DRY AND FIERY: Grim summer forecast
AUSTRALIA is in for a dry and fiery summer with extreme heatwaves and "dangerous bushfire conditions" predicted towards the end of the year.
The grim forecast was made in Sky News Weather's annual long-range Severe Weather Outlook 2019/20, which warned of "unprecedented conditions" in store for the country, including a worsening drought, extreme temperatures, severe thunderstorms and heatwaves.
The report, prepared by Sky News Weather's chief meteorologist Tom Saunders, said a dry signal from the Indian Ocean combined with the increasing influence of global warming should result in a very dry spring and start to summer.
"This brings an increased risk of prolonged dry spells, dust storms, bushfires and heatwaves. It is possible parts of Australia will have their hottest severe weather season on record," the report stated.
"A relatively quiet cyclone season is likely, however, thunderstorm activity should be particularly prevalent over eastern Australia."
Mr Saunders predicted two to three tropical cyclones are likely off the Queensland east coast this summer, with one coastal crossing.
Last year Queensland had five tropical cyclones in the Coral Sea, with one, Trevor, making landfall.
Australia has just recorded its warmest start to a year on record for maximum temperatures.
This sweltering trend is expected to continue leading into summer with temperatures likely to remain above average across most of Australia through the warm season, increasing the risk of heatwaves, the report said.