Tasmania in December 2011: Warm and dry

December was warmer than average overall, with many warm days and nights in the latter half of the month. It was also drier than usual in most areas, except in the east, southeast and southern Midlands.

  • Warm December days and nights
  • Well below average rainfall in most areas
  • Thunderstorms ensure average rainfall in the south and east

Warm December days

Conditions were cool for most of the first half of December, and especially in the first week. On the 4th, Lake Leake had its equal-coldest December day on record, the temperature only reaching 8.6 °C. Daytime temperatures were warmer than normal around the 9th and particularly in the latter half of the month, which resulted in above average maximum temperatures overall: by up to one degree in the eastern half and by up to two degrees in the west.

Warm December nights

Night time temperatures were also warmer than average, by up to one degree. The coldest temperatures were in the first week of the month when a high to the west directed cold southerly air across Tasmania, the temperature dropping to -3.7 °C at Liawenee on the 2nd. On the 5th, Cape Grim recorded its lowest December temperature on record with 6.6 °C. Much of the rest of the month was warmer than usual, except the 12th to 14th.

Average to below average rainfall

Monthly rainfall totals were below average across most of Tasmania, except the east, southeast and the southern Midlands where thunderstorms helped deliver close to average rainfall. Some sites had their lowest total December rainfall for at least 20 years.
The most significant rainfall event of the month was on the 18th and 19th when 10 to 50 mm of rain was recorded in the north on the 18th in moist northerly winds, and with thunderstorms in the southeast the next day. There were further thunderstorms around the 24th and 25th which delivered up to 40 mm in the east, southeast, and Midlands.

Hobart: Heavy rain with flash flooding

December rainfall ended up close to average in Hobart. Prior to the 19th, only about 22 mm of rain had fallen, but wet conditions on the 19th doubled that amount. A thunderstorm that afternoon delivered heavy rain (the CBD received 10 mm in 30 minutes and the Airport 16 mm in 10 minutes) causing flash flooding in the Hobart area.
Day time temperatures were spot on average, with only 3 days where the temperature exceeded 25 °C, the warmest of which was 26.9 °C on the 9th. Night time temperatures were close to one degree above average.

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Extremes in December 2011
Hottest day 30.7 °C at Ouse Fire Station on the 31st
Warmest days on average 23.8 °C at Ouse Fire Station
Coolest days on average11.6 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day 2.5 °C at Mount Wellington on the 4th
Coldest night -3.7 °C at Liawenee on the 2nd
Coolest nights on average 3.3 °C at Liawenee
Warmest nights on average 13.7 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 18.1 °C at Bicheno (Council Depot) on the 24th
Warmest on average overall 17.5 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest on average overall7.6 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 126.8 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 14.0 mm at Hummocky Hills
Wettest day 50.4 mm at Yolla (Sea View) on the 19thh
Highest wind gust104 km/h at Mount Read on the 19th

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile 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


Lowest total December rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for December 2011 (mm)
Most recent December
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
December
Waratah (Mount Road) 40.8 29.1 in 1960* 32 139.8
Strathgordon Village 69.5 49.0 in 1980 31 199.3

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a lower value has gone unreported.




Record lowest December daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in December 2011 (°C)
Previous coolest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 8.6 on the 4th = 8.6 on the 3rd in 2001 22 17.5



Record lowest December temperature
Lowest temperature
in December 2011 (°C)
Previous coolest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 6.6 on the 5th 6.9 on the 27th in 2010 21 11.8



Highest December mean temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily
temperature
for December 2011 (°C)
Most recent December
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
December
Burnie (Round Hill) 16.8 17.0 in 1975 36 15.2

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.




Summary statistics for December 2011
Maximum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Rainfall
for December
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2011
Mean for
December
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2011
Total for
December
2011
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2011
Fraction of
December
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 20.1 0.0 23.2 28th 11.7 +0.6 4.0 4th 22.8 43.1 low 53%
Burnie (Round Hill) 20.8 +1.4 27.0 28th 12.6 +1.5 6.5 1st 37.7 63.5 low 59%
Cape Grim 17.7   21.5 31st 12.1   6.7 5th 28.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 18.2 +1.0 22.3 31st 12.0 +0.2 6.6 5th 28.0 45.5 low 62%
Cressy Research Station 23.3 +0.7 28.1 28th 9.1 +0.7 0.8 5th 18.4 44.5 low 41%
Devonport Airport 20.4 +0.9 25.7 28th 11.1 +0.6 4.9 4th 18.0 53.2 low 34%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 23.4 +1.0 27.6 9th 11.5 +0.9 4.8 5th 25.6 46.4 low 55%
Launceston Airport 22.5   27.1 24th 9.4   2.7 1st 21.8
Low Head 19.9 +1.2 23.2 20th 12.9 +0.2 7.2 4th 32.0 43.2 average 74%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 20.1 +1.7 26.7 31st 9.3 +0.8 3.8 4th 41.6 92.4 v low 45%
Marrawah 19.0 +0.7 24.0 31st 11.1 +0.5 5.5 5th 43.6 64.1 low 68%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 20.8 0.0 24.4 24th 10.2 +1.1 3.0 4th 47.2 67.1 average 70%
Sheffield School Farm 20.4 +1.0 24.7 28th 9.3 +0.5 2.3 5th 45.0 68.1 average 66%
Smithton Aerodrome 20.2 +0.8 23.7 29th 10.1 +0.5 3.9 5th 33.2 59.6 low 56%
Wynyard Airport 20.3 +0.8 25.7 28th 10.4 +0.9 4.2 4th 32.4 64.4 low 50%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 19.5 -0.5 23.2 28th 12.4 +0.9 6.4 4th 43.2 68.2 average 63%
Eddystone Point     25.0 9th 12.8 +0.6 4.9 4th
Fingal (Legge Street) 21.5 +0.1 29.4 31st 9.5 +0.9 0.6 2nd 39.2 49.9 average 79%
Friendly Beaches 21.0 -0.6 25.6 31st 11.9 +0.3 5.2 2nd 62.6 41.8 high 150%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 17.1 -0.4 24.4 31st 7.3 +0.4 -0.8 2nd 58.2 72.9 average 80%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 18.9   25.0 31st 12.4   6.2 4th 33.0
Orford (Aubin Court) 19.5 -0.9 25.6 28th 10.4 -0.1 5.4 4th 54.4 63.8 average 85%
Scamander 19.9 -0.4 28.4 28th 12.2 +0.9 6.4 2nd 39.0 60.8 average 64%
St Helens Aerodrome 20.5 -0.4 27.1 28th 12.1 +0.6 5.3 2nd 40.4 49.0 average 82%
Swan Island 19.4 +0.2 22.6 30th 13.7 +0.5 6.7 4th 33.0 48.0 average 69%
Swansea (Francis Street) 19.5   24.2 24th 11.0   3.9 2nd 58.8
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 23.1 +0.6 30.3 24th 8.7 +0.2 -0.6 2nd 20.0 39.3 low 51%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 18.9 -0.9 24.0 31st 10.4 -0.2 5.0 4th



