Tasmania in December 2012: Wet in the north, but dry and warm in the east

December rainfall was above average in the north of Tasmania following heavy rain overnight on the 14th, but was below average in the east. Daytime temperatures were warmer than average in most areas, by up to 2 °C above average in the east. Minimum temperatures were generally within 1 °C of average.

  • Wynyard and Ulverstone's wettest December day on record
  • Dry in the east
  • Warm days, especially in the east
  • Bicheno's warmest December night on record

An Annual Climate Summary for Tasmania is also available, as is the Australian Annual Climate Statement 2012.

Heavy rain in the northwest

A low pressure system and associated cloud band crossed Tasmania overnight on the 14th, producing locally heavy rainfall in the northwest. Sites across the north recorded 20 to 40 mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 15th, and a few sites in the northwest received up to 80 mm, including Ulverstone with 78 mm and Wynyard with 68 mm, the highest December daily rainfall on record at both sites.

Other wet days include the 19th, when a cold front produced falls of up to 40 mm in the north and west, and around the 4th and 14th when cold fronts and troughs brought falls of 20 to 40 mm to the west. Daily totals were often less than 10 mm in other areas throughout December.

Overall, monthly rainfall totals were below average in the east, but were average to above average across the north and west. Fingal only recorded 11 mm for the whole month, the driest site in Tasmania, and Scamander had its driest December in 24 years with only 15 mm. Mount Read was the wettest site with at least 268 mm (although some recordings were lost). Queenstown was the next wettest site with 191 mm.

A mix of hot and cold days

Daytime temperatures were warmer than normal for most of the 7th to 15th, when northerly winds were common. The 8th was particularly warm, temperatures reaching into the mid-thirties in the southeast and west. Dover recorded a maximum of 33.7 °C on the 8th, the warmest day of the month.

In contrast, maximum temperatures were especially cold on the 4th and 5th in a cold southwesterly airstream. Temperatures didn't rise past the mid-teens, and remained below 10 degrees in the Central Plateau. Mount Wellington's maximum of only 2.4 °C on the 4th was the coldest day of the month, and Maydena's maximum of 9.4 °C was its coldest December day on record.

Overall, maximum temperatures were mostly warmer than average, rising up to around 2 degrees warmer than average in the east.

Mild nights in the southeast

Minimum temperatures were generally within one degree of average, but tending on the warm side in the southeast. The warmest nights were around the 1st, 13th to 15th and the 24th in mild northerly winds. Bicheno recorded a minimum of 18.8 °C on the morning of the 1st, its warmest December night on record.

The coldest nights were around the 5th, 10th and 17th when temperatures below 8 degrees were common. Mount Wellington's -2.7 °C on the morning of the 5th was the coldest temperature of the month.

Warm and dry conditions continue in Hobart

December was warmer and drier than average in Hobart, continuing a pattern seen in recent months. Maximum temperatures were 2.2 °C warmer than average and minimum temperatures 1.4 °C warmer than average. 22 mm of rain was well below the December average of 57 mm.

There were a few more hot days than usual, the temperature exceeding 25 degrees on 7 days (the average is 4), the warmest of which was 32.9 °C on the 8th. There were also less cold nights than usual; the temperature only fell below 10 degrees on 4 mornings, compared to an average of 11.

It rained on 10 days, which is just shy of average, but daily totals were mostly less than 5 mm. The 15th was the wettest day with only 9 mm.

Further information

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Extremes in December 2012
Hottest day 33.7 °C at Dover on the 8th
Warmest days on average 23.6 °C at Cressy Research Station and Fingal (Legge Street)
Coolest days on average12.2 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day 2.4 °C at Mount Wellington on the 4th
Coldest night -2.7 °C at Mount Wellington on the 5th
Coolest nights on average 3.2 °C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 13.1 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 20.7 °C at Flinders Island Airport on the 24th
Warmest on average overall 17.3 °C at Hobart (Ellerslie Road)
Coolest on average overall7.7 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 267.6 mm at Mount Read*
191.4 mm at Queenstown (South Queenstown)
Driest overall 11.4 mm at Fingal (Legge Street)
Wettest day 78.0 mm at Ulverstone (Knights Road) on the 15th
Highest wind gust143 km/h at Hogan Island on the 5th

* The true total at Mount Read is probably higher, as some data was lost during a power outage.


