Tasmania in February 2011: Cool temperatures and more rain

A succession of cold fronts and troughs crossed Tasmania during February, bringing rain across the state and keeping temperatures below average. Nearly the whole state was wetter than usual, continuing a pattern of mostly wetter than usual months that began in August last year. There were few hot days, and several cold nights.

  • Wettest February since 1999 for much of the north
  • 77 mm at Scamander on the 20th
  • Mountain snow on the 6th, 20th and 21st  

Another wet month

February was wetter than usual except for a few sites in the southeast, continuing a pattern of above average rainfall that began in August last year. Since then, October has been the only month not wetter than usual over large parts of the state. Many sites in the north had their wettest February since 1999, and  Deal Island (122 mm) had its wettest February since 1939. Mount Read was the wettest site, with 194 mm, but most of the west as well as a few sites in the north and northeast had over 100 mm. The driest locations were the Midlands and inland parts of the east, but most areas still received over 30 mm. Below Craigbourne Dam (Coal River) had the lowest total rainfall, with 22.4 mm. 

The heaviest rain in February came from a low pressure system that crossed the state on the 19th, bringing statewide rain. Most of the north and parts of the southeast received 40 to 60 mm over 2 days, and Scamander had 77 mm in a day (the highest daily total for this month). There was also moderate to heavy rain in the southeast and central east on the 1st from thunderstorms, in the north on the 10th with a trough, and in the west and south on the 20th with a cold front.

Cool days predominate

Many more cold fronts than usual crossed Tasmania during February, bringing repeated cold changes and preventing the build up of heat that often occurs at this time of the year. There were only a couple of hot days: in the north and east on the 1st, when both Fingal and Flinders Island Airport reached 35.0 °C, and in the west and Derwent Valley between the 14th and 16th. These were the only days when the temperature anywhere in the state climbed over 30 °C, in a month when much of Australia was cooler than usual.

Conversely, there were many days that were much cooler than usual, especially in the west. The coldest days were generally in southwest airflows behind cold fronts and included the 6th to 8th, 12th and 18th to 25th. The 20th and 21st were especially cold, behind a cold front that brought snow to around 900 metres. The temperature at Strahan only managed to reach 15 °C on these days; in all Strahan had 13 days below 18 °C, twice what would occur in a typical February.

For the whole month, average maximum temperature graded from over two degrees below normal in the west to around a degree below normal in the east. Most sites were noticeably cooler in February than they had been in January. Marrawah and Strahan had their coldest February days on record, and Maatsuyker Island had its coldest February since 1949.

Cold nights too

There were a few warm nights during February, including the 1st, 11th and 16-17th, but cool nights were much more common. For the whole month, overnight temperatures were around half to one degree below normal, and Orford and Swansea had their coolest February nights on average since 1987.

A cold front that crossed the state on the 20th was responsible for the coldest mornings on the month on the 21st and 22nd. Many sites had their coldest February morning in over 10 years including Cape Bruny, where the temperature dipped to 4.6 °C, its coldest February morning since 1985. Mount Wellington had the lowest temperature, falling to -2.5 °C on the 21st. Other cold mornings included the 2nd, the 6th to the 9th and the 12th and 13th.

Cooler than usual in Hobart

The average maximum temperature for Hobart in February was 20.7 °C, nearly a degree cooler than usual, over two degrees cooler than last year, and the coolest February since 1996. The highest temperature was just 27.6 °C on the 16th, the coolest "hot day" for a long time. In 1949 the hottest February day was 22.9 °C, but since then every February has had at least one day warmer than this year's 27.6 °C; last year it reached 31.7 °C on the 20th. The last time Hobart didn't have a February day above 30 °C was 1990. 

Nights were a little cooler than usual, with the average overnight temperature of 11.8 °C being 0.2 °C cooler than usual. The coldest night was 6.4 °C on the 21st; not since 2004 has there been a February night this cold in Hobart.

A total of 54.4 mm of rain fell in Hobart during February, 14 mm above average. Most of this fell on 2 days, with 16 mm on the 2nd and 22 mm on the 20th. It was wetter than February 2010 but drier than February 2009.

