The Bureau of Meteorology has released its 2019/20 Summer Outlook, showing large parts of the country are likely to see a continuation of the warmer and drier than average conditions.

The climate outlook shows a high likelihood of warmer than average days and nights for most of the country, while rainfall is likely to be below average for large parts of the nation’s east.

Only coastal areas of Western Australia, stretching from the Midwest to the Kimberley, are showing increased odds of wetter than average conditions.

Bureau of Meteorology head of long-range forecasts, Dr Andrew Watkins, said Australia’s outlook was being influenced by one of Australia’s main climate drivers.

“The key culprit for our current and expected conditions is one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events on record,” Dr Watkins said.

“A positive IOD means we have cooler than average water pooling off Indonesia, and this means we see less rain-bearing weather systems, and warmer than average temperatures for large parts of the country.

“The positive IOD means we’re also expecting a delayed onset for the northern monsoon, one of the key drivers for tropical rainfall during the summer months.

“At this stage we’re expecting the onset of the northern monsoon by mid-summer, which should see the odds for closer to average rainfall increasing from January and into February.”

Dr Watkins said the outlook was an important reminder for communities to be alert to the potential severe weather risks over the coming months.

“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,” Mr watkins said.

“This outlook also means the risk of heatwaves is increased, so it’s important the community stays up to date with the latest information and advice from authorities and the Bureau’s heatwave forecasts and warnings.

“Even with a drier than average outlook, localised flooding remains a risk under particular meteorological conditions such as thunderstorms, and of course communities in the north need to be prepared at this time of year for tropical cyclones.”