Warm days, cold nights and a lack of rainfall – that was the Illawarra’s winter 2017 weather in a nutshell.
The Bureau of Meteorology has released its snapshot of the June-to-August season, with one of the region’s weather stations recording its highest winter temperature in 21 years of records.
The 26.8-degree maximum recorded at Bellambi on July 30 surpassed the previous high of 26.7 degrees, registered on August 23, 2012.
The high was almost 10 degrees above Bellambi’s average winter maximum temperature of 17.5 degrees.
Overall winter maximums in Wollongong were about half a degree above the seasonal average. Overnight minimums were right on average at Bellambi and about half a degree below the winter norm at Albion Park.
As for rainfall, just a third of the normal winter total was recorded at Albion Park. Kiama fared slightly better.
The bureau’s winter climate summary didn’t include rainfall data for the Bellambi weather station because its rain gauge was offline for nine days.
The Illawarra’s winter weather mimicked the conditions experienced across NSW.
Below average rainfall was recorded in almost all areas of the state, while clear skies saw above average maximum temperatures and colder-than-usual minimums in many regions.
Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist with the bureau, said the entire state experienced a “very dry winter”.
“For NSW as a whole it was the driest winter since 2002 and it looks like coming in as the state’s 10th driest on record since 1900,” Mr Trewin said.
“A lot of the coast had decent rain in June, particularly northwards from Sydney, but July and August were dry on the coast.”
Explaining the dry spell, Mr Trewin said frontal systems crossing southern Australia were typically a source of rainfall across southern NSW during winter.
“In June, those were just missing altogether and all of southern Australia was really dry,” he said.
“Then in July and August we saw a little bit of a shift in the pattern, with fronts and westerly winds extending over the southernmost fringes of the Australian continent, but most of those still didn't get far enough north to affect NSW.”
Warm days and cold nights were often felt during dry winters, he said.
Looking ahead, the bureau’s September-to-November outlook suggests a wetter-than-average spring for coastal NSW, although any increase in rainfall isn’t expected until October.
Above-average day and night temperatures are likely to continue. Sunday’s maximum of 26.8 at Bellambi was 6.7 degrees above the September average.
The warmth will be short-lived, with a cold front dropping temperatures to 20 degrees on Monday and 17 on Tuesday.