Warm weather to extend into winter, says Bureau of Meteorology

Australia might be treated to an extended period of warm weather.

Australia might be treated to an extended period of warm weather. Photo: ABC

Don’t pack away those summer clothes just yet – warmer-than-usual weather is on the cards for the rest of autumn and the start of winter.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate update forecasts above average temperatures for most of the country between April and June.

Below-average rainfall is expected across southern Australia, but plenty of rain is tipped to drench the east coast, Tasmania and the far north.

BOM forecasters say most climate models are continuing to suggest an El Nino will develop this winter as a result of warmer sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

“Days and nights are likely to be warmer than average for much of Australia but cooler in some areas of the far north,” senior climatologist Andrew Watkins said on Thursday.

“Below average rainfall is likely over much of Australia but it might not start out that way in several places.

“In April, tropical air may continue to bring rain to the eastern and northern coastal fringes.”

The bureau’s latest update comes after the summer heat extended into the start of autumn, with Victoria and Tasmania recording their warmest March temperatures.

And while it remained warm in much of NSW, the state’s northeast recorded two to three times as much rain as usual by mid March.

Northern Australia has also seen above average rainfall during its annual wet season, largely as a result of a monsoon trough and tropical lows.

And while Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc in parts of north Queensland this week, there have been far fewer cyclones than usual in the region with just five recorded so far instead of the usual 11.

Earlier this month, the bureau said recent changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere combined with international climate model outlooks suggested there was a 50 per cent chance of an El Nino forming by July.

El Nino is associated with below average winter-spring rainfall over eastern Australia and warmer than average winter-spring maximum temperatures in southern states.

As well as a shift in temperature extremes, El Nino can increase the chances of bushfires in southeast Australia.

The El Nino that spread from 2015 into 2016 was one of the three strongest on record, causing drought and driving temperatures higher.

Temperatures were nearly 1C above average in 2016, making last year the fourth-warmest on record.

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