Canberra in January 2016: A wet January with hot and cold

Severe thunderstorms caused Canberra to record its wettest January since 1995, with slightly above average temperatures. There were several warm and cold spells during the month, with the airport recording more than double the average number of days above 35 °C but the coldest January day since 1995.

  • Wettest January in twenty years
  • Two hot spells cause above average numbers of hot days
  • Cold snap in early January brings coldest January day in 20 years

Canberra Airport recorded almost double its average rainfall during January 2016, the wettest January since 1995. Most of the rain fell at the end of the month, with severe thunderstorms on the 29th and 30th producing heavy rain across the city including a total of 49 mm at Tuggeranong for the 24 hours to 9 am on the 31st. A thunderstorm on the 25th also produced large hail near Tuggeranong, with 19.8 mm of rain recorded to 9 am on the 26th, while Canberra Airport recorded 22 mm from a thunderstorm on the 21st.

The mean maximum temperature at Canberra Airport during January 2016 was 0.5 °C above the historical average, while the mean minimum temperature was 0.8 °C above average. There were two notable warm spells between 10-14 and 18-21 January, with six days reaching at least 35 °C (average three days). However, temperatures were very cool between the 4th and 6th, with a maximum temperature of just 17.1 °C on the 5th. This is the coolest January day since 16.6 °C on 2 January 1995. Temperatures were also very cold between the 15th and 17th, with a minimum of just 5.5 °C on the 16th, the coldest January night since 2012.

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Extremes in January 2016
Hottest day 39.3 °C at Canberra Airport on the 13th
Warmest days on average 28.5 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 18.3 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 8.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 31st
Coldest night -0.5 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 15th
Coolest nights on average 9.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 14.6 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 22.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on the 14th
Warmest on average overall 21.2 °C at Canberra Airport
21.2 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 14.1 °C at Mount Ginini AWS/span>
Wettest overall 145.4 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Driest overall 95.8 mm at Torrens (Darke St)
Wettest day 49.0 mm at Tharwa General Store on the 31st
Strongest wind gust 67 km/h at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS on the 25th

Highest January total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Tharwa General Store 127.4 205.8 in 1995* 63.7

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


Summary statistics for January 2016
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2016
Mean for
January
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2016
Total for
January
2016
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2016
Fraction of
January
average
Canberra Airport 28.5 +0.5 39.3 13th 14.0 +0.8 5.5 16th 106.0 58.5 high 181%
Mount Ginini AWS 18.3 -2.6 28.3 13th 9.8 -0.1 -0.5 15th 145.4 75.1 high 194%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 27.7 -1.7 38.7 13th 14.6 +0.4 8.5 17th 108.4 56.4 v high 192%
Note: Observations for “Canberra Airport” are taken from the current site (Bureau number 070351), which opened in late 2008.
Comparisons are made against data from the previous site Canberra Airport Comparison (070014), which ran from 1939 to 2010.

Daily maximum temperatures for January 2016
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
Canberra Airport34.928.025.020.117.120.725.529.531.734.535.737.939.334.021.023.125.731.335.036.935.028.028.629.027.026.022.429.023.027.022.0
Mount Ginini AWS24.316.513.19.39.311.314.519.321.924.425.126.428.321.610.614.916.422.324.523.923.917.219.421.017.416.413.721.314.716.78.8
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS34.226.823.319.218.220.324.329.130.933.835.036.738.732.421.022.325.730.334.334.933.026.728.128.826.126.322.428.822.824.820.6
Values are the maximum temperature, usually in the 24 hours from 9 am on the day indicated,
and typically occurred in the afternoon of that day.
Temperatures coloured according to their difference
from the long-term average for the period
-10.0 -9.0 -8.0 -7.0 -6.0 -5.0 -4.0 -3.0 -2.0 -1.0 0.0 +1.0 +2.0 +3.0 +4.0 +5.0 +6.0 +7.0 +8.0 +9.0 +10.0 °C Grey outline marks highest
and lowest for the period

Daily minimum temperatures for January 2016
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
Canberra Airport15.016.215.014.014.013.710.68.013.115.015.618.713.221.89.65.57.411.911.314.114.919.017.016.517.015.017.015.415.012.010.0
Mount Ginini AWS14.112.98.56.66.96.94.36.110.212.015.117.114.115.9-0.52.04.47.411.515.014.713.510.910.110.29.89.79.910.87.95.0
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS15.018.216.114.514.014.713.58.913.714.515.518.314.622.09.49.78.511.111.915.516.119.117.117.517.213.017.716.015.811.911.8
Values are the minimum temperature, usually in the 24 hours to 9 am on the day indicated,
and typically occurred that morning.
Temperatures coloured according to their difference
from the long-term average for the period
-10.0 -9.0 -8.0 -7.0 -6.0 -5.0 -4.0 -3.0 -2.0 -1.0 0.0 +1.0 +2.0 +3.0 +4.0 +5.0 +6.0 +7.0 +8.0 +9.0 +10.0 °C Grey outline marks highest
and lowest for the period

Daily rainfall for January 2016
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
Canberra (Australian National Botanic Ga - - 0.8 5.2 15.2 6.8 - - - - - - - - 1.6 - - - - - - 8.6 11.6 - 0.4 3.0
Canberra Airport - - - 2.0 13.4 7.2 - - - - - - - - 2.0 - - - - - - 26.0 11.0 1.8 - 6.0 - 2.6 - 6.0 28.0
Mount Ginini AWS - - 0.4 7.2 18.4 4.6 0.6 - - - - - - 0.2 3.8 0.2 - - - - - - 12.8 0.2 - 2.6 2.4 6.4 - 37.0 48.6
Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes) - - 0.4 1.5 12.0 9.6 - - - - - - - - 0.6 - - - - - - 18.2 10.4 - - 11.2 - 5.5 - 15.8 21.5
Tharwa General Store - - - 5.0 9.2 2.8 - - - - - - - - 10.0 - - - - - - - 12.0 - - 14.4 - 2.4 - 22.6 49.0
Torrens (Darke St) - - 1.0 4.6 10.2 4.2 1.4 - - - - - - - 12.2 - - - - - - 5.4 11.8 0.4 - 11.8 - 6.4 - 9.8 16.6
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS - - - 5.4 8.6 2.8 - - - - - - - - 11.8 - - - - - - 3.8 14.6
0.6 19.8 - 4.8 - 9.8 26.4
Most values are the precipitation in the 24 hours to 9 am on the day indicated. Days marked with → are part of a longer accumulation, which is shown on the final day.
Values over 100 mm have been rounded to the nearest whole millimetre.
Days marked with - have a rainfall report of zero; days left blank have no rainfall report (which often indicates no rain fell).
Rainfalls coloured
according to the amount
0 1.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 25.0 50.0 100 150 200 300 400 600 millimetres

Notes

The Monthly climate summary lists 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.

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

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Monday 1 February 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.

Observations for “Canberra Airport” are taken from the current site (Bureau number 070351), which opened in late 2008.
Comparisons are made against data from the previous site Canberra Airport Comparison (070014), which ran from 1939 to 2010.

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.