Australia in August 2017

In brief

  • Very warm days across northern Australia, but close to average in the southeast and southwest
  • Mean monthly maximum temperatures eighth-highest for August nationally, and amongst top ten for Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia
  • Nights warmer than average for southern half of Western Australia, western South Australia, much of northern Queensland; but cooler than average for large parts of the southeast and the Kimberley in Western Australia
  • Rainfall below average across a broad area from eastern Western Australia, through Central Australia, western and southern Queensland, and much of northern New South Wales
  • Above-average rainfall in areas around the Gulf of Carpentaria, parts of southern Western Australia, and some areas in southeastern South Australia and Victoria


Daytime temperatures during August were above to very much above average for most of Australia, with near average maxima observed in the South West Land Division and part of the Goldfields District in Western Australia and southeastern Australia, including Tasmania. Cooler than average mean monthly maxima were observed in the Northeast District in Victoria. For Australia as a whole, the mean maximum temperature was the eighth-highest on record for August, at 1.75 °C above average. For Queensland it was the fourth-warmest, while the Northern Territory saw its eighth-warmest August daytime temperatures, and Western Australia its seventh-warmest.

Nationally, minimum temperatures were above average (with and anomaly of +0.34 °C), but with large differences geographically across the country.

Minimum temperatures were cooler than average for much of the southeast, covering Tasmania, western and central northern Victoria, an area of South Australia from about Port Augusta to the western border country of New South Wales, and a large area of New South Wales from the central plains to the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, extending into inland southeastern Queensland. Minima were also below average for August for much of the Kimberley in Western Australia and scattered small areas of the Northern Territory.

In contrast, minimum temperatures were above average across the southern half of Western Australia and western to central South Australia, around the southern coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and across both sides of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, and for smaller patches of southwest Queensland and on the east coast between Rockhampton and Bundaberg.

Periods of notable warmth during the month included a very warm day on the 15th, during which August high temperature records were set at several sites with long periods of observations in South Australia and western New South Wales. In general terms, this event fell short of a similar heatwave during 1946 and 2009, but remains notable as an early season heatwave occurring during the first-half of August.

Early season heat records were also set in Western Australia late in the month when a trough along the west coast produced persistent hot easterly winds across parts of the west of the State between the 23rd and 28th. The daily maximum of 39.6 °C observed at Mandora on the 24th was also the equal third-highest on record for Western Australia during August, and the equal fourth-highest nationally.

Conversely, the minimum temperature of −10.4 °C observed at Mount Hotham on the 28th was a site record, and the lowest August temperature at any Victoria site since 1974. It occurred during a cold outbreak at the end of the month, which included snow to low levels in parts of the southeast and some other station records for low daily August minimum temperature in Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania.

Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
(of 108)
Comment Rank
(of 108)
Comment Rank
(of 108)
Australia 101 +1.75 8th highest = 73 +0.34 100 +1.04 9th highest
Queensland 105 +2.13 4th highest (record +4.13 °C in 2009) = 66 +0.24 99 +1.19 10th highest
New South Wales 90 +1.17 41 −0.32 71 +0.43
Victoria 46 −0.18 53 −0.30 47 −0.23
Tasmania 41 −0.24 = 12 −1.07 18 −0.65
South Australia = 88 +1.33 73 +0.67 89 +1.00
Western Australia 102 +1.92 7th highest 93 +0.80 101 +1.36 8th highest
Northern Territory 101 +2.01 8th highest = 62 −0.04 93 +0.99

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 108 (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 in August was below average along a broad swathe through the middle of Australia, extending from the southern Kimberley and eastern Interior in Western Australia, through Central Australia, into southeastern Queensland. However, the area between western Queensland and the north of Western Australia is typically seasonally dry at this time of year. Totals were also below average for much of northern New South Wales and areas along the coastal fringe of eastern Queensland, and for some areas near the southern coast of Western Australia. A large area of coastal northeastern New South Wales, extending into adjacent southeastern Queensland, observed monthly rainfall in the lowest 10% of historical observations (decile 1) for August with much of the area receiving less than 5 mm for the month.

Large areas in the south of Western Australia recorded above average August rainfall totals, as did areas of southeastern South Australia, and western and northern Victoria. Some out of season rainfall around the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria resulted in above average monthly rainfall, although totals were small.

The heaviest rain fell over southeastern Australia during the middle of the month, associated with a vigorous cold front combining with a northwest cloudband which had drawn down warm, moist tropical air. Daily totals in excess of 100 mm were recorded in parts of the Alps. On the other side of the country, a cold front produced widespread rain with daily totals between 30 mm and 70 mm in southwest Western Australia on the 8th and 9th, including some daily rainfall records.

Area-average rainfall
(of 118)
from mean
Australia 43 13.9 −26%
Queensland 19 3.0 −78%
New South Wales 31 21.2 −44%
Victoria 80 81.0 +10%
Tasmania 57 149.5 −1%
South Australia 58 14.5 −20%
Western Australia 84 16.3 +7%
Northern Territory = 20 0.1 −98%
Murray-Darling Basin 40 26.4 −30%

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 118 (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 August 2017
Hottest day 39.6 °C    at Mandora (WA) on the 24th
Coldest day −5.4 °C    at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on the 27th
Coldest night −10.9 °C    at Thredbo AWS (NSW) on the 2nd
Warmest night 25.6 °C    at McCluer Island (NT) on the 11th
and Troughton Island (WA) on the 27th
Wettest day 145.6 mm at Perisher Valley AWS (NSW) on the 16th


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 1 pm EST on Friday 1 September 2017. 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 October 2009; the main effect was that current and historical values for Tasmania were increased. Since October 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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