Monday, 2 February 2009 - Monthly Climate Summary for Tasmania - Product code IDCKGC17R0

Tasmania in January 2009: A month of extremes

Extremely hot, extremely cold, extremely windy and extremely dry conditions were experienced in Tasmania at different times during January. Most notable was the extreme heat on the 29th and 30th when the all time Tasmanian record of 40.8°C was surpassed by six locations. The hottest temperature was 42.2°C at Scamander on the 30th. But back on the 16th, Mount Wellington didn't rise above 2.1 °C — the coldest January day ever recorded in Tasmania. There were also record warm and cold nights, extremely strong wind gusts on the 22nd and golf ball sized hail stones on the 31st. Rainfall was mostly confined to the west, leading to extremely dry conditions in the east.

An archive of previous monthly summaries for Tasmania is also available, as are summaries for other states and many other climate summaries and diagnostics.

Details

Extreme cold at the start: During the first week of January daytime temperatures were mostly below average, especially on the 1st and 2nd when only a few locations on the East Coast managed to reach 20 degrees and highland snow fell to around 900 metres. Some sites recorded temperatures in the mid 30s on the 13th and 14th, but the 16th was another cold day, and Mount Wellington didn't rise above 2.1°C — making it the coldest January day on record in Tasmania. Temperatures increased from the 18th, and for the rest of the month most days were warmer than usual.

Extreme hot: From the 27th, hot air from the mainland (which was experiencing heatwave conditions) was pushed over Tasmania, although winds were for the most part not especially strong. Temperatures over 40°C were recorded by seven sites on the 29th and 30th. This is only the second time in history temperatures in Tasmania have been so hot on two consecutive days. A new all time Tasmanian record of 41.5°C was set by Flinders Island on the 29th, but on the 30th it was beaten by Ross (41.6°C), St Helens (41.8 °C) and Scamander (42.2°C). The previous Tasmanian record was 40.8 °C at Hobart on 4 January 1976. This has now been exceeded at six locations. Several other sites had their highest temperature on record , with many beating previous records by 2 or 3 degrees. Launceston's previous record of 35.4°C was exceeded on 3 days in a row. Their highest temperature was 39.0°C, which also broke the record of 38.3°C set at Launceston (Pumping Station) in 1912. Over the whole month, mean daytime temperatures ranged from a degree below normal in the west to over 2 degrees above normal in the east. Wynyard has its highest mean maximum temperature for January, and Fingal had its highest since 1988.

Extreme nights: Nights in January were generally cool to cold at the start of the month and warm at the end. A number of sites fell below 2°C on the 2nd, 3rd and 9th and some, including Swansea, had their lowest January temperature on record. Liawenee's −3.6°C early on the 9th was the third-coldest January temperature ever recorded in Tasmania, and Mount Wellington's −3.4 °C on the 2nd wasn't far behind. At the other extreme, temperatures in the last three nights were up to 15 degrees above average. Nowhere in Tasmania fell below 16°C in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 30th — the highest was 24.0°C at Melton Mowbray, making it one of the warmest nights recorded in Tasmania. On the 30th and 31st several sites had their warmest ever night or warmest January night. Devonport, Scottsdale and Mount Wellington were amongst a few locations that had both their coldest and warmest January night on record. Mean minima for the month were mostly within half a degree of average, but a few sites in the northwest and on King Island were up to one and a half degrees below normal.

Extreme wind, fire danger and hail: Extremely strong and gusty northerly winds blew across the state on the 22nd as a deep low pressure system passed to the southwest of Tasmania and an associated cold front approached. Wind gusted to over 100 km/h at several sites, peaking at 150 km/h on Mount Wellington (the non-standard anemometer on Droughty Hill registered 157 km/h). Hobart's gust of 124 km/h was one of the strongest ever recorded there. Widespread damage was sustained across the state and over 27,000 households lost power. Wind blowing across dry lands caused a rare dust storm in southern Tasmania. Extreme fire dangers were felt at several locations in the eastern half of the state — something that also occurred on the 13th, 20th, 28th and 29th. Seldom are so many days of extreme fire danger recorded in a month. There was more extreme weather on the 31st, when severe thunderstorms developed in the northeast of the state and golf ball sized hail caused damage at Gray.

Extremely dry, except in the west: The air flow over Tasmania in January was predominately westerly, and as a result most of the rain fell in the west. Totals for the month ranged from 252.4 mm at Mount Read to just 0.4 mm at St Helens Aerodrome. Many locations in the east and central north had less than 10 mm for the month, and some didn't even receive 5 mm, making it the driest January since the 1960s for some sites, and the driest January on record for Devonport, Forthside and Scamander. Bicheno had its driest month since October 1981, and a number of other eastern locations were their driest since 2001 or 2003. Most sites, however, were not as dry as in the record dry January of 2008.