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 December daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in December 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for December
Years of
record
Ulverstone (Knights Road) 78.0 on the 15th 72.9 on the 13th in 1969 99
Wynyard Airport 67.6 on the 15th 56.6 on the 23rd in 1993 41



Lowest total December rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for December 2012 (mm)
Most recent December
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
December
Scamander 15.0 13.0 in 1977* 24 59.1

* 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 2012 (°C)
Previous coolest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Maydena Post Office 9.4 on the 4th = 9.4 on the 27th in 2004 21 19.7



Record highest December daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in December 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Bicheno (Council Depot) 18.8 on the 1st 18.4 on the 22nd in 2002 38 11.5



Summary statistics for December 2012
Maximum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Rainfall
for December
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2012
Mean for
December
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2012
Total for
December
2012
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2012
Fraction of
December
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 19.9 -0.2 24.2 23rd 10.6 -0.5 4.2 5th 74.4 44.8 high 166%
Burnie (Round Hill) 20.5 +1.1 25.0 24th 11.1 0.0 5.6 5th 86.8 63.9 high 136%
Cape Grim 17.2   22.6 23rd 12.1   7.5 5th 52.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 17.9 +0.7 23.3 8th 11.9 +0.1 7.3 5th 66.0 46.4 high 142%
Cressy Research Station 23.6 +0.9 28.9 8th 7.4 -1.0 2.1 30th 51.4 45.0 average 114%
Devonport Airport 20.5 +1.0 25.3 24th 10.7 +0.2 3.8 5th 62.8 53.4 average 118%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 23.1 +0.7 28.9 8th 10.0 -0.7 4.5 6th 76.2 47.3 high 161%
Launceston Airport 22.9   29.0 8th 7.9   2.3 17th 59.0
Low Head 18.6 -0.2 20.6 24th 12.8 +0.1 6.8 5th 53.4 43.9 average 122%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 18.4 -0.2 26.3 8th 8.9 +0.3 4.2 5th 96.4 92.6 average 104%
Marrawah 18.5 +0.2 24.8 8th 11.2 +0.6 7.0 4th 67.8 64.2 average 106%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 21.5 +0.7 28.1 8th 8.7 -0.5 2.7 6th 80.2 67.3 high 119%
Sheffield School Farm 19.7 +0.2 24.4 8th 8.5 -0.4 2.5 5th
Smithton Aerodrome 19.5 +0.1 24.2 24th 9.6 0.0 3.2 30th 68.2 60.1 average 113%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 21.3 +1.3 28.4 15th 12.0 +0.5 6.7 5th 12.2 67.5 v low 18%
Fingal (Legge Street) 23.6 +2.2 29.8 24th 7.8 -0.9 1.9 17th 11.4 49.7 low 23%
Friendly Beaches 22.6 +1.0 27.1 15th 11.6 -0.1 6.4 5th 21.8 40.4 low 54%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 19.1 +1.6 26.2 8th 6.4 -0.5 1.0 17th 35.3 72.6 low 49%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 22.2 +2.8 25.3 13th 12.0 -0.2 6.6 5th 48.6 59.8 average 81%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 20.4   24.7 8th 12.4   7.3 5th 45.2
Orford (Aubin Court) 21.8 +1.5 30.4 8th 10.8 +0.3 5.5 5th 33.0 63.4 average 52%
Scamander 21.8 +1.5 27.5 24th 11.4 +0.1 6.0 5th 15.0 59.1 v low 25%
