Australia will have a drier and hotter December and January that will challenge records set last summer, the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted.
Andrew Watkins, the bureau’s head of long-range forecasts made this known on Thursday.
Spring’s long spell of hot dry weather was likely to continue into 2020, according to the bureau’s summer outlook.
“We’ve already seen significant bushfire activity during spring, and the outlook for drier and warmer than average conditions will maintain that heightened risk over the coming months,” he said.
Heatwaves are more likely across the continent, and in the north of the country the monsoon season is likely to be delayed until mid-January.
Last summer broke heat records with temperatures reaching almost 50 degrees centigrade in some areas, and was an average 1.28 degrees above the previous record summer heat set in 2013.
Firefighters are currently battling more than 160 bushfires across the state of New South Wales, NSW, as lightning from thunderstorms whipped across the region on Wednesday.
A hundred fires were sparked by lightning in just two hours, the NSW Rural Fire Service reported.
During the spring fires, six people died, more than 600 homes were destroyed, 1.6 million hectares of bushland was razed and an estimated 350 koalas were killed.
Worse is expected in the summer season which starts on Sunday.