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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Winter to be drier, warmer and frostier than usual

We’ve just had an autumn that’s brought close to average rainfalls, daytime maximum temperatures well above average, and even a light dusting of snow to welcome in the winter.

Rainfall in the ACT this autumn 2019 was close to average, daytime maximum temperatures were well above average, and overnight minimum temperatures were also above average.

The mean daily maximum temperature for Canberra Airport was 21.7°C, which is 1.9°C above the long-term average.

A maximum of 9.1°C on Monday 27 May was the coldest autumn day since 2000. Conversely, Friday 3 May was Canberra Airport’s warmest May night on record with a minimum of 15.2 °C.

The mean daily minimum temperature at Canberra Airport was 7.6°C, while the coldest morning was -2.7°C on Friday 31 May.

So what can we expect this winter? According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), drier, warmer and potentially frostier conditions.

Speaking to Canberra Weekly on Tuesday 4 June, a BOM meteorologist said a low pressure system currently south of Tasmania is responsible for the windy, chilly conditions we’ve been experiencing.

“We’ve seen some really cold temperatures … last week at the Canberra Airport it was eight degrees in the morning, but actually felt like minus one, and that’s the effect of this wind.”

With snow recorded around Goulburn and Cooma in early winter, the meteorologist said we could get snowfall at above 1000m in the ACT again soon, like it did on 27 May.

So while we’re in for another cold one, don’t expect an excessively wet, windy and miserable winter.

BOM Senior climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said the drier and warmer than average conditions we saw in autumn are likely to continue.

“At the moment we’re seeing an El Nino like pattern fading away out in the Pacific Ocean, and that’s going to have some influence in the early part of the season, but we’re also seeing a positive Indian Ocean Dipole developing.

“That’s going to tend to have a dry and warming influence … But with more clear nights, we’re likely to see an increased risk of frost,” Dr Watkins said.

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