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Monstrous waves recorded off Sydney coast

Ben Domensino, Thursday August 22, 2019 - 20:42 EST

An large and powerful swell hit the NSW coast on Thursday, with maximum wave heights exceeding 13 meters near Sydney.

A waverider buoy located about 10km off Sydney's Northern Beaches registered a maximum wave height of 13.32 metres at 4pm on Thursday. 

Image: Wave data showing a maximum wave height of 13.32 metres off the Sydney coast on Thursday afternoon. Source: Manly Hydeaulics Laboratory

This is an impressively large wave for the central coastline of NSW. The largest wave measured near Sydney during the notorious June 2016 swell event that caused caused significant coastal erosion was 12.0 metres. However, that swell approached Sydney from the east, which caused waves to strike the coast directly. By contrast, today's swell was coming from the south, allowing the largest waves to bypass most beaches.

Image: Forresters Beach on Thursday afternoon.

Another waverider buoy located closer to the coast, near Botany Bay, registered maximum wave heights up to 10.63 metres on Thursday afternoon.

Damaging surf is likely to continue along parts of the NSW coast into Friday morning, before easing gradually during Friday and the weekend.

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