5 March 2024

Illawarra to cop low intensity heatwave this week, as BoM forecasts a warm autumn

| Zoe Cartwright
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Thermometer standing in the sand at the beach in very hot weather

We might not break any records this autumn, but odds are it will be a warm one. Photo: File.

Whether the slight chill this morning (5 March) brought a smile to your dial, or made you nostalgic for summer already, don’t get too used to it – the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says the Illawarra can expect plenty of warm weather this autumn.

Even this dip in temperature is only temporary – Kate Doyle from the BoM said we could expect temperatures pushing 30 degrees Celsius by tomorrow (6 March).

“The Illawarra is in for warm end of week into the weekend, with a slow ridge of high pressure drawing down heat from Central Australia,” she said.

“It will be slightly cooler on Thursday as winds turn southeasterly with a trough, and there’s a medium chance of showers for the Southern Highlands and a slight chance elsewhere across the Illawarra of a storm, particularly inland in the afternoon and evening Thursday.

“The weather will warm up again quickly with maximum temperatures set to be six to 10 degrees above average by the weekend, with overnight temperatures also expected to be warm.

“We’re going to see low intensity heat wave conditions back for parts of the district late this week.”

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This warm spell isn’t set to be the last blast of summer we’ll get over the autumn months either.

While autumn weather is often variable, and autumns in the Illawarra are usually mild or wet, Kate said the forecast showed there was a high chance temperatures would exceed the median minimum and maximum for the season.

It’s unlikely, however, that we will see record-setting heat.

“It’s tricky to be definitive but we aren’t forecasting temperature records with this heat,” Kate said.

“We do expect a few more hot spells, although they get less common as we get closer to winter.”

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After a damp summer, keen beachgoers might hope for a bit of dry to coincide with those warmer spells – but Kate could neither confirm nor dash those hopes.

“This week will be fairly dry for autumn, but the outlook over the next three months is for a 35 per cent chance to exceed the median rainfall for March-May,” she said.

“It’s not a particularly strong indication one way or the other – it’s more likely to be dry, but doesn’t rule out the potential for wet periods.”

As the autumn swells roll in, we know plenty of local surfers will be saying their prayers to Huey that those warm, dry periods synch up.

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