The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a drier and warmer summer with below average rainfall for large parts of the eastern seaboard.
The BOM's head of long-range forecasts Dr Andrew Watkins outlined the short-term forecasts in a summer outlook, which was released on Thursday, November 28.
He says the outlook was influenced by one of Australia's main climate drivers.
"The key culprit for our current and expected conditions is one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events on record," Dr Watkins said.
"A positive IOD means we have cooler than average water pooling off Indonesia, and this means we see less rain-bearing weather systems, and warmer than average temperatures for large parts of the country.
"The positive IOD means we're also expecting a delayed onset for the northern monsoon, one of the key drivers for tropical rainfall during the summer months.
"At this stage we're expecting the onset of the northern monsoon by mid-summer, which should see the odds for closer to average rainfall increasing from January and into February."
The BOM also released its preliminary spring summary which shows large fires, persistent smoke and dust storms will feature for the upcoming season. Some of the key points for the spring include:
- Likely to be one of the five driest springs for NSW as a whole despite some rain around Bourke in early November and in the northeast late in spring; the far northeast was particularly dry
- One of New South Wales' ten warmest springs overall
- Days warmer than average especially in the northeast, but nights closer to average
- A blast of extreme heat in late November increased fire danger and broke spring temperature records in the southeast
Dr Watkins said the summer outlook was an important reminder for communities to be alert to the potential severe weather risks over the coming months.
"We've already seen significant bushfire activity during spring, and the outlook for drier and warmer than average conditions will maintain that heightened risk over the coming months.
"This outlook also means the risk of heatwaves is increased, so it's important the community stays up to date with the latest information and advice from authorities and the Bureau's heatwave forecasts and warnings.
"Even with a drier than average outlook, localised flooding remains a risk under particular meteorological conditions such as thunderstorms, and of course communities in the north need to be prepared at this time of year for tropical cyclones."
For more information on Australia's severe weather risks visit the website.