Tasmania in 2011: very wet in the northeast

  • Several flooding events in the northeast, with record rainfall in some areas
  • Only a few hot days
  • Some very cold nights
  • Slightly above average temperatures overall
  • Wild wind, waves and snow in June and July
  • Volcanic ash causes chaos in June

Record-breaking rain and flooding in the northeast

The northeast of the state experienced record-breaking heavy rain and flooding events in January, March and April, with two events in August. Despite all this wet weather, May, July, September and October were drier than usual in the northeast.

Totals for the whole year were above average in the north and east, but below average in the west. Nonetheless, Lake Margaret Power Station's 2681 mm was the wettest confirmed overall (the rain gauge on Mount Read registered 3443 mm but was affected by snow on some days and the full total there is not known).

Only a few hot days

There were only a few especially hot days during the year, with the warmest being only 35 °C at Fingal and Flinders Island Airport on 1 February (in 2010 the state's hottest temperature was 40.7 °C, in 2009 it was 42.2 °C) . There were several very cold days, notably in May, June and July.

Overall, mean daily maximum temperatures were within half a degree of average, and cooler than in 2010.

Some very cold nights

Very cold nights occurred in May, June, July and October. The coldest was -11.2 °C at Liawenee on 23 July (its lowest temperature on record). Against this, August had some especially mild nights, and several sites across the state had their warmest August mean minimum temperatures on record.

Overall, mean daily minimum temperatures were above average across the state, by about half a degree.

Wild winds, huge waves, snow … and volcanic ash

There was plenty of extreme weather in Tasmania through 2011, quite apart from the big rain events. June started with a week of wild weather, but perhaps the most spectacular came in July as two vigorous cold fronts delivered snow down to 150 m, along with damaging winds and huge waves.

Flights in and out of the state were grounded as volcanic ash from the Cordón Caulle volcano in Chile moved across the state from 12 June and (having gone all the way around the globe) again from 22 June.

Hobart

Despite the lack of especially hot days, there was more mild weather than cool in Hobart during 2011. Temperature records were broken in August when Hobart experienced its warmest August nights on record, and in November when Hobart had its warmest November days since 1982.

Hobart's total rainfall of 691 mm was above average, and driven especially by an exceptionally wet April.


Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in 2011
Hottest day 35.0 °C at Fingal (Legge Street) and Flinders Island Airport on 1 Feb
Warmest days on average 18.6 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 8.2 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day -2.9 °C at Mount Wellington on 10 Jul
Coldest night -11.2 °C at Liawenee on 23 Jul
Coolest nights on average 1.7 °C at Liawenee and Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 11.8 °C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 20.8 °C at Flinders Island Airport on 14 Jan
Warmest on average overall 14.4 °C at Hogan Island
Coolest on average overall 5.0 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 2681.0 mm at Lake Margaret Power Station
Driest overall 536.6 mm at Tunbridge (Austin-Vale) and Ouse Fire Station
Wettest day 327.2 mm at Gray (Dalmayne Rd) on 24 Mar
Highest wind gust 178 km/h at Mount Wellington on 10 Jul

