Australia in November 2018

In brief

  • Australia was warmer than average for November
  • Mean maximum temperatures above average for northern Australia, particularly warm in tropical Queensland, the eastern Northern Territory, and the Kimberley in Western Australia
  • Warm November nights across northern and eastern Australia (away from southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales) and the eastern half of Western Australia
  • Nationally, November rainfall was slightly above average
  • South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory wetter than average, but drier than average for northern and eastern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales
  • There were a number of extreme weather events: heatwave in tropical Queensland, fires in Central Coast and Capricornia districts in Queensland, heavy rainfall across central coast New South Wales, and strong winds in Adelaide


Maximum, minimum and mean temperatures for Australia nationally were all above average. The national mean temperature was 0.73 °C above average. Maximum temperatures were 0.53 °C above average and minimum temperatures were 0.93 °C above average.

Both maxima and minima were particularly warm across northern Australia. For northern Australia (north of 26°S) as a region, the monthly mean minimum temperature was the fourth-warmest on record for November.

Maximum temperatures were very much above average (in the warmest 10% of historical observations) for much of the Kimberley Western Australia, much of the Top End and Gulf Country in the Northern Territory, across northern Queensland and extending along the east coast of Queensland.

Minima were similarly warm in the north, and very much warmer than average for the northern Kimberley, the north and part of the southeast of the Northern Territory, and northern and western Queensland. Above average minima extended through the east of Western Australia, far west of South Australia, most of New South Wales and Victoria, while all of Tasmania saw nights which were very much warmer than average.

In terms of mean minimum temperature for the month, overnight temperatures were the seventh-warmest on record for November for Queensland, eight-warmest for Tasmania and tenth-warmest for the Northern Territory. No State or Territory observed a monthly mean maximum temperature in the top ten for November, although Queensland did come in very warm at 1.34 °C above average.

Cooler than average mean maximum temperatures where observed in the coastal Pilbara, across scattered areas of the southwestern quarter of Western Australia, and an area of South Australia on the Eyre Peninsula. Minima were cooler than average for South West Western Australia and pockets of the South West Land Division.

November began and ended with extreme heat. The first few days of the month saw heat over the southeast corner of Australia. Several sites in southern New South Wales and northern Victoria saw daytime temperature reach into the high 30s and 40s. In the last week of November, northern Queensland experienced an extreme heatwave which generated record-high temperatures focused along the tropical coastline. Many sites broke November or annual temperature records, some by very large margins, including 43.6 °C at Cairns on the 27th (more than 6 degrees above the previous November record of 37.0 °C on 20 November 1900). Many other locations observed record runs of consecutive hot days. A Special Climate Statement will be released following the conclusion of the event. The extreme conditions were associated with the death of four thousand spectacled flying foxes around Cairns and extensive fire activity along the coast as fire danger ratings reached Catastrophic across the Central Highlands and Capricornia districts in central Queensland.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
(of 109)
Comment Rank
(of 109)
Comment Rank
(of 109)
Australia 76 +0.53 99 +0.93 92 +0.73
Queensland = 93 +1.34 103 +1.50 7th highest 106 +1.42 4th highest (record +2.58 °C in 2014)
New South Wales 65 +0.77 95 +1.49 = 79 +1.13
Victoria 79 +0.71 92 +0.94 82 +0.83
Tasmania 73 +0.35 102 +0.90 8th highest 87 +0.63
South Australia = 43 −0.55 64 +0.35 = 52 −0.09
Western Australia 57 +0.26 77 +0.42 68 +0.34
Northern Territory 83 +0.63 100 +1.24 10th highest 96 +0.94

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 109 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. 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
Map of mean daily temperature Map of mean daily temperature anomalies Map of mean daily temperature deciles


Rainfall for November was slightly above average for Australia as a whole.

Above to well above average rainfall was reported across most of the Northern Territory, South Australia, the southern half of Western Australia (away from the west coast and southwest), western Queensland, the eastern half of Tasmania, and areas of New South Wales across the southern border regions and in a band from the northwest to central coast.

November rainfall was below average across eastern Queensland, extending into northeastern New South Wales, and also for smaller areas in northern and west coast Western Australia.

Much of the rainfall was delivered over a few particularly wet days rather than widespread rainfall periods. On the 10th and 11th, southern and central Western Australia experienced wet days as a result of a deep surface trough, and some locations set new daily rainfall records. Another relatively stationary trough positioned over central parts of the Northern Territory from the 14th generated numerous days of moderate falls across the Top End, contributing to a wetter than average month.

By the third week of the month, an active cold front track over southeastern Australia and connected with a surface trough as it continued to track across the country. This combination of weather patterns created gusty winds across Adelaide and surrounding suburbs, causing some damage, and sent a blanket of dust through New South Wales and southeast Queensland. In the wake of this system, cold and thundery weather was experienced across Victoria and southern New South Wales, with heavy rainfall over northeastern Tasmania.

Severe thunderstorms brought exceptionally heavy rain and flash flooding for Sydney, the Illawarra and Central Tablelands regions on the 28th and 29th. This was associated with an intense transient low pressure system that developed over eastern New South Wales before moving into the Tasman Sea. This low also pushed a mass of warm air ahead of it, contributing to higher temperatures and stronger westerly winds in neighbouring Queensland during the end of the month.

Area-average rainfall
(of 119)
from mean
Australia 84 37.1 +14%
Queensland 36 28.4 −38%
New South Wales 77 48.8 +9%
Victoria 66 49.4 −5%
Tasmania 69 112.7 +9%
South Australia = 107 32.5 +110%
Western Australia 102 26.4 +49%
Northern Territory 101 59.3 +42%
Murray-Darling Basin 69 42.4 +5%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 119 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. Departure from mean is relative to the long-term (1961–1990) average.

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

Australian weather extremes during November 2018
Hottest day 45.7 °C    at Roebourne Aero (WA) on the 18th
Coldest day −0.6 °C    at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 22nd
Coldest night −5.9 °C    at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 8th
Warmest night 32.2 °C    at Marble Bar (WA) on the 16th
Wettest day 189.0 mm at Beaumont (The Cedars) (NSW) on the 29th


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. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

Climate Summaries are usually published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am EST on Monday 3 December 2018. 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.

The system used for calculating areal averages of rainfall was changed in May 2009; the main effect was that current and historical values for Tasmania were increased. Since December 2012, ACORN-SAT has been used for calculating areal averages of temperature; the major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

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