Australia in May 2013

In Brief

May maximum temperatures were 0.80 °C above average for Australia as a whole and minima 1.31 °C above average. Maxima were above average for most of Australia, but near average for most of Western Australia and below average for part of the Queensland coast and northeast New South Wales. For South Australia May maxima were the fourth-highest on record. Minima were also above average for most of Australia although near average for most the eastern mainland and Tasmania and the western coast of Western Australia. A large area of highest-on-record minima were observed in coastal South Australia centred on Ceduna. State-averaged minima were the highest on record for South Australia and ninth-highest and eighth-highest for Western Australia and the Northern Territory, respectively.

Averaged over Australia, May rainfall was above average. Rainfall was generally above average across the north and central and Western Australia. Below-average rainfall was recorded in the southeast, generally east of the Dividing Range, and in western and southern Tasmania.


May was another warm month for Australia, with both maximum and minimum temperatures above average, continuing the string of warm months since September 2012. Averaged over Australia, maxima were 0.80 °C above average. All States and the Northern Territory recorded above-average maxima with South Australia recording the largest anomaly (+2.38 °C) for its fourth-warmest May maxima. Maxima were in the warmest 10 % of records across parts of the far north, nearly all of South Australia and parts of the adjoining States as well as in coastal western Victoria and southwestern Tasmania. Maxima were above average across most of the tropical north, mainland southeast, Tasmania and in regions adjacent to South Australia. Below-average maxima were recorded in a strip along the coast from northeast New South Wales to south of Townsville in Queensland. Much of central Queensland and Western Australia recorded near-average maxima.

Nationally, minima were the ninth-warmest on record for May, with an anomaly of +1.31 °C. South Australia again recorded the largest anomaly at +2.57 °C for that State's warmest May minima. Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory also recorded anomalies in excess of one degree: +1.05 °C, +1.28 °C (ninth-highest on record) and +1.94 °C (eighth-highest on record). Minima were above average across most of the mainland and in the warmest 10 % of records for southeast Western Australia, South Australia, most of the Northern Territory and parts of northern Queensland. Fourteen per cent of South Australia observed highest-on-record minima on the coast between Elliston and west of Ceduna. Minima were near average along the western coast of Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, southeastern Queensland and Tasmania. Below-average minima were mostly restricted to small areas of eastern Victoria and southeastern New South Wales and parts of central Tasmania.

Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature
(out of 104)
Comment Rank
(out of 104)
Australia 80.5 +0.80 96 +1.31 ninth highest
Queensland 66.5 +0.20 90.5 +1.05
New South Wales 89.5 +1.14 63 0.00
Victoria 86 +0.85 57 −0.25
Tasmania 93 +0.82 31 −0.53
South Australia 101 +2.38 fourth highest 104 +2.57 highest; previous record +2.25 (1921)
Western Australia 67 +0.44 96 +1.28 ninth highest
Northern Territory 86 +0.87 97 +1.94 eighth highest

*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


May rainfall was 25 % above the long-term average when averaged across the nation; although this disguises a marked contrast between the eastern States and remainder of Australia. The largest departures from the long-term average were recorded in the Northern Territory (155 % above average) and Western Australia (69 % above average). The southeastern States missed out on relief from ongoing rainfall deficiencies; recording totals 36 % (New South Wales), 34 % (Victoria) and 26 % (Tasmania) below average.

The Australian area average of 35.5 mm was the highest May rainfall since 1997. May rainfall was in the highest 10 % of records across the Top End and in a broad band extending from the Western Australian Kimberley coast through central Australia. Rainfall was also above average in southeast Western Australia, central South Australia and much of Queensland. Isolated areas of below-average May rainfall were recorded in all States, but were most concentrated in the coastal strip from central Victoria to the New South Wales – Queensland border and in western and southern Tasmania.

Area-average rainfall
(out of 114)
from mean*
Australia 91 35.5 +25% highest since 1997
Queensland 75 28.9 −5%
New South Wales 51 30.2 −36%
Victoria 40 43.0 −34%
Tasmania 39 102.6 −26%
South Australia 88 26.6 +25%
Western Australia 101 43.5 +69% highest since 1997
Northern Territory 101 34.5 +155%
Murray–Darling Basin 55 29.7 −30%

*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 May 2013
Hottest day    39.2 °C at Mandora (WA) on 6 May
Coldest day    −2.1 °C at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on 14 May
Coldest night    −8.8 °C at Cooma Airport AWS (NSW) on 25 May
Warmest night    28.2 °C at Troughton Island (WA) on 5 May
Wettest day  236.0 mm at Daradgee (Qld.) on 9 May


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 pm EST 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, 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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