A spring scorcher today of 37 degrees Celsius is shaping up as a taste of things to come, with a hot summer heading our way — in stark contrast to the unusually cool summer of 2017-18.
Perth did not record a single day over 38C last summer but above average temperatures are expected over much of Western Australia this time around, according to the outlook for December to February from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).
"It was unusual not to have a 40-degree day in summer," BOM spokesman Neil Bennett said.
"It would be a reasonable assumption to think that we would see high 30s and possible 40s again because that really is a trademark of Perth summers, particularly as we move into January and February.
"The outlook would suggest that temperatures are going to be above average.
"If that's the case then you probably do stand a better chance of seeing temperatures nudging up into the high 30s and the low 40s."
Last season, Perth experienced its longest run of summer days below 35C in more than two decades, with the cool spell lasting 31 days.
The outlook suggests that is less likely to happen again this season, but on the flipside the BOM is not expecting record-breaking heat either.
"The average [maximum temperature] for Perth for summer is 30.7C. We're obviously thinking it could be warmer than that, but there's nothing to suggest at the moment that it will be a record-breaking summer," Mr Bennett said.
"Just to put some context on that, the hottest day that we've ever recorded in Perth for the summer months was 44.5C back in 1997 on the 26th of February."
The BOM's summer outlook shows the odds favour warmer than average summer conditions for almost the entire state.
Drier season for the tropics
The BOM is also predicting a drier than average summer for the north of WA, which would be a stark contrast to the tropic region's exceptionally wet start to the year.
"The South West and Southern Coastal [regions] are probably leaning more towards average falls and that would include Perth, but the further north you go, the odds of being above average drop quite considerably," Mr Bennett said.
"So it's looking more likely that those areas would be drier than average and that does include our tropical north — the Kimberley and also along the cyclone coast of the Pilbara."
Broome smashed its annual rainfall record in the first two months of this year when a series of cyclones and tropical lows delivered more than 1.5 metres of rain to the coastal town.
"So the indications are that that's probably unlikely to happen. You can't rule it out entirely but certainly the impact of a potential El Nino is going to have a bit of a suppressive effect on rainfall from tropical systems, which would include tropical cyclones," said Mr Bennett.
The rainfall prediction for the north falls in line with BOM's tropical cyclone outlook which suggests there will be fewer cyclones than normal.
"We do have a developing El Nino as well — the outlook is suggesting that El Nino conditions are likely through the summer months — and one of the impacts of an El Nino is to reduce the number of tropical cyclones or act as a suppressant to tropical activity."
Meanwhile the BOM is forecasting a wet start to summer over much of New South Wales which is experiencing the effects of a crippling drought.ABC