Further information

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

Extremes

Hottest day
Highest temperature
42.2°C at Scamander on the 30th
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
26.4°C at Cressy Research Station
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature
13.2°C at Mount Read
Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature
2.1°C at Mount Wellington on the 16th
Coldest night
Lowest temperature
−3.6°C at Liawenee on the 9th
Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature
4.3°C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
14.1°C at Swan Island
Warmest night
Highest daily minimum temperature
24.0°C at Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) on the 30th
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
252.4 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall
Lowest total rainfall
0.4 mm at St Helens Aerodrome
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
47.0 mm at Mount Read on the 1st
Highest wind gust
150 km/h at Mount Wellington on the 22nd

Records


Record highest annual temperature
Highest temperature
in 2009 (°C)
Previous annual
highest
Years of
record
Launceston Airport Comparison 39.9 on 30 Jan 37.3 on 28 Jan 1943 71
Flinders Island Airport 41.5 on 29 Jan * 38.8 on 25 Jan 2003 48
Burnie (Round Hill) 33.8 on 31 Jan 32.8 on 20 Jan 1982 45
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 37.7 on 30 Jan 35.9 on 1 Feb 1983 39
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 39.0 on 30 Jan 35.4 on 11 Jan 1982 29
Scamander 42.2 on 30 Jan * 39.8 on 1 Feb 1983 27
Wynyard Airport 35.1 on 31 Jan 32.6 on 3 Feb 2000 25
Fingal (Legge Street) 41.3 on 30 Jan * 38.0 on 25 Jan 2003 24
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 36.2 on 30 Jan 33.9 on 25 Jan 2003 20

Marrawah recorded 33.0°C on the 29th, a new January (but not annual) record for them, exceeding the 32.8°C on 3 Jan 1991.
* These locations all exceeded the previous Tasmanian record of 40.8 °C set in Hobart on 4 January 1976. The old record was also exceeded at St Helens (41.8°C), Ross (41.6°C) and Cressy (41.4°C), but they have been open for less than 20 years and so are not included in the table above.

New top fifteen highest temperatures recorded in Tasmania
Temperature (°C) Date
Scamander 42.2 30 Jan 2009
St Helens Aerodrome 41.8 30 Jan 2009
Ross (The Boulevards) 41.6 30 Jan 2009
Flinders Island Airport 41.5 29 Jan 2009
Cressy Research Station 41.4 30 Jan 2009
Fingal (Legge Street) 41.3 30 Jan 2009
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 40.8 4 Jan 1976
Fingal (Legge Street) 40.6 29 Jan 2009
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 40.6 30 Dec 1897, 1 Jan 1900, 19 Jan 1959
Launceston Airport 40.4 30 Jan 2009
Swansea Post Office 40.4 25 Jan 2003
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 40.4 20 Jan 1973
Grove (Comparison) 40.4 19 Jan 1959


Record lowest January daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in January 2009 (°C)
Previous lowest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Mount Wellington * 2.1 on the 16th 2.2 on the 21st in 1995 29 13.2

* This is also the coldest January maximum temperature ever recorded in Tasmania. The previous coldest was 2.2°C at Mount Wellington on 21 January 1995.



Record highest January mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for January 2009 (°C)
Previous highest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Wynyard Airport 23.2 22.9 in 2008 21 21.1

Highest January mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for January 2009 (°C)
Most recent higher
for January
Years since
higher
Average for
January
Fingal (Legge Street) 25.9 26.4 in 1988 21 23.2



Record highest annual daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in 2009 (°C)
Previous annual
highest
Years of
record
Launceston Airport Comparison 20.7 on 30 Jan 20.0 on 1 Feb 1968 71
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 21.3 on 30 Jan 20.0 on 21 Jan 1997 39
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 20.9 on 30 Jan 20.3 on 14 Jan 1998 29
Tarraleah Village 20.9 on 30 Jan 20.7 on 12 Dec 1998 28
Fingal (Legge Street) 20.9 on 30 Jan 19.5 on 9 Feb 2001 24



Record highest January daily minimum temperature (not in annual table)
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in January 2009 (°C)
Previous highest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Bicheno (Council Depot) 18.9 on the 31st 18.8 on the 30th in 2003 34 12.8
Mount Wellington 18.5 on the 30th 18.0 on the 16th in 1993 29 4.7
Scamander 19.5 on the 30th 18.4 on the 3rd in 1984 25 12.6



