Searing summer coming with pelting rain
A LONG, hot summer is likely across Australia, but not everyone is going to be pleased as New South Wales and Victoria are tipped for a drenching.
The Bureau of Meteorology's new summer outlook - which gives a general overview of the weather between December and February - shows a low pressure system is set to bring soggy weather to large parts of the southeast, particularly next month.
It predicts there will be anywhere between 100mm and 200mm of rain over the three months across the region, with warmer than average summer days and nights.
Dry conditions are predicted for large parts of Western Australia, western Tasmania and Queensland, increasing the risk of bushfires.
"High pressure over the South Tasman Sea will drive more humid air inland than normal, resulting in a welcome wetter-than-usual December outlook for central and eastern NSW and eastern Victoria," the bureau's senior hydrologist Robert Pipunic said.
Severe #QldStorm with large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall are likely across #SEQLD on Saturday afternoon and evening. The risk of heavy rainfall and localised flash flooding is expected to increase with any thunderstorm activity that persists into the evening hours. pic.twitter.com/Uv4a0YHXhk— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) November 16, 2018
Temperatures have also been rising, with near-record figures in some parts of the country.
Warmer seas in the tropical Pacific Ocean have increased threefold the risk of an El Nino forming in the coming months, meaning lower rainfall across parts of the country.
"However, El Nino typically has a weaker influence in the current drought areas of southeastern Australia during summer than it does in winter and spring," BOM's latest climate outlook said.
It also means an equal chance of either a wet or dry summer for the rest of the country.
Australia posted its second-hottest January-October period on record for daytime temperatures, with NSW having its hottest - and it was also the state's fourth-driest start to any year, the bureau said.
"This warmth, combined with a predominantly dry landscape, means bushfire risk remains high in many parts of Australia," Dr Pipunic said.
And, while holiday-makers and beachgoers won't welcome the impending drenching, farmers in drought-affected areas of NSW will welcome the wet outlook.
But Parkes farmer Wayne Dunford is sceptical it will bring enough rain to break the drought at his central-west NSW property.
"December is typically a dry month so if the average is, say, 30mm and we get 35mm then that's not going to be enough," Mr Dunford told AAP on Thursday.
There is enough money to keep hand feeding his remaining cattle herd for another two months, he said, before he'll have to come up with something else.
It would take consistent rainfall of 40 to 50mm or several heavy downpours above 80mm to make a real difference, Mr Dunford said.
About half of farm land across Australia's southeast remains in drought, with NSW having experienced its fourth-driest and warmest January-October period on record.
The current drought has lasted more than a year with the nation sweating through its third-hottest year on record in 2017.
What sets it apart from other dry periods is how widespread it is, Mr Dunford said.
"You can't just take your herd a few hundred kilometres north.
"Queensland has had drought for seven years while far north NSW is coming up on five."
While buckets of rain fell across the nation in October, it wasn't enough to break the drought in NSW and Queensland.
Further warming of the Pacific Ocean was likely, BOM says, with the majority of climate models predicting sea surface temperatures remaining above El Nino thresholds until at least March.
This weekend, Queensland's south-east is expected to cop severe storms thanks to a trough slowly moving east.
Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 mm are forecast for much of central and eastern NSW, eastern and southern VIC, parts of south-eastern QLD, the north-east of WA, TAS and the far north of the NT to 22/11 | https://t.co/ZM6ebXJltO #climateupdate #weather pic.twitter.com/sK3xN2VK3b— ABARES (@ABARES) November 16, 2018