Will unseasonably warm weather continue?
AS AUTUMN slides into winter, Australia's run of unseasonably warm weather is set to endure for at least another month.
May will continue to be mild coming off the hottest single April day ever recorded a few weeks ago, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says in its climate outlook for the three months to the end of July, released today.
However, don't change your winter plans just yet - a cold June and July could still pack a punch.
The bureau said April 9 was the warmest April day in Australia since records began, with the average high across the country almost touching 35C.
"Autumn in the south felt more like summer," BOM climatologist Felicity Gamble said.
Maximum temperatures for early April were 8C above average for the time of year nationally; in southeastern Western Australia, South Australia, western NSW and western Victoria that figure jumped to 12C higher than normal. In many areas, rain was almost non-existent.
"The prolonged heatwave in early April was exceptional. New April temperature records were set in many parts of the country, over several days," Ms Gamble said.
But nine tropical cyclones, which is the average number to hit Australia in a year, dumped rain in the north that is slowly filtering its way south through Australia's river systems. It's not been enough to keep dams full, with mainland reservoirs mostly running below the level this time last year.
LOOKING AHEAD TO WINTER
Ms Gamble said both Australia's main climate drivers - El Nino/La Nina in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean Dipole off the coast of WA - were essentially missing in action. This can lead to very average conditions.
But warm sea surface temperatures around New Zealand and low air pressures over the Tasman Sea were forecast to continue, which could weaken the westerly winds that bring moisture into southern Australia.
"Below-average rainfall is likely for parts of southwest Western Australia and western Victoria. The north is likely to be wetter than average, but it's the start of the dry season, so it won't be as wet as recent months," she said.
Elsewhere there was no clear indication of either wetter or drier conditions.
May is shaping up to be another hot month with a greater than 70 per cent chance of above-average temperatures, rising to a more than 80 per cent chance for northern WA, the NT, southern Queensland and most of NSW.
"But as we move into winter, there's less chance of warmer than average temperatures," Ms Gamble said.
The exception to that outlook is southern and eastern Victoria and Tasmania where there is a higher probability of a mild winter.
So, scarfs at the ready, but it may be a while yet before you need to wrap up warm.