Wednesday, 3 January 2007 - Monthly Climate Summary for Tasmania - Product code IDCKGC17R0

Bushfires and very dry despite a late soaking - Tasmania in December 2006


Summary

Apart from a few patches in the southeast and central midlands, December followed the trend of the past eleven months, with drier than average conditions across the state. Conditions were such that many bushfires burned out of control for many weeks, burning out forest and causing damage to houses and other buildings. Despite the wet and cold end, most of the state was still slightly warmer than average during the day and generally much colder at night.

Details

Bushfires:  The combination of very dry soil, high fuel loads, extremely low rainfall over the past year and a few warm days in December created the perfect conditions for fires to spread and continue to burn out of control. The two most notable fires that affected the state were the Kellevie (Bream Creek) and east coast fires that burnt out tens of thousands of hectares each. Properties were lost in and around Scamander and Four Mile Creek during this time. 

A wet burst: Rainfall was very sparse in December, especially during the first and third weeks of the month and monthly totals of less than 20 mm were common in the north and east. A wet burst toward the end of the month provided some much needed rain, and although only one site had its driest December on record, rainfall over most of the state was still below average.   

Warm days, cold nights:  The dominance of cold nights was a feature of December, primarily due to high pressure systems lingering over the state creating ideal conditions for temperatures to drop overnight. In contrast, temperatures during the day were slightly warmer than average apart from in the west. It was particularly warm on the 5th, 9th, 10th, 14th and 22nd, with temperatures around 30 degrees common in the southeast. Christmas Day was cold, wet and windy as a vigorous cold front crossed the state on Christmas Eve.

A summary for the whole of 2006 is also available. 

Further information

Tom Delfatti or Ian Barnes-Keoghan 
Tasmania and Antarctica Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (03) 6221 2043
Email climate.tas@bom.gov.au

Extremes

Hottest day
Highest temperature
37.0°C at Fingal (Legge Street) on the 10th
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
23.6°C at Cressy Research Station
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature
11.4°C at Mount Read
Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature
1.7°C at Mount Wellington on the 25th
Coldest night
Lowest temperature
−2.8°C at Mount Wellington on the 12th
Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature
2.2°C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
12.7°C at Swan Island
Warmest night
Highest daily minimum temperature
18.8°C at Flinders Island Airport on the 22nd
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
198.0 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall
Lowest total rainfall
7.4 mm at Hogan Island
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
51.6 mm at Woodbridge on the 26th
Highest wind gust
130 km/h at Mount Wellington on the 11th and 25th

Records


Record lowest total December rainfall
Total rainfall
for December 2006 (mm)
Previous lowest
for December
Normal for
December
Years of
record
King Island Airport 18.8 19.8 in 1980 48.4 33


Lowest total December rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for December 2006 (mm)
Most recent lower
for December
Normal for
December
Years of
record
Pioneer (Main Road) 9.6 4.1 in 1931 69.5 72
City of Melbourne Bay 21.8 10.7 in 1968 58.8 38
Naracoopa 20.4 10.8 in 1968 54.6 34
Yambacoona 15.8 8.6 in 1968 49.5 34
Ulverstone (Knights Road) 23.8 9.0 in 1983 61.8 20


Record highest December temperature
Highest temperature
in December 2006 (°C)
Previous highest
for December
Normal for
December
Years of
record
Fingal (Legge Street) 37.0 on the 10th 36.7 on the 11th in 1998 21.4 20



Record lowest December temperature
Lowest temperature
in December 2006 (°C)
Previous lowest
for December
Normal for
December
Years of
record
Flinders Island Airport 2.5 on the 13th 2.8 on the 3rd in 1996 11.7 43



Summaries

 In the following table, certain key sites have been highlighted to make them easier to identify.

