ENJOYING THE SUNSHINE: Garry, Ryley, 10, and Kerry Melhuish of Empire Vale having a barbeque at Missingham Park in Ballina.
ENJOYING THE SUNSHINE: Garry, Ryley, 10, and Kerry Melhuish of Empire Vale having a barbeque at Missingham Park in Ballina. Doug Eaton

An early blast of summer as mercury tipped to hit 36C

GEORGIA Spencer and her family were enjoying the hotter weather at the Serpentine beach in Ballina yesterday.

Like plenty of Northern Rivers families, they are gearing up for what many expect to be a hot summer.

What to expect from the weather this week

"I've lived in Ballina all my life and I definitely think summer is getting hotter," Miss Spencer said.

"We haven't had a real summer for the last couple of years so I'm gearing up to enjoy it while it lasts."

With the mercury set to rise to 36 degrees in some parts of the Northern Rivers on Thursday, does this warm spring weather indicate, as Miss Spencer suggests, we're in for a hot summer?

Apparently not, according to Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Acacia Pepler.

Ms Pepler said just because we're experiencing a hotter than normal spring, doesn't mean summer will be hotter than average.

"Just because spring is warmer than normal it doesn't necessarily mean it will be warmer in summer," Ms Pepler said.

"There are a lot of different things that contribute to the weather being warmer than normal."

Some of those things include climate conditions varying during times of wet La Nina or dry and warm El Nino.

However, we are currently in a "neutral period" which means it's harder to predict whether summer will be warmer or cooler than average.

One thing that does give some indication is the winds and high pressure systems coming from the Indian Ocean.

"In August, we had much stronger westerly winds and that's why August was warmer.

"This month we've only really had one major rain event, so if strong westerly winds continue we may be in for a warmer summer, " she said.

While it's hard to pinpoint what summer will hold, dry and warm conditions for the rest of the year are expected if the westerly winds continue.

However, the short term prediction indicates we can expect temperatures to reach up to 34 degrees in Lismore between Tuesday and Thursday, with rain due on Friday.

The Rural Fire Service have issued a total fire ban for the Far North Coast until midnight tonight.

WHAT'S AHEAD

BALLINA

  • Today: 12-30°C, partly cloudy
  • Tomorrow: 14-30°C, sunny
  • Thursday: 14-32°C, sunny
  • Friday: 14-25°C, possible late shower

CASINO

  • Today: 13-34°C, mostly sunny
  • Tomorrow: 17-36°C, sunny
  • Thursday: 16-37°C, sunny
  • Friday: 15-28°C, possible late shower

LISMORE

  • Today: 14-32°C, partly cloudy
  • Tomorrow: 16-32°C, sunny
  • Thursday: 15-35°C, sunny
  • Friday: 17-26°C, chance of showers

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