in pretty close agreement with the big global models; hinting at a modest easterly dip developing on Tuesday and Wednesday. Source: BOM.

While the storm by no-means qualifies as a significant ECL, we’re looking at modest intensification of the low as it drifts eastward into the Tasman Sea during Monday afternoon and throughout Tuesday. Initially this should see a moderate, 15 to 25kt ESE fetch developing over the southern Tasman Sea; setting up an initial increase in short-period ESE swell across Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast on Tuesday.

While it's not shaping up as anything to start practising your breath-holds, we could be in for some pretty fun waves out of the East mid-next week. Source: Wave Tracker.

While it's not shaping up as anything to start practising your breath-holds, we could be in for some pretty fun waves out of the East mid-next week. Source: Wave Tracker.

However, as the storm drifts further east on Tuesday we’re likely to see a stronger 20 to 35 knot fetch-area becoming established: its body more or less centred directly in line with Sydney and surrounds. For now that hints at a stronger push in mid-period Easterly groundswell on Wednesday and Thursday; speculatively hitting the 3 to 5ft range – but these estimates are likely to be revised in light of further revisions to the storm’s forecast behaviour. Even at this stage there are some fine model deviations surrounding the rate of the lows eastward movement, the timing of development and precise location offshore - and all this continues to lend uncertainty to precise surf-potential for the region.

Having said all that, it's still clear we're in for a pretty fun round of Easterly swell next week. In tandem with the inbound East swell, the low will most likely trigger a steep rise in short-range southerly swell, building along the southern half of the NSW coast on Wednesday and easing again throughout Thursday, following the lows further eastward movement across the Tasman Sea. At this early stage it looks like culminating in a combined East/South swell scenario, slowly easing from Wednesday to Friday. The specifics on this will become much clearer by Monday morning so tune in for updates then.


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