Promise of sun all summer long
PREPARE your tributes to the sun gods - it is time to enjoy a real summer.
Remember in the halcyon days of your childhood when the sun seemed to shine all day?
It was a time when storms were a small side-dish, a complement to the light-drenched smorgasbord on either side of Christmas, without the unwanted serving of flooding that left everything sodden and grim.
Now that glorious era - after what feels like an age - is back for the east coast, from the Whitsundays in the north to Coffs Harbour in the south.
Boffins have stared at their gizmos, nodded sagely at charts and calculated some figures that seem to show this will be a top summer.
Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino - one such boffin - delivered the good news.
He said with rain-carrying senorita La Nina dancing into the sunset, and sizzling hombre El Nino still beyond the horizon, it was time to relax.
"It will be the warmest and driest (summer) for three years," Mr Domensino reckoned.
"There will be much more opportunity to go to the beach this summer."
Thunderstorms armed with hail will punctuate the evening on hotter days, as the following clear skies allow for a rapid reprieve and a cooler night.
Those storms could be severe, dangerous and batter some areas with flash flooding.
As an average wet season, we should expect four cyclones to develop - but nothing we can't handle.
But Queensland and Northern New South Wales may finally earn a reprieve from the brutality and ugliness of inundating waters.
The Bureau of Meteorology lists the 2010-11 summer as the wettest December on record, a grim prelude to the floods that would devastate much of South-east Queensland.
Just a year later, the flooding rains eased, but Wide Bay through South-east Queensland were drenched as other parts of the state had their highest summer daily rainfall on record.
This summer there is hope that roads will be blocked only by cars, not by rising water.
Many will venture to the coastline for a surf, saunter or sunburn whereas Tourism Queensland acting chief Leanne Coddington was simply keen for a fine summer to cook away any residue of the 2011 floods.
Already cheered by reports of a bustling spring school holiday period, Ms Coddington said tourists here and beyond would be pencilling in a visit. And not just to the beachside.
"There are lots of hidden secrets or gems to get that cooler summer getaway," Ms Coddington said.
"They go to the mountains of the Scenic Rim, or into Southern Queensland to the borders of the Granite Belt and to the South Burnett to breathe in that country air.
"That's how you remember your childhood growing up.
"These beautiful hot days with a storm to clear the air and the lovely nights.
"It doesn't matter if you're on the Gold Coast or in tropical North Queensland for the rainforests and reef, it will be great.
"Sunshine Coast and Noosa are going off with people on holidays this week.
"It makes it special when you're in the middle of this."
For those south of the border, it may be the end of a streak that brought five floods in four years.
Wide-ranging broadcasts of the floods sent would-be visitors unpacking, cancelling visits to the seaside not even due until months after the water subsided.
North Coast Destination Network boss Belinda Novicky watches the tourism industry from Tweed to south of the Coffs Coast.
She was thrilled to learn of a good few months ahead.
"We have suffered floods in different areas from Grafton through to Taree," she said.
"With a forecast of blessed, excellent weather, it has given the industry confidence it will be a successful summer."
Of course, years of rain followed by a dry spell equates to a much higher risk of bushfires this summer.
With any luck the fire and rain will both go on holiday this year so we can too.
FORGET '69, this is the summer of 2012
- Warmer days
- Less rain
- Short-lived storms, likely in the afternoon
- Cooler evenings
- Little persistent flooding
- Only four cyclones
- Bustling tourism industry
- Perfect beach weather
- Not hearing about La Nina every day
- Storms to be more severe
- Large hail
- Heightened fire dangers
- Finding a park at a beach on Boxing Day
- Stronger dry winds
- Four cyclones too many