Hazardous weather conditions are forecast for the NSW coastline from Friday 7 February, throughout the weekend and into early next week.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Hazardous Surf Warning, Marine Wind Warning and a Severe Weather Alert which will affect the Byron Coast in northern NSW through to the Eden Coast in the state’s south. The SES has issued a Flood Warning for Mid North Coast and North Coast of NSW. The hazardous weather conditions are forecast to impact NSW from today, 7 February, through Monday 10 February.
Conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating, surfing and swimming. People should consider staying out of the water and avoid walking near surf-exposed areas. Rock fishers should avoid coastal rock platforms exposed to the ocean and seek a safe location that is sheltered from the surf.
Joel Wiseman, Director of Lifesaving at Surf Life Saving NSW said that conditions across the weekend will be very dangerous.
“We urge members of the public not to engage in risky coastal activities. If people put themselves in danger in these extreme conditions, there’s a real chance that lifesavers will not be able to save them,” said Joel Wiseman.
With strong 20-30 knot winds and sea swells up to five metres forecast in some locations, there is a threat of coastal inundation, erosion and flooding in low-lying areas. Exacerbating the impact of strong winds and large swells is a very low-pressure system and high tides which will affect sea levels along the NSW coastline. Large tidal surges are a possibility in some areas.
In anticipation of the forecast hazardous surf and weather conditions, Surf Life Saving NSW has put additional Duty Officers and surf rescue assets on standby across the weekend. The Surf Rescue 30 Offshore Rescue Boat based in Sydney, Surf Rescue 40 and Surf Rescue 50 jetboats and crews will also be on standby in Ballina and Kiama to respond to any critical coastal incidents.
Supporting the offshore rescue boats will be RWC (jetski) operations and the SLSNSW State Operations Centre will be operational between 7am and 7pm – with support services extended as required. Surf Rescue emergency call-out teams will remain on high alert across the weekend.
It is anticipated that there will be widespread beach closures due to the hazardous weather across the weekend. Beach closures will be at the discretion of volunteer surf lifesavers and council lifeguards - and conditions at patrolled locations may vary widely. Many surf sports events scheduled for the weekend have been cancelled due to the risk to competitor safety.
In addition to strong wind and high sea swell, the Bureau of Meteorology has also forecast significant rainfall which will impact water quality at many NSW beaches into next week.
The high wind and large surf conditions mean most beaches and rock platforms in particular will be treacherous this weekend. Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Lifesaving, Joel Wiseman urges the public to take extreme caution if they are visiting the coast.
“The forecast weather pattern will produce high winds, damaging surf with significant wave height and widespread substantial rainfall. It will create extremely dangerous conditions for swimmers, surfers, rock fishers and boaters,” said Joel Wiseman.
"Surf Life Saving NSW is anticipating that many NSW beaches will be closed due to dangerous surf conditions. If lifesavers and lifeguards haven’t put the red and yellow flags up, the beach is not safe for swimming," Wiseman concluded.
Since 1 July 2019, 25 people have drowned on the NSW coastline. Twelve of these fatalities have occurred in the summer period (since 1 December).
Hazardous Surf Conditions Safety Tips
- Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves
- Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red & yellow flags. See the Beachsafe Website for patrolled locations/times
- Check the official Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast before undertaking rock fishing and water activities
- Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket
- If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero – Police
Friday 7 February 2020