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Near-record dry start to winter

Ben Domensino, Monday July 3, 2017 - 16:24 EST

Australia is entering what many are hoping won't be a dry July after the nation's second driest and seventh warmest June on record.

Abnormally high pressure over southern Australia and an associated lack of cold fronts last month saw large swathes of the country register significantly below average rainfall, warmer than usual days and notably nippy nights during June.

Most of Australia received below average rainfall through the month and parts of every state and territory except the NT had their driest June on record. Australia as a whole had its second driest June on record, falling just behind 1940.

Looking at the state/territory-wide rainfall averages, it was the driest June on record for Victoria and amongst the top 10 driest for Tasmania and Western Australia. Canberra (2.4mm) and Hobart (6.6mm) registered their driest and second driest June on record, respectively. Melbourne (17mm) had its ninth driest June out of 162 years of records and the driest since 2008.

The average daytime maximum temperature was warmer than usual for most of Australia during June. Much of Western Australia's Southwest Land Division registered its highest average maximum temperature on record, including Perth, while the state as a whole had its third warmest June. Far northern Queensland and parts of the NT's Barkly district were amongst the few areas in Australia that saw below-average daytime temperatures last month.

Overnight minimum temperatures were below average for most of southern and central Australia last month. The abnormally high pressure over southern Australia caused clearer than usual skies and lighter winds, which allowed daytime heat to escape easily during nighttime hours. Locations that experienced their coldest average minimum temperature in June included Wagga Wagga (-0.1C) and Condobolin (0.2C) in NSW and Parafield (3.6C) in South Australia.

So after a dry June with warm days and cool nights in many areas, what can we expect heading into July?

The start of the month has already thrown out some bone-numbing low temperatures in the nation's southeast. Canberra dropped below minus seven degrees for the first three mornings of the month, which was its coldest start to July on record and the coldest string of mornings in 46 years. Sydney's trio of mornings below six degrees between Saturday and Monday is a feat that hasn't happened in any month since 2010. Melbourne registered its coldest pair of mornings in 20 years on the weekend, dipping to one degree early on Saturday and Sunday.

Fronts are becoming a bit more active in Australia this week, which is helping bring rain and snow to the thirsty southern states. However, there are indications that another large high pressure will dominate Australia's weather next week, which may mean warm days, cold nights and dry conditions may return as we head into the middle of July.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

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