Greater Sydney in 2019: record warm, rainfall below average

Most sites in Sydney had their highest annual mean daily maximum temperature on record in 2019, with night-time temperatures also well above average in most suburbs. Rainfall was below average overall, despite some very wet days.

Rainfall below average, despite some heavy rain

Record warm days

  • Daytime temperatures were well above average across Greater Sydney, with many sites having their highest mean daily maximum temperature on record; in many cases the previous record was only set in 2018
  • January brought several hot days, including temperatures well over 40 °C in western Sydney, and for many sites it was the warmest January on record; the heat affected most of New South Wales and is discussed in the Special Climate Statements Widespread heatwaves during December 2018 and January 2019
  • July was also exceptionally warm for the time of year, with eight consecutive days exceeding 20 °C at Sydney (Observatory Hill), the longest ever such spell in July on record; similarly in the west, Penrith Lakes set a new July record with ten consecutive days of 20 °C or more
  • November and December brought more warm to hot weather, along with dry and windy conditions giving dangerous fire weather days; smoke from a large number of fires surrounding the city caused serious problems on several days

Record warm days at Sydney (Observatory Hill)

  • Total rainfall for Sydney (Observatory Hill) was 851.8 mm, which is 70% of the long-term average
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Sydney (Observatory Hill) was record high at 24.0 °C, which is 2.2 °C above the long-term average of 21.8 °C and 0.2 °C above the previous record set in 2016
  • The temperature reached 30 °C or more on 34 days, the highest number for any year on record (exceeding the 31 days seen in 1922) and well above the average of about 15 days that warm each year
  • The warmest day was 39.6 °C on 31 Jan, and the coolest day was on 4 June when the temperature reached 14.1 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Sydney (Observatory Hill) was 15.1 °C, which is 1.3 °C above the long-term average of 13.8 °C
  • The coldest morning was 6.1 °C on 20 Jun, and the warmest morning was on 19 Jan when the minimum temperature was 23.5 °C

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Extremes in 2019
Hottest day 46.3 °C at Penrith Lakes AWS on 31 Dec
Warmest days on average 26.1 °C at Richmond RAAF
Coolest days on average 19.0 °C at Mount Boyce AWS
Coldest day 2.5 °C at Mount Boyce AWS on 10 Aug and 11 Aug
Coldest night -3.3 °C at Richmond RAAF on 15 Aug
Coolest nights on average 8.7 °C at Mount Boyce AWS
Warmest nights on average 15.8 °C at Sydney Harbour (Wedding Cake West)
Warmest night 24.0 °C at Sydney Olympic Park AWS (Archery Centre) on 19 Jan
24.0 °C at Richmond RAAF on 5 Feb
Warmest on average overall 19.7 °C at Sydney Airport AMO
Coolest on average overall 13.9 °C at Mount Boyce AWS
Wettest overall 1133.4 mm at Castle Cove (Rosebridge Ave)
Driest overall382.2 mm at Cawdor (Woodburn)
Wettest day 123.8 mm at Gosford AWS on 17 Mar
Strongest wind gust 122 km/h at Wattamolla AWS on 5 May

Record lowest annual total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Cawdor (Woodburn) 382.2 384.3 in 1968 36 757.0
Collaroy (Long Reef Golf Club) 824.6 828.2 in 2018 24 1177.3
Penrith Lakes AWS 450.0 501.0 in 2006 23 705.4

Lowest annual total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Annual
average
Camden (Brownlow Hill) 393.6 335.9 in 1944* 738.4
Springwood (Valley Heights) 597.7 405.5 in 1944* 1078.2
Darkes Forest (Kintyre) 752.4 630.4 in 1968* 1417.5
Colo Heights (Mountain Pines) 605.1 556.1 in 1980* 1010.2
Bringelly (Maryland) 391.0 388.2 in 1982* 763.7
Parramatta North (Masons Drive) 632.0 564.7 in 1994* 960.7
Kurrajong Heights (Bells Line of Road) 654.1 634.8 in 1994* 1240.4

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a lower value has gone unreported




Record highest temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Katoomba (Farnells Rd) 39.5 on 21 Dec 37.7 on 11 Feb 2017 58 16.9
Mount Boyce AWS 37.5 on 21 Dec 37.2 on 11 Feb 2017 29 17.1