St Helens Aerodrome 22.1 +1.2 28.6 24th 11.4 -0.1 4.9 5th 33.0 47.8 low 69%
Swan Island 19.9 +0.7 24.9 13th 13.1 -0.1 6.7 5th 50.8 48.3 average 105%
Swansea (Francis Street) 22.9   32.4 8th 10.4   5.0 5th 31.4
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 23.2 +0.7 29.6 8th 8.4 -0.1 1.2 5th 32.2 39.0 average 83%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 20.5 +0.7 31.0 8th 11.4 +0.8 6.0 4th 25.2 60.4 low 42%
Campania (Kincora) 23.5 +0.8 32.1 8th 10.4 +0.6 5.0 10th 29.4 36.9 average 80%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 18.6 +0.3 32.3 8th 10.8 +0.2 6.0 5th 43.4 58.1 average 75%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 17.8 +0.8 31.0 8th 10.7 +0.4 5.2 5th 47.4 76.3 low 62%
Dennes Point 21.3   28.1 8th 11.8   6.4 5th 16.4
Dover 19.4 +0.4 33.7 8th 9.3 +0.4 3.0 5th 42.8 71.1 average 60%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 21.4   32.1 8th 12.0   5.8 5th 18.6
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 20.4 +0.5 33.4 8th 9.1 +0.5 2.9 26th 43.6 70.5 low 62%
Grove (Research Station) 21.4   33.1 8th 8.4   1.5 10th
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 22.5 +2.2 32.9 8th 12.2 +1.4 7.0 5th 22.0 56.4 low 39%
Hobart Airport 22.7 +2.1 32.5 8th 11.5 +0.8 6.0 5th 26.6 53.1 average 50%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.8 +0.1 29.0 8th 10.2 +0.6 5.6 4th 84.8 90.1 average 94%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 21.8 +0.1 30.2 8th 9.0 +0.1 2.0 10th 32.4 38.1 average 85%
Mount Wellington 12.2 +1.2 22.4 8th 3.2 +0.4 -2.7 5th
Tasman Island 16.9 +0.4 24.0 19th 10.2 +0.1 4.9 5th 36.4 61.3 low 59%
Tunnack Fire Station 19.8 +0.4 26.1 8th 7.3 -0.1 0.5 10th 42.2 53.3 average 79%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 23.1 +1.1 32.7 8th 9.1 0.0 2.6 10th 27.8 50.3 low 55%
Maydena Post Office 19.6 -0.1 30.9 8th 7.6 +0.2 1.2 10th 58.7 86.1 low 68%
Ouse Fire Station 22.9 0.0 32.3 8th 8.4 -0.3 1.5 10th 28.8 35.0 average 82%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 16.4 -0.2 25.2 8th 5.8 +0.3 0.1 10th 115.4 125.4 average 92%
Lake St Clair National Park 16.6 -0.7 25.1 8th 5.1 +0.1 -0.3 10th 132.2 130.9 average 101%
Liawenee 16.5 +0.5 23.7 23rd 3.7 0.0 -1.8 10th 47.2 64.8 average 73%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 18.7 +1.8 24.3 23rd 11.5 +0.7 6.2 5th 82.8 81.1 average 102%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 14.8 0.0 27.5 8th 5.3 +0.2 -0.4 5th 62.8 78.5 low 80%
Low Rocky Point 18.7   32.4 8th 10.9   6.9 5th 107.6 89.2 average 121%
Scotts Peak Dam 18.6 +0.1 32.9 8th 8.0 +0.1 2.3 5th 153.2 150.8 high 102%
Strahan Aerodrome 19.8 +0.1 32.0 8th 10.1 +0.5 5.0 5th 119.2 93.9 high 127%
Strathgordon Village 17.4 +0.1 30.0 8th 7.1 -1.2 2.0 10th 166.2 198.6 average 84%
Warra 17.3   30.0 8th 6.7   0.9 26th 130.0
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 19.5 +0.8 28.7 8th 11.4 +0.4 5.8 10th 51.0 50.6 average 101%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 21.1 +1.0 31.2 23rd 12.8 +1.0 4.8 10th 42.8 57.5 average 74%
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 7.9 0.0 9.7 24th 4.5 +0.2 2.3 3rd 100.8 78.3 high 129%

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 Wednesday 2 January 2013. 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