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Warm end to autumn may feel quite mild

Ben Domensino, Friday April 27, 2018 - 13:21 EST

The latest seasonal outlooks issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on Thursday shows that days and nights are likely to be warmer than usual for most of Australia during May.

Such an outlook may not come as a surprise after many parts of Australia experienced a notably warm start to 2018.

Australia as a whole registered its second warmest summer on record and backed this up with its equal ninth warmest March on record, with data going back to the early 1900's.

April has already notched up a plethora of individual location and area-average heat records around the country as well. This includes the hottest April day on record for Australia as a whole, which occurred twice on Sunday 8th (34.61C) and again on Monday 9th (34.97C). The previous record was 34.32C from 8th April 2008.

So, what will a warmer than usual May feel like across Australia?

Those living in southern states shouldn't be putting away their beanies just yet. May is the fourth coldest month of the year in Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth based on maximum temperatures. So while May could be warmer than usual this year, it's not going to be a hot month in the nation's south.

May is also the first month of the dry season in Northern Australia and Darwin's sixth warmest month of the year based on maximums. A warmer than average May won't feel as muggy or oppressive as hot days do during the buildup.

Australia's highest temperature on record during May was 40.6 degrees at Bidyadanga in WA back in 1990. Time will tell if this record gets challenged during 2018.

While above average temperatures during an otherwise cool month are not cause for too much concern - other than possibly reflecting a background long-term warming trend - the prospect of below average rain during a normally wet month is perhaps more worrying.

The Bureau's outlook indicates that western districts of Western Australia could receive below average rainfall during May and June.

These are statistically two of Perth's wettest months and the start of its five month 'wet season.' Perth usually receives about 80 per cent of its annual rainfall between May and September.

Aside from one day of heavy rain in January, Perth has had a notably dry start to the year and only received 23mm of rain during the last three months. This is well below the city's February-to-March average of 77mm.

In the Central Wheatbelt, Merredin's 25mm since the beginning of February is well below its long-term February to April average of 61mm.

Below average rainfall in Perth and other western districts of Western Australia during the next couple of months would certainly be noticed.

Visit http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/ for more information on the latest seasonal outlooks.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2018

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