Tasmania in January 2010: Drier than usual, especially in the north

Only weak fronts crossed Tasmania in January leading to a drier than usual month in most areas and the driest January on record for several sites in the north. Overall, nights were cooler and days were warmer than usual. Sites in the highlands fell below zero on a number of nights, while Ouse reached 40.7 C on the 11th — one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the state.

Very dry in the north but some locally heavy falls in the east

January was drier than usual for most of Tasmania, especially in the north where several sites had their driest January on record or their driest January for many years. Both Latrobe (2.6 mm) and Lilydale (3.2 mm) had their lowest January rainfall in over 100 years, and only 0.4 mm fell at Devonport Airport, the driest location in the state. It was also very dry at some sites in the lower east; for example, only 1.8 mm was recorded on Maria Island. 

Most sites in the east had near average rain after falls of more than 25 mm on the 16th and 17th. Thunderstorms which formed during the evening of the 16th brought heavy falls to parts of the southeast, including Grove which had over 30 mm in just one hour. Rainfall of this intensity is expected less than once every 50 years on average. More thunderstorms on the 17th brought locally heavy falls to the northeast (87 mm fell at Chain of Lagoons) and localised hail — reportedly over 10 cm deep in some areas around Longford and Evandale. 

Hobart received 13.6 mm for the month, only a small fraction of its normal 47 mm for January. Most of this fell on the 16th and 17th.

Mostly warm days and a few very hot ones

Several very hot days and no unusually cold ones meant that mean maximum temperatures for January were more than a degree warmer than usual in the east and north and near normal in the west. The hottest days were between the 8th and 12th when a high pressure system persisted over the Tasman Sea, directing warm air over Tasmania. Devonport's maximum of 33.2 C on the 9th was its hottest day on record, and Ouse reached 40.7 C on the 11th — one of only four days when temperatures over 40 C have been measured in Tasmania (the other days are 29-30 January 2009 and 4 January 1976). Several other sites in the southeast exceeded 35 C on the 11th, including Hobart (36.5 C). Hobart's temperature also climbed over 30 C on the 8th, 12th and 31st, and there were only three days when it didn't reach 20 C, so its mean maximum of 24.1 C was over two degrees warmer than usual and the equal 5th highest on record for January. 

Most sites had their coolest day on the 18th in a southerly airflow that brought some snow to the highlands, but many sites away from the highlands still managed to reach into the high teens.

Several very cold nights

Cool nights were common during January and mean minimum temperatures for the month were mostly about half a degree cooler than usual, though sites on the East Coast were warmer than usual by a similar amount. There were several cold nights when temperatures fell below zero at Liawenee, Lake St Clair and Butlers Gorge, and on early on the 27th Butlers Gorge fell to -2.8 C — its coldest January temperature on record. In contrast, on the 1st and 12th some sites didn't fall below 20 C. Swansea's minimum of 21.3 C on the 1st was its equal warmest January night on record and Friendly Beaches was even warmer, not falling below 22.0 C all night. Hobart's minimum of 20.0 C on the 12th was its warmest for the month, and its mean minimum of 12.9 C was a degree above the long term average. 

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Extremes in January 2010
Hottest day 40.7 C at Ouse Fire Station on the 11th
Warmest days on average 26.5 C at Cressy Research Station
Coolest days on average 13.6 C at Mount Read
Coldest day 6.7 C at Mount Read on the 18th
Coldest night -2.8 C at Butlers Gorge on the 27th
Coolest nights on average 4.5 C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 15.1 C at Swan Island
Warmest night 22.0 C at Friendly Beaches on the 1st
Wettest overall 144.0 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 0.4 mm at Devonport Airport
Wettest day 87.0 mm at Chain of Lagoons on the 18th
Highest wind gust 133 km/h at Mount Wellington on the 12th

