WA is preparing for category five tropical cyclone Marcus this weekend with swell predicted to reach three metres in the regional south-west.
Currently sitting north-east of Exmouth and generating winds of up to 285 kilometres per hour, the system is expected to downgrade and move further south over the weekend.
Surfing WA Chief Executive Mark Lane says the rare event of north-westerly swell has many WA surfers buzzing to reach the weekend.
“As soon as you get a swell that comes from the west or even north-west, that creates a whole lot of different venues and the waves that are you are used to surfing change enormously,” said Mr Lane.
Similar conditions developed in January 2011, when cyclone Bianca hit Western Australian shores.
Surf Life Saving WA recorded 171 rescues that day, with no fatalities.
Director of Life Saving Education at Trigg Island SLSC Carl Stoffers isn’t worried about the weekend’s forecast, but concedes cyclone weather can be extremely unpredictable.
“It’s under three metres (and) it’s not going to be particularly hot, so we don’t expect the beaches to be too packed in Perth,” Mr Stoffers said.
“We haven’t had any big warnings from Surf Life Saving Western Australia, however cyclone weather changes rapidly, and the conditions could change at any point.”
Mr Stoffers doesn’t believe Cyclone Marcus will be a repeat of events from Cyclone Bianca, but says swimmers should exercise caution when going to the beach in cyclone conditions, especially given the unpredictability of cyclone swell.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Pete Clegg agrees the weather forecast is something for surfers to be excited about, but remains thankful the cyclone is far offshore.
A major reason why we’re predicting that severe tropical #CycloneMarcus will weaken as it moves south, is because it’ll move into areas of cooler water. This image shows latest sea surface temps & the track map. Strong upper winds in the south will also play a role. pic.twitter.com/7vKxuIj8bM
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) March 22, 2018