Tasmania in February 2012: A record hot weekend

The last weekend of February was exceptionally hot in Tasmania, with maximum and minimum temperatures broken at some sites. Rainfall was below average in the south and northwest, but heavy rain saw above average rainfall in parts of the north.

  • Hottest February day on record for some on the 25th
  • Record warm night at some sites
  • Record 180 mm in 48 hours for Deal Island
  • Wettest February on record for Deal and Flinders Islands
  • Below average rainfall across the south and northwest
  • Warm days and nights overall

A record hot weekend

The last weekend of February was very hot. Warm northerly winds and clear skies saw day-time temperatures reach up into the mid to high 30s on both the 25th and 26th, and night-time temperatures staying above 20 at some locations.

The 25th was the warmest day and Hobart Airport the warmest spot reaching 39.4 °C, its warmest February day in 30 years. Geeveston, Dover, Lake St Clair and Maydena all recording their highest February temperature on record that day. Maximum temperatures exceeded 36 °C on both days at several sites in the southeast. While this has happened a few times before, it is not common, and it is very unusual for so late in February.

Minimum temperatures were also very warm over that last weekend of February, with temperatures remaining above 20 °C at several locations. Maatsuyker Island, Orford, Geeveston, Devonport and Cape Grim all recorded their warmest February night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record that weekend, with Maatsuyker Island breaking its previous record by 3.1 °C. Hobart and Orford did not drop below 22 °C for two nights in a row, a first for Tasmania. Tasman Island recorded the highest minimum temperature for the month with 23.6 °C.

Record rain for Deal and Flinders Islands

A trough of low pressure over Bass Strait produced heavy rainfall over the Furneaux and Kent Islands on February 10 and 11. Daily rainfall totals ranged from 20 to 70 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on the 10th, but were heaviest with thunderstorms on the morning of the 11th. Deal Island recorded 114 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on the 11th, with Memana on Flinders Island recording 77 mm. For both locations, this is their highest February daily rainfall on record. The two-day rainfall totals for this period were also record-breaking, with Deal Island's 180 mm its wettest two-day period of any month. The previous wettest two-day period was 28 to 29 August 2001 when 140 mm was recorded.

As a result of the heavy rain on 10 and 11 February, both Deal Island and Memana recorded their highest total February rainfall on record. Deal Island's was also the wettest site in the state, with a total of 236 mm for the month.

Below average rainfall across the south, average in the north

Monthly rainfall totals were below average on King Island and across much of the southern half of Tasmania due to a lack of rain-bearing systems throughout the month. King Island Airport was the driest location, receiving only 8 mm for the month.

In the northern third of the state rainfall was close to average. Most of that rain was delivered during two events: on the 5th, moist northerly winds ahead of a cold front delivered daily falls of around 20 to 50 mm; and on the 17th showers and thunderstorms delivered falls of 20 to 60 mm to the central north. Deviot Jetty recorded 55 mm in 24 hours with this event, which is its wettest February day on record. Deviot Jetty had its wettest February on record as a result. In western and central areas, the wettest period was on the 5th and 6th as the cold front moved through, delivering daily totals of 20 to 70 mm.

Some cool weather, but warm days and nights overall

Overall, day-time temperatures were up to two degrees warmer than average, bolstered by the hot final weekend. There were a few cool days, mostly around the 1st, 6th to 10th and the 17th, when maximum temperatures generally remained below 20 °C. The coldest day was at Mount Wellington with 6.1 °C on the 8th.

There were many warm nights in February, with minimum temperatures averaging up to two degrees warmer than normal overall. There were some cool nights, mostly around the 1st, 7th to 13th and the 24th. The lowest temperature of the month was -0.3 °C at Liawenee on the 24th.

A very hot weekend in Hobart

The last weekend of February was a very hot one in Hobart. On Saturday the 25th the temperature reached 38.8 °C (the warmest February day since 1995) and on Sunday the 26th the temperature peaked at 36.0 °C. Two consecutive days over 36 °C have occurred just twice before in February (the last event was 14 to 15 February 1982), but never this late in the month. Minimum temperatures that weekend were also very warm: 22.2 °C overnight on Saturday and 23.4 °C overnight on Sunday night were the first time the temperature has remained above 22 °C over two consecutive nights. The overnight low of 23.4 °C was also the warmest February night since 4 February 1912 when 24.7 °C was recorded.

Overall, maximum temperatures in Hobart averaged at 22.5 °C and minimum temperatures at 13.3 °C, both close to one degree above average.

February rainfall of 23 mm was just over half the long-term average of 40 mm, which is less than the 54 mm recorded last year, and the lowest February total in Hobart since 2006 when 22 mm was recorded. Only a few cold fronts affected Tasmania in February, and those that did only delivered daily totals of less than 5 mm in Hobart. The wettest day was the 19th, when a cold front delivered 5 mm in 24 hours.

