Australia in October 2019

In brief

  • Third-warmest October on record for Australia
  • Mean maximum temperature above average for nearly all of Australia, and amongst the ten warmest on record for all States and the Northern Territory
  • Mean minimum temperature above average for most of Australia, but cooler than average for parts of the north and much of Tasmania
  • Mean minimum temperature third-warmest on record for October for both South Australia and Western Australia
  • October rainfall below to very much below average for most of Australia; overall equal-fifth-driest October for the country as a whole
  • Driest October on record for southern Australia
  • Above average October rainfall for part of northwest Australia and parts of central western Queensland
  • It has been the second-warmest January–October on record for Australia (spanning 110 years), with rainfall the second-lowest on record for Australia as a whole (spanning 120 years)

Temperatures

October was warmer than average for Australia as a whole, with the national mean temperature third-warmest on record at 2.17 °C above average. Both the mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures for the month were much warmer than average for October, with the mean maximum coming in as the second-warmest on record for October at +2.91 °C, while the mean minimum was the eighth-warmest on record for October at +1.42 °C.

The October mean maximum temperature was amongst the ten warmest on record for all States and the Northern Territory.

The October mean minimum temperature was third-warmest on record for both South Australia and Western Australia.

The year to date has been very warm for the country as a whole; Australia observed its second-warmest mean temperature on record for January–October. The mean maximum temperature was highest on record for Australia over the same period, with mean minimum temperature also very warm at eighth-highest on record. Both mean temperature and mean maximum temperature for the period were warmest on record for New South Wales, and amongst the ten warmest on record for all other States and the Northern Territory (except for mean temperature for Tasmania, which fell just outside the top ten).

Maximum temperatures for October were above to very much above average for nearly all of Australia, and near average for the eastern coast of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. Maximum temperatures were warmest on record for October for large areas of Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory and southwestern South Australia. Some sites in Western Australia set records for warmest mean maximum temperature for October, as did some in the Northern Territory.

During the first part of October, northerly winds ahead of a low pressure system passing over the southern coastline brought warm days. Some daily high maximum temperature records were set in South Australia and New South Wales between the 5th and 8th.

Between the 24th and 25th, parts of southeastern Australia experienced temperatures much warmer than average due to a slow-moving high pressure system to the east of Australia, accompanied by northerly winds ahead of a cold front crossing southern Australia. Days reached more than 12 degrees warmer than average across large areas, with daily records set at several sites in South Australia, and a couple in Tasmania, and Victoria on the 24th. The system also brought an uncomfortably warm night, with some records set in Victoria and many in New South Wales over the following two nights. Hot, dry and windy conditions ahead of the front led to elevated fire danger across parts of eastern Australia, and renewed fire activity in northeastern New South Wales and southeastern Queensland.

Several stations in the Northern Territory observed record warm days during the middle third of the month. A sustained period of very high temperatures was brought on by a broad area of low pressure over central Australia and hot northeast to northwest winds over most of the Territory around mid-month, with clear skies over the northern half of the Territory in the days after mid-October.

Some sites in inland southern Queensland also reported a record warm October night on the 17th.

The mean minimum temperature for the month was above to very much above average for most of Western Australia except the Kimberley, most of South Australia except parts of the southeast, much of the southern half of the Northern Territory, southern Queensland, most of New South Wales away from the coast and the southern border, and for southwestern and central southern Victoria.

Mean minimum temperatures for the month were cooler than average for the far northern Kimberley, the Top End in the northern Territory, a large part of the central to eastern Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, and much of Tasmania away from the northwest, south, and extreme northeastern tip.