Campania (Kincora) 22.3 -0.4 29.6 9th 9.5 -0.3 1.9 2nd 59.4 37.5 high 158%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 18.7 +0.5 27.0 9th 11.0 +0.4 5.8 1st 49.2 59.0 average 83%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 17.7 +0.7 25.9 9th 11.3 +1.0 5.1 1st 50.7 76.5 average 66%
Dover 19.0 0.0 25.8 10th 8.9 0.0 2.8 14th 66.2 71.6 average 92%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 20.2 +0.3 28.0 9th 9.0 +0.4 2.5 14th 60.8 71.2 average 85%
Grove (Research Station) 20.9   27.8 9th 7.7   0.9 2nd 81.4
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 20.3 0.0 26.9 9th 11.6 +0.8 5.8 2nd 52.4 56.7 average 92%
Hobart Airport 20.6 0.0 28.7 9th 11.2 +0.5 4.9 2nd 62.6 53.5 high 117%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 16.2 +0.5 25.0 18th 10.8 +1.2 5.2 4th 53.8 90.1 low 60%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 21.8 +0.1 28.6 31st 9.2 +0.3 1.0 2nd 57.2 38.4 average 149%
Mount Wellington 11.6 +0.7 18.5 9th 3.6 +0.8 -3.0 4th 101.6 87.9 average 116%
Tasman Island 16.0 -0.5 21.1 31st 10.5 +0.4 3.4 4th 51.4 63.8 average 81%
Tunnack Fire Station 18.6 -0.8 24.8 31st 7.6 +0.2 -0.1 2nd 57.2 54.0 average 106%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 23.3 +1.3 30.6 31st 9.4 +0.3 2.0 2nd 35.2 50.5 average 70%
Maydena Post Office 20.6 +1.0 27.1 31st 7.7 +0.3 1.3 14th 44.8 87.5 low 51%
Ouse Fire Station 23.8 +0.9 30.7 31st 9.5 +0.9 2.3 5th 39.4 35.5 average 111%
Tarraleah Village 18.8 +1.0 25.1 31st     0.4 5th
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 18.3 +1.7 24.1 30th 5.7 +0.2 -2.2 5th 46.4 125.6 v low 37%
Lake St Clair National Park 18.5 +1.3 24.6 31st 5.1 +0.1 -1.9 5th 57.6 130.8 v low 44%
Liawenee 16.8 +0.8 25.3 31st 3.3 -0.4 -3.7 2nd 18.8 66.1 v low 28%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 18.8 +1.9 23.0 31st 11.8 +1.0 7.0 5th 50.6 81.0 low 62%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 16.1 +1.4 23.7 9th 5.8 +0.8 -0.5 4th 69.6 79.5 average 88%
Mount Read 13.5 +1.9 20.4 31st 4.6 +0.8 -1.3 1st 126.8 290.8 v low 44%
Scotts Peak Dam 20.7 +2.4 28.8 18th 8.2 +0.4 2.6 1st 95.8 150.6 v low 64%
Strahan Aerodrome 20.4 +0.8 27.5 18th 9.6 0.0 3.5 5th 70.8 92.9 low 76%
Warra 17.8   24.6 31st 6.9   1.1 14th 84.6
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 19.7 +1.1 25.2 31st 11.7 +0.8 6.4 5th 33.0 50.6 average 65%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 20.4 +0.3 25.7 24th 11.9 +0.1 4.3 2nd
Hogan Island 19.3   21.9 31st 13.4   9.0 5th 36.2
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 8.3 +0.4 12.0 19th 4.8 +0.5 1.5 4th 53.0 77.9 low 68%

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 Wednesday 4 January 2012. 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