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Perth cruises through dry, 'benign' November as BOM flags glimpse of hot summer to come

By Irena Ceranic, Friday November 30, 2018 - 18:38 EDT
ABC licensed image
It was a cool, dry month in Perth, but spring daytime temperatures overall were near average. - ABC licensed

As Queensland sweltered through heatwave conditions which fuelled catastrophic bushfires, and torrential rain flooded New South Wales, Perth cruised through a mild November, recording its driest in 61 years and coolest in a decade.

There were only two wet days in the month and between them, they delivered just 3.2 millimetres of rain to the Perth metro gauge — far less than the 23.2mm average — making it the driest November since 1957.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) spokesman Neil Bennett said the days were also cooler than usual, with an average of 25.3 degrees Celsius.

"It has been a cool November … the coldest since 2008," he said.

"Normally the long-term average for November is 26.7C, so it has been cooler for November, but spring overall has been just a little bit below."

Mr Bennett said it may come as a surprise to people that daytime temperatures for spring overall were close to average.

"The spring average is 23.5C and we came in with 23.1C, so not too far off the average," he said.

"I think many people would probably think 'well hang on, it's been really cold', but that's mainly in the evenings with the very fresh and strong sea breezes we've been experiencing."

Perth may have posted its wettest winter in 15 years, but spring was an entirely different story.

Driest spring in eight years

"For Perth, spring was remarkably dry. The average for spring is 148.9mm, but we reported just 78.4 making it the driest spring in eight years," Mr Bennett said.

"And it was really punctuated by two very dry months in September and November, but a relatively wet or close to average rainfall in October, so that really did save us."

Mr Bennett said Perth tended to lose the influence of cold fronts at this time of year anyway, with the weather dominated by high pressure systems.

"We do see these troughs of low pressure forming off the west coast and they can sometimes lead to showers and thunderstorms, but we haven't had that much trough activity," he said.

"So for the west at the moment, in the last couple of weeks it's been very quiet, very benign, not much going on at all.

"Whereas over in the east, there's been this horrendous heat wave going on in Queensland … and then we saw that incredible rainfall through Sydney [on Wednesday] where 100 millimetres fell in two hours basically."

Get set for a summer scorcher

Perth had an unusually cool summer in 2017-18 and did not record a single day over 38C.

But above-average temperatures are expected over much of WA this time around, .

"We don't have a strong signal one way or the other for the rainfall, so that sort of suggests that we're likely to see average rainfall for the next three months," said Mr Bennett.

"Temperature-wise though, it does look as if the odds are favouring warmer-than-average temperatures."

Perth will get a glimpse of what is to come on Monday, when the temperature is forecast to soar to 36C.


© ABC 2018

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