Tasmania in 2015: some heat, some cold, drier than usual

2015 was a mixed year for Tasmania, including both very warm and very cool weather. Rainfall for the year was below average in most areas.

  • Statewide mean temperature close to average
  • Temperatures above average in the warmer months, but below average in the cooler months
  • Several bursts of snow through winter
  • Rain below average, well below average in some areas
  • Very dry in spring, but wet in January, March and May

Tasmania's mean temperature for 2015 was 0.14 °C above average, with the mean maximum temperature 0.28 °C above average and the mean minimum temperature right on average. These are all markedly cooler than 2014. Temperatures were well above average February, and again from September to December, but March, July and August had temperatures below average. With the very mixed year, very few annual temperature records were broken. But there were plenty of extreme temperatures and records in individual months: in particular cold days in March and August, warm days in September, very warm temperatures in October and a burst of heat in December. The winter months saw snow to low levels on several occasions, most notably during August. In early October, high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds combined with persistently dry conditions to bring an early start to the fire weather season.

Rainfall was below average in most parts of Tasmania, and especially so in the west, the northwest, and through the Midlands. The State mean rainfall was 20% below average, making it the eighth-lowest on record. Rain was generally above average in January, March and May, mostly below average in the other months, and record low in October. Very heavy rain fell in the southeast in mid-January, giving a few stations their wettest day on record. Persistent westerly winds through May made that month especially wet in the west, but a marked lack of westerlies led to the State's driest spring on record.

Hobart's mean daily maximum temperature of 17.7 °C was 0.8 °C above average, whilst its mean minimum temperature of 8.7 °C was 0.4 °C above average; both are about half a degree cooler than 2014. The hottest day in the capital was 36.0 °C on 25 December, with the coldest morning 0.3 °C on 22 June. Total rainfall for the year was 528 mm, about 86% of the long-term average. Hobart registered 71.6 mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9 am on 14 January, its wettest day since April 2011.

Notable events in 2015

Further information on these events can be found in the Monthly Weather Review.

Heavy rain

Even in a generally dry year there were some significant rain events, with the most notable being:

  • 13 and 14 January: some sites in the the east and southeast reported well over 100 mm as a low moved slowly down the East Coast
  • 26 March: slow-moving thunderstorms near Hobart and the Tasman Peninsula brought some flash flooding

Hot weather and bushfires

The 2014–15 fire weather season was tempered by significant rainfall in late summer and a lack of warm, windy weather over autumn. In early October, high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds combined with persistently dry conditions saw an early start to the 2015–16 fire weather season. The event is discussed in a Special Climate Statement: Early-season heat across southern Australia. Notable hot weather in 2015 included:

  • 3 January: high temperatures (Friendly Beaches reached 39.7 °C) bring locally severe fire danger to the south and east of the State and King Island
  • 3 October: locally extreme fire danger in the south and east, marking an early start to the normal fire weather season
  • 6 October: Friendly Beaches reached 33.6 °C, the earliest in spring that a Tasmanian site has ever reported such a warm day
  • 20 December: Many sites had their warmest December night on record, and 39.8 °C at Friendly Beaches was the hottest December day in Tasmania since 1897; details are discussed in a Special Climate Statement: Widespread record December temperatures in southeast Australia

Cold outbreaks and snow

The winter months saw snow to low levels on several days, especially during August. Most notable among these were:

  • 7 May: snow settled below 200 m in the south in the wake of a cold front
  • 3 August: Tasmania's most significant snow event since July 1986. Snow to sea level in the south and west, with snow flurries in Launceston
  • 5 August: another burst of snow, down to around 100 m in the south and light falls to sea level
  • 17 August: further road and school closures with snow to 200 m in the western, central and southern areas
  • 26 November: In the wake of a strong cold front, Mount Read did not get above freezing, the latest in the year the site has reported such a cold day

Strong winds

Strong, gusty and damaging winds occurred in Tasmania several times through 2015. Persistent strong winds in January resulted in a significant reduction in the yield of leatherwood honey. Other strong wind events included:

  • 5 and 6 May: strong and gusty winds, together with localised heavy rain, caused considerable disruption and some damage in many parts of Tasmania; on the 6th Mount Wellington's 159 km/h became Tasmania's strongest May wind gust on record
  • 12 May: strong winds intensified, causing localised damage. Many sites registered gusts in excess of 100 km/h, and several had their strongest-ever May wind gust
  • 8 June: Maatsuyker Island had a gust to 185 km/h, a new Australian record June wind gust, after a strong cold front crossed Tasmania