Record lowest January temperature
Lowest temperature
in January 2009 (°C)
Previous lowest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Swansea Post Office 2.4 on the 3rd 2.7 on the 10th in 1976 53 11.7
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 2.2 on the 2nd 2.8 on the 29th in 2007 37 10.7
Mount Wellington −3.4 on the 2nd −3.3 on the 22nd in 1995 29 4.7



Record lowest total January rainfall
Total rainfall
for January 2009 (mm)
Previous lowest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Devonport Airport 7.6 8.1 in 1966 46 42.3
Forthside Research Station 8.2 8.3 in 1966 44 51.0
Scamander 1.8 5.8 in 1979 26 46.5

Lowest total January rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for January 2009 (mm)
Most recent lower
for January
Years since
lower
Average for
January
Swansea Post Office 6.8 1.3 in 1957 52 49.4
Eddystone Point 10.8 5.4 in 1960 48 45.2
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 3.8 2.5 in 1961 48 43.2
Fingal (Legge Street) 5.2 1.6 in 1966 43 44.0
Lilydale Post Office 12.2 11.0 in 1966 43 49.3
York Plains (Handroyd) 3.4 1.1 in 1966 43 42.0
Avoca (Railway House) 8.0 6.7 in 1966 41 40.2
Bicheno (Council Depot) 1.8 0.0 in 1961 41 52.5
Campbell Town (Elizabeth R) 6.2 3.3 in 1966 21 40.0



Summaries

In this table, key sites have been highlighted to make them easier to find. This table is very wide and may not fit if printed.


