In this week's beach report, Craig Holden says winds will continue to increase today and tomorrow before dropping back slightly on Sunday, and then increase again by the afternoon.
Important note: Remember there are updated COVID-19 restrictions. If you are at the beach, please maintain the social/physical distancing minimum guidelines and abide by the current group gathering guidelines as well.
Weather: It has been another warm and humid week across the local region, with more northerly winds, and a few stormy afternoons thrown in for good measure as well, thankfully though we dodged the severe ones!
Looking ahead to the coming days and it looks like we are set for more warm and humid conditions, along with more northerly winds (that will get quite gusty across the weekend), but the storm activity could well return through Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Friday morning’s winds will be from the N/NW at about 10 knots before they increase to around 15 knots through this afternoon.
Saturday will then bringer stronger N/NW to N winds at 15 to 20 knots before Sunday morning brings a drop in wind strength back to only 5-10 knots from W/NW early before they increase to 15-20 knots again by the early afternoon.
Swimming: Swimming conditions should be pretty good on Friday with the lighter winds forecast in the morning, but there will be an increase in choppy conditions expected through the afternoon.
However, by Saturday, we will see an increase in wind strength as gusty N/NW winds set-in and cause choppy and sloppy conditions start to become more prevalent – and particularly so on those beaches that face in a more northerly direction.
Sunday will be similar as well, however, there will likely be a few hours early in the morning when the winds abate before they increase quickly by midday onwards.
As these northerly winds increase, there will also be an increased sweep/current to the south across all beaches as well, so please be mindful of this when swimming.
The best time for a swim will be from early morning through until around mid-morning or a little later, while the winds are lighter and the tide is higher.
The best beaches, once again, will almost certainly be Elliott Heads and Kellys Beach due to their protection from the northerly winds.
Swimmers should again be on alert over the coming days though, with algae (Trichodesmium) being prevalent across some beaches still, plus there will be again be an increased chance of blue bottles being present over the coming days as well!
So please check with the lifeguard or lifesavers on duty, read any safety signage or messages, and most importantly please swim only at patrolled beaches, only between the red and yellow flags, and only during patrol times.
Remember, if we can’t see you, we can’t save you!
Beach patrols: Today and weekdays – 9am to 5pm at Kellys Beach and Agnes Water only.
Saturday – 9am to 5pm at Kellys Beach, Nielson Park, Oaks Beach and Agnes Water; 1pm to 5pm at Elliott Heads and Moore Park Beach.
Sunday – 9am to 5pm at Elliott Heads, Kellys Beach, Nielson Park, Oaks Beach, Moore Park Beach and Agnes Water.
Surfing: Once again, it has been a pretty dismal week in terms of surf across all local beaches with small and choppy waves the norm for pretty much the entire week, with just a few small opportunities here and there to grab a wave.
Looking ahead to the weekend and yet again, the forecast is not looking too much better either.
These northerly winds are never favourable for quality surf across our local beaches, so the norm for most of the weekend will be for more small, choppy and messy waves.
But you never know your luck, and there could well be some small, clean residual waves about on Sunday morning when the wind drops out and turns more offshore, particularly if those northerly winds get quite gusty on Saturday. Keep an eye out!
For the SUP and ocean ski/kayak paddlers, it is good news if you are keen for some downwind paddling action this weekend, with the increasing northerly winds likely to provide some okay conditions for a north to south downwind paddle on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
But for those looking for more calm and gentle conditions, you may well get a window of opportunity to hit the ocean super-early this morning or again on Sunday morning. If not, hit the protected rivers and waterways for a more relaxed paddle this weekend.
Events: There will be a surf boat carnival at Nielson Park Beach on Saturday and the beach will be closed to swimmers for a period of time until the event is finished.
And good luck to all local surf lifesavers competing this weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) in Mackay at the 2020 North Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships.
- Last week's beach report: Be alert for algae and bluebottles at local beaches