Australian Capital Territory in January 2019: A record warm start to the year

A series of heatwaves impacted much of Australia throughout January, with record warm temperatures observed in the ACT as a result. Thunderstorms brought close to average rainfall, with some strong winds and hail at times.

Record warm temperatures

  • Maximum and minimum temperatures were 3 to 6 degrees above average as a result of heatwaves which impacted much of Australia in January
  • Further information about the heatwaves that have affected large areas of the country can be found in the Special Climate Statement Widespread heatwaves during December 2018 and January 2019
  • Canberra Airport's mean maximum temperature was 34.5 °C, its warmest January mean maximum temperature on record at 6.3 °C above average and 1.7 °C above the previous record set in 2017
  • Tuggeranong also observed its highest January mean daily maximum temperature on record with 34.1 °C, beating its previous record by just over 2 degrees
  • The temperature exceeded 35 °C on 19 days at Canberra Airport, just over 6 times the January average
  • Canberra Airport had a record run of four consecutive days of 40 °C or above from 15 to 18 January, which had not previously occurred (since records began in 1939)
  • On the 16th Canberra Airport recorded a maximum of 41.6 °C which equals the record for the highest January temperature recorded at the current site, but is just shy of the highest temperature of 42.2 °C recorded at the now closed Airport site in February 1968
  • Tuggeranong also recorded its highest January temperature on record with 40.8 °C on the 17th
  • Canberra Airport and Tuggeranong observed their highest January mean daily minimum temperatures on record with 17.7 °C and 18.0 °C respectively, beating their previous records by 1 to 1.5 degrees
  • The minimum temperature did not drop below 15 °C on 25 days at Canberra Airport, surpassing the record of 23 days set at the closed Airport site in January 2006

Close to average rainfall

  • Rainfall totals were close to average across the ACT, with most rain delivered by thunderstorms
  • Thunderstorms caused localised flooding on the afternoon of the 22nd; Mount Ginni recorded 28.4 mm of rain in 30 minutes, and 40.6 mm over the 24 hours to 9 am on the 23rd, the wettest day of the month in the ACT
  • Total rainfall for Canberra Airport was 61.2 mm, which is 106% of the long-term average of 58.0 mm
  • It rained on 11 days, just above the January average of 7 days

Canberra Airport

  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Canberra Airport was 34.5 °C, which is 4.1 °C above the long-term average of 30.4 °C. The warmest day was 41.6 °C on the 16th, and the coolest day was on the 7th when the temperature reached 24.1 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Canberra Airport was 17.7 °C, which is 3.7 °C above the long-term average of 14.0 °C. The coldest morning was 13.4 °C on the 6th, and the warmest morning was on the 31st when the minimum temperature was 22.2 °C

Thunderstorms with strong winds and hail

  • Canberra Airport recorded a wind gust of 83 km/h on 8 January when thunderstorms brought strong winds which downed trees and caused power outages
  • Hail of up to golf ball size was reported in Canberra with thunderstorms on the 11th

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Extremes in January 2019
Hottest day 41.6 °C at Canberra Airport on the 16th
Warmest days on average 34.5 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 25.0 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 17.3 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 6th
Coldest night 5.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on the 6th
Coolest nights on average 13.4 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 18.0 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 22.2 °C at Canberra Airport on the 31st
Warmest on average overall 26.1 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest on average overall 19.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 88.8 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Driest overall 56.6 mm at Bruce (Australian Institute of Sport)
Wettest day 40.6 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on the 23rd
Strongest wind gust 83 km/h at Canberra Airport on the 8th

Record highest January temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 40.8 on the 17th 40.2 on the 18th in 1998 23 29.5



Record highest January mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 34.1 32.0 in 2013 22 29.5



Record highest January mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 18.0 16.5 in 2006 22 14.3



Record highest January mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 26.0 23.8 in 2010 22 21.9



Summary statistics for January 2019
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2019
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2019
Mean for
January
2019
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2019
Total for
January
2019
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2019
Fraction of
January
average
Canberra Airport 34.5 +6.3 41.6 16th 17.7 +4.4 13.4 6th 61.2 58.0 average 106%
Mount Ginini AWS 25.0 +4.2 32.2 16th 13.4 +3.4 5.7 6th 88.8 75.5 average 118%
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 34.1 +4.6 40.8 17th 18.0 +3.7 13.5 6th 63.2 53.9 average 117%
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,
combined with the current site from March 2010 onwards.

Daily maximum temperatures for January 2019
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
Canberra Airport35.335.935.338.136.725.024.130.730.727.529.434.229.136.440.141.641.440.136.035.134.338.435.432.039.441.531.226.135.737.135.2
Mount Ginini AWS26.126.826.227.823.417.319.819.720.521.521.025.323.726.429.232.230.428.325.926.026.228.127.127.428.730.017.618.025.125.123.5
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS35.636.335.237.735.325.224.129.930.327.729.935.330.336.339.639.940.839.735.934.734.338.235.331.138.540.129.424.734.935.533.9
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 2019
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
Canberra Airport13.718.018.417.221.113.414.816.813.716.417.613.716.016.018.720.117.120.521.417.116.916.919.714.915.920.521.220.019.119.022.2
Mount Ginini AWS13.314.913.316.317.65.76.210.29.87.310.611.413.111.518.019.918.615.114.112.711.215.613.211.416.520.113.812.711.814.613.9
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS14.317.620.318.120.313.515.117.015.616.318.214.416.418.217.819.517.820.421.917.717.717.119.516.617.321.721.020.517.918.220.2
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 2019
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
Bruce (Australian Institute of Sport) - - - - - - - 19.8 5.0 - - 4.0 - - - 7.0 - - - - 11.0 1.2 - 6.6 2.0 6.0
Canberra (Australian National Botanic Ga - - - - - 8.6 -























Canberra Airport - - - - - 7.0 - 11.2 9.4 - - 2.2 - - - - - 11.2 1.0 - - - 2.0 4.2 - - 7.2 - 3.2 2.6 -
Canberra Parliament House - - - - 9.0























Ginninderra (Charnwood (ACT)) - - 0.2 - - 7.0 0.2 11.8 6.4 - - 2.8 - - - - - 5.6 - - - - 1.6 18.4 - - 5.4 - 0.8 8.6 -
Mount Ginini AWS - - - - - 0.8 0.2 6.0 11.6 0.2 - 15.0 - - - - - 1.0 1.4 - - - 40.6 0.2 - - - 0.2 9.6 2.0 -
Nicholls (Gungahlin Lakes) - - 0.2 - - 5.0 - 6.0 7.6





















Torrens (Darke St) - - - - - 11.6 6.2 - 5.0 - - 9.2 - - - - - 11.4 1.2 - - - 1.0 25.4 - - 2.8 0.2 2.0 4.4
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS - - - - - 15.2 - 5.6 5.6 - - 3.2 - - - - - 6.4 1.0 - - - - 18.0 0.2 - 1.6 0.4 4.2 1.8 -
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, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists the main features of the weather in Australian Capital Territory using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This summary includes data from observing sites in or near the Australian Capital Territory “Greater Capital City Statistical Area” (GCCSA). The Australian Bureau of Statistics designed the GCCSAs to “include the population within the urban area of the city, as well as people who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, and live in small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. It is important to note that GCCSAs do not define the built up edge of the city. They provide a stable definition for these cities and are designed for the output of a range of social and economic survey data.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Friday 1 February 2019. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries