Australia in February 2013

In Brief

February maximum temperatures were 0.81 °C above average for Australia as a whole. Maxima were above average most of the west, across the north, extending southwards through central Australia, then covering much of the southeast away from northeastern New South Wales. Tasmanian maxima were also warmer than average. Maxima were below average for eastern New South Wales and southeastern Queensland. Minimum temperatures were also above average for Australia as a whole, but by a smaller margin (+0.19 °C). Minima were above average across the far north, the southern half of Western Australia and southern Australia, including Tasmania, more generally. Below-average February minima were recorded in most of southern Queensland and adjacent northeastern New South Wales as well as other small areas across the tropics.

For Australia as a whole, February rainfall was below average. Rainfall was generally below average across southwest Western Australia, western Tasmania, the tropical north and central Queensland and adjacent parts of New South Wales. Rainfall was above average for a broad swathe of Western Australia from the northwest coast to the Interior and parts of southern and southeast Australia, extending north along the eastern seaboard.


The February-averaged maximum temperature was above average for Australia as a whole, with a national anomaly of +0.81 °C. All States and the Northern Territory recorded positive monthly anomalies for maxima. Victoria and Tasmania recorded the highest anomalies at +1.63 and 1.36 °C respectively. For Victoria it was the tenth warmest February on record. While less notable than the record breaking January just passed, February continued the string of very warm months observed in Australia since spring last year. Maxima were above to very much above average for western Australia south of a line between Karratha and Eucla, across the tropical north and Gulf Country, extending southwards along the Northern Territory–Queensland border and much of the southern Territory, then through eastern South Australia, the southwestern half of New South Wales and all of Victoria and Tasmania. Nationally, 19 per cent of the country recorded monthly maxima in the highest decile (i.e. highest 10 per cent of records); in Victoria 71 per cent was in the highest decile and 86 per cent in Tasmania. Maxima were below average for a large region of the central eastern coast and hinterland, reaching from Moruya Heads on New South Wales' south coast to between Mackay and Rockhampton in Queensland and extending far inland along the Queensland–New South Wales border.

Minima were above average for most of Australia. The north of the Northern Territory and far northern Queensland, the southern half of Western Australia and Interior district, southern South Australia, the southwestern half of New South Wales, and Victoria and Tasmania recorded above-average minima. Minima were below average for inland northeastern New South Wales and much of Queensland south of Mackay and inland from the ranges in the southeast. Other small areas of outback Queensland and elsewhere in the tropics also recorded below-average minima. Queensland and the Northern Territory were the only States to record a below-average February minima. Victoria and Tasmania registered the largest departures from the long-term mean, at +1.55 and +1.14 °C respectively. For Australia as a whole, February minima were 0.19 °C above average.

Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 104)
Comment Rank
(out of 104)
Australia 89 +0.81 70 +0.19
Queensland 75 +0.41 42.5 −0.37
New South Wales 54 +0.17 72 +0.55
Victoria 95 +1.63 tenth highest 92 +1.55
Tasmania 94 +1.36 93 +1.14
South Australia 77 +0.91 78 +0.63
Western Australia 84 +0.95 76 +0.30
Northern Territory 82 +1.25 50.5 −0.12

*Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (1961–1990) average.
A fractional rank indicates that the value is tied for that rank.

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


For Australia as a whole, February's monthly rainfall was 55.8 mm, 27 per cent below the long-term average. February rainfall was above average along the coast of southeast Queensland and New South Wales, extending inland across southern New South Wales and northern and central Victoria. Rainfall was also above average in an area of central western Queensland, parts of southern South Australia and a large area of Western Australia extending from Port Hedland to Broome and extending well into the Interior district. A large part of this area in Western Australia received rainfall in the highest 10 per cent of records, largely as a result of falls associated with slow-moving tropical cyclone Rusty. The similarly heavy falls along the east coast were associated with a slow-moving low pressure system towards the end of the month which brought extensive damage and flooding to southeast Queensland and as far south as the Illawarra.

New South Wales and Victoria were the only States to record above-average rainfall (28 and 30 per cent above the long-term mean respectively), in Victoria’s case primarily due to rain during the last two days of the month. Tasmania, Queensland, and the Northern Territory ranked between 21st and 27th lowest February totals on record, while South Australia and Western Australia were closer to the median of their historical records.

Rainfall was generally below average across the southwestern half of Western Australia (west of a line from Eucla to Port Hedland), western Tasmania, the Top End, Gulf Country and northern Queensland, as well as in a band extending through central Queensland and an adjacent area of north-central New South Wales. Most of the Cape York Peninsula and Arnhem Land recorded totals in the lowest 10 per cent of records.

Area-average rainfall
(out of 114)
from mean*
Australia 30 55.8 −27%
Queensland 22 68.6 −41%
New South Wales 75 64.8 +28%
Victoria 73 41.5 +30%
Tasmania 21.5 43.0 −35%
South Australia 62 15.7 −19%
Western Australia 66 58.1 −4%
Northern Territory 27 62.4 −48%
Murray-Darling Basin 51 35.1 −13%

*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 February 2013
Hottest day    46.9 °C at Eyre (WA) on 17 February
Coldest day      4.3 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 1 February
Coldest night    −2.2 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 2 February
Warmest night    32.5 °C at Gascoyne Junction (WA) on 6 February
Wettest day  415.2 mm at Yarras (Mount Seaview) (NSW) on 23 February


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 2 pm EST on Friday 1 March 2013. 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.

The new ACORN-SAT temperature dataset has been used for calculation of State and national temperature area averages in summaries from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

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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.