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Extremes in February 2011
Hottest day 35.0 °C at Fingal (Legge Street) and Flinders Island Airport on the 1st
Warmest days on average 23.4 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 12.4 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day 4.5 °C at Mount Read on the 20th
Coldest night -2.5 °C at Mount Wellington on the 21st
Coolest nights on average 4.0 °C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 15.2 °C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 20.3 °C at Flinders Island Airport on the 1st
Warmest on average overall 18.2 °C at Eddystone Point
Coolest on average overall 8.2 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 193.6 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 22.4 mm at Below Craigbourne Dam (Coal River)
Wettest day 77.2 mm at Scamander on the 20th
Highest wind gust 131 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on the 20th

Maps

Observed Anomaly Decile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window



Highest total February rainfall for at least 20 years

Total rainfall
for February 2011 (mm)
Most recent February
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
February
Deal Island 122.0 175.8 in 1939 70 37.3


Record lowest February mean daily maximum temperature

Mean daily maximum
temperature
for February 2011 (°C)
Previous coolest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Marrawah 18.8 18.9 in 1996 39 20.9
Strahan Aerodrome 19.0 19.1 in 1998 20 21.2

Lowest February mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years

Mean daily maximum
temperature
for February 2011 (°C)
Most recent February
at least this cool
Years since
cooler
Average for
February
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.1 13.1 in 1949 62 17.2



Lowest February mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years

Mean daily minimum
temperature
for February 2011 (°C)
Most recent February
at least this cool
Years since
cooler
Average for
February
Orford (Aubin Court) 11.0 9.9 in 1987 24 12.1
Swansea Post Office 10.5 9.9 in 1987 24 11.8



Record lowest February mean temperature

Mean daily
temperature
for February 2011 (°C)
Previous coolest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Dover 14.0 = 14.0 in 2008 21 15.4
Strahan Aerodrome 14.8 = 14.8 in 2008 20 15.9





Summary statistics for February 2011

Maximum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Rainfall
for February
(millimetres)
Mean for
February
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
February
2011
Mean for
February
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
February
2011
Total for
February
2011
Average
for
February
Rank of
February
2011
Fraction of
February
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 20.4 -1.8 25.2 17th 12.4 -0.8 6.8 22nd 65.2 33.7 high 193%
Burnie (Round Hill) 21.1 -0.1 25.1 27th 12.9 -0.4 7.3 12th 61.0 44.6 high 137%
Cape Grim 17.7   23.6 1st 12.9   8.7 6th 57.2


Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 18.2 -1.4 23.5 1st 12.9 -0.9 8.8 6th 58.6 34.6 high 169%
Cressy Research Station 23.0 -2.3 31.5 1st 9.2 -1.2 1.9 22nd 51.6 29.6 high 174%
Devonport Airport 20.7 -0.9 24.2 16th 11.9 -0.7 6.3 22nd 59.8 37.0 high 162%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 23.4 -1.1 30.2 1st 12.2 +0.1 5.2 22nd 41.2 31.7 average 130%
Launceston Airport 23.1   31.0 1st 10.1   3.6 7th 34.4


Low Head 20.3 -0.8 24.1 1st 14.0 -0.6 8.8 22nd 56.8 26.6 high 214%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 18.9 -2.3 24.6 1st 9.8 -1.0 4.4 6th 79.6 56.3 high 141%
Marrawah 18.8 -2.1 25.0 1st 12.0 -0.4 8.0 6th 60.2 44.9 high 134%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 20.9 -2.2 31.8 1st 11.1 0.0 4.1 7th 80.4 40.5 v high 199%
Sheffield School Farm 20.0 -1.6 27.5 1st 10.0 -0.8 5.6 6th 78.4 41.8 high 188%
Smithton Aerodrome 20.3 -1.6 27.2 1st 10.6 -1.1 3.6 12th 55.0 33.6 high 164%
Wynyard Airport 21.2 -0.4 27.7 1st 10.7 -0.9 5.3 6th 74.0 49.1 high 151%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 20.7 -0.7 25.9 17th 12.7 -0.3 7.9 22nd 75.4 58.2 high 130%
Eddystone Point 22.4 +1.2 31.9 1st 14.0 -0.2 8.0 22nd 41.0 46.7 average 88%
Fingal (Legge Street) 22.3 -0.5 35.0 1st 9.5 -0.5 2.3 22nd



Friendly Beaches 21.8 -0.8 30.1 1st 12.2 -1.0 6.6 22nd 78.8 59.8 high 132%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 18.3 -0.6 26.4 1st 7.4 -0.8 1.3 22nd 47.2 46.3 average 102%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 19.7   22.7 17th 12.6   7.7 21st 43.4


