Australia in February 2024

In brief

  • Fourth-warmest February on record for Australia since observations began in 1910.

  • Australia's national area-averaged mean temperature was 1.71 °C above the 1961–1990 average for February.

  • Australia's area-averaged mean maximum temperature for February was 2.02 °C above the 1961–1990 average, the sixth-warmest on record for February since 1910. Australia's area-averaged mean minimum temperature was 1.41 °C above average, the second-warmest on record.

  • Mean maximum temperatures were above average for most of western and southern Australia, and below average for parts of central and eastern Northern Territory and north-western Queensland.

  • Mean minimum temperatures were above average for much of Australia, but below average near the coast in south-east Western Australia and South Australia.

  • The national area-averaged February rainfall total was equal to the 1961–1990 average.

  • Rainfall was generally above average for parts of northern and eastern Australia, and below average across parts of the western and southern mainland and across Tasmania.

Further information and tables of records for each state and the Northern Territory can be found in the individual regional climate summaries, published on 5 March 2024.


Australia's national area-averaged mean temperature was 1.71 °C above the 1961–1990 average, the fourth-warmest February on record since observations began in 1910.

For Western Australia it was the second-warmest February on record, with statewide mean temperature 2.78 °C above the February average.

Australia's area-averaged mean maximum temperature for February was 2.02 °C above average, the sixth-warmest February on record. Mean maximum temperatures were above average to very much above average (in the highest 10% of all Februarys since 1910) across much of Australia including Tasmania, Victoria, most of Western Australia and South Australia, and parts of the south and far north of the Northern Territory and Queensland. Severe heatwave conditions persisted across much of Western Australia throughout the month. February daytime temperatures were the highest on record for parts of Western Australia's Gascoyne, Southern Interior and western Kimberley districts and many stations had their highest mean maximum temperature records for February.

Mean maximum temperatures were below average for parts of central and eastern Northern Territory and north-western Queensland.

The national area-averaged mean minimum temperature was 1.41 °C above average, the second-warmest February on record. Mean minimum temperatures were above average for much of Australia and very much above average for much of Western Australia, north-eastern New South Wales and parts of the north and south of Queensland and the Northern Territory. February minimum temperatures were the highest on record for parts of Cape York Peninsula  in Queensland, western Kimberley and northern Pilbara districts in Western Australia and the Arnhem and Simpson districts in the Northern Territory. Some stations in these areas had their highest mean minimum temperature records for February.

For Western Australia and Queensland, the statewide mean minimum temperatures were 1.75 °C and 1.69 °C above February average respectively, the second-warmest on record for both states.

Mean minimum temperatures were below average for parts of Eucla district in Western Australia and West Coast, York Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and Lower South East districts in South Australia.

1-month temperature table ending February 2024
Areal average temperatures
  Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
(of 115)
Comment Rank
(of 115)
Comment Rank
(of 115)
Australia 110 +2.02 6th highest 114 +1.41 2nd highest (record +1.53 °C in 1983) 112 +1.71 4th highest (record +2.00 °C in 1983)
Queensland = 70 +0.33   114 +1.69 2nd highest (record +1.88 °C in 2006) 102 +1.01  
New South Wales = 103 +2.02   102 +1.47   104 +1.75  
Victoria 104 +1.65   72 +0.33   93 +0.99  
Tasmania 99 +1.06   80 +0.24   92 +0.65  
South Australia 111 +2.70 5th highest 85 +0.64   106 +1.67 10th highest
Western Australia 115 +3.80 highest (was +3.66 °C in 2007) 114 +1.75 2nd highest (record +1.98 °C in 2007) 114 +2.78 2nd highest (record +2.82 °C in 2007)
Northern Territory 78 +0.44   108 +1.20 8th highest = 95 +0.82  

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 115 (highest). A rank marked with ’=‘ indicates the value is tied for that rank. Anomaly is the departure from the long-term (1961–1990) average.


For Australia as a whole, area-averaged rainfall total for February was equal to the 1961–1990 average.

Area-averaged rainfall in February was above average for Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory and below average for Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

Rainfall was above average for parts of the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia's Gascoyne and South West Land Division. Rainfall was very much above average  (in the highest 10% of Februarys since 1900) for parts of Carpentaria and Barkly districts in the Northern Territory, Gulf Country, North West and Channel Country districts in Queensland, Upper Western district in New South Wales and North East Pastoral district in South Australia. 

