Summer, Australian style

Not the wall-to-wall sunshine you might expect

    The rain in Queensland last summer was relentless and resulted in the worst flooding since 1974 [EPA]

    Summer has started in an unusual way.

    In eastern Australia, it’s been very chilly. In fact, for Sydney it’s been the coldest start to summer for 44 years.

    The average temperature in Sydney in December is 25C, but so far the temperatures have only nudged above 20C once this month. Melbourne has also been shivering, with temperatures on Sunday 4 December only struggling to 15C.

    Canberra has been fairing a little better during the day, but at night it certainly hasn’t been warm. The average low temperature is 12C, but on Sunday night the temperature dropped like a stone, right down to 3C.  

    For some parts of New South Wales and Victoria, the temperature even dropped below freezing for a time. Goulburn, in New South Wales, plunged to -1C, a whole 12 degrees below average.

    This cold weather is due to the strong, cold southerly winds which are screaming up across eastern Australia around an area of high pressure that’s situated over the Bight. However, the weather elsewhere is very different, and western and northern parts of the country have been enduring some very heavy rain.

    In Western Australia, the wet weather has been generated by heavy thundery showers. The severe thunderstorms are bringing torrential rain, large hailstones and damaging winds, which are likely to bring flash flooding in places.

    Northern Australia has also been seeing some torrential rain. November to March is the wet season in the region, so the rain is to be expected at this time of year, but recently it’s been even heavier than usual . Some places have reported nearly 100mm of rain in a 24-hour-period, which has led to flooding.

    Over the next few days, southeastern Australia should gradually begin to warm up, despite the forecast rain. However, the forecast is less optimistic for the north.

    The monsoon rains are expected to spread southwards in the coming days, to give many parts of Queensland a very wet week. Forecasters will be keeping a very close eye on the rains in Australia this year, after last year’s horrific flooding. There is a concern that this year’s rains will also be very heavy, as the weather is still under the influence La Nina, which often brings flooding to northern Australia.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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