Tasmania in 2020: Drier in the west and south, wetter in the east and warmer nights everywhere

Annual rainfall was below average for parts of the western half of Tasmania and the south, but was above average for much of the north-east. Days were warmer than usual in the south-west but close to average elsewhere, whilst nights were warmer than usual across the state and especially so in the north-east.

A wet year for much of the east but parts of the west and south miss out

  • It was a typical start to the year for rainfall with close to average totals in most parts during January and February.
  • Tasmania had its wettest autumn since 1975 with a very wet March in the north-east followed by the 9th wettest April on record for Tasmania. April, May and December were the only months of 2020 with large areas of above average rainfall in the west.
  • Winter was very dry in the north-west thanks to the 2nd driest July on record for Tasmania, conversely seasonal rainfall was very much above average in the south-east due to a very wet June and August.
  • Whilst October was very wet in the east, November was the 9th driest on record for the state, resulting in a drier than average spring for the west and south, and close to average seasonal rainfall for the east.
  • Tasmania's total rainfall for the year was 5% below average.
  • Annual rainfall was in the lowest 10% of records for the far south, and in the highest 10% of records for parts of the north-east coast.
  • Several sites had their highest daily rainfall on record.
  • Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) had its highest total rainfall on record.

Warmer than average nights for much of the year, with warmer winter and spring days making up for a cooler autumn

  • A very hot air mass late in January delivered Hobart Airport its highest temperature on record, which turned out to be Tasmania's hottest day in 2020.
  • Mean maximum temperatures were cooler than average for much of Tasmania from February to April, and generally warmer than average from June to November (4th warmest November days on record).
  • Mean minimum temperatures were warmer than average in January, then close to average until a very warm April (5th warmest April nights on record) and were mostly warmer than average from August to November (5th warmest November nights on record).
  • A complex low pressure system and cold front crossing southern Australia gave a couple of sites their lowest temperature on record, and Launceston even got some snow.
  • Tasmania's mean temperature (a combination of the maximum and minimum temperatures) for the year was 0.20 °C above average but the lowest since 2015.
  • Tasmania's mean maximum temperature for the year was only 0.06 °C above average and the lowest since 2006.
  • Tasmania's mean minimum temperature for the year was 0.33 °C above average, the warmest since 2018.
  • Even though it was a warmer than average year for maximum temperatures for Tasmania overall, Cressy Research Station had its equal lowest mean daily maximum temperature on record and Ross (The Boulevards) had its lowest mean daily maximum temperature since 1996.

Hobart (Ellerslie Road)

  • Total rainfall for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 656.2 mm, which is 107% of the long-term average of 612.2 mm.
  • Monthly rainfall was mixed; Hobart recorded around double its average rainfall during August and October (9th highest on record) but less than half its average rainfall during February, May, July (4th driest on record), and November (6th driest on record).
  • Hobart's highest daily rainfall was 46.2 mm recorded on 5 August.
  • kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) had its wettest winter on record with 558.6 mm due to a very wet June and August.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 17.7 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 17.0 °C.
  • The warmest day was 40.4 °C on 31 January, and the coolest day was on 10 July when the temperature reached 8.6 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 9.1 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 8.4 °C.
  • The coldest morning was 0.4 °C on 10 August, and the warmest morning was on 15 December when the minimum temperature was 20.7 °C.

Further information

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Extremes in 2020
Hottest day 41.4 °C at Hobart Airport on 31 Jan
Warmest days on average 18.5 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 8.1 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day -1.9 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on 3 Aug
Coldest night -14.2 °C at Liawenee on 7 Aug
Coolest nights on average 1.5 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Warmest nights on average 11.5 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 21.4 °C at Campania (Kincora) on 1 Feb
Warmest on average overall 14.2 °C at Swan Island
Coolest on average overall 4.8 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall 3528.8 mm at Mount Read
Wettest day 184.4 mm at Mountain River on 23 Jun
Strongest wind gust 161 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 2 Dec

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile 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


Monthly maps
Rainfall rankMaximum temperature rankMinimum temperature rank
January Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
February Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
March Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
April Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
May Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
June Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
July Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
August Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
September Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
October Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
November Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
December Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

