Canberra in May 2012: Coldest nights since 1961

  • Coldest May nights since 1961
  • Below average rainfall
  • 12th consecutive May with above average days.

Rainfall

Canberra Airport recorded 21 mm of rainfall during May, half the historical average of 44.4 mm, but more than May 2011 (12 mm). The rain fell over 9 rain days, normal for May, but only one day exceeded 2 mm (average 4 days). This was 16.6 mm on the 25th, associated with a low pressure trough system, with falls in the ACT as high as 22.4 mm at Tuggeranong.

Temperature

The average maximum temperature at Canberra Airport during May was 15.6 °C, slightly above the historical average of 15.5 °C for the 12th consecutive warm May. The warm days were associated with generally dry, clear conditions during the month. Three days exceeded 20 °C, normal for Canberra, but only one dropped below 10 °C, when cloudy, rainy conditions resulted in a maximum of just 9.8 °C on the 25th, the coldest May day since 2002.

Nights were cold in Canberra during May, averaging -0.2 °C compared to the historical average of 3.2 °C. This is slightly cooler than May 2011 (0.0 °C) and the third coldest May nights on record for Canberra, the coldest since -0.5 °C in 1961. Nineteen nights dropped below 0 °C during the month (average 8 nights), the equal 2nd highest on record with May 2011, reaching -5 °C on the 19th. The cool nights were associated with generally clear, dry conditions during the month.

The average temperature for Canberra during May was consequently 7.7 °C, the coldest May since 1966 and the equal 5th coldest on record.

Wind

The prevailing wind direction during May was NW, forming 68% of 3pm winds, above average for May. One strong wind day was reported during the month, with gusts reaching 59 km/hr on the 25th.

Other phenomena

Canberra Airport recorded an average of 7.0 hours of bright sunshine during May, slightly above the historical average of 6.7 hours. There were 8 fogs and 13 frosts reported at the airport, close to normal for May, with no thunderstorms reported in the ACT.

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Extremes in May 2012
Hottest day 22.8 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on the 10th
Warmest days on average 15.6 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 7.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 3.0 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 27th
Coldest night -5.0 °C at Canberra Airport on the 19th
Coolest nights on average -0.2 °C at Canberra Airport
Warmest nights on average 1.6 °C at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Warmest night 8.1 °C at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on the 11th
Warmest on average overall 8.0 °C at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Coolest on average overall 3.9 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 53.8 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest day 22.4 mm at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on the 25th
Highest wind gust 69 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 11th

Summary statistics for May 2012
Maximum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Rainfall
for May
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2012
Mean for
May
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2012
Total for
May
2012
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2012
Fraction of
May
average
Canberra Airport 15.6 +0.1 22.2 10th -0.2 -3.4 -5.0 19th 21.0 44.4 low 47%
Mount Ginini AWS 7.7   13.0 10th 0.0   -4.4 14th 53.8
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve 14.7 -0.6 21.5 10th 1.6 -2.1 -3.2 7th 33.6 65.3 average 51%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 15.5   22.8 10th 0.1   -4.5 22nd 27.8

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.

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 11 am on Friday 1 June 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 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