Areal average temperatures
Maximum Temperature Minimum Temperature Mean Temperature
Rank
(of 110)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 110)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment Rank
(of 110)
Anomaly
(°C)
Comment
Australia 109 +2.91 2nd highest (record +3.60 °C in 2015) 103 +1.42 8th highest 108 +2.17 3rd highest (record +3.03 °C in 2015)
Queensland 102 +1.88 9th highest 93 +1.00 100 +1.44
New South Wales 107 +3.28 4th highest (record +5.50 °C in 2015) = 96 +1.27 107 +2.28 4th highest (record +4.55 °C in 2015)
Victoria 103 +2.39 8th highest = 69 +0.12 96 +1.26
Tasmania 105 +1.59 6th highest 32 −0.68 91 +0.46
South Australia 108 +3.76 3rd highest (record +5.91 °C in 2015) 108 +1.75 3rd highest (record +3.70 °C in 2015) 108 +2.76 3rd highest (record +4.80 °C in 2015)
Western Australia 109 +3.58 2nd highest (record +3.88 °C in 2015) 108 +1.99 3rd highest (record +2.80 °C in 2015) 109 +2.79 2nd highest (record +3.34 °C in 2015)
Northern Territory 109 +2.30 2nd highest (record +2.67 °C in 1988) = 93 +1.04 103 +1.67 8th highest

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 110 (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
MeanAnomalyDeciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of mean daily maximum temperature Map of mean daily maximum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily maximum temperature deciles
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of mean daily minimum temperature Map of mean daily minimum temperature anomalies Map of mean daily minimum temperature deciles
Mean
daily
temperatures
Map of mean daily temperature Map of mean daily temperature anomalies Map of mean daily temperature deciles

Rainfall

Nationally, October rainfall was very much below average, ranking equal-fifth-driest out of 120 Octobers. Rainfall for the month was amongst the ten lowest on record for October for New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. For southern Australia (south of 26°S) it was the driest October on record, while for the Murray-Darling Basin it was the fifth-driest on record for October.

Rainfall was below to very much below average across most of Australia, including nearly all of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania; the south of the Northern Territory, extending through parts of the central Territory to the western half of the Top End; parts of the central Kimberley, southeastern Interior, and large parts of southern and western Western Australia; and much of northern inland and eastern Queensland.

Storms in the last days of the month brought moderate to locally heavy falls to parts of central western Queensland, resulting in above average rainfall for the month after dry conditions across the rest of October. October rainfall was also above average for the month in parts of northwestern Western Australia between Port Hedland and Broome, and in the centre of that State, and for small areas of the Roper-McArthur District in the northeastern Northern Territory, but totals were generally modest in these areas.

The very dry October has added to ongoing serious or severe rainfall deficiencies which have affected large parts of Australia. Some sites in New South Wales and South Australia had their lowest October total rainfall on record, or for at least 20 years.

For the year to date (January–October), rainfall has been below to very much below average over much of Australia. For Australia as a whole, it was the second-driest January–October on record, coming in behind January–October 1902. It was the driest January–October on record for South Australia, and amongst the five driest on record for New South Wales, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.


Area-average rainfall
Rank
(of 120)
Average
(mm)
Departure
from mean
Comment
Australia = 5 8.3 −65% equal 5th lowest; lowest since 2002
Queensland 32 13.3 −48%
New South Wales 5 10.1 −77% 5th lowest; lowest since 2006
Victoria 8 22.1 −65% 8th lowest
Tasmania 6 58.0 −53% 6th lowest
South Australia 2 2.0 −89% 2nd lowest (record 1.5 mm in 2014)
Western Australia 10 5.4 −58% 10th lowest; lowest since 1979
Northern Territory 29 5.8 −69%
Murray-Darling Basin 5 9.3 −77% 5th lowest; lowest since 2006

Rank ranges from 1 (lowest) to 120 (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
TotalsPercentagesDeciles
Total
rainfall
Map of total rainfall Map of percentage of normal rain Map of rainfall deciles


Australian weather extremes during October 2019
Hottest day 44.4 °C    at Fitzroy Crossing Aero (WA) on the 20th
Coldest day −1.3 °C    at Mount Hotham (Vic.) on the 17th and 26th
Coldest night −7.8 °C    at Liawenee (Tas.) on the 5th
Warmest night 29.8 °C    at Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) (NT) on the 10th
Wettest day 136.0 mm at Rainbow Beach (Qld) on the 1st


Notes

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 following 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 November 2019. 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. Temperature area averages are derived from the ACORN-SAT version 2 dataset. Rainfall area averages, along with rainfall and temperature maps, are derived from the AWAP dataset.


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