Further information

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Extremes in 2015
Hottest day 39.8 °C at Friendly Beaches on 20 Dec
Warmest days on average 18.9 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 8.2 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day -3.7 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on 5 Aug
Coldest night -11.1 °C at Liawenee on 8 Aug
Coolest nights on average 1.3 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) and Liawenee
Warmest nights on average 11.6 °C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 21.9 °C at Flinders Island Airport on 20 Dec
Warmest on average overall 14.5 °C at Hogan Island
Coolest on average overall 4.7 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall 3306.2 mm at Mount Read *
Driest overall 290.0 mm at Tunbridge (Austin-Vale)
Wettest day 153.4 mm at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on 14 Jan
Strongest wind gust 185 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 8 Jun

*Note: Mount Read was affected by snow several times during the year, and the true total was most certainly higher but not known exactly. The highest confirmed total was 2165.4 mm at South Queenstown.


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
Macquarie Island 59.2 on 17 Jan 52.8 on 14 Mar 2001 68
Taroona (Taroona Crescent) 102.4 on 14 Jan 97.2 on 13 Apr 2011 54
Margate (Sunnyside) 123.2 on 14 Jan 102.6 on 23 Mar 1983 48
Blackmans Bay Treatment Plant 120.0 on 14 Jan 110.6 on 7 Feb 1999 34
Judbury (Huon River) 50.4 on 29 Aug 46.6 on 13 Apr 2011 24



Record highest annual total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Macquarie Island 1260.6 1244.6 in 2005 63 981.4



Record lowest annual total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Cape Sorell 769.4 892.3 in 1914 84 1315.6
Westbury (Birralee Road) 482.5 569.6 in 1994 31 767.1

Lowest annual total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Annual
average
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 674.0 655.4 in 1937* 941.2
Avoca (Railway House) 364.6 342.5 in 1961* 549.2
Mauriceton (Jordan River) 365.0 296.2 in 1961* 523.3
Zeehan (West Coast Pioneers Museum) 2072.0 1979.8 in 1985* 2386.3
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 478.8 466.4 in 1994* 823.6

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




Record highest daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 21.0 on 20 Dec 20.9 on 30 Jan 2009 35 7.3



Record lowest temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Annual
average
Wynyard Airport -3.6 on 21 Jun = -3.6 on 25 Jul 2002 31 7.1
Devonport Airport -2.2 on 19 Jul -2.0 on 10 Jul 1997 25 8.3
Smithton Aerodrome -3.9 on 20 Jun -3.0 on 25 Apr 1997 20 7.7



Lowest annual mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
lower
Annual
average
Burnie (Round Hill) 9.0 8.7 in 1984* 9.3

