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Warm or cold, snow or no: What can Australians expect this winter?



With La Niña officially over, an El Niño watch issued ahead of summer and this week's unseasonable May cold snapquestions are swirling about what winter may hold.

A May-July forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) paints some of the picture, revealing below-median rainfall is "likely to very likely".

But to get a better understanding of what the entire season will look like, spoke to Brad Jackson, a senior climatologist with the BoM.

READ MORE: Smoke from Black Summer may have fuelled 'unusual' La Niña

He said the chance of another winter marked by floods is slim. 

"The chance of exceeding medium rainfall is low," Jackson said.

"There will still be some rain, but it will probably just be lower than average.

"The only areas likely to receive average, or above average rainfall, is around north-west Western Australia."

Surfers content with large waves at Bronte beach, Sydney, 10 April 2023.

For those that fear the cold, Jackson also had some good news.

He said much of Australia can expect "above-average temperatures".

"It depends where you're located within Australia," he said.

"(But) in areas where you have an average maximum temperature of say 10 degrees it might be a bit more, so 12, 13 or 14 degrees.

"I'll add that minimum temperatures around Australia are looking still above average throughout eastern New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, the northern Northern Territory.

"Around central parts of Australia, you're looking around average.

"So you're still looking at some slightly warmer nights probably as well."

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Around 15cm of snow was recorded at the Falls Creek resort on Sunday.

When it comes to winter, there's no business like snow business, so are we likely to get a bumper dusting of the white stuff?

Jackson said you may want to hold off booking the ski holiday just yet.

"It's a bit too far out to really say what it is going to be like, but depending on what happens with the climate drivers and if we end up say, in an El Niño with a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), these years usually deliver the least amount of snow," he said.

"Once we get through Autumn we will be able to firm up that outlook a bit more."

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