Australia's rival cities have both escaped the worst of winter, with current forecasts suggesting Melbourne and Sydney will complete their warmest July in over 150 years of records.
Sydneysiders often say that one of the reasons Sydney is better than Melbourne is the warmer winter weather. However during this July, Melbourne has almost copied a typical Sydney winter by coming within half a degree of Sydney's average July maximum. For Sydneysiders living in Melbourne, it has almost felt like home, particularly when Melbourne set a record high temperature of 23.3 degrees last week.
It seems that Sydney wasn't ready to let Melbourne claim extra bragging rights as it also stayed well above the July average. This month in Sydney would also sit nicely further north, currently running at 19.2 degrees. This is warmer than the July average in Coffs Harbour.
Sydney and Melbourne are both on target for their warmest July on record, both running more than two degrees above the long term average.
Melbourne is forecast to experience warmer than average temperatures from tomorrow until the end of the month, hitting 16 or 17 degrees on most days. This is likely to make it the city's hottest July on record in terms of daytime temperatures, which are currently averaging 15.9 degrees. The previous record warm July was in 1975, when daytime temperatures averaged 15.7 degrees. It is uncertain whether Melbourne will break the record minimum average for July of 8.4 degrees, which was also set in 1975.
Sydney is almost certain to go beyond its 2005 record maximum average of 19.0 degrees, however it is now unlikely to reach the average minimum record of 10.4 degrees set in 1950. The mercury is getting ready to rise into the low 20's at least once in the next week with mild temperatures near 19 degrees continuing.
The reason why Sydney and Melbourne, and many places in between, have experienced such a warm July is due to a lack of strong cold fronts. There has only been one strong cold front this month, when there would normally be at least two that remove the warm air from the southeast. The other major factor has been increased sunshine under the influence of high pressure.
Looking ahead to August, the warmer than normal temperatures are expected to persist. Both Melbourne and Sydney should see near or above average temperatures, while rainfall totals come in closer to average.
© Weatherzone 2013
18:04 EDT The weather bureau has urged residents in Queensland's Gulf to remain on cyclone alert as ex-Tropical Cyclone Gillian moves overland.