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




Summary statistics for 2015
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2015
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2015
Mean
for
2015
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2015
Total
for
2015
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2015
Fraction
of annual
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 17.5 0.0 29.5 3 Jan     -0.5 18 Aug 698.4 736.5 average 95%
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.3 +0.4 27.5 29 Dec 9.0 -0.3 0.6 1 Jun
Cape Grim 15.3   27.3 3 Jan 10.1   2.9 7 Jul 730.8
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 15.7 0.0 27.7 3 Jan 10.1 -0.5 3.1 3 Aug 734.6 775.1 average 95%
Cressy Research Station 18.2 0.0 34.5 31 Dec 5.5 -0.2 -6.4 19 Jul 396.6 615.4 v low 64%
Devonport Airport 17.2 +0.3 30.6 8 Feb 8.1 -0.2 -2.2 19 Jul 553.3 764.7 v low 72%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.9 +0.4 32.8 18 Dec 7.3 0.0 -3.4 21 Jun 487.9 676.0 v low 72%
Launceston Airport 18.0 -0.2 33.6 20 Dec 5.8 -0.6 -5.4 4 Jun 481.6 610.6 low 79%
Low Head 16.6 0.0 27.0 14 Jan 10.3 -0.2 0.9 18 Jul 529.4 666.7 v low 79%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 15.7 +0.1 32.9 31 Dec 7.1 -0.4 -0.9 3 Aug 1260.2 1521.9 v low 83%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 17.2 -0.1 32.0 31 Dec 7.2 0.0 -3.0 4 Aug 705.6 972.5 v low 73%
Smithton Aerodrome 17.3 +0.1 29.4 3 Jan 7.1 -0.6 -3.9 20 Jun 681.2 884.9 v low 77%
Wynyard Airport 17.4 +0.4 30.0 20 Dec 7.0 -0.1 -3.6 21 Jun 666.4 975.4 v low 68%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 18.0 +0.2 37.4 3 Jan 9.6 +0.1 0.9 4 Aug 580.9 678.7 average 86%
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.9 +0.1 36.2 3 Jan 5.1 -0.2 -7.2 19 Jul 490.4 608.1 low 81%
Friendly Beaches 18.6 +0.2 39.8 20 Dec 9.2 -0.2 -0.6 19 Jul 617.6 672.0 average 92%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 14.2 +0.3 31.9 19 Dec 3.8 -0.2 -6.2 21 Jun 478.8 823.6 v low 58%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 17.9 +0.7 33.3 20 Dec 10.6 +0.2 0.6 18 Aug 480.4 759.3 v low 63%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 16.8 -0.3 31.3 20 Dec 10.3 -0.1 2.2 3 Aug 371.6
St Helens Aerodrome 18.0 0.0 34.7 3 Jan 8.8 -0.1 -0.9 3 Jul 576.4 664.1 low 87%
Swan Island 17.1 0.0 31.2 3 Jan 11.5 -0.1 3.5 18 Aug 576.0
Swansea (Francis Street) 18.1   39.5 3 Jan 8.0   -2.9 19 Jul 456.4
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.8 +0.1 39.4 25 Dec 5.5 -0.1 -6.1 19 Jul 369.2 483.5 low 76%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 18.6 0.0 37.6 3 Jan 7.2 -0.1 -2.7 19 Jul 346.4 481.4 v low 72%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 15.9 -0.1 35.5 25 Dec 8.9 -0.4 1.6 3 Aug 673.0 772.1 low 87%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 15.5 +0.6 34.6 25 Dec     0.9 5 Aug 674.0 941.2 v low 72%
Dennes Point 16.7   31.8 9 Nov 9.1   0.9 3 Aug 557.4
Dover 16.7 +0.2 36.9 25 Dec 6.4 -0.4 -2.0 8 Jul 861.8 877.6 average 98%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 17.2   32.6 6 Oct 9.6   0.7 3 Aug 450.0
Grove (Research Station) 17.4 -0.2 35.9 22 Feb 5.5 -0.2 -3.8 9 Jul 688.8 718.8 average 96%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 17.7 +0.8 36.0 25 Dec 8.7 +0.4 0.3 22 Jun 528.4 614.0 average 86%
Hobart Airport 18.1 +0.6 37.1 22 Feb 8.1 0.0 -0.9 23 May 356.2 493.5 low 72%
Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 8.2 +0.4 26.8 3 Jan 1.3 -0.1 -7.5 3 Aug
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 17.5 +0.1 37.9 3 Jan 5.8 -0.2 -4.7 8 Jul 380.0 447.7 low 85%
Tunnack Fire Station 15.4 +0.1 33.4 3 Jan 4.6 -0.5 -6.3 8 Jul 426.4 622.8 v low 68%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 18.6 +0.9 37.6 3 Jan 5.7 -0.2 -5.1 9 Jul 480.0 572.4 low 84%
Ouse Fire Station 18.5 +0.1 38.9 3 Jan 5.3 -0.2 -6.8 8 Jul
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 13.5 +0.7 32.6 19 Dec 2.8 -0.2 -6.6 9 Jul 1376.4 1669.6 low 82%
Liawenee 12.2 +0.1 28.2 3 Jan 1.3 -0.3 -11.1 8 Aug 704.4 953.1 v low 74%
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 11.1 -0.4 30.7 22 Feb 3.5 -0.5 -4.3 3 Aug 1018.6
Low Rocky Point 15.4   32.5 25 Dec 8.9   1.9 8 Jul 1104.4 1319.4 v low 84%
Scotts Peak Dam 15.0 +0.1 35.9 22 Feb 5.8 -0.4 -1.9 8 Jul 1628.8 1876.6 v low 87%
Strahan Aerodrome 16.6 +0.1 33.8 25 Dec 7.6 -0.3 -1.8 24 Aug 1304.4 1521.3 low 86%
Warra 13.7 -0.1 33.5 22 Feb 4.7 -0.6 -3.7 8 Jul 1740.8
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 17.0 0.0 35.1 19 Dec 9.8 -0.2 1.4 31 Aug 622.0 854.9 v low 73%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 18.3 +0.5 38.3 20 Dec 9.8 0.0 -1.9 20 Jun
Hogan Island 17.4   36.4 3 Jan 11.6   3.2 27 Jul 402.2
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 6.6 0.0 11.2 14 Feb 2.8 -0.3 -5.4 12 Jun 1260.6 981.4 highest 128%

Notes

The Annual climate summary 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. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 8 am on Wednesday 6 January 2016. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Climate

Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.