Maps
Observed Anomaly Decile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Month by month
January brought record-breaking rain to northern Tasmania between the 12th and 14th. Falmouth's 282 mm was the wettest January day on record for the state, and Yolla exceeded its previous January daily rainfall record on the 13th and again on the 14th. Flash flooding caused damage in the north and northeast, and there was major flooding in the Mersey and Meander Rivers.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank
February was wetter and cooler than usual as a succession of cold fronts and troughs crossed the state. The cold fronts prevented the build up of heat that often occurs at that time of the year, with the temperature only exceeding 30 °C on a few days.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
March featured record heavy rain and record cold temperatures. A complex low brought 327 mm to Gray in 24 hours (Tasmania's third-wettest day on record), leading to major flooding in the South Esk river basin with peak heights only slightly lower than those of April 1929. Several places had their lowest March temperature on record, and Mount Wellington did not get above zero on the 4th.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
April saw yet more heavy rain in the east, with very heavy falls between the 10th and the 13th. Eddystone Point had 153 mm in a day and 57 mm in an hour, and Hobart's 78.8 mm was the wettest day there in over 50 years.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
May was the first month of the year without heavy rainfall. Cold fronts repeatedly brought cool conditions, including Launceston's coldest May day on record on the 12th, and many cold and frosty nights. Huge swells affected the west and south coasts, particularly on the 14th and the 17th.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
June started with a week of strong winds, large waves, heavy rain, flooding and significant snowfalls. Temperatures varied widely through the month: the warmest day was 19.1 °C at Swansea but the coldest night was -8.7 °C at Liawenee. Flights were disrupted as volcanic ash from the Cordón Caulle volcano in Chile moved across the state from the 12th and again from the 22nd.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
July was mostly cool, with two vigorous cold fronts producing record waves, damaging winds and snow down to 150 m on the 9th and 10th. The waverider buoy off Cape Sorell reached 18.68 metres on 11 July, the highest wave ever recorded at the current location. Liawenee recorded it lowest temperature, and Tasmania's second-coldest July temperature with -11.2 °C on the 23rd. In contrast, several sites had their warmest July night on record on the 29th.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
August was a very warm month, especially by night. Many sites, including Hobart and Launceston recorded their highest August mean daily minimum temperature. The month also saw major flooding in the northeast of Tasmania, with the region experiencing its fourth significant flooding event for the year from the 7th to the 10th, and then its fifth significant event from the 16th to the 20th.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
September rainfall was below average across the north and east of Tasmania. There were more mild days than cold, and Devonport Airport's 20.0 °C was its highest September temperature on record. 
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
October was more often cool than warm, and had some very cold nights: Liawenee dropped below -5 °C four times and several areas dipped below zero on the morning of the 25th. There were fewer than usual rain-bearing systems crossing the state, meaning a below-average month in most areas.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
November had plenty of rain in the north and west, including a record 111 mm in a day at Eddystone Point and record November totals at Launceston and Strahan. Temperatures were above normal, especially in the south and east.  
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
December  was warmer than average overall, following many warm days and nights in the latter half of the month. Rainfall was below average, except in the east, southeast and southern Midlands where thunderstorms helped deliver close to average rainfall.
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank

Record highest daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in 2011 (mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Longford (Denton Close) 70.0 on 24 Mar 67.3 on 16 Jul 1951 109
Seven Mile Beach (Royal Hobart Golf Club 78.2 on 13 Apr 69.3 on 20 Oct 1973 51
Pyengana (Forest Lodge Road) 200.0 on 24 Mar 197.0 on 29 Jan 2004 50
Taroona (Taroona Crescent) 97.2 on 13 Apr 86.0 on 23 Mar 1983 50
Tomahawk (Carisbrooke) 123.2 on 13 Jan 94.8 on 23 Dec 1993 47
Scamander 265.0 on 13 Jan 199.0 on 27 Apr 1974 29
Loongana (Serendipity) 130.6 on 14 Jan 122.0 on 2 Apr 1989 28
Three Hummock Island 112.4 on 23 Mar 75.2 on 19 Feb 1946 23
Judbury (Huon River) 46.6 on 13 Apr 44.2 on 12 Oct 2001 20
Llewellyn (South Esk River) 69.8 on 9 Jun 57.2 on 31 Aug 2005 20



Record highest total annual rainfall
Total rainfall
for 2011 (mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Gladstone (Old Post Office) 1394.6 1182.4 in 1974 72 845.0
Pyengana (Forest Lodge Road) 1886.8 1767.0 in 1974 41 1253.1
Scamander 1373.0 898.3 in 1978 24 666.0