Summary statistics for December 2006
Maximum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Rainfall
for December
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2006
Diff
from
normal
Highest for
December
2006
Mean for
December
2006
Diff
from
normal
Lowest for
December
2006
Total for
December
2006
Normal
for
December
Rank of
December
2006
Fraction of
December
normal
Northern (district 91)
Bridport 19.6 −0.6 27.0 10th 10.2 −0.9 4.6 12th 17.6 37.8 very low 47%
Burnie 19.3 −0.2 23.0 17th 11.2 +0.2 6.2 12th 19.1 64.0 low 30%
Cape Grim BAPS 17.0 −0.2 23.4 10th 10.9 −1.0 7.1 25th 25.6 40.4 low 63%
Cressy Research Station 23.6 33.3 10th 7.6 1.3 4th 51.0
Devonport Airport 19.6 +0.2 23.4 18th 9.7 −0.8 3.4 15th 17.2 52.8 low 33%
Launceston 22.7 +0.3 30.8 10th 9.9 −0.7 4.7 12th 14.4 45.7 low 32%
Launceston Airport 23.3 33.0 10th 7.9 1.7 12th 20.0
Launceston Airport Comparison 22.6 +1.5 32.6 10th 8.0 −0.8 3.3 12th 20.0 50.4 low 40%
Low Head 18.4 22.2 26th 12.1 8.5 15th 15.0
Luncheon Hill 17.9 −0.7 29.0 10th 7.4 −1.1 3.0 25th 65.8 90.7 lowest 73%
Marrawah 18.4 +0.1 29.0 10th 9.8 −0.8 6.5 12th 37.0 63.6 low 58%
Powranna 22.8 +0.4 33.2 10th 7.7 −1.1 3.0 4th 42.6 44.0 normal 97%
Scottsdale 21.1 +0.3 31.0 10th 8.8 −0.3 1.4 12th 22.8 68.1 low 33%
Sheffield School Farm 20.1 +0.4 30.0 10th 8.0 −1.1 3.2 12th 19.4
Smithton Aerodrome 19.4 0 30.1 10th 8.3 −1.4 2.0 15th 26.6 55.5 lowest 48%
Wynyard Airport 19.7 +0.3 23.5 17th 8.9 −0.6 0.6 12th 20.6 61.4 low 34%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno 20.4 +0.5 26.5 22nd 10.1 −1.4 4.9 12th 33.2 69.3 normal 48%
Eddystone Point 20.6 +1.3 28.0 22nd 12.0 −0.2 5.5 12th 15.0 60.0 low 25%
Fingal 21.8 +0.4 37.0 10th 7.9 −0.8 1.5 12th 14.8 49.7 low 30%
Friendly Beaches 21.6 −0.1 31.1 14th 10.5 −1.3 5.7 12th 43.8
Lake Leake 17.7 +0.1 32.2 10th 5.5 −1.5 0.4 16th 31.4 73.4 low 43%
Maria Island 19.5 26.9 5th 11.0 7.4 12th 46.6
Orford 20.6 +0.2 30.1 5th 10.0 −0.5 5.2 12th 41.2 64.4 normal 64%
Scamander 20.9 +0.7 29.6 22nd 11.1 −0.2 6.9 3rd 23.2 60.5 low 38%
St Helens Aerodrome 21.0 29.4 22nd 10.6 4.9 12th 10.0
Swan Island 18.8 26.4 22nd 12.7 6.8 12th 20.8
Swansea Post Office 20.9 +0.3 30.6 14th 9.9 −0.6 5.4 26th 26.0 60.3 low 43%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross 23.4 +0.9 35.6 10th 7.4 −1.2 1.3 13th 23.8 38.7 normal 61%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay 20.8 +1.1 27.5 22nd 9.2 −1.5 4.8 12th 33.2 63.8 normal 52%
Campania 22.6 32.9 9th 9.4 4.1 13th 34.6
Cape Bruny 18.3 +0.4 29.7 9th 9.7 −0.9 6.7 3rd 57.2 57.5 normal 99%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 17.3 +0.4 28.3 9th 9.6 −0.7 4.8 12th 74.2 76.7 normal 97%
Dover 19.2 +0.3 29.0 22nd 7.6 −1.5 3.6 20th 41.0 74.4 low 55%
Geeveston 20.0 +0.2 33.5 9th 7.5 −1.4 3.6 20th 36.0 72.6 low 50%
Grove 21.1 +0.9 33.3 9th 7.0 −1.6 2.1 20th 40.8 62.6 normal 65%
Grove 21.3 33.8 9th 6.3 1.4 20th 42.8
Hobart 20.9 +0.7 33.0 9th 10.2 −0.6 6.4 12th 25.4 56.8 low 45%
Hobart Airport 21.3 +0.8 33.2 9th 10.4 −0.3 6.6 12th 40.6 53.8 normal 75%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.4 −0.3 25.8 9th 9.3 −0.3 6.1 3rd 52.0 90.6 low 57%
Melton Mowbray 22.1 +0.3 34.6 10th 7.9 −1.2 1.9 13th 18.2 35.8 low 51%
Mount Wellington 12.2 +1.4 24.7 10th 2.2 −0.6 −2.8 12th 30.0 87.3 very low 34%
Tasman Island 15.9 26.1 5th 9.0 5.7 12th 90.0
Tunnack Fire Station 20.1 +0.5 32.8 10th 6.1 −1.5 −0.4 13th 50.0 47.4 normal 105%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park 23.3 +1.3 35.5 9th 7.3 −1.8 2.5 13th 18.6 50.8 low 37%
Maydena Post Office 19.6 −0.1 32.0 9th 6.2 −1.2 1.5 16th 56.4 89.1 low 63%
Moogara 17.9 +0.5 30.0 9th 5.7 −1.2 1.5 15th 35.8 62.0 very low 58%
Ouse Fire Station 23.2 35.1 10th 6.7 0.8 13th 17.4
Tarraleah Village 18.3 +0.6 29.9 9th 4.1 −2.1 0.0 13th 64.2 92.0 normal 70%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Lake St Clair National Park 16.9 −0.2 30.7 10th 3.4 −1.5 −1.6 13th 113.2 135.5 normal 84%
Liawenee 16.3 29.2 10th 2.4 −2.6 16th 42.0
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain 15.4 +0.7 31.0 9th 4.0 −1.2 −0.2 12th 50.4 77.3 lowest 65%
Mount Read 11.4 −0.3 23.3 10th 2.5 −1.5 −1.7 26th 198.0
Scotts Peak Dam 18.4 33.2 9th 6.5 2.2 12th 116.0
Strahan Aerodrome 19.4 +0.3 33.0 9th 8.2 −1.4 4.8 8th 96.4 90.6 normal 106%
Strathgordon Village 17.0 −0.2 32.0 10th 6.3 −2.0 2.6 15th 127.6 200.9 low 64%
Warra 17.1 30.7 9th 5.6 1.9 20th 93.0
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 18.6 +0.1 27.8 10th 9.4 −1.5 2.5 13th 18.8 48.4 lowest 39%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 20.8 +0.8 32.2 22nd 11.7 0 2.5 13th 12.4 57.3 very low 22%
Hogan Island 19.2 28.4 14th 12.3 9.4 25th 7.4
Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 7.5 −0.4 8.8 31st 3.6 −0.7 0.7 1st 49.6 77.3 low 64%

Notes

This statement has been prepared based on information available on Wednesday 3 January 2007. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Normals are long-term averages based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.

The Rank indicates about where rainfall this time ranks in the climate record for the site.

Further information

Tom Delfatti or Ian Barnes-Keoghan 
Tasmania and Antarctica Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (03) 6221 2043
Email climate.tas@bom.gov.au