Helter swelter, it’s heating up
RESIDENTS are being warned to prepare for sweltering weather in the next three months.
And the long- term chances of significant rain in Townsville are unclear.
Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Catherine Ganter said for the next three months there was a greater than 80 per cent chance of warmer days and nights compared to normal.
“From what we can see there are much warmer than average sea surface temperatures all the way across the east coast and that’s partly behind the warmer outlook,” she said.
Towns along the coast of Queensland will be most affected by the warmer sea temperatures.
The forecast could mean nights in particular.
“It tends to affect minimum temperatures more,” Ms Ganter said.
Strict water restrictions are in force warmer within the Townsville area and the Ross River Dam, which supplies water to the city, has dropped to 21 per cent capacity.
Data shows rainfall over the past three years has been in the lowest 10 per cent on record and Townsville City Council recently referred to the situation as “one of the driest periods we’ve ever had”.
Ms Ganter said the chances of wetter and drier conditions in August and October were about equal.
She said there were no climate drivers affecting Australia’s weather patterns towards either wetter or drier than normal.
The two main factors that affect rainfall in Australia are the El Nino and La Nina events.
El Nino events are associated with a warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific, while La Nina events are the opposite.
Wetter than normal conditions across eastern and northern Australia are associated with La Nina events. Ms Ganter said neither of those drivers were affecting the climate, leaving a situation she described as “neutral”.
The bureau’s outlook for August to October is a 95 per cent chance of less than 10mm of rain.
There is a very high chance of the temperature being above the median of 27.9C.
The warm forecast comes after a record- breaking warm July for Australia.
“In terms of preliminary data, July 2017 is likely to be Australia’s warmest July for maximum temperatures on record,” Ms Ganter said.
The average maximum temperature for July is likely to beat the previous record set in 1975 to be 2C above average. Official readings began in 1910. And the unseasonable warm conditions will continue.
“In Townsville it’s likely to be a degree warmer than normal,” Ms Ganter said.