Braced for wild surf
THERE are two possibilities for the swell conditions this weekend, according to forecaster Ben Matson – very large, or exceptionally large.
With Cyclone Ului in the Coral Sea and Cyclone Tomas causing havoc in Fiji, large waves are already hitting the coast, and are predicted to get bigger.
Surfers have been enjoying the barrelling conditions for the past few days, but Mr Matson predicted the ocean would be unsurfable by the weekend due to the expected proximity of TC Ului to the coast.
“The big swell is expected to come through the weekend. What we are expecting to see is a very, very large, or exceptionally large event,” Mr Matson, from Swellnet.com.au said.
“I am very confident we will see very large, four-to-five-metre swell, with a chance we will see extremely large waves.
“This could be one of the largest swell events in a decade, even bigger than last year.”
As of yesterday, the category-four TC Ului was 1310km north-east of Mackay, moving west, south-west at 5km/h.
The Bureau of Meteorology expected it to take a south, south-east track last night, with the most likely scenario being that it will move closer to the Queensland Coast on Friday.
The north-easterly direction of the swell is also expected to scour Gold Coast and Tweed beaches of sand, many of which haven’t yet recovered from the large swell events of last year.
Professor Rodger Tomlinson, director of the Griffith Centre of Coastal Management, said five-metre swells were not unusual for this part of the coast.
He said if TC Ului followed the path of last year’s TC Hamish, and hovered north of Fraser Island, it would deliver the coast some protection.
Prof Tomlinson said TC Tomas was following TC Ului and said it could be “interesting” if they converged, however, it was a “wait-and-see” scenario.
Both he and Mr Matson said that a storm surge was a possibility. Mr Matson said the coming swell was a test for Kirra.
“This is the classic type of swell surfers would have waited for to surf Kirra,” he said. “It is a really big cyclone swell which would have had Kirra at its best.”