Highest total annual rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for 2011 (mm)
Most recent annual
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Annual
average
Pioneer (Main Road) 1360.7 1395.8 in 1970 40 961.3
Eddystone Point 1063.2 1084.4 in 1970 36 764.2
Fingal (Legge Street) 902.6 957.0 in 1974 36 607.1
Avoca (Railway House) 712.3 788.2 in 1975 34 551.4
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 869.0 921.8 in 1974 34 630.3
Bicheno (Council Depot) 909.2 982.1 in 1971 27 680.5
Lady Barron (Franklin Parade) 937.8 977.5 in 1971 27 754.1
Tooms Lake (Tooms River) 899.0 1145.0 in 1970 24 583.6
Devonport Airport 874.8 971.0 in 1989 20 768.0


Summary statistics for 2011
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2011
Mean
for
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2011
Total
for
2011
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2011
Fraction
of annual
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 17.2 -0.2 25.5 7 Jan     1.1 6 Jun 891.3 740.3 high 120%
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.4 +0.5 30.6 30 Jan 9.8 +0.5 1.3 13 Jun 1007.9 956.4 average 105%
Cape Grim 15.3   23.6 1 Feb 10.6   2.8 15 Jun 937.0
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 15.6 0.0 23.8 8 Jan 10.5 -0.1 3.3 15 Jun
Cressy Research Station 17.7 -0.5 31.5 1 Feb 6.0 +0.4 -5.3 28 May 708.4
Devonport Airport 17.0 +0.2 28.3 30 Jan 8.5 +0.3 -1.7 27 Jul 875.2 770.2 high 114%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.6 +0.1 30.3 7 Jan 7.7 +0.4 -2.6 15 Jul 758.5 676.4 high 112%
Launceston Airport 17.7   31.0 1 Feb 6.4   -3.8 29 May 710.0
Low Head 16.5 -0.1 24.1 1 Feb 10.6 +0.1 1.0 27 Jul 891.2 671.2 v high 133%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 15.5 0.0 27.3 7 Jan 7.5 0.0 0.5 21 Jul 1439.6 1517.1 low 95%
Marrawah 16.1 0.0 25.0 1 Feb 9.6 +0.3 1.5 15 Jun 995.2 1066.9 average 93%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 16.8 -0.5 31.8 1 Feb 7.3 +0.2 -2.1 14 Jul 994.2 986.1 average 101%
Sheffield School Farm 15.8 -0.3 28.9 30 Jan 6.7 -0.1 -1.8 11 Aug
Smithton Aerodrome 17.0 -0.2 27.2 1 Feb 7.8 +0.1 -2.9 10 May
Wynyard Airport 17.3 +0.4 30.8 30 Jan 7.3 +0.3 -2.5 14 Jul 1119.8 982.1 high 114%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 17.7 -0.1 30.7 15 Jan 9.7 +0.3 0.7 6 Jul 922.2 683.7 high 135%
Eddystone Point     31.9 1 Feb 10.5 +0.1 1.2 14 Jul
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.6 -0.2 35.0 1 Feb 5.5 +0.2 -5.4 27 Jul 913.6 609.5 v high 150%
Friendly Beaches 18.1 -0.2 31.3 15 Jan 9.3 -0.1 -0.6 16 Jul 855.0
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 13.7 -0.2 28.4 8 Jan 4.3 +0.3 -6.3 16 Jul 933.6 831.4 high 112%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 16.4   29.4 15 Jan 10.3   3.5 11 Jul 569.6
Orford (Aubin Court) 17.0 -0.6 29.6 15 Jan 7.6 -0.2 -2.8 16 Jul 766.1 674.9 average 114%
Scamander 17.8 -0.2 33.7 1 Feb 9.1 +0.3 -1.2 6 Jul 1380.0 694.6 highest 199%
St Helens Aerodrome 17.8 -0.1 32.4 1 Feb 8.9 0.0 -0.1 15 Jul
Swan Island 16.9   25.8 1 Feb 11.5   4.0 15 Jul 939.4