Record lowest total January rainfall
Total rainfall
for January 2010 (mm)
Previous lowest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Latrobe (Coal Road) 2.6 3.0 in 1961 110 42.6
Lilydale Post Office 3.2 5.3 in 1961 107 49.9
Elliott Research Station 5.6 5.9 in 1930 89 48.6
Orford (Aubin Court) 7.0 = 7.0 in 1994 58 48.6
Devonport Airport 0.4 8.1 in 1966 47 41.5
Forthside Research Station 4.6 8.3 in 1966 45 50.0
Copping 8.6 11.8 in 2008 42 60.3
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 4.4 9.4 in 1990 39 56.7
Wynyard Airport 3.8 6.3 in 1965 37 39.7
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 7.2 7.3 in 2009 30 45.0
Deviot Jetty 8.2 10.0 in 2009 22 59.6

Lowest total January rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for January 2010 (mm)
Most recent lower
for January
Years since
lower
Average for
January
Ulverstone (Knights Road) 6.1 5.6 in 1939 69 41.9
Ringarooma (Fry Street) 8.0 0.0 in 1960 50 63.5
Frankford (Rossville) 9.2 1.3 in 1961 49 51.8
Gladstone (Old Post Office) 5.0 4.5 in 1990 20 49.1


Record highest January daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in January 2010 (C)
Previous highest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Swansea Post Office 21.3 on the 1st = 21.3 on the 30th in 1988 54 11.7



Record lowest January temperature
Lowest temperature
in January 2010 (C)
Previous lowest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Butlers Gorge -2.8 on the 27th -2.2 on the 7th in 1965 36 6.3




