Warm temperatures set to continue
IF THE start to autumn felt warmer than usual, that's because it was, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, and the warm weather will be around for a little while longer yet.
Senior climatologist Agata Imielska said a prolonged heatwave affected much of Australia during March, which broke the warmest March day record set in 1966 by one degree.
"It was quite unusual, particularly in the persistence of the heat," she said.
"A dry February allowed more heat to build up as high pressure became established in the Tasman Sea, which directed northerly flows over south-east Australia, pushing temperatures up above average.
"There was also a noticeable lack of cool outbreaks, as sometimes during these extended heatwaves there's a cool bit of weather that breaks up warm conditions, and we didn't see them."
A Bureau of Meteorology report into the heatwave noted that offshore sea surface temperatures were well above normal during March.
The period ended when south-easterly winds brought cool showery conditions to most of NSW on March 21, though Ms Imielska said the warm conditions would most likely continue for some time yet.
"Autumn is a transitional season, but there are some lingering influences which will see temperatures remain warm," she said.
"Warmer days and nights are expected for autumn and early winter."
The weather factors feeding into this season are really warm sea temperatures off the east coast, bringing warmer temperatures up.
"We are also in a declining El Niño phase, which brings persistent warmer days and nights," Ms Imielska said.
The bureau outlook for April to June also forecasts a 50% chance of above median rainfall for the Coffs Coast.
Ms Imielska said the Bureau of Meteorology had observed the warmer temperatures as a broader trend across Australia.