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.4 -0.2 30.7 30 Jan 5.7 +0.1 -6.5 27 Jul 560.2 494.5 average 113%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 18.3 -0.3 34.7 8 Jan 7.3 +0.1 -2.2 25 Jul
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 15.7 -0.2 31.2 7 Jan 9.1 -0.2 2.2 23 Jul 795.8 771.3 average 103%
Dover 16.3 -0.1 31.7 8 Jan 6.9 +0.1 -1.8 25 Jul 927.0 879.4 average 105%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 16.7 -0.2 32.0 7 Jan 6.8 +0.7 -2.9 24 Jul 1049.8 882.2 high 119%
Grove (Research Station) 17.2   32.2 7 Jan 5.7   -4.7 27 Jul 873.8
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 17.5 +0.6 33.6 8 Jan 9.1 +0.8 0.6 25 Jul 690.6 616.8 high 112%
Hobart Airport 17.6 +0.1 34.4 8 Jan 8.7 +0.6 -1.1 15 Jul 597.0 497.7 high 120%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.8 -0.1 26.5 6 Nov 9.2 +0.6 1.3 11 Jul 1076.7 1229.7 average 88%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 17.0 -0.4 33.8 8 Jan 6.1 +0.1 -5.1 16 Jun 544.2 450.3 high 121%
Mount Wellington 8.2 +0.5 23.1 8 Jan 1.7 +0.4 -6.0 7 Jul
Tasman Island 13.9   27.1 6 Nov 8.8   1.4 7 Jul 953.0
Tunnack Fire Station 14.7 -0.6 28.6 8 Jan 5.2 +0.1 -5.6 24 Jul 954.0 649.9 high 147%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 18.3 +0.6 32.5 7 Jan 6.0 +0.1 -4.9 25 Jul
Maydena Post Office 15.7 -0.4 29.8 7 Jan 5.6 +0.3 -3.5 24 Jul 1217.9 1175.5 average 104%
Ouse Fire Station 18.1 -0.3 32.1 7 Jan 5.8 +0.4 -5.0 23 Jul 536.6 513.4 average 105%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 13.3 +0.5 27.7 7 Jan 3.4 +0.5 -6.3 16 Jul 1684.8 1681.9 average 100%
Lake St Clair National Park 13.2 +0.1 26.6 8 Jan 3.1 +0.3 -5.9 15 Jun 1902.0 1876.5 average 101%
Liawenee 12.0 0.0 25.3 31 Dec 1.7 +0.2 -11.2 23 Jul
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 11.1 -0.4 25.9 7 Jan 4.0 0.0 -3.2 7 Jul
Mount Read 8.7 0.0 21.1 14 Feb 2.8 +0.1 -3.7 6 Jul
Scotts Peak Dam 14.9 +0.1 31.2 7 Jan 6.3 +0.2 -2.3 24 Jul
Strahan Aerodrome 16.6 +0.2 30.6 6 Nov 8.2 +0.4 -2.1 24 Jul 1516.4 1526.4 average 99%
Warra 13.5   28.4 6 Nov     -3.0 23 Jul
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 16.9 0.0 31.6 7 Jan 10.2 +0.4 1.9 15 Jun 943.0 866.4 high 109%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 17.9 +0.2 35.0 1 Feb 10.1 +0.3 -1.5 15 Jul
Hogan Island 16.9   31.2 1 Feb 11.8   4.9 8 Jun 944.2
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 6.7 +0.2 12.0 19 Dec 3.1 +0.1 -6.5 24 Jul 1024.5 970.0 average 106%

Missing values in the table above are because observations from that site are not complete in every month of 2011. Missing climatological values are because the site does not have sufficient length of record for statistics to be reliably computed.



Notes

The Annual Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Tasmania using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10am on Wednesday 4 January 2012. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages 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.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries