Tasmania in May 2013: A mixed bag

A warm spell from the 7th to the 14th saw above average temperatures across Tasmania, but temperatures were generally cooler than normal for the rest of the month. Overall, May days were above average but nights were below average. Launceston and Devonport reported their coldest May day on record on the 20th. A low pressure system passing over Bass Strait brought some rain to the north on the 15th and 16th, but rainfall was generally average to below average for the month elsewhere.

  • Launceston and Devonport's coldest May day on record on the 20th
  • Above average rainfall in the north, below average in the west and southeast
  • A warm spell during the middle of the month
  • Generally cool nights

A summary covering all of autumn 2013 has also been prepared.

Some rain in the north, but relatively dry elsewhere

A low pressure system passed over Bass Strait on the 15th and 16th, bringing significant rain to the north of the state. Frankford, Low Head and Sheffield all reported falls over 60 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 16th. This was enough for the north to see above average monthly rainfall totals.

Earlier in the month, thunderstorms blanketed the Launceston area with small hail on the 1st, contributing to a number of car crashes. However, daily rainfall totals were only of the order of a few millimetres.

The remainder of the state remained relatively dry with below average falls over the course of the month. Although the highest rainfall total was reported at Mount Read with 279 mm, this was still well below the site's May average of 403 mm. Campania reported the lowest rainfall total of the month with only 10 mm, very much below its May average of 32 mm.

A mid-month warm spell with a hint of winter

Tasmania experienced a warm spell between the 7th and 12th as a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea directed a northerly flow across the state. Records were broken for both maximum and minimum temperatures during this time. Mount Wellington reported its highest May temperature on record with 17.3 °C on the 10th (2.6 °C above the previous record set in 2007) while Campania recorded the hottest day of the month with a maximum of 23.8 °C on the 10th. Both Maatsuyker Island (17.0 °C on the 11th) and Strahan (16.4 °C on the 12th) had their warmest May night on record with Maatsuyker Island also the warmest overnight minimum in the state this month.

Much of the remainder of the month saw below average temperatures. Both Launceston and Devonport reported their coldest May day on record in cloudy and wet conditions on the 20th with maximum temperatures of only 9.0 °C and 8.8 °C respectively. The coldest day of the month was reported at Mount Wellington on the 4th with a maximum of only -0.6 °C while Liawenee experienced the coldest night of the month on the 20th with an overnight minimum of -7.0 °C.

Another month of warm days overall

Despite the hint of the winter to come, the warm spell during the middle of the month was enough to lift overall mean daily maximum temperatures for the month, which were above the long-term May average across the state, by about half a degree in the north and about a degree in the south.

With several runs of cold nights mean daily minimum temperatures were mostly below normal, typically by about half to one degree, although at a few sites in the northwest nights were slightly warmer than usual.

Hobart continues mild and dry

Despite several cold days, the warm spell during the middle of the month led to Hobart reporting another warmer than usual month during May with an average maximum temperature 1.6 °C above the long term mean. The warmest day of the month was the 11th with a maximum in Hobart of 22.4 °C; Mount Wellington had experienced a record breaking 17.3 °C the previous day (its warmest May day on record). The month ended with a warm spell: Hobart reached 19.7 °C on the 30th and 18.4 °C on the 31st.. Hobart's coldest day of the month was the 4th with a maximum of only 11.8 °C.

Although there were a few chilly mornings, Hobart's mean minimum temperature was just above average by 0.1 °C. The coldest night was the 20th when the temperature dropped to 1.6 °C.

Over the month, only 23 mm of rainfall was reported, which is half the long-term average. Hobart's heaviest fall was 6.2 mm on the 4th and resulted from the passage of a cold front. This same cold front was associated with strong and gusty winds across the state on the 3rd as the northwesterly flow strengthened ahead of the change.

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Extremes in May 2013
Hottest day23.8 °C at Campania (Kincora) on the 10th
Warmest days on average17.0 °C at Larapuna (Eddystone Point)
Coolest days on average6.6 °C at Mount Read
Coldest day-0.6 °C at Mount Wellington on the 4th
Coldest night-7.0 °C at Liawenee on the 20th
Coolest nights on average0.5 °C at Liawenee
Warmest nights on average10.4 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night17.0 °C at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on the 11th
Warmest on average overall 13.3 °C at Swan Island and Larapuna (Eddystone Point)
Coolest on average overall 4.1 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall279.4 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall9.6 mm at Campania (Kincora)
Wettest day65.0 mm at Frankford (Rossville) on the 16th
Highest wind gust135 km/h at Mount Wellington on the 25th

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


Highest total May rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for May 2013 (mm)
Most recent May
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
May
King Island Airport 146.4 160.6 in 1992* 20 87.5

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




Record highest May temperature
Highest temperature
in May 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Mount Wellington 17.3 on the 10th 14.9 on the 11th in 2007 34 5.6



Record lowest May daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in May 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 9.0 on the 20th 9.6 on the 12th in 2011 32 15.8
Devonport Airport 8.8 on the 20th 9.4 on the 29th in 1997 22 15.3



Highest May mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for May 2013 (°C)
Most recent May
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
May
Cape Sorell 14.9 15.4 in 1947* 25 13.7

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




Record highest May daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in May 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 17.0 on the 11th 16.2 on the 8th in 1992 57 8.4
Strahan Aerodrome 16.4 on the 12th 15.0 on the 1st in 1997 22 7.4



Lowest May mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for May 2013 (°C)
Most recent May
at least this cool
Years since
cooler
Average for
May
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 1.9 1.6 in 1979 34 4.1



Summary statistics for May 2013
Maximum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Rainfall
for May
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2013
Mean for
May
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2013
Total for
May
2013
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2013
Fraction of
May
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 15.9 0.0 19.5 9th 7.3 -0.5 2.7 2nd 84.8 63.2 average 134%
Burnie (Round Hill) 15.8 +0.5 19.7 12th 8.9 +0.6 4.2 19th 107.4 92.8 average 116%
Cape Grim 14.8   19.1 9th 9.9   5.6 6th 88.0
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 15.2 +0.6 20.4 9th 9.9 -0.2 6.4 20th 70.2 76.5 average 92%
Cressy Research Station 15.1 +0.3 19.5 12th 3.0 -0.4 -4.0 20th 60.6 45.1 high 134%
Devonport Airport 15.4 +0.1 19.6 12th 6.4 -0.3 0.8 19th 94.2 73.5 average 128%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 16.3 +0.5 21.5 9th 4.1 -1.0 -1.5 19th 59.0 62.1 average 95%
Launceston Airport 15.1   20.2 12th 4.0   -1.7 6th 56.2
Low Head 15.2 -0.2 17.7 12th 8.3 -1.1 4.4 2nd 133.4 62.9 v high 212%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 13.4 +0.4 20.7 9th 7.0 +0.1 2.5 27th 117.0 152.6 average 77%
Marrawah 15.1 +0.4 20.2 9th 8.8 -0.3 4.5 2nd 138.2 104.8 high 132%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 14.6 -0.3 20.1 9th 5.9 +0.1 0.4 2nd 101.4 97.1 average 104%
Sheffield School Farm 13.6 0.0 17.9 12th 4.9 -0.5 -0.3 5th 171.0 87.1 high 196%
Smithton Aerodrome 15.9 +0.5 19.0 12th 5.5 -0.7 -0.9 2nd 68.8 79.5 average 87%
Wynyard Airport 15.3 +0.2 19.3 12th 5.7 +0.4 -0.1 20th 105.0 97.0 average 108%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 16.7 +0.2 19.5 25th 8.4 -0.1 3.5 2nd 46.6 56.7 average 82%
Fingal (Legge Street) 15.5 +0.3 22.0 12th 1.9 -0.9 -4.5 20th 29.8 50.0 average 60%
Friendly Beaches 16.6 +0.5 22.0 12th 7.9 -0.3 2.5 7th 47.4 56.1 average 84%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 11.8 +0.4 18.3 12th 1.3 -0.8 -4.3 20th 49.4 72.9 average 68%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 17.0 +1.2 21.6 9th 9.5 -0.2 4.4 19th 63.2 65.5 average 96%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 15.4   18.9 11th 9.6   5.9 20th 21.0
Orford (Aubin Court) 16.2 +0.5 21.8 12th     0.7 7th 22.8 58.0 low 39%
St Helens Aerodrome 16.3 +0.3 20.1 9th 6.8 -0.3 1.8 5th 36.8 45.9 average 80%
Swan Island 16.2 +0.4 20.3 8th 10.4 -0.3 5.5 5th 72.0 48.7 high 148%
Swansea (Francis Street) 16.5   22.3 12th 5.6   -0.1 20th 27.8
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 14.9 +0.6 20.1 12th 1.7 -1.6 -5.3 20th 18.4 29.1 average 63%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 15.5 +0.5 22.0 3rd 7.8 -0.3 3.5 20th 41.2 40.8 average 101%
Campania (Kincora) 16.9 +1.0 23.8 10th 4.8 -0.9 -1.4 28th 9.6 30.5 v low 31%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 14.9 +0.6 20.2 3rd 8.5 -0.2 4.3 20th 77.0 62.2 high 124%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 14.6 +1.1 20.2 3rd 8.5 +0.2 4.4 20th 84.4 84.4 average 100%
Dennes Point 15.2   22.0 3rd 8.0   3.9 28th 32.8
Dover 15.0 +0.3 21.3 3rd 5.1 -0.7 -0.5 20th 56.6 70.8 average 80%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 15.2   22.8 3rd 8.7   4.8 20th 28.2
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 15.7 +1.2 21.8 11th 3.3 -1.4 -2.9 20th 34.0 69.8 low 49%
Grove (Research Station) 15.7   22.5 12th 3.3   -3.5 28th 36.2
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 16.0 +1.6 22.4 11th 7.1 +0.1 1.6 20th 23.0 46.3 low 50%
Hobart Airport 16.2 +1.0 22.8 11th 6.1 -0.5 2.0 20th 21.0 35.4 low 59%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 14.0 +1.3 21.0 10th 9.7 +1.3 5.7 4th 110.8 114.9 average 96%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 14.9 +0.7 21.9 10th 2.6 -1.8 -5.4 20th 12.4 28.2 v low 44%
Mount Wellington 6.8 +1.2 17.3 10th 1.3 +0.7 -3.9 4th 44.8 64.7 average 69%
Tasman Island 13.6 +0.4 19.1 3rd 8.9 +0.3 4.5 4th 99.6 73.4 high 136%
Tunnack Fire Station 12.9 +0.6 18.1 10th 2.5 -1.1 -6.0 20th 29.0 45.2 low 64%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 15.1 +0.8 21.1 3rd 1.9 -2.2 -4.7 28th 16.4 45.2 low 36%
Maydena Post Office 13.4 +0.4 20.0 12th 3.0 -1.4 -0.5 24th 59.5 91.9 low 65%
Ouse Fire Station 14.8 -0.1 21.4 12th 1.9 -1.9 -4.6 28th 19.2 28.4 average 68%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 11.5 +1.6 19.8 10th 0.9 -0.9 -4.5 28th 92.8 157.5 low 59%
Lake St Clair National Park 10.7 +0.5 19.0 10th 1.1 -0.6 -3.8 28th 106.6 156.8 average 68%
Liawenee 9.5 +0.5 19.9 10th 0.5 +0.4 -7.0 20th 80.6 79.3 average 102%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 14.9 +1.2 20.4 9th 9.3 +0.3 5.4 20th 86.2 128.2 low 67%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 9.6 +1.1 18.3 10th 3.9 +0.5 -0.7 4th 64.0 72.7 average 88%
Low Rocky Point 15.2   22.1 10th 8.6   3.8 20th 143.2 131.6 average 109%
Mount Read 6.6 +0.3 15.3 9th 2.4 +0.3 -1.9 4th 279.4 395.7 low 71%
Scotts Peak Dam 12.7 +1.2 19.8 11th 5.0 -0.6 -0.7 20th 136.2 167.7 average 81%
Strahan Aerodrome 15.3 +1.1 21.6 10th 6.8 -0.6 1.1 23rd 128.0 144.3 average 89%
Warra 12.1   20.8 10th 3.9   -3.3 20th 93.8
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 16.2 +0.7 22.3 11th 9.4 +0.1 3.8 22nd 146.4 87.5 v high 167%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 16.9 +0.7 22.8 12th 7.1 -1.9 -0.4 5th
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 5.7 -0.2 8.2 11th 2.5 0.0 -4.2 28th 106.8 83.3 high 128%

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 Monday 3 June 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