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BOM NT predicts early onset of wet season build-up as July temperature records fall

Tuesday July 27, 2021 - 23:41 EST
ABC image
Forecasters predict an early return to the intensely sweaty period known locally as the build-up. - ABC

People in the Top End are being warned to brace for an early return to sweatbox conditions, with predictions an early onset of the wet season will bring the cooler dry season temperatures to a premature end.


Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) modelling shows rain and high humidity levels are expected to envelop some parts of Northern Australia earlier than usual.


Forecasters say the pre-wet season conditions known locally as the build-up ? where soaring humidity propels many areas into sauna-like conditions ? could begin as early as September.


The driver behind the conditions is a phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole, which was recently declared negative for the first time in five years.


That means central and southern parts of the country will become wetter throughout the colder months of the year.


BOM senior forecaster Billy Lynch said it could also lead to early wet season downpours in the Top End.


"The rain that we would normally expect to experience during that September, October, November period could come earlier this season," he said.


"The prospects of seeing some rain in the Top End from September onwards is more likely."


Temperature records tumble


Some parts of the Northern Territory have also sweltered through a scorching July, with record-breaking temperatures.


On July 25, the remote community of Wadeye reached 35.6 degrees Celsius ? its hottest July day in more than 20 years.


In Victoria River Downs, a cattle station about 700 kilometres south of Darwin, a 37.7C day became the hottest maximum July temperature in 56 years.


Mr Lynch said July temperature records in Central Australia could also tumble in the coming days.


"We're expecting to see that heat move southwards into central and southern NT, so we could even see some records across the south."


Alice Springs is forecast to have its hottest July day, at 32C, on Friday.


Cooler temperatures will bring relief to southern and central parts of the NT from Sunday.


The Top End will have to wait a bit longer, with a cool change not expected until the middle of next week.







- ABC

© ABC 2021

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