Record highest annual mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 24.0 23.8 in 2016 160 21.8
Sydney Airport AMO 24.5 24.1 in 2016 79 22.3
Bankstown Airport AWS 25.2 24.9 in 2018 49 23.3
Camden Airport AWS 25.7 25.1 in 2018 40 23.8
Mount Boyce AWS 19.0 18.4 in 2018 27 17.1
Richmond RAAF 26.1 25.9 in 2018 25 24.3
Norah Head AWS 23.7 23.4 in 2016 23 22.3
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 24.1 23.9 in 2016 22 23.1
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 25.2 24.8 in 2018 21 23.8



Record highest annual mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Mount Boyce AWS 8.7 8.6 in 2016 27 8.0



Record highest annual mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 19.6 = 19.6 in 2016 160 17.8
Sydney Airport AMO 19.7 = 19.7 in 2016 79 17.9
Bankstown Airport AWS 18.9 = 18.9 in 2016 49 17.7
Camden Airport AWS 18.1 17.9 in 2016 40 17.0
Mount Boyce AWS 13.9 13.4 in 2018 27 12.6
Richmond RAAF 18.7 18.6 in 2017 24 17.7
Norah Head AWS 19.6 19.5 in 2016 23 18.8
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 18.3 = 18.3 in 2016 22 17.7
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 18.7 18.6 in 2017 21 17.9



Summary statistics for 2019
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2019
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2019
Mean
for
2019
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2019
Total
for
2019
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2019
Fraction
of annual
average
Bankstown Airport AWS 25.2 +1.9 44.9 31 Dec 12.6 +0.5 0.5 24 Aug 601.8 862.8 low 70%
Camden Airport AWS 25.7 +1.9 44.0 31 Dec 10.5 +0.3 -2.8 24 Aug
Campbelltown (Mount Annan) 25.5 +1.5 43.1 31 Dec 10.8 +0.1 -1.2 16 Aug 401.4 692.0 v low 58%
Canterbury Racecourse AWS 24.1 +1.0 42.3 31 Dec 12.4 0.0 1.1 24 Aug 695.4 954.7 v low 73%
Cooranbong (Lake Macquarie AWS) 24.8 +0.9 43.0 31 Dec 11.3 -0.1 -0.8 7 Aug 763.4 1011.2 low 75%
Gosford AWS 24.0   43.0 31 Dec 13.1   1.8 16 Aug 1087.2
Holsworthy Aerodrome AWS 24.6   44.5 31 Dec 12.0   0.0 24 Aug 575.8
Holsworthy Defence AWS 24.5   43.6 31 Dec 11.8   1.7 15 Aug
Horsley Park Equestrian Centre AWS 25.2 +1.4 44.4 31 Dec 12.2 +0.1 0.7 15 Aug 562.8 748.4 low 75%
Mount Boyce AWS 19.0 +1.9 37.5 21 Dec 8.7 +0.7 -3.0 21 Jun 709.8 960.6 low 74%
Norah Head AWS 23.7 +1.4 39.5 5 Jan 15.5 +0.3 6.7 15 Aug
Richmond RAAF 26.1 +1.8 45.0 31 Dec 11.3 +0.2 -3.3 15 Aug 514.4 719.1 v low 72%
Springwood (Valley Heights) 23.8 +1.3 43.5 31 Dec 12.4 +0.3 2.8 13 Aug 597.7 1078.2 v low 55%
Sydney (Observatory Hill) 24.0 +2.2 39.6 31 Jan 15.1 +1.3 6.1 20 Jun 851.8 1213.4 low 70%
Sydney Airport AMO 24.5 +2.2 42.4 19 Dec 14.9 +1.4 5.9 20 Jun 749.6 1077.4 low 70%
Sydney Harbour (Wedding Cake West) 21.9 +0.6 36.2 31 Jan 15.8 +0.1 7.7 19 Jul
Sydney Olympic Park AWS (Archery Centre) 25.0   44.4 31 Dec 13.0   1.9 19 Jul
Terrey Hills AWS 22.7 +0.8 41.8 31 Dec 13.5 +0.2 3.1 14 Jul 949.2 1077.1 low 88%

Notes

The Annual climate summary, generally published on the second working day of the year, lists the main features of the weather in Greater Sydney using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This summary includes data from observing sites in or near the Greater Sydney “Greater Capital City Statistical Area” (GCCSA). The Australian Bureau of Statistics designed the GCCSAs to “include the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. It is important to note that GCCSAs do not define the built up edge of the city. They provide a stable definition for these cities and are designed for the output of a range of social and economic survey data.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 11 am on Tuesday 7 January 2020. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites are long-term means based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
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Climate