Cold autumn; not a sign of things to come

THE Weather Channel says Canberra has experienced the coldest autumn since 1984 and the wettest since 1989, however it’s not an indication of an upcoming severe winter.

According to senior meteorologist Tom Saunders, this autumn has had an average temperature of 12.3 degrees, one degree below the norm. However, he said most of southern Australia likely to see above average temperatures this winter; with no strong signal for rain with “an even chance of above or below average rain”.

“Our minimum temperatures were particularly cold averaging just 5.3˚C, the lowest since the mid 1960s. May proved extremely cold with minimums averaging below zero for the first time since 1961, including a spell of 10 subzero minimums in 11 days during the middle of the month,” Saunders said.

“The below average autumn temperatures were initially due to La Niña conditions which brought cloudy, cool days in March, but later in the season the frosty nights were the result of high- pressure systems which brought clear skies and light winds.

“Typically in late autumn cold-fronts break long spells of frost with bursts of cloudy, windy weather.”

He also said Canberra experienced an “extremely wet” autumn, with March providing the bulk of the rain helping the city record its wettest autumn in 23 years.

“Canberra experienced a particularly wet March, when 198.0mm of rain was recorded. This proved the wettest March since 1989 before drying off in April and May with well below average rain,” he said.

“Canberra’s autumn total was 235.4 mm, well above the long-term autumn average of 141.1mm and significantly greater than autumn 2011 when only 61.0mm fell.

“It was also the wettest autumn recorded at Canberra Airport since 1989, when 477.8mm was recorded.”


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