Don’t expect a wild winter this year

Forecasters say Perth will experience a less than remarkable winter, after experiencing an uncharacteristically cool summer and one of the hottest autumns on record

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has released its 2018 Winter Outlook today, outlining more mild temperatures and average rainfall.

BOM’s climatologist Jonathan Pollock says Perth residents can expect warmer winter days.

“Overall Perth is likely to have warmer than average days, and a slightly increased chance for warmer nights as well,” he says.

“However, the outlook for June is close to 50/50 for warmer or cooler than average temperatures.”

Mr Pollock says the next three months are predicted to be neither particularly wet or dry.

“The rainfall outlooks for winter and June are neutral, meaning there’s about as much chance for a drier than average [season] as there is for wetter than average season,” he says.

A Water Corporation spokesperson says a dry winter would not seriously affect dam levels as the dam is topped up with water from other sources.

“The water in our dams is no longer just made up of streamflow from rain; groundwater and desalinated water are stored in these dams during periods of low demand so it is available when it is most needed in the hotter months,” she says.

“Perth’s drinking water dams are currently at 39.2 percent capacity, at the same time last year these dams were 29.7 percent capacity.”

The spokesperson says we do not get the same amount of rain in Perth during winter that we used to.

“Our changing climate has become more noticeable in the past 10 years, with reduced rainfall, and changes in rainfall timing, impacting on stream flow into our dams.”

Mr Pollock says the state as a whole can also expect warmer temperatures.

“Western Australia is likely to have a mild winter with warmer than average days and nights around,” he says.

According to the climatologist, some areas of the state will receive little rainfall.

“The Gascoyne is likely to be dry, but most of Western Australia has a roughly equal chance for a wetter or drier than average winter,” Mr Rollock says.

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA policy officer Ian Randles says a dry winter is not unexpected in the Gascoyne.

“It just doesn’t always rain there and sometimes they are more reliant on summer rain caused by caused by cyclones,” he says.

“When they don’t get either of them, that’s when they have a problem with dry conditions.”

Mr Pollock says most of WA has a roughly equal chance for a wetter or drier than average winter.

WA Farmers grain section president Duncan Young says an average amount of rainfall this winter wouldn’t worry most farmers.

“Most farmers would be pretty happy with an average year,” Mr Young says.

“If it is slightly drier than average then yes, some would be a bit worried but it also depends on the summer rain they have also received. Some farmers receive summer rain so there is plenty of subsoil moisture, others missed out because the thunderstorms were quite patchy so some of them would be wanting a little more winter rain.”

The Water Corporation is urging people to turn off their sprinklers before tomorrow to save water over the rainy season.

All scheme and domestic bore water users in Perth, Mandurah, and parts of the South-East and Greater Southern regions must switch off their sprinklers from June 1 to August 31. Hand watering is permitted.

You can listen to Mr Pollock’s full winter weather outlook here: