It's warming up to be a wild one
IT LOOKS like we could be in for a hot and wild summer.
The Weather Channel is forecasting an increase in bushfires, temperature, heatwaves and tropical cyclones in the months ahead.
According to Senior Meteorologist Tom Saunders the unrelenting rain from two consecutive La Niña years has now cleared and in its place Australia's warm and dry weather is set to return.
The hotter and drier outlook is the result of a weak El Niño combined with abnormal Indian Ocean temperatures.
"It will be the hottest summer in at least three years for much of the country," Mr Saunders said.
"The sun makes its return to Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra where temperatures will be above average and warmer than last year. Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Darwin and Perth will also be warmer than normal this season.
The Weather Channel's Chief Meteorologist Dick Whitaker said that compared to the 2011/12 season, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide are at increased risk of heatwaves.
"In Perth there is a decreased heatwave risk while Sydney, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart are at zero risk as those capitals average less than one heatwave every 10 years," Mr Whitaker said.
"There is heightened risk of bushfires this season for most of the country compared to the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons.
"Grassland areas of central Western Australia, South Australia, inland New South Wales and southern inland Queensland are most at risk. The fire potential for forest regions of south-east Queensland, eastern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia is also substantially higher."
"The nation is finally drying out with the exception of Western Australia, where parts of the state will have above average rainfall this season. Most of Queensland and New South Wales will see below average rainfall however, near average rain is expected through south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales," Mr Saunders said.
"We expect cyclone numbers to be near or slightly below average this season with a maximum of 12 cyclones in total over Australian waters, five which should cross the coast.
"Despite this, 2012/13 is likely to be a more active season than last year when even with La Niña conditions we saw only eight cyclones,.
"Severe thunderstorm numbers should be close to average in Queensland and northern New South Wales but slightly below average over southern Australia," Mr Whittaker said.
"Brisbane once again will defend the title of most severe thunderstorm prone capital, while Perth can expect another unusually active storm season."