20.2 C

Hotter, drier summer forecast for Hunter region


Planning your summer holidays? 

Wondering whether to include outdoor events and activities? 

The answer is “yes”. 

With 15 days left before the Hunter officially marks the arrival of spring, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has shared some good news – we’re in for a long, hot summer. 

After three years of La Nina giving the east coast of Australia a thorough soaking, El Nino appears to be stepping up for its turn. 

And, that means from September, Novocastrians can expect more of the weather they’re used to. 

“We’ve got a couple of climate drivers in play at the moment,” says BoM forecaster Hugh McDowell.  

“We have the potential El Nina developing and a potential Indian Ocean Dipole and we’re monitoring them both. 

“While El Nino has more effect on the conditions experienced on the west coast of Australia, for the Hunter region it means a slightly drier spring. 

“Temperatures though have an 80% chance of being above the median. 

“That’s for both the minimum and maximum temperatures.” 

The forecast is for a warmer September to November and possibly longer. Photo: Destination NSW

Hottest month on record 

The forecast comes just days after scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York declared July 2023 was hotter than any other month in the global temperature record. 

“This July was massively warmer than any previous July and any previous month on record, which goes back to 1880,” Mr McDowell said.

“Overall, July 2023 was 0.24 degrees Celsius warmer than any other July in NASA’s record, and it was 1.18 C warmer than the average July between 1951 and 1980.”  

A drier, warmer than average spring forecast means a greater risk of bushfire.

Bushfire Season 

Higher than average temperatures and less rainfall does mean increased bushfire risk, prompting NSW Rural Fire Service to issue a warning last week ahead of the warmer months. 

“It’s been three years since the devastating fires which saw many NSW communities impacted by fire, and with a return to hot and dry conditions this summer, we’re getting ready for the increased risk – and it’s important that the community gets ready too,” said RFS commissioner Rob Rogers. 

In a nutshell: 

  • We are being warned by the Bureau of Meteorology that we can expect a hotter, drier than average September to November. 
  • Below average rainfall and above average temperatures expected until at least December. 
  • The long-range forecast is influenced by several factors, including likely El Niño development, potential positive Indian Ocean Dipole development, and record warm oceans globally. 
  • Unusually low rainfall equates to the driest 20% of September to November periods from 1981 to 2018. 

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