Rainfall was below average or very much below average (in the lowest 10% of Februarys since 1900) for Tasmania, much of Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, and parts of southern New South Wales, south-eastern Queensland and western Top End in the Northern Territory.



Significant weather and records

Heavy rainfall for New South Wales and eastern Victoria

On 30 January, Ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily was located over western Queensland and continued to bring heavy rain and flooding. In the following days it moved northwards, towards the Gulf of Carpentaria, bringing heavy rain and squally winds to the Gulf Country (Queensland), Carpentaria and Barkly districts (Northern Territory). On 3 February it moved southwards into the Channel Country (Queensland), bringing rainfall more than double the February monthly average. Notable daily rainfall totals related to ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily include 332.0 mm at Westmoreland Station and 150.0 mm on Mornington Island Airport in the 24 hours to 9 am 2 February, and 156.0 mm at Westmoreland Station and 155.0 mm at Herbert Vale to 9 am 3 February. On the 4th and 5th, ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily continued towards and through New South Wales, where it brought strong and gusty winds, and heavy rainfall with daily totals generally 30 to 80 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 6th before moving off-shore. Showers and thunderstorms also impacted parts of north-eastern Victoria, where Falls Creek recorded 106.0 mm to 9 am on the 6th.

Heavy rainfall from ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily resulted in river rises across northern parts of Queensland and Major Flood Warnings were issued for Flinders and Nicholson rivers. 

Monsoon trough

From 10 February, showers and thunderstorm activity in parts of the tropical north started to intensify. A monsoon trough developed across the base of the Top End (Northern Territory) and the Gulf of Carpentaria on the 12th, bringing strong winds and rainfall.  Heavy rain fell over north-western parts of the Northern Territory with daily totals of 100 mm to 200 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am 12 February. The Darwin Airport's 24-hour rainfall total of 164.6 mm on the 12th was its wettest February day in seven years, since 210.6 mm was recorded on 5 February 2017. The monsoon brought widespread thunderstorms and frequent showers to the northern parts of the Northern Territory and Queensland, with 9-day rainfall totals (ending on the 20th) between 100 mm and 300 mm. In the following days the monsoon trough weakened with isolated thunderstorms and showers mostly about the Cape York Peninsula (Queensland).  

A monsoon trough developed again on 25 February. It extended from the Top End through the Gulf of Carpentaria to Cape York Peninsula bringing thunderstorms and locally heavy falls.

Tropical low 07U / Tropical Cyclone Lincoln

A tropical low (07U) embedded into the monsoon trough started to develop over the Top End on 13 February. It moved eastwards across the Top End, along the monsoon trough and on the 14th was just off-shore in the south-west Gulf of Carpentaria, strengthening over the warm gulf waters. Showers and thunderstorms impacted parts of the Top End, much of the Gulf coast and parts of northern Queensland. Some stations had their highest daily rainfall record for February. Groote Eylandt Airport (Northern Territory) had 119.0 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 15th, while Sweers Island and Burketown Airport (both in Queensland) had 227.0 mm and 154.6 mm respectively to 9 am 16 February. Tropical low 07U developed into Tropical Cyclone Lincoln on the morning of 16 February. It crossed the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coast as a Category 1 system in the evening on the 16th just to the west of the border between Northern Territory and Queensland. After the landfall, it rapidly weakened below tropical cyclone intensity while moving west through central Northern Territory and northern Western Australia, bringing gale force winds and heavy rainfall to areas near its path. Tennant Creek Airport (Northern Territory) reported 138.4 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am 18 February, Rabbit Flat (Northern Territory) had 109.0 mm to 9 am 19 February, Nicholson (Western Australia) recorded 127.0 mm to 9 am 20 February and Halls Creek Airport (Western Australia) had 120.8 mm to 9 am 21 February. Heavy rainfall resulted in renewed flooding across parts of north-western Queensland and north-eastern Northern Territory, as rain fell on already saturated rivers and creeks. Numerous Flood Warnings were issued with Major Flood Warnings for the Nicholson, Gregory and Flinders rivers (Queensland). Burketown and Doomadgee (Queensland) were recently flooded and isolated for weeks due to flooded roads, and the return of widespread flooding resulted in an extended isolation.