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


Record highest daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Woodbury (Warringa Old Tier Road) 73.0 on 5 Aug 60.0 on 16 Jul 1986 49
Ross (Macquarie River) 67.8 on 5 Aug 67.2 on 31 Aug 2005 27
Southport (Huon Highway) 145.0 on 28 Sep 104.4 on 13 Apr 2011 27
Woodlea Nursery 110.4 on 6 Mar 104.8 on 6 Jun 2016 24
Scotts Peak Dam 75.0 on 2 May 62.4 on 27 Sep 2009 23



Record highest annual total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 612.2 597.0 in 2009 24 453.1



Record highest temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Hobart Airport 41.4 on 31 Jan 40.8 on 30 Dec 2019 63 17.6
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 29.8 on 31 Jan = 29.8 on 14 Jan 2014 42 7.9
Maydena Post Office 38.2 on 31 Jan 37.3 on 2 Mar 2019 29 16.2
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 35.2 on 31 Jan 34.9 on 14 Jan 2014 25 11.5



Record lowest annual mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Cressy Research Station 17.7 = 17.7 in 2011 20 18.2

Lowest annual mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
lower
Annual
average
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.1 15.9 in 1996 17.8



Record lowest temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
King Island Airport -1.2 on 17 Jul -0.7 on 18 Sep 2019 26 10.0
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) -4.4 on 4 Aug = -4.4 on 11 Aug 2005 25 4.0
Mount Read -5.5 on 4 Aug -5.3 on 28 Aug 2018 25 2.8
Liawenee -14.2 on 7 Aug -12.2 on 9 Jul 2013 20 1.6



