A summertime drive through a rural part of northern Australia could have been a nightmare.
It was not just the lack of sunlight, snow and rain that hit hard.
The weather was dark, cold and stormy, making it impossible to see or drive around.
But this year’s autumn weather is far more common.
And for some drivers it can be even more severe.
The latest data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) show that this is not unusual.
The BOM says it has recorded over 2.8 million severe weather events across Australia in 2017, with the most extreme events recorded in January and February.
The bureau says the average number of severe weather incidents recorded in each month of the year is 7,600.
However, the number of serious weather events recorded across Australia rose to nearly 12,000.
There have been more than 2,000 deaths linked to severe weather in 2017.
That compares to nearly 2,200 deaths in 2016.
The number of deaths linked with the cyclone that struck Darwin last month was over 1,000, while the number linked to a heatwave that struck the state in January also reached more than 1,500.
In contrast, there have been just under 700 severe weather deaths across Australia since the mid-1990s.
There has been an increase in the number and intensity of severe storms in recent months.
A record high number of thunderstorms, including the cyclonic superstorm that struck Tasmania in September, has been recorded across Western Australia, as well as in South Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
It has also prompted concern about the potential for the weather to change once more, as the weather warms up.BOM forecasts show that extreme weather events will be more frequent and more severe over the next few years, as global warming and changing sea levels continue to impact the Australian landscape.
A warmer, drier, driter and warmer climate will make it easier for the country’s forests to regenerate, the bureau says.
It is not clear how the cyclones will affect the numbers of severe thunderstorms and lightning strikes.
But the bureau warns that there could be a “dramatic increase in severe weather” if sea levels rise by 3.5 metres by the end of the century.
“Storms can become more intense and more destructive as sea levels increase,” it says.
“This is a consequence of the warming climate and sea level rise, which will have adverse impacts on the bush and on the people living in the bush.”
Topics:earth-sciences,earth-health,climate-change,weather,dynamics-and-weathers,bom,drought,climate,environment,australiaMore stories from New South Wales