Australia’s south and south-east are in for a hot, sticky and stormy weekend with a chance of flash flooding in some places combined with extreme temperatures.
Parts of central and southern Australia could see maximum temperatures at 16C above average on Saturday, with Victoria seeing a risk of storms and flash floods on Saturday.
Many parts of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales are in for a hot and sticky weekend, but the Bureau of Meteorology says the arrival of high humidity in South Australia and Victoria in particular will lower the risk of bushfires there.
A heatwave that has reached across Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne won’t start to ease for the eastern areas until the end of the weekend.
A longer-term outlook released by the bureau suggests the next three months will likely remain hotter than usual with little chance of significant rainfall.
Senior bureau meteorologist Dean Sgarbossa said the heat and humidity was coming ahead of a strong cold front that would move in from the Great Australian Bight and track across the south-east of the country over the weekend.
“There’s going to be unusually humid conditions that will feel almost like tropical humidity,” he said, adding the high temperatures combined with the humidity would deliver uncomfortable conditions.
“It makes it hard for people to cool down. But despite those high temperatures, the fire dangers should be capped at severe, and that’s because of the humidity.”
Chances of thunderstorms would start in Adelaide later on Friday and then move eastwards.
Forecasters were also looking at the possibility of dust storms in parts of eastern South Australia and western Victoria over the weekend.
Sgarbossa said that Melbourne was in for a “bit of a rollercoaster” through the weekend. On Friday and Saturday temperatures were forecast to be well above average, but by Monday conditions would be much cooler – between 6C and 10C cooler than normal.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s outlook for February to April says much of the country will likely be drier than average, hotter than average and with increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires.
Two climate drivers that contributed to the record hot and dry year of 2019 – the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode – have both shifted into a neutral phase.
That means the influences on Australia’s weather will come from more localised conditions, including above-average sea surface temperatures off the east coast.
From February to April, there is a greater than 80% chance that maximum temperatures will be above average in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Darwin.
Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth will also likely see higher than average maximum temperatures.
Night time temperatures will also likely be higher than average in Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
The bureau’s outlook shows little chance of above-average rainfall anywhere for the three months to April.
South-east and western Queensland, central NSW, Tasmania’s south-west and central parts of WA have a less than 50% chance of having above-average rain.