Canberra in May 2013: Dry May brings warm days and cold nights

  • Fifth-warmest May on record for maximum temperatures.
  • Driest May since 2009
  • Cold nights, but warmer than recent years.

Rainfall

Canberra Airport recorded 7.2 mm of rain during May, well below the historical average of 44.4 mm. This is the driest May since just 2.4 mm was recorded in 2009, and the equal-tenth-driest May on record. The rain fell over 10 days, normal for May, but only two recorded more than 1 mm of rain (average 5 days) and none reached 5 mm. Falls were slightly higher elsewhere in the city, with a monthly total of 17.4 mm at Tharwa and 52.6 mm at Mount Ginini, where falls were heavier on the 14th.

Temperature

Canberra recorded an average maximum temperature of 17.4 °C during May, 1.8 °C above the historical average. This was the warmest May since 2007, and the fifth-warmest on record. The warm May days were associated with the generally clear, dry conditions and several warm days during the first half of the month.

Eight days reached at least 20 °C during May, well above the average of 2-3 days, including five consecutive warm days between the 8th and 13th during a period of northerly winds. This is the thirteenth such spell on record for May, and only the fifth for this late in the month. There were also relatively few cool days during the month, with only eight days dropping below 15 °C (average 13 days) and no days below 10 °C.

The average minimum temperature at Canberra Airport was 1.3 °C, 1.9 °C below the historical average but warmer than May 2012 (-0.2 °C) and 2011 (0 °C). The cold nights were also associated with the clear conditions during the month, with ten nights dropping to 0 °C or lower (average 8 nights), and only seven nights staying above 5 °C (average 10 nights). Seven nights were below -3 °C (average 2 nights), including two cold spells on the 18th-20th and 25th-27th.

The mean temperature at Canberra Airport was consequently 9.3 °C, 0.3 °C below the historical average.

Further information

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Extremes in May 2013
Hottest day 24.1 °C at Canberra Airport on the 10th
Warmest days on average 17.4 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 7.4 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 1.4 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 15th
Coldest night -4.6 °C at Canberra Airport on the 19th
Coolest nights on average 1.1 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 2.1 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 7.8 °C at Canberra Airport on the 16th
Warmest on average overall 9.4 °C at Canberra Airport
9.4 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 4.4 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 52.6 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest day 20.6 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on the 14th
Highest wind gust 76 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 4th
76 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on the 21st

Summary statistics for May 2013
Maximum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Rainfall
for May
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2013
Mean for
May
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2013
Total for
May
2013
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2013
Fraction of
May
average
Canberra Airport 17.4 +1.8 24.1 10th 1.3 -1.9 -4.6 19th 7.2 44.4 v low 16%
Mount Ginini AWS 7.4   14.2 10th 1.1   -3.5 2nd 52.6
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 16.8   23.3 10th 2.1   -4.0 19th 12.6

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 Canberra 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 Monday 3 June 2013. 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