Summary statistics for January 2009
Maximum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Rainfall
for January
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2009
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2009
Mean for
January
2009
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2009
Total for
January
2009
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2009
Fraction of
January
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport 21.5 −0.3 31.0 30th 12.1 −1.0 4.9 2nd 18.5 56.6 very low 33%
Burnie 21.8 +0.8 33.8 31st 12.6 0.0 5.5 2nd 14.4 42.8 low 34%
Cape Grim BAPS 18.7 0.0 30.5 29th 12.6 −0.4 7.4 2nd 28.2 35.1 average 80%
Cressy Research Station 26.4   41.4 30th 9.2   −0.1 9th 6.6
Devonport Airport 21.5 +0.4 29.7 29th 11.3 −0.9 4.0 3rd 7.6 42.3 lowest 18%
Launceston 25.4 +1.3 39.0 30th 11.9 −0.3 5.2 9th 12.6 46.4 very low 27%
Launceston Airport 25.6   40.4 30th 9.7   1.3 2nd 12.4
Launceston Airport Comparison 24.8 +1.6 39.9 30th 10.3 +0.1 3.3 2nd 13.6 44.1 low 31%
Low Head 19.7 −0.5 26.3 29th 13.6 −0.6 8.7 2nd 7.4 50.5 very low 15%
Marrawah 20.1 +0.1 33.0 29th 11.7 −0.2 6.5 25th 45.8 47.9 average 96%
Scottsdale 23.6 +0.9 37.7 30th 10.1 −0.6 2.2 2nd 11.6 58.1 very low 20%
Sheffield School Farm 23.2 +1.6 37.1 30th 9.3 −1.5 2.3 2nd 20.6 52.4 low 39%
Smithton Aerodrome 21.7 +0.3 36.6 30th 9.7 −1.7 1.4 9th 31.4 38.9 average 81%
Wynyard Airport 23.2 +2.1 35.1 31st 9.8 −1.2 3.3 3rd 18.4 40.6 low 45%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno 22.8 +1.5 31.8 20th 13.1 +0.3 7.6 9th 1.8 52.5 very low 3%
Eddystone Point 22.9 +2.1 35.1 29th 12.7 −0.8 6.4 2nd 10.8 45.2 very low 24%
Fingal 25.9 +2.7 41.3 30th 9.5 −0.8 1.1 3rd 5.2 44.0 very low 12%
Friendly Beaches 23.8 +1.1 32.7 20th 12.7 −0.4 6.1 3rd 1.4 61.2 very low 2%
Lake Leake 21.5 +2.3 36.2 30th 7.2 −1.1 −1.3 3rd 15.0 54.9 very low 27%
Maria Island 21.9   30.9 30th 13.2   8.1 2nd 6.0
Orford 23.1 +1.2 36.7 30th 12.3 +0.6 5.4 3rd 8.6 49.3 very low 17%
Scamander 23.8 +1.9 42.2 30th 12.8 +0.2 6.6 3rd 1.8 46.5 lowest 4%
St Helens Aerodrome 24.0   41.8 30th 12.4   5.9 2nd 0.4
Swan Island 20.6   31.9 29th 14.1   8.6 2nd 6.2
Swansea Post Office 23.4 +1.2 33.9 20th 11.4 −0.3 2.4 3rd 6.8 49.4 very low 14%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross 26.1 +1.9 41.6 30th 10.3 −0.2 0.3 3rd 6.6 49.0 very low 13%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay 21.7 +0.7 29.0 13th 11.6 −0.5 6.3 2nd 12.8 50.0 very low 26%
Campania 25.3   38.6 30th 11.6   5.4 3rd 9.0
Cape Bruny 19.0 −0.6 27.2 29th 11.3 −0.8 6.7 2nd 53.8 41.8 average 129%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 18.2 0.0 26.0 29th 11.4 +0.1 5.0 1st 71.0 62.2 average 114%
Dover 20.4 −0.2 27.1 22nd 9.5 −0.6 5.5 2nd 38.8 54.9 average 71%
Geeveston 21.8 +0.2 34.5 30th 10.0 +0.2 5.0 2nd 66.4 57.8 average 115%
Grove 23.8 +1.5 36.3 30th 10.0 +0.6 3.9 4th
Grove 23.1   36.0 30th 9.2   2.8 4th 28.0
Hobart 23.7 +2.1 33.5 13th 12.6 +0.8 7.1 2nd 9.6 47.7 very low 20%
Hobart Airport 23.5 +1.0 34.4 13th 12.3 +0.3 7.0 2nd 9.4 41.0 very low 23%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 16.0 −1.1 26.7 29th 10.6 −0.1 6.2 3rd 67.4 79.8 average 84%
Melton Mowbray 24.8 +0.9 38.3 30th 11.0 +0.8 3.9 2nd 12.2 29.9 low 41%
Mount Wellington 14.3 +1.1 27.7 30th 4.3 −0.3 −3.4 2nd 23.4 83.3 low 28%
Tasman Island 18.2   29.6 29th 10.6   5.2 2nd 46.8
Tunnack Fire Station 22.9 +1.4 36.9 30th 8.6 −0.2 1.7 2nd 10.2 45.2 low 23%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park 24.8 +1.0 36.0 13th 9.4 −0.7 3.5 2nd 19.8 41.1 low 48%
Maydena Post Office 21.1 −1.1 33.5 30th 8.6 −0.4 4.6 2nd 85.7 63.9 high 134%
Ouse Fire Station 25.5 +0.1 38.7 30th 10.0 −0.1 4.9 2nd 30.8 26.8 average 115%
Tarraleah Village 20.1 +0.7 33.0 30th 7.8 +0.8 2.3 2nd 95.6 70.4 high 136%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 18.8 0.0 32.5 29th 6.5 +0.1 1.3 2nd 137.8 98.2 high 140%
Lake St Clair National Park 19.1 −0.2 32.5 30th 6.0 −0.3 0.3 2nd 147.0 107.5 high 137%
Liawenee 19.2   32.0 30th 5.0   −3.6 9th 37.6
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain 16.3 −1.8 28.6 30th 6.4 −0.8 −0.1 2nd 65.4 67.2 average 97%
Mount Read 13.2 −1.2 28.6 30th 4.9 −0.9 −1.2 2nd 252.4 200.4 average 126%
Scotts Peak Dam 19.1 −1.4 33.2 30th 8.9 −0.4 3.2 2nd 164.0 107.8 high 152%
Strahan Aerodrome 19.6 −1.0 30.3 13th 10.6 −0.1 6.5 2nd 93.6 89.6 average 104%
Strathgordon Village     31.0 30th 9.9 +0.5 4.0 2nd 182.2 152.2 high 120%
Warra 18.6   31.5 30th 8.1   2.4 2nd 145.0
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 20.6 0.0 33.4 29th 11.2 −1.3 3.9 18th 21.8 36.5 low 60%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 23.2 +1.2 41.5 29th 12.4 −0.9 4.9 9th 10.2 45.6 very low 22%
Hogan Island 21.9   39.3 29th 13.6   7.9 2nd 9.6
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 8.6 −0.2 10.6 22nd 5.4 +0.1 2.3 4th 84.2 84.3 average 100%

Notes

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Monday 2 February 2009. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages are long-term means 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 median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Further information

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