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Extremes in February 2012
Hottest day 39.4 °C at Hobart Airport on the 25th
Warmest days on average 25.4 °C at Ouse Fire Station
Coolest days on average12.8 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day 6.1 °C at Mount Wellington on the 8th
Coldest night -0.3 °C at Liawenee on the 24th
Coolest nights on average 5.5 °C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 15.6 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 23.6 °C at Tasman Island on the 26th
Warmest on average overall 19.3 °C at Eddystone Point
Coolest on average overall 9.2 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 236.4 mm at Deal Island
Driest overall7.8 mm at King Island Airport
Wettest day 114.4 mm at Deal Island on the 11th
Highest wind gust 156 km/h at Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) on the 5th

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


Record highest February daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in February 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for February
Years of
record
Deal Island 114.4 on the 11th 81.3 on the 14th in 1955 116
Memana (Babel Farm) 76.6 on the 11th 54.6 on the 9th in 2008 48
Deviot Jetty 54.6 on the 18th 40.0 on the 9th in 1996 24



Record highest total February rainfall
Total rainfall
for February 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Deal Island 236.4 175.8 in 1939 140 38.7
Memana (Babel Farm) 179.2 112.8 in 1977 49 43.3
Deviot Jetty 95.0 89.2 in 1996 23 39.5

Highest total February rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for February 2012 (mm)
Most recent February
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
February
Lady Barron (Franklin Parade) 75.0 116.8 in 1978* 33 40.4

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




Record highest February temperature
Highest temperature
in February 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 36.9 on the 25th 36.6 on the 18th in 2007 27 22.0
Dover 37.4 on the 25th 36.8 on the 18th in 2007 23 20.5
Lake St Clair National Park 32.0 on the 25th 31.9 on the 3rd in 2001 22 19.2
Maydena Post Office 35.9 on the 25th 35.8 on the 25th in 1995 20 22.2



Record highest February daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in February 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 23.5 on the 26th 20.4 on the 15th in 1994 56 11.1
Orford (Aubin Court) 23.0 on the 27th 22.5 on the 3rd in 2001 44 12.0
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 21.0 on the 27th 18.3 on the 13th in 1999 27 9.8
Devonport Airport 20.0 on the 27th = 20.0 on the 4th in 2010 21 12.5
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 19.8 on the 26th = 19.8 on the 18th in 2007 20 13.7



Record highest February mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for February 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Tarraleah Village 8.9 = 8.9 in 2001 27 7.1



