UPDATE: Is Tropical Cyclone Oma Delivering the Best Run of Swell In Years?

Tony Butt

by on

Updated 29d ago

Wowweeee, it's been cookin' on the east coast of Australia. Snapper, Kirra, hell just about everywhere has been going nuts. Looks like there's swell for days if you can find somewhere away from the incoming gale force winds and, you know, the crowds, see image below from Tom Pearsall. We'll be running updates from our forecast team as and when they come in, so keep it right here. For the latest forecast, go HERE for up to date charts, see HERE.

UPDATE: Friday Feb 22: Oma is still out there, and looks to be hanging around for a good few days yet, sending large surf for the weekend and well into next week, with strong southerly winds going southeast later.

Oma, has been spinning off the east coast of Oz. Keep an eye on the charts by going HERE.

Oma, has been spinning off the east coast of Oz. Keep an eye on the charts by going HERE.

According to the latest analysis from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, at 22:00 AEST today, Oma was located about 660 km east of Brisbane, moving south-southeast at about 8 km/h.It has weakened to a category-one storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 85 km/h gusting up to 120 km/h., but is forecast to re-strengthen to category two overnight. After moving south for a while, the storm is then expected to turn north later in the weekend, and to continue lurking offshore for the following few days.

Wave heights are forecast to continue ramping up throughout Saturday, with exposed spots hitting 15 feet, accompanied by gale-force southerly winds. The swell drops a notch on Sunday, but still remains over ten feet at exposed spots; with those strong to gale-force winds backing south-southeast. Looking further ahead into the week, expect a continuation of large surf, not really dropping below six feet, with strong southeast winds. Forecast probabilities are now quite high for at least the first half of the week.

EARLIER: Thursday Feb 21: Oma is now not expected to make landfall over the weekend, but gale-force winds, storm surges and large, lumpy surf are imminent.

According to the latest analysis from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, at 22:00 AEST on Thursday Feb 21, Oma was located about 780 km east-northeast of Brisbane, moving south-southwest at about 11 km/h. It is a category two storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 95 km/h gusting up to 130 km/h.

This was yesterday....snag one amongst the crowds.

This was yesterday....snag one amongst the crowds.

The storm has weakened slightly but is forecast to remain at category two. It is expected to continue moving slowly south or southwest over the next 24 hours or so, and then swing north or northwest, remaining offshore during the weekend. Although it is no longer expected to make landfall, it will still have serious effects along the coasts from north of Brisbane to northern New South Wales, including gale-force winds and water levels of over a metre above the highest tide of the year.

Wild and wooly - the forecast for Snapper over the weekend is looking intense. The probability scale is still a little low, given the churning nature of a cyclone but we should see numbers stabilise soon. Check the forecast HERE

Wild and wooly - the forecast for Snapper over the weekend is looking intense. The probability scale is still a little low, given the churning nature of a cyclone but we should see numbers stabilise soon. Check the forecast HERE

The surf is already increasing as we speak, with wave heights at exposed spots around the ten foot mark and expected to continue ramping up through Saturday and into early Sunday, reaching a lumpy 15 feet at exposed spots, accompanied by gale-force southerly winds. After the weekend, further pulses of swell are due to arrive, with winds backing southeast and continuing strong to gale-force. Probabilities are still pretty low for Sunday and beyond, as the trajectory of the storm is very difficult to predict more than one or two days ahead.

Remember, keep an eye on the forecast, HERE.

EARLIERTropical Cyclone Oma is sitting off the coast of Queensland, about to send a massive pulse of swell towards the Gold Coast and surrounding areas, and possibly cause havoc if it makes landfall over the weekend.

According to the latest analysis from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, at 11:00 AEST on Wednesday 20 Feb, Oma was located in the Coral Sea about 1,000 km northeast of Brisbane, moving southwest at about 9 km/h. It reached category three for a short while but is now fairly steady at category two, with sustained winds of 110 km/h gusting up to 155 km/h.

Forecast: The Gold Coast

The storm is expected to continue moving slowly south-westwards, approaching the Queensland coast by Friday, with its trajectory becoming more uncertain over the weekend. The Bureau warns of abnormally high tides and dangerous surf along the southern Queensland coast over the next few days.

As far as the surf is concerned, wave heights are expected to begin to ramp up on Thursday, with wave heights at exposed spots such as North Stradbroke hitting a lumpy ten feet, with strong southerly winds. On Friday, the swell remains steady or increases another notch, accompanied by gale-force southerly winds. Then late Friday and into the weekend the swell is expected to increase big-time, with wave heights on open coasts reaching well over 15 feet, with those southerly winds hitting storm force.

Latest trajectory from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Latest trajectory from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Don’t forget that tropical storms are extremely volatile and difficult to predict, and the conditions at a particular spot on the coast will depend on the exact trajectory of the storm at the last minute. So keep an eye on the forecasts, particularly the MSW probability parameter, very important in these types of situations. Keep an eye on it all, HERE.

Cover shot, yesterday by Tom Pearsall..