Summary statistics for 2020
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2020
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2020
Mean
for
2020
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2020
Total
for
2020
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2020
Fraction
of annual
average
Northern (district 91)
Cape Grim 15.3   26.8 30 Jan 10.3   1.5 4 Aug 858.6 889.3 average 97%
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 15.4 -0.3 27.3 30 Jan 10.3 -0.3 1.6 4 Aug 909.0 794.6 average 114%
Cressy Research Station 17.7 -0.5 36.1 31 Jan 6.1 +0.3 -4.0 7 Jun 634.8 593.2 average 107%
Devonport Airport 17.1 +0.1 29.8 31 Jan 8.6 +0.3 -0.9 1 Sep 713.1 763.5 average 93%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.5 -0.1 35.9 31 Jan 7.7 +0.3 -2.8 9 Jun 833.0 684.1 v high 122%
Launceston Airport 17.4 -0.8 37.1 31 Jan 6.5 +0.2 -3.7 7 Jun 804.4 627.9 high 128%
Low Head 16.3 -0.4 26.3 12 Feb 10.4 -0.2 1.5 6 Aug 732.2 677.8 average 108%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 15.2 -0.4 31.8 30 Jan 7.5 -0.1 -1.1 4 Aug 1235.4 1499.9 lowest 82%
Marrawah 16.0 -0.2 29.0 30 Jan 9.3 -0.1 1.4 4 Aug 1076.6 1075.2 average 100%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 16.9 -0.4 36.6 31 Jan 7.4 +0.2 -0.5 1 Sep 1000.4 966.8 average 103%
Sheffield School Farm 15.8 -0.4 31.6 31 Jan 6.6 -0.2 -1.9 22 Aug
Smithton Aerodrome 17.1 -0.2 28.1 31 Jan 7.6 -0.1 -3.2 10 Aug 893.4 912.8 average 98%
Wynyard Airport 17.0 -0.1 29.8 15 Dec 7.5 +0.4 -2.2 7 Jun 917.8 973.7 average 94%
East Coast (district 92)
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.5 -0.4 38.4 31 Jan 5.9 +0.6 -6.3 9 Jun
Friendly Beaches 18.4 -0.2 38.5 30 Jan 9.2 -0.2 -0.7 9 Jun 860.8 675.4 high 127%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 13.9 -0.1 35.0 31 Jan 4.5 +0.4 -6.1 9 Jun 857.5 820.7 average 104%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 16.4 -0.7 32.2 30 Jan 10.4 -0.1 2.5 5 Aug 604.6 518.1 high 117%
Orford (Aubin Court) 17.5 -0.1 37.5 30 Jan 8.2 +0.3 -1.0 9 Jun 810.7 667.2 high 122%
St Helens Aerodrome 17.8 -0.3 36.1 30 Jan 9.1 +0.1 0.1 9 Jun 872.2 677.6 high 129%
Swan Island 16.9 -0.3 25.7 22 Jan 11.5 -0.1 3.1 5 Aug 426.6 638.4 v low 67%
Swansea (Francis Street) 17.7   38.1 30 Jan 8.2   -1.6 8 Jul 638.6
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.1 -0.7 37.6 31 Jan 5.5 -0.2 -7.0 7 Jun 640.0 489.1 v high 131%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 18.1 -0.6 40.7 31 Jan 7.5 +0.1 -1.8 12 Jun 590.4 488.7 high 121%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 16.1 0.0 39.3 31 Jan 9.1 -0.2 2.9 8 Jul 764.8 765.2 average 100%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 15.5 +0.6 36.9 31 Jan 9.4 +0.5 1.7 31 Aug 710.8 935.1 v low 76%
Dennes Point 16.7   37.4 31 Jan 9.3   1.3 4 Aug 606.2
Dover 16.7 +0.1 39.0 31 Jan 6.7 -0.2 -1.5 10 Aug 761.2 875.8 low 87%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 16.9   37.2 31 Jan 9.8   1.3 5 Aug 675.2
Grove (Research Station) 17.3 -0.4 39.5 31 Jan 5.9 +0.1 -4.0 10 Aug 803.6 726.4 average 111%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 17.7 +0.7 40.4 31 Jan 9.1 +0.7 0.4 10 Aug 656.2 612.2 average 107%
Hobart Airport 17.7 +0.1 41.4 31 Jan 8.6 +0.4 -0.1 12 Jun 604.0 490.7 high 123%
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 8.1 +0.2 29.8 31 Jan 1.5 +0.1 -7.2 4 Aug 1339.4 899.5 high 149%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.8 -0.1 34.1 31 Jan 8.9 +0.2 1.9 4 Aug 972.6 1223.3 low 80%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 16.8 -0.7 39.2 31 Jan 6.0 0.0 -4.0 9 Aug 612.2 453.1 highest 135%
Tunnack Fire Station 14.9 -0.5 35.2 31 Jan 5.2 +0.1 -4.2 9 Aug 853.6 621.0 high 137%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 18.1 +0.3 38.7 31 Jan 5.8 -0.1 -4.1 10 Aug 575.4 571.0 average 101%
Ouse Fire Station 17.7 -0.7 40.6 31 Jan 5.4 -0.2 -6.3 11 Aug 542.2 524.0 average 103%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 13.0 +0.1 33.7 31 Jan 3.2 +0.2 -7.8 10 Aug 1508.0 1675.0 average 90%
Liawenee 11.7 -0.5 29.6 30 Jan 1.7 +0.1 -14.2 7 Aug 828.0 916.2 average 90%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 15.9 +0.8 28.0 10 Nov 9.9 +0.4 1.6 4 Aug 1077.0 1311.8 low 82%
Low Rocky Point 15.4   36.8 31 Jan 9.2   0.2 4 Aug
Scotts Peak Dam 15.0 -0.1 38.3 31 Jan 6.1 -0.1 -1.6 4 Aug 1935.0 1929.7 average 100%
Strahan Aerodrome 16.7 +0.1 38.2 31 Jan 8.0 0.0 -2.8 7 Aug 1533.0 1561.5 average 98%
Warra 13.4 -0.5 37.4 31 Jan 5.6 +0.3 -3.1 4 Aug 1443.6 1736.1 v low 83%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 16.9 -0.1 30.9 31 Jan 9.8 -0.2 -1.2 17 Jul 871.6 854.4 average 102%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 17.8 0.0 38.5 31 Jan 10.2 +0.4 -0.9 7 Aug 737.6 740.8 average 100%
Hogan Island 16.9 -0.4 33.0 30 Jan 11.4 -0.4 3.0 5 Aug 626.0 633.7 average 99%
Note: From 2017, information about Macquarie Island can be found in the climate summary for the Remote Islands and Antarctica

Notes

The Annual climate summary, generally published on the second working day of the year, lists 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. 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 statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Monday 4 January 2021. 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