Summary statistics for February 2012
Maximum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Rainfall
for February
(millimetres)
Mean for
February
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
February
2012
Mean for
February
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
February
2012
Total for
February
2012
Average
for
February
Rank of
February
2012
Fraction of
February
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 21.9 -0.2 27.9 25th 13.3 +0.1 10.4 29th
Burnie (Round Hill) 22.7 +1.5 28.0 26th     10.6 7th 42.0 44.6 average 94%
Cape Grim 20.7   26.5 26th 14.2   10.4 1st 17.4
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 20.8 +1.3 27.1 26th 14.2 +0.5 10.3 1st 16.8 33.9 low 50%
Cressy Research Station 25.0 -0.1 34.1 25th 11.4 +1.1 4.2 24th 24.2 29.1 average 83%
Devonport Airport 22.0 +0.5 26.6 26th 13.4 +0.9 9.2 24th 63.0 37.6 high 168%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 24.9 +0.4 31.4 25th 13.5 +1.4 8.6 1st 47.4 32.2 high 147%
Launceston Airport 24.8   33.0 25th 11.6   6.9 1st 27.2
Low Head 21.6 +0.6 26.0 26th 14.7 +0.2 12.1 9th 36.8 27.2 average 135%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 21.7 +0.6 31.1 25th 11.4 +0.7 5.5 8th 55.8 56.2 average 99%
Marrawah 21.8 +1.0 31.0 26th 13.1 +0.7 9.0 1st 41.6 44.9 average 93%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 22.8 -0.2 31.5 25th 11.9 +0.8 8.4 29th 42.6 40.5 average 105%
Sheffield School Farm 22.2 +0.7 29.0 25th 10.9 +0.2 6.5 8th 92.2 45.0 high 205%
Smithton Aerodrome 22.1 +0.3 28.0 26th 11.5 -0.1 3.8 8th 29.8 33.4 average 89%
Wynyard Airport 22.2 +0.6 28.6 26th 12.3 +0.8 7.0 8th 49.2 49.1 average 100%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 22.6 +1.2 34.5 25th 14.1 +1.1 10.4 1st 20.8 57.8 low 36%
Eddystone Point 23.1 +1.9 33.0 25th 15.5 +1.3 12.7 7th 42.6 46.6 average 91%
Fingal (Legge Street) 23.6 +0.8 35.9 25th 10.8 +0.8 6.1 1st 11.2 40.6 low 28%
Friendly Beaches 24.1 +1.5 38.6 25th 13.5 +0.3 9.7 1st 22.0 57.2 low 38%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 18.7 -0.2 30.7 25th 9.0 +0.8 4.6 1st 28.0 46.1 average 61%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 21.8   32.6 25th 14.4   10.6 9th 11.2
Orford (Aubin Court) 22.3 +0.4 38.2 25th 13.2 +1.2 8.4 24th 26.0 45.4 average 57%
Scamander 22.7 +1.0 36.0 25th 14.1 +1.2 10.2 1st 26.0 44.5 average 58%
St Helens Aerodrome 22.5 +0.8 34.3 25th 13.7 +0.5 10.8 3rd 60.2 64.5 average 93%
Swan Island 21.5 +0.6 30.2 25th 15.6 +0.4 13.4 1st 34.6 44.0 average 79%
Swansea (Francis Street) 22.8   37.7 25th 12.9   8.1 10th 28.2
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 24.4 +0.4 35.0 25th 10.9 +0.3 4.7 24th 20.8 39.2 low 53%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 21.9 +0.7 38.0 25th 12.9 +0.3 9.5 1st 25.4 42.6 average 60%
Campania (Kincora) 24.1 +0.3 39.3 25th 11.5 +0.4 6.3 24th 22.0 33.1 low 66%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 21.2 +1.5 37.3 26th 13.0 +0.7 9.7 8th 24.4 61.5 low 40%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 20.4 +1.9 36.0 26th 13.2 +1.5 9.6 6th 23.8 56.9 v low 42%
Dover 21.4 +0.9 37.4 25th 10.5 +0.3 3.0 29th 27.2 52.1 low 52%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 22.5 +0.5 36.9 25th 10.5 +0.7 3.1 29th 21.4 50.8 low 42%
Grove (Research Station) 22.9   37.2 25th 9.5   3.4 24th 32.4
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 22.5 +0.9 38.8 25th 13.3 +1.3 8.6 8th 22.6 40.2 average 56%
Hobart Airport 23.1 +0.9 39.4 25th 12.8 +0.8 8.0 9th 21.0 36.4 average 58%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 19.0 +1.8 30.9 26th 12.8 +1.7 9.1 8th 45.4 70.5 average 64%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 23.2 -0.2 37.6 25th 10.8 +0.7 5.5 11th 8.6 33.6 low 26%
Mount Wellington 12.8 -0.8 28.3 25th 5.5 +0.2 -0.1 1st 97.4 80.4 high 121%
Tasman Island 19.2 +1.9 35.1 25th 12.8 +1.3 8.5 1st 27.6 51.7 v low 53%
Tunnack Fire Station 21.0 -0.2 33.5 25th 8.6 -0.4 2.4 29th 17.0 46.8 low 36%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 24.8 +0.9 39.1 25th 10.6 +0.6 4.9 8th 8.4 35.0 v low 24%
Maydena Post Office 22.6 +0.4 35.9 25th 9.3 +0.5 2.9 29th 27.9 63.4 v low 44%
Ouse Fire Station 25.4 +0.3 38.4 25th 11.0 +1.2 6.0 24th 8.2 31.1 low 26%
Tarraleah Village 20.6 +0.7 32.7 25th 8.9 +1.8 3.9 8th 21.1 60.0 low 35%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 19.8 +1.1 31.6 25th 7.6 +1.4 -0.1 8th 45.8 81.5 low 56%
Lake St Clair National Park 19.8 +0.6 32.0 25th 7.5 +1.6 0.2 8th 41.0 81.8 low 50%
Liawenee 17.9 -0.3 28.6 25th 6.4 +1.5 -0.3 24th 50.4 44.0 average 115%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 20.7 +2.2 26.9 25th 13.1 +1.0 9.1 8th 32.4 66.7 low 49%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 17.3 -0.2 32.0 25th 7.7 +0.5 2.7 1st 44.4 65.4 average 68%
Mount Read 14.2 0.0 26.9 25th 6.8 +0.6 1.2 1st 134.0 172.9 low 78%
Scotts Peak Dam 22.5 +1.6 34.1 25th 10.1 +0.7 4.3 8th 67.8 76.2 average 89%
Strahan Aerodrome 22.4 +1.3 34.9 26th 11.1 +0.4 4.4 8th 47.0 64.3 average 73%
Warra 19.4   34.0 25th 8.6   1.4 29th 48.0
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 23.0 +1.9 36.1 25th 13.3 +0.3 8.5 8th 7.8 31.2 v low 25%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 23.5 +0.9 34.7 25th 14.0 +0.3 6.5 1st 50.0 39.2 average 128%
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 9.0 +0.4 10.9 6th 5.8 +0.5 2.9 18th 55.2 85.1 v low 65%

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 Thursday 1 March 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