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Warm stretch means lifeguards in winter

Sydney's record-breaking run of warmth on the cusp of winter is putting many European capitals in the shade and prompting at least one council to extend its lifeguard season into June for the first time.

While the clouds kept Tuesday's top to just 24 degrees - shy of the 28 forecast - the city still had temperatures to rival many Mediterranean sites. Italy's Isle of Capri was expecting only 20 degrees, Spain's Barcelona 21 and Cannes on the Cote d'Azur 22.

Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone, said May was often when expats stuck in cool patches pine for home. London, host to many of them, was expecting a top of 16 and drizzle.

"It's about now that the average temperatures cross" for London and Sydney, he said. "Both are about 18.5 degrees at this time of year."

Sydney's average for this May is running about four degrees above the long-term average for May, and looks set to break the previous record - at 22.7 degrees in 1958 - by about half a degree.

Sydney's warm spell should extend to a 12th day on Tuesday, with 24 degrees forecast - the longest heatwave for any time of the year, says Sarah Perkins, a researcher at the University of NSW.


The expectation of another week of balmy weather to come has prompted Warringah Council to extend its lifeguard patrols at Dee Why Beach into winter for the first time.

"The warm weather means more people are visiting our most popular beaches for longer," said Clinton Rose, Warringah Council's beach services manager. "We're also planning to patrol Dee Why on weekends and public holidays in June, pending weather conditions."

Wednesday will probably be the city's 27th day above 20 degrees in May - matching last year's record - with three more days of such weather expected this month.

Aside from the chance of a late shower on Tuesday, Sydney may get some rain this weekend - its first rainfall in almost two weeks.