On the 21 February, ex-Tropical Cyclone Lincoln moved over waters west of the Kimberley (Western Australia) continuing initially to the south-west, then turning towards the far west Pilbara and northern Gascoyne coast. It crossed the coast late on the 24th near Carnarvon continuing southwards through Gascoyne area, while weakening. As the system moved on-shore, it brought areas of moderate to heavy rainfall and moderate to strong wind gusts. In the 24 hours to 9 am 25 February, Carnarvon had 78.4 mm, but most stations in southern Gascoyne, Central West and Central Wheatbelt recorded daily rainfall totals between 20 and 40 mm.

Damaging winds in Victoria

From 11 February, a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea directed hot air from northern and central parts of the mainland towards South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. In Victoria, daily maximum temperatures peaked on the 13th, ahead of an approaching fast moving strong cold front, and some stations in north-western Victoria recorded temperatures above 40.0 °C. The front reached western Victoria later in the morning on the 13th, crossing central Victoria including Melbourne in the early afternoon and eastern parts of the state in the evening. There were strong to damaging gusty northerly winds ahead of the cold front, followed by gusty south-westerly and a significant decrease in temperatures behind the front.

Initially, scattered thunderstorms developed along the front line, but in the afternoon thunderstorm activity associated with the front became widespread. Thunderstorms, some severe, brought locally heavy rainfall and hail, as well as damaging wind gusts.

Wind gusts in excess of 90 km/h were recorded at many stations across Victoria on 13 February. A number of stations set records for February wind gust speed and some approached or exceeded their annual record. The most significant were 130 km/h at Mount Gellibrand (Colac), 126 km/h at Yarram Airport and 122 km/h at Avalon Airport.

Damaging winds brought down trees and powerlines, leading to impacted road access, property damage and a large-scale power outage.  Around half a million properties in north-western and central Victoria were left without power, and some properties remained without power for extended periods.

Hot daytime temperatures combined with strong gusty winds lead to Victoria's worst fire weather conditions since 2019-20 fire season. On 13 February a Catastrophic Fire Danger Warning was issued for Wimmera and Extreme Fire Danger Warnings were issued for Mallee, Northern Country and Central districts, with Total fire ban across all western and central districts. Dry lightning ignited a number of fires in western Victoria with the most significant in the Grampians region.

Thunderstorms along east coast

Moist onshore airflow brought daily showers and thunderstorms to parts of eastern Queensland and New South Wales on many days during the month and, when combined with low pressure troughs, resulted in some heavy rainfall  events.

In the 24 hours to 9 am 16 February, Brisbane recorded 183.6 mm, the fourth-highest daily rainfall total in February at this station, and flash flooding was reported in some parts of Greater Brisbane. Several other stations in south-eastern Queensland recorded high daily rainfall totals on the same day including 170.0 mm at Eagle Farm Racecourse (third-highest in February for this station which has 96 years of observations) and 186.0 mm at Alderley (seventh-highest in February, 126 years of observations).

On the 19th, slow-moving thunderstorms developed around much of eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland, bringing heavy rain that resulted in flash flooding at a number of locations. About 75,000 lightning strikes were recorded across Greater Sydney.

Persistent lines of thunderstorms brought heavy rain to parts of the North Tropical Coast between (Cairns and Townsville). In the 24 hours to 9 am on the 24th, daily rainfall totals of more than 300 mm were recorded at multiple locations, resulting in flash and riverine flooding. The highest daily rainfall total during this event of 488.0 mm was recorded at Tully Sugar Mill; it was the second-highest February rainfall total for this station.

Warm in the south-east of Australia

On 21 and 22 February, heat that built up over southern Western Australia extended eastwards across South Australia to Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. Heat further intensified due to hot northerly airflow ahead of a cold front that crossed south-eastern Australia on the 22nd and 23rd. Daytime temperatures were more than 10 °C above the February average in some areas; nights were also warm with minimum temperatures 6 to 10 °C above average. Hot and dry weather with strong, gusty winds ahead of the cold front resulted in extreme fire danger conditions for some districts in south-eastern South Australia, western and central Victoria and eastern Tasmania. Two significant fires were ignited - north of Beaufort in western Victoria and near Dee in central Tasmania. Fires affected regional communities with evacuation orders issued and major road closures, while thousands of customers were left without power.  The front brought little rainfall to South Australia and Victoria, but there were some severe thunderstorms along the New South Wales coast on the 23rd. The south-westerly airflow that followed in the wake of a cold front brought cooler weather to the south-east of the country and below average daytime temperatures.