Orford (Aubin Court) 20.1 -1.8 23.5 15th 11.0 -1.1 6.4 21st 59.0 45.8 average 129%
Scamander 21.0 -0.7 33.7 1st 12.7 -0.2 7.9 22nd 134.3 45.2 v high 297%
St Helens Aerodrome 21.6 -0.1 32.4 1st 12.7 -0.6 6.3 22nd 92.0 64.6 high 142%
Swan Island 20.8   25.8 1st 14.7   9.8 22nd 40.8


Swansea Post Office 21.3 -0.8 26.0 1st 10.5 -1.3 4.9 22nd 56.0 43.1 high 130%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 22.8 -1.3 28.7 1st 9.4 -1.2 2.2 22nd 46.4 40.2 average 115%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 19.4 -1.8 24.2 16th 11.2 -1.4 5.8 22nd 64.0 43.2 high 148%
Campania (Kincora) 22.5 -1.4 30.0 15th 10.5 -0.7 4.4 6th 27.4 34.1 low 80%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 17.7 -2.1 24.7 16th 11.0 -1.4 5.5 21st 84.0 64.1 high 131%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 17.1 -1.4 24.0 16th 11.3 -0.4 4.6 22nd 98.4 57.1 high 172%
Dover 18.8 -1.8 25.5 16th 9.2 -1.1 2.9 21st 84.6 52.4 high 161%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 19.7 -2.4 27.7 16th 9.4 -0.4 3.8 2nd 97.2 51.6 v high 188%
Grove (Research Station) 20.7   26.8 15th 8.4   2.6 6th 59.6


Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 20.7 -0.9 27.6 16th 11.8 -0.2 6.4 21st 54.4 40.4 high 135%
Hobart Airport 21.1 -1.2 28.6 15th 11.5 -0.5 5.4 21st 33.4 36.6 average 91%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.1 -2.1 22.1 16th 10.6 -0.5 6.2 21st 128.6 70.7 v high 182%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 21.8 -1.7 28.4 15th 9.5 -0.7 4.9 9th 25.6 35.2 low 73%
Mount Wellington 12.4 -1.3 18.8 15th 4.0 -1.4 -2.5 21st 102.6 79.9 high 128%
Tasman Island 16.2   19.3 17th 10.6   4.7 21st 75.4 54.2 high 139%
Tunnack Fire Station 19.7 -1.6 25.6 15th 7.9 -1.2 0.7 12th 41.4 48.9 average 85%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 22.7 -1.2 31.6 15th 10.0 0.0 5.0 2nd 48.4 35.2 high 138%
Maydena Post Office 19.4 -3.0 29.0 15th 8.6 -0.3 3.6 9th 90.2 65.1 high 139%
Ouse Fire Station 23.1 -2.2 31.1 15th 9.4 -0.5 4.5 2nd 51.2 32.8 high 156%
Tarraleah Village 18.7 -1.2 27.1 15th 7.0 -0.1 2.1 21st 94.5 60.6 high 156%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 17.5 -1.3 26.7 15th 5.9 -0.3 1.5 9th 111.6 82.1 high 136%
Lake St Clair National Park 17.6 -1.7 26.3 15th 5.4 -0.6 0.8 2nd 110.0 83.6 high 132%
Liawenee 17.4 -0.9 23.5 1st 4.8 -0.2 -1.1 6th 58.6 43.3 average 135%
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 14.7 -2.9 24.0 15th 6.0 -1.3 -0.1 21st 93.6 66.8 average 140%
Mount Read 12.6 -1.7 21.1 14th 5.2 -1.1 -0.2 21st 193.6 175.9 high 110%
Scotts Peak Dam 18.4 -2.7 30.9 15th 8.6 -0.8 3.9 21st 140.6 77.0 high 183%
Strahan Aerodrome 19.0 -2.2 26.8 16th 10.5 -0.2 5.7 2nd 99.2 62.6 high 158%
Strathgordon Village 17.3 -2.4 27.0 16th 9.2 -0.4 4.8 21st 177.6 110.4 high 161%
Warra 16.8   25.5 15th 7.6   2.7 21st 131.6


King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 19.4 -1.8 26.6 16th 12.7 -0.3 7.9 2nd 54.8 31.8 high 172%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 21.7 -0.9 35.0 1st 13.7 0.0 5.9 22nd 51.2 38.9 high 132%
Hogan Island 20.5   31.2 1st 15.2   11.7 21st 93.6


Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 8.9 +0.3 11.0 20th 5.2 -0.1 1.9 25th 123.0 85.6 v high 144%

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 9 am on Tuesday 1 March 2011. 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