Weather experts in a frenzy over winter outlook
WITH winter less than four weeks away, the question in everyone's minds is: Just how cold will it get?
Whispers of a "mini Ice Age" and snow falling in North Queensland by some proclaimed weather gurus have been slammed by the more expert weather chasers, who say that their outlooks show it'll be a "near normal, yet slightly drier" winter.
So what can North Queensland expect?
According to Higgins Storm Chasing, rainfall is expected to be slightly below average across most of the state, particularly in the east.
"Despite widespread flooding through parts of Western and Northern Queensland during the wet season, large parts of the state recorded below average rainfall," Higgins said.
"There were good showers storms and rain areas around but they remained hit and miss with very little follow up.
"Sadly this trend is likely to continue inland with dry conditions spreading to coastal regions during winter."
Below average rainfall is forecast across the eastern half of the state which could mean around 50mm less over winter.
How frosty will the mornings get this year?
The weather experts said reports of snow falling up in the tropics including Eungella was "highly unlikely to occur".
"At Higgins Storm Chasing we do not use sunspot activity to produce long range forecasts, these extreme claims will need to be proven a number of times here in Australia before we even consider it," Higgins said.
"After well above temperatures occurred across the state during April, conditions are now cooling quickly back to near normal during May. All the humidity is almost gone with days and nights becoming much cooler now.
"We expect the first frosts to develop across southern inland parts of the state later this month. Sea surface temperatures around Queensland have also now cooled to near normal."
Thomas Hinterdorfer from HSC said the odd frost for Eungella and Pioneer Valley ranges could not be ruled out, "but that's pretty standard and it should only be a one off event, not sustained".
"So overall winter across the state this year is forecast to be just the same as most other years... mostly fine and dry every day with sunny mild days and cool nights," Higgins concluded.
"Morning frosts will feature across the central, southern and south east inland. Morning fog patches will also become frequent, tending thick at times across the South East."
Overnight minimum temperatures are expected to drop below the 10C average between May and July in Central Queensland.
For Mackay, the average minimum temperature for May is 15.7 degrees.
A few showers to come before a dry winter sets in
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a few showers this week for the Central Coast and Whitsunday district thanks to a high pressure system moving east across the Tasman Sea over the next few days.
"Onshore winds will drive some showers about east coast districts, particularly the Cassowary and Capricornia coast, though the frequency of the shower activity should decrease over the next few days as ridge weakens," the forecast reads.
"A new upper trough and an associated surface trough will move east over the interior of the state during Friday, though little rainfall is expected due to the dry air mass in place. A new high will move east over southern Australia in the wake of the trough, maintaining dry conditions over the interior of the state and onshore winds along the east coast."
Windy.com shows parts of Mackay could be in for up to 56mm over the next 10 days.
But it shouldn't last... with the Bureau of Meteorology's May to July rainfall outlook indicates "below average" rainfall for most of the country.
BOM senior climatologist Felicity Gamble said the north should be slightly wetter than average.
"It's also likely to be warmer than average in May but closer to average for winter in most parts of the country," Ms Gamble said.
Night-time temperatures are likely to be cooler than average across eastern Queensland from May to July, too.