Australia in October 2010

In Brief

October 2010 was a very wet month, with an area average for Australia of 52.62 mm, its third wettest October on record and 126% above normal. Maximum temperatures were generally cooler than normal over the continent, while minimum temperatures were close to normal.


A cooler than normal month for most of Australia. Nationally averaged maximum temperatures were 1.18°C below normal (10th lowest on record). Daytime temperatures were at least 1°C below normal over the eastern half of WA, stretching across to the eastern Australian coast. Anomalies of −3 to −5°C occurred over much of the interior, in particular, a small area of south-central Queensland surrounding Charleville, and a larger area encompassing northern SA and the southern NT, extending up into the eastern Kimberley region. A large area surrounding Alice Springs, as well as smaller areas surrounding Wyndham in the NT, the southern reaches of the Central West district in Queensland and a small region near the Queensland and NSW eastern coast all had their coldest daytime October temperatures on record. These record cold inland temperatures were partly due to the high rainfall in these regions.

The most significant area of above average maximum temperatures was along the western coast of WA, south of Port Hedland, and reaching as far inland as Meekatharra and Kalgoorlie. The stronger anomalies were close to the coastline, with maxima up to 3°C above normal near the central WA coast. The far north of the Peninsula district in Queensland also had above normal temperatures, recording anomalies above +1°C.

Minimum temperatures were closer to normal, with an Australian anomaly of −0.14°C for October. Areas with anomalies of least −1°C were mostly confined to inland areas, except for a few small areas in the far southwest of WA and the Eyre Peninsula in SA. The eastern Kimberley and the southern NT, extending into southwest Queensland and northern SA, had overnight minima at least 1°C lower than normal, with some areas nearly 3°C below normal.

Areas with above normal minima were found on the central WA coast reaching inland, the tropical north, and the eastern half of NSW, where anomalies were at least +1°C. Anomalies of at least +3°C were measured in the on Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, and the western Pilbara and Gascoyne districts of WA. Areas of highest on record minima were found in both regions. Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Coral Sea contributed to the Cape York Peninsula's warm anomalies.

Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 61)
Comment Rank
(out of 61)
Australia 10 −1.27 26 −0.14
Queensland 3 −1.77 3rd lowest; record is −2.24 (1978) 34 +0.28
New South Wales 16 −1.03 34 +0.25
Victoria 34 +0.17 48 +0.32
Tasmania 57 +0.95 32 −0.13
South Australia 10 −1.92 15 −0.73
Western Australia 24 −0.32 32 +0.21
Northern Territory 3 −2.40 3rd lowest; record is −2.85 (1950) 9 −1.22

*Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (1961-1990) average.

Temperature maps
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles


A very wet month, with Australia recording its 3rd wettest October on record. Nationally averaged rainfall was 52.6 mm (126% above normal). The NT had its wettest October on record, with 73.0 mm, while SA and WA had their 5th wettest, NSW its 6th and Queensland its 10th. The Murray Darling Basin had its wettest October since 1975 (35 years), and Victoria had its wettest October since 1992 (18 years).

Areas of above average rainfall were widespread across Australia, with the tropical north and central Australia having a particularly wet month, as well as the southeast having some very wet October days. There were large regions that had rainfall in the top 10% of records. A large band, stretching from the Kimberley, down along the NSW and Victorian border, as well as the northern NT and parts of northern Queensland had rainfall in the top 10% of records, with much of this area measuring highest on record. Lockhart in the Riverina district of NSW had its wettest month on record with 235.2 mm (previous record was 218.0 mm in April). Bellenden Ker (Top Station) in Queensland had a monthly total of 1313.0 mm, the highest October monthly total on record for Australia.

While most of the country had a wet month, southwest WA, the far southeast of SA and southern Tasmania were below average. For southwest WA, 2010 has produced their driest May to October period by a margin of almost 40 mm. In contrast, northern Australia (north of 26°S, the same latitude as the SA-NT border) has had its wettest May to October period.

Areal average rainfall
(out of 111)
from mean*
Australia 109 52.6 +126% 3rd highest; record is 72.0 (1975)
Queensland 101 51.5 +101% Highest since 2000
New South Wales 106 84.7 +91% Highest since 1976
Victoria 96 92.6 +45% Highest since 1993
Tasmania 38 105.2 −15%
South Australia 107 49.0 +167% Highest since 1992
Western Australia 107 28.7 +125%
Northern Territory 111 73.0 +288% Highest on record; previous record 68.7 (2000)
Murray-Darling Basin 103 72.4 +81% Highest since 1975

*The mean is calculated for the 1961-1990 reference period.

Rainfall maps
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles

Australian weather extremes in October 2010
Hottest day 42.7 °C at Marble Bar (WA) on the 24th
Coldest day −1.8 °C at Mount Buller (Vic) on the 16th
Coldest night −8.1 °C at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 16th
Warmest night 28.9 °C at Telfer Aero (WA) on the 24th
Wettest day 254.4 mm at Noosaville (Qld) on the 9th


The Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Australia using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 noon on Monday 1 November 2010. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available, especially for rainfall where much more data becomes available as returns are received from volunteers.

Long-term averages in this statement and associated tables are for the period 1961 to 1990 unless otherwise specified.

In the tables, fractional ranks denote tied values.

A new area-averaging method was adopted for rainfall in May 2009. Current and historical totals for Tasmania are substantially higher than under the old scheme, but differences for other states, and nationally, are negligible. The rankings and departures from mean shown here use the new method.

Further information

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