Another period of hot and dry weather returned to south-eastern Australia between 27 and 29 February. Temperatures were 6 to 12 degrees above average, peaking in South Australia on the 27th, in Victoria, south-western New South Wales and Tasmania on the 28th and in eastern New South Wales on the 29th, and many stations had their late season temperature records.

Heatwaves in Western Australia

There were three heatwaves in Western Australia this February. They were generally associated with a stationary deep trough off the west coast which directed easterly winds and the hot airmass from Australia's interior towards the coast.

Low to severe heatwave conditions that started to develop at the end of January continued into February for much of western Western Australia including Perth and parts of Kimberley and Pilbara. Daytime temperatures were 8 to 14 °C above average in the far south and south-west of the state. Some sites set new maximum temperature records for February or for any month (annual). The highest temperature was 47.4 °C recorded at Kalbarri on 2 February, the annual highest maximum temperature record for the station. Heatwave conditions started to ease from 3 February in southern parts of Western Australia as a cool change moved through.

Another low to severe intensity heatwave affected large parts of Western Australia, between 8 and 12 February. Heat initially started to build in south-western Western Australia with warm air expanding across most of the state. For the first time in February since 2016, Perth Airport, which has 80 years of temperature observations, had three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures above 40.0 °C (between 8 and 10 February). Some notable daily maximum temperatures recorded in Western Australia include 46.4 °C at Roebourne Airport and 46.0 °C at Mandora on the 11th, and 46.4 °C at Marble Bar on the 12th. High temperatures combined with dry and gusty easterly winds resulted in elevated fire conditions. Several fires were burning across Western Australia with the largest one located near Albany on the state's south coast.

Extremely hot conditions developed across much of Western Australia between 14 and 21 February. Both maximum and minimum temperatures were more than 12 °C above average for much of the state and more than 16 °C above average in the south. Severe heatwave conditions initially developed in the west and south-west of the state (including Perth) and slowly spread to cover much of Western Australia. Extreme heatwave conditions impacted western Kimberley in the vicinity of Broome.

Temperatures peaked on the 18th and 19th with a number of stations having their record high temperatures for February or for any month (annual). The most significant of the annual records were:

  • Carnarvon Airport with 49.9 °C (117 years of observations for a composite location), equal eight-highest ever recorded in Australia.
  • Shark Bay Airport with 49.8 °C (24 years of observations), equal tenth-highest ever recorded in Australia.
  • Geraldton Airport with 49.3 °C (117 years of observations for a composite location).

All three stations exceeded their previous annual record by more than 2 °C.

During this period, Emu Creek Station had 6 consecutive days with a maximum temperature of at least 47.0 °C (17-22 February), equalling the national record at Marree in 1973. This included 4 consecutive days (17-20 February) with a maximum of at least 48 °C, a new national record (previous record was 3 days at a number of sites).

Perth Metro had 7 days in February with daily maximum temperature above 40.0 °C, exceeding its previous February record of four such days. Perth Airport had 9 days above 40 °C, exceeding the previous February record of six such days.

The hot, dry and windy conditions caused elevated fire danger across much of southern and central Western Australia, with Extreme Fire Danger in parts of the south-west and south. A significant fire burned near Balladonia and Eyre Highway was closed for several days. 

A cold front on 21 February brought milder conditions to southern parts of Western Australia; however, central and north-western parts of the state continued to experience high temperatures for another several days. Eyre recorded 49.1 °C on the 21st, an annual record for that station.

Special Climate Statement 78 on the November 2023 Western Australia heatwaves will be updated for the February heatwaves, and will be published in due course.

1-month rainfall table ending February 2024
Area-average rainfall
(of 125)
from mean
Australia 59 77.0 −0%  
Queensland 87 143.1 +24%  
New South Wales 76 50.5 +2%  
Victoria 21 12.3 −60%  
Tasmania 11 29.1 −54%  
South Australia 51 9.9 −49%  
Western Australia 24 31.0 −50%  
Northern Territory 94 157.8 +28%  
Murray-Darling Basin 59 36.0 −8%  

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 125 (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.

Australian weather extremes during February 2024
Hottest day 49.9°C Carnarvon Airport (WA) on the 18th
Coldest day 6.2°C Mount Read (Tas.) on the 23nd
Coldest night -1.9°C Perisher Valley AWS (NSW) on the 7th
Warmest night 34.7°C Karijini North (WA) on the 19th
Wettest day 488.0 mm Tully Sugar Mill (Qld.) on the 24th

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