Summary statistics for January 2010
Maximum temperatures
for January
(C)
Minimum temperatures
for January
(C)
Rainfall
for January
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2010
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2010
Mean for
January
2010
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2010
Total for
January
2010
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2010
Fraction of
January
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 22.4 +0.6 28.0 12th 13.0 0.0 7.4 19th 6.6 53.5 v low 12%
Burnie (Round Hill) 22.1 +1.1 32.7 9th 13.4 +0.8 9.3 18th 9.8 42.5 v low 23%
Cape Grim BAPS 18.9 +0.2 23.1 22nd 12.7 -0.3 10.0 18th 7.4 33.9 v low 22%
Cressy Research Station 26.5 +1.5 35.6 9th 10.1 +0.1 4.0 21st 8.4 28.2 low 30%
Devonport Airport 23.1 +2.0 33.2 9th 11.8 -0.4 5.8 19th 0.4 41.5 lowest 1%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 25.6 +1.4 31.0 31st 12.8 +0.6 7.0 7th 7.2 45.0 lowest 16%
Launceston Airport 25.5   33.1 9th 10.7   5.9 3rd 18.4
Low Head 20.7 +0.5 23.1 12th 14.3 +0.1 9.5 18th 5.6 47.2 v low 12%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 20.7 -0.3 29.7 31st 9.7 -0.8 5.8 18th 27.0 77.9 v low 35%
Marrawah 20.4 +0.3 28.8 31st 11.8 -0.1 8.5 18th 23.0 47.2 low 49%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 24.4 +1.6 31.9 9th 11.4 +0.7 6.4 20th 4.4 56.7 lowest 8%
Sheffield School Farm 23.3 +1.5 31.3 9th 10.2 -0.5 5.8 7th 5.2 48.8 v low 11%
Smithton Aerodrome 21.3 -0.2 25.3 9th 9.5 -1.7 1.9 21st 13.8 37.1 low 37%
Wynyard Airport 23.0 +1.8 33.6 9th 10.4 -0.5 3.7 7th 3.8 39.7 lowest 9%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 22.6 +1.3 32.5 12th 13.5 +0.7 8.0 3rd 51.4 52.4 average 98%
Fingal (Legge Street) 24.9 +1.6 33.4 9th 10.5 +0.3 5.0 4th 33.6 43.9 average 77%
Friendly Beaches 23.5 +0.7 31.3 12th 13.5 +0.4 9.0 20th 25.8 58.0 low 44%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 20.8 +1.6 28.3 31st 8.4 +0.2 2.1 7th 42.6 54.8 average 78%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 21.7   30.0 12th 13.6   10.1 7th 1.8
Orford (Aubin Court) 23.1 +1.1 34.3 12th 12.4 +0.6 7.7 7th 7.0 48.6 lowest 14%
Scamander 23.0 +1.0 33.5 12th 13.6 +1.0 8.3 3rd 39.8 46.3 average 86%
St Helens Aerodrome 23.4   33.2 12th 13.7   9.0 18th 41.4 57.0 average 73%
Swan Island 21.8   28.2 12th 15.1   9.4 19th 15.4
Swansea Post Office 23.4 +1.2 32.0 12th 12.1 +0.4 6.6 7th 40.7 49.4 average 82%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 25.5 +1.2 33.7 12th 10.2 -0.3 2.4 7th 30.2 47.8 low 63%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 22.0 +0.9 33.5 31st     8.9 7th 40.8 49.6 average 82%
Campania (Kincora) 25.4   35.8 11th 10.8   4.8 27th 13.4
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 20.4 +0.8 32.2 31st 11.9 -0.2 8.4 24th 51.8 42.4 average 122%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 19.7 +1.4 31.0 31st 12.1 +0.7 8.8 24th 64.7 62.2 average 104%
Dover 21.8 +1.3 35.9 31st 10.1 0.0 3.9 24th 23.8 52.8 low 45%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 23.2 +1.6 37.4 11th 9.6 -0.2 3.6 24th 16.6 56.7 v low 29%
Grove (Research Station) 23.7   37.4 11th 8.8   2.2 24th 54.0
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 24.1 +2.5 36.5 11th 12.9 +1.0 8.3 27th 13.6 47.4 low 29%
Hobart Airport 23.8 +1.3 36.0 11th 12.3 +0.3 7.2 27th 7.2 40.3 v low 18%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 17.1 +0.1 28.6 11th 11.2 +0.5 8.6 3rd 30.8 79.3 v low 39%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 24.6 +0.7 35.2 11th 10.0 -0.3 3.5 27th 25.4 29.6 average 86%
Mount Wellington 15.1 +1.9 27.9 11th 4.5 -0.2 0.3 27th 44.8 81.9 average 55%
Tasman Island 17.8   27.8 12th 11.4   8.3 18th 24.8
Tunnack Fire Station 22.5 +0.9 31.2 12th 8.3 -0.5 1.2 7th 29.2 44.0 average 66%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 26.2 +2.4 39.0 11th 9.7 -0.3 3.3 24th 4.0 40.8 v low 10%
Maydena Post Office 22.5 +0.4 37.2 11th 8.2 -0.8 1.1 24th 18.9 61.4 low 31%
Ouse Fire Station 26.3 +0.9 40.7 11th 9.4 -0.6 2.6 24th 2.6 24.8 v low 10%
Tarraleah Village     34.7 11th 7.3 +0.2 1.9 24th 24.0 69.7 low 34%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 19.6 +0.8 33.0 11th 5.5 -0.8 -2.8 27th 37.0 97.2 v low 38%
Lake St Clair National Park 19.7 +0.4 31.0 11th 5.7 -0.6 -2.1 27th 27.6 103.7 v low 27%
Liawenee 19.5   27.8 11th 4.7   -2.0 21st 16.0
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 17.7 -0.2 34.4 11th 6.5 -0.6 3.1 3rd 24.6 64.1 low 38%
Mount Read 13.6 -0.7 25.5 11th 4.8 -1.0 1.3 7th 144.0 196.1 average 73%
Scotts Peak Dam 21.1 +0.7 35.8 11th 9.1 -0.1 5.2 24th 66.8 104.0 low 64%
Strahan Aerodrome 20.7 +0.1 35.6 11th 10.3 -0.4 6.2 30th 48.4 81.0 low 60%
Strathgordon Village 19.6 +0.4 31.0 31st 9.2 -0.3 5.2 25th 57.8 146.7 v low 39%
Warra 20.1   34.8 11th 7.8   3.8 24th 37.2
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 21.1 +0.4 31.5 31st 11.6 -0.8 4.6 24th 17.2 36.3 low 47%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 23.2 +1.2 35.6 12th 13.3 0.0 6.6 15th 10.2 45.1 v low 23%
Hogan Island 22.0   31.7 22nd 14.4   10.1 18th 10.6


Notes

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Tasmania 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.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Monday 1 February 2010. 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries