Cool off any way you can with the hot, hot heat set to continue in autumn
Ah, autumn. The sound of fallen leaves crunching underfoot, the glow of the hearth, the pouring of the mulled wine.
Except this is Cairns, and though the calendar insists summer has officially ended, our sweaty brows and groaning air conditioners tell a very different story.
It’s a torrid tale with no end in sight, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, with very little in the way of relief from the tropical heat coming our way in the next few weeks.
“The outlook for March to May is hot,” says Cairns forecaster Robin Nataniela. “And don’t expect much in the way of rain apart from the on-off showers we’ve been having recently.”
The autumn forecast follows a scorching season that echoed a warming trend across much of the state.
And while summer 2016-17 wasn’t our hottest on record, climatologist Tamika Tihema of BoM’s Queensland Climate Services office says it has been warmer than usual, with an average maximum of 32.2C and mean minimum of 24.2C.
In previous years, locals have relied on Wet Season monsoons to cool off, but this summer saw little of the traditional downpours, with the coast to Cape York receiving below average rainfall.
It’s a phenomena Ms Tihema puts down to “neutral conditions in the Pacific Ocean, so neither La Niña or El Niño.”
Ms Tihema also noted it had been “an unusually inactive season for tropical cyclones”, with only Alfred – a Category One system that peaked at 85km/h – working up enough wind to be given a name.
All that said, there is some hope for those of us seeking an escape from the seemingly eternal summer: Mr Nataniela predicts humidity levels will drop within upcoming months, “possibly as low as 40 per cent”.
Well then, bring on the mulled wine!
PS: Now might be a good time to check out our ultimate guide to the best swimming spots in TNQ ...you can thank us later!