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27 July 2017

Australia’s warm winter to continue

The Bureau of Meteorology has said high levels of evaporation has been a feature of winter. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

AUSTRALIA has just endured its second driest June in more than a century as the country’s virtually rainless winter continues.

And it’s set to continue with a warm end to winter — but the occasional freezing cold night could still creep up on us.

The Bureau of Meteorology released its three month climate outlook to October on Thursday with a prediction a lingering high pressure system over the south east that has brought blue skies will linger even longer.

The Bureau of Meteorology has said high levels of evaporation, rather than rainfall, has been a feature of winter. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau of Meteorology has said high levels of evaporation, rather than rainfall, has been a feature of winter. Picture: Bureau of MeteorologySource:Supplied

“Australia has had the second driest June in 118 years and July has been drier than the average for the south,” Andrew Watkins, Senior Climatologist at the weather bureau said.

Both Melbourne and Canberra have had their driest start to winter for 38 years with just 40mm and 12mm of rain respectively.

Parts of southern Western Australia, eastern Victoria, western Tasmanian and central NSW had a severe lack of rain over the past few months.

Despite some achingly cold mornings, in Perisher earlier this month the mercury fell to a bitter -12C, the days have been balmier than most winters.

The main features of the remainder of winter. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

The main features of the remainder of winter. Picture: Bureau of MeteorologySource:Supplied

This Sunday is expected to get as high as 26C in Sydney, the average for a typical December — not July — day.

“Colder than average nights and early morning frost has been widespread across the south but in contrast there have been very warm temperatures in the tropical north,” Mr Watkins said.

“Clear skies and dry warm air led to unusually high evaporation in many areas.”

This low rainfall and high evaporation has meant that many of Australia’s dams and reservoirs, particularly in the country’s south, are less full than expected.

Dry and warm conditions were expected to continue as the country bounded towards October, said Mr Watkins.

Temperatures will likely be above average for the next three months. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

Temperatures will likely be above average for the next three months. Picture: Bureau of MeteorologySource:Supplied

“Our main climate drivers, [El Nino] and the Indian Ocean Dipole, are idling in neutral and most likely to do so until the end of the year.

“The high pressure will persist across the south of Australia as we head into spring bringing sunny days and less rain for southern parts and higher temperatures for the north.”

Bushfires have already struck some areas around Darwin, earlier than usual.

But just because its sunny doesn’t mean it’s going to be beach weather.

While days and nights will likely be warmer than the winter average, those starry skies could still lead to some very cold starts and frost.

So unpack the cossie but don’t pack away the scarf just yet.

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