Canberra in February 2011: Wet end to summer

  • 7th wettest February on record.
  • 11th consecutive February with above average minimum temperatures.
  • Lowest February sunshine since 1992.

Rainfall

Canberra recorded 122.8mm of rainfall during February 2011, well above the historical average of 56.4mm and the 7th wettest February on record, although slightly drier than February 2010 (129.2mm). The rain fell over nine days, which is slightly above average for February. The highest rainfall anywhere in the ACT was 241.2mm at Mt Ginini AWS.

The rain predominantly fell during the first week of the month, with daily falls of 42.6mm recorded at the Airport on both the 3rd and 5th, associated with a band of heavy rainfall across southern NSW. Daily rainfall in the ACT was highest on the 3rd, with over 100mm at Mt Ginini and up to 83.6mm at Tuggeranong in the south. A thunderstorm on the 16th brought additional rainfall to Canberra, with the Airport recording 15.4mm to 9am on the 17th.

Temperature

Maximum temperatures were slightly below average in Canberra during February, at 26.7 °C compared to the historical average of 27.1 °C. Temperatures were close to average for most of the month, with only five days above 30 °C during the first week of February, lower than the historical average of 8 warm days. The warmest day was the 1st, when temperatures at Canberra Airport reached 37.1 °C.

In comparison, minimum temperatures were well above average during February at 14.4 °C, 1.3 °C above the historical average of 13.1 °C. This was the 14th warmest February on record and the 11th consecutive February with above average minimum temperatures. Three days with minimum temperatures above 20 °C were recorded during the first week of February, well above the historical average of less than one day per year, while the warmest night of 22.2 °C on the 2nd was the warmest February night since February 9 1997.

Mean temperatures were 0.5 °C above average during February at 21.1 °C compared to the historical average of 20.6 °C.

Wind

Canberra was dominated by northwesterly winds during February, with 57% of 3pm winds between WNW and NNW, similar to the historical average for Canberra. The highest wind gust reported during the month was 91km/hr at Mt Ginini on the 19th, with the strongest gust in suburban Canberra 76 km/hr at Tuggeranong on the 3rd.

Other phenomena

Four thunderstorms were reported at Canberra Airport this month, average for February, with five storms reported within the ACT region. Daily sunshine averaged 6.3 hours, significantly lower than the historical average of 9.0 hours and the lowest February sunshine since 1992. 3pm relative humidity averaged 52%, the highest in Canberra since 1981.

Further information

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Extremes in February 2011
Hottest day 37.1 °C at Canberra Airport on the 1st
Warmest days on average 26.7 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 18.0 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 11.9 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 6th
Coldest night 0.9 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 7th
Coolest nights on average 9.4 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 15.6 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 23.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on the 2nd
Warmest on average overall 21.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 13.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 241.2 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest day 102.2 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on the 3rd
Highest wind gust 91 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 19th




Summary statistics for February 2011
Maximum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Rainfall
for February
(millimetres)
Mean for
February
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
February
2011
Mean for
February
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
February
2011
Total for
February
2011
Average
for
February
Rank of
February
2011
Fraction of
February
average
Canberra Airport 26.7 -0.4 37.1 1st 14.4 +1.3 6.0 7th 122.8 56.4 v high 218%
Mount Ginini AWS 18.0   26.1 1st 9.4   0.9 7th 241.2
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 26.5   36.8 1st 15.6   6.8 7th 192.0

Notes

As of March 2010, the official station for Canberra is 70351 'Canberra Airport'. Averages from the previous site, 70014 Canberra Airport Comparison, are used for comparisons (all years of record).

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in ACT Monthly Summary 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 10 am on Tuesday 1 March 2011. 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 20 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