Tasmania in December 2013: a mixed bag

The weather was mixed through December in Tasmania, with plenty of cool weather countered by a few hot days, and several wet days in the west but low totals in the southeast corner of the state.

  • Many wet days in the west
  • Record dry at York Plains, record wet on Deal Island
  • Many cool days, but a few hot ones
  • Some cold nights

The Tasmanian annual climate summary is also available, as is the Bureau of Meteorology's Australian annual climate statement.

Rain at times, but dry in the southeast

Westerly winds and cold fronts brought rain to the western half of the state right through the month, particularly around the 4th and from the 9th to 13th. Mount Read had 51.0 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 13th, and Butlers Gorge received 41.0 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 11th. A low that moved down the west coast brought moderate falls to many areas from the 21st to the 23rd.

However, the southern Midlands, lower East Coast and parts of the Derwent Valley missed out on much of this rain, and totals for the month were well down on average in those areas. York Plains (Handroyd), with just 6.2 mm for the whole month, reported its lowest total December rainfall on record. Meanwhile, a few days of moderate rain ensured that Deal Island recorded its highest total December rainfall since 1985.

Plenty of cool weather, but a few hot days

There were more relatively cool days than warm ones in Tasmania during December 2013, with an extended run of cool days from about the 4th to the 14th, and other cool spells around the 21st and the 29th. Against this, temperatures tipped 30 °C in the southeast on the 2nd, reached 35 °C on the 19th and were in the high 20s on the 25th and 28th. Overall, daytime temperatures were a little above average at most sites, although a little below average at some.

The hottest day was the 19th, when Bushy Park reached 36.2 °C, Ouse Fire Station reached 35.9 °C and Hobart 35.5 °C. At the other extreme, on the 10th Mount Read reached only 3.1 °C and Mount Wellington 3.4 °C. The warmest days on average were at Ouse Fire Station with 22.9 °C, with Bushy Park not far behind on 22.8 °C

Cool nights to start, mild ones to end

After a relatively mild start, nights were generally cool from the 5th to the 17th. In the second half of the month, overnight temperatures were generally above average, although the 29th and 30th were once again cool. Overall, mean minimum temperatures were close to average for most of the state, but generally on the warm side.

The coldest night was at Mount Wellington with -2.5 °C on the 6th, followed by Liawenee with -2.0 °C on the 16th. Liawenee also had the equal warmest night of the month, with 17.4 °C on the 20th the same as Flinders Island Airport's minimum for the morning of the 3rd. The warmest nights on average were at Swan Island with 12.7 °C, just ahead of Low Head with 12.6 °C. The coolest nights on average were at Mount Wellington with 3.4 °C.

Strong and gusty westerly winds

The dominant weather pattern over Tasmania during December 2013 was one of westerly winds and cold fronts. Although not uncommon, these westerlies have been more regular than usual of late (September and October were especially affected). There were several bursts of strong and gusty winds during December, notably around the 10th and from the 28th to the 30th. Mount Wellington recorded a gust to 128 km/h on the 29th, as did Hogan Island on the 10th.

Hobart: some warm days and relatively dry

Hobart reached 35.5 °C on the 19th, its warmest December day since the 31st in 2009. It had also reached 30.4 °C on the 2nd. On the 25th the temperature reached 27.8 °C, Hobart's warmest Christmas Day since 1989 (when it was 31.5 °C). There were also plenty of cool days: it failed to reach 17 °C on 6 days (which is typical for December), and on the 20th reached only 15.3 °C. Hobart's mean daily maximum temperature for December was 0.9 °C above average at 21.2 °C.

Hobart's overnight temperatures were also mixed, ranging from a low of 7.7 °C on the 6th to 15.5 °C on the 26th. The mean daily minimum was 11.8 °C, which is 1.0 °C above the long-term average.

It was a relatively dry month in Hobart, with a total of 28.2 mm just half the long-term average of 56.2 mm. Of this, 12 mm fell in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 6th, and 9.8 mm in the 48 hours to 9 am on the 24th. Nearby, Hobart Airport registered only 15.8 mm for the whole month.

In common with much of Tasmania, Hobart had strong and gusty west to northwest winds several times during December, with peak gusts of 83 km/h on the 8th and again on the 28th.

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Extremes in December 2013
Hottest day 36.2 °C at Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) on the 19th
Warmest days on average 22.9 °C at Ouse Fire Station
Coolest days on average 12.0 °C at Mount Read
Coldest day 3.1 °C at Mount Read on the 10th
Coldest night -2.5 °C at Mount Wellington on the 6th
Coolest nights on average 3.4 °C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 12.7 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 17.4 °C at Flinders Island Airport on the 3rd and Liawenee on the 20th
Warmest on average overall 16.6 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest on average overall 7.8 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 349.2 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 6.2 mm at York Plains (Handroyd)
Wettest day 51.0 mm at Mount Read on the 13th
Highest wind gust 128 km/h at Hogan Island on the 10th and Mount Wellington on the 29th

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 December rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for December 2013 (mm)
Most recent December
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
December
Deal Island 113.6 161.6 in 1985* 26 50.1

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




Record lowest total December rainfall
Total rainfall
for December 2013 (mm)
Previous driest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
York Plains (Handroyd) 6.2 6.6 in 1921 98 56.0



Record lowest December daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in December 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 15.0 on the 21st = 15.0 on the 2nd in 2001 20 20.1



Summary statistics for December 2013
Maximum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Rainfall
for December
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2013
Mean for
December
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2013
Total for
December
2013
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2013
Fraction of
December
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 20.0 -0.1 25.6 26th 10.2 -0.9 4.5 6th 62.3 45.7 average 136%
Burnie (Round Hill) 20.6 +1.1 27.8 20th 11.5 +0.4 5.3 6th 62.8 63.9 average 98%
Burnie NTC AWS 19.0   27.6 17th 12.2   8.1 6th
Cape Grim 16.5   22.9 26th 11.7   8.4 1st 47.4
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 17.0 -0.3 23.3 26th 11.7 -0.1 8.5 6th 45.6 46.3 average 98%
Cressy Research Station 21.7 -1.1 28.5 19th 8.3 0.0 1.4 30th 31.4 44.0 average 71%
Devonport Airport 19.7 +0.1 25.0 26th 10.9 +0.4 3.2 6th 52.0 53.5 average 97%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 22.5 +0.1 29.4 19th 10.7 +0.1 5.0 30th 37.2 46.8 average 79%
Launceston Airport 21.9   28.9 19th 8.6   3.4 14th 41.4 45.1 average 92%
Low Head 18.9 +0.1 24.8 26th 12.6 -0.1 7.8 6th 46.4 44.1 average 105%
Marrawah 17.9 -0.4 24.2 19th 10.9 +0.3 7.2 5th 44.6 63.8 low 70%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 20.9 +0.1 28.6 19th 9.1 -0.1 3.9 6th 79.2 67.4 high 118%
Sheffield School Farm 19.5 0.0 26.9 19th 8.7 -0.1 4.4 5th 56.0 67.3 average 83%
Smithton Aerodrome 19.7 +0.3 25.3 27th 9.6 0.0 3.6 7th 46.4 59.3 average 78%
Wynyard Airport 20.5 +1.0 28.3 17th 9.6 +0.1 3.5 14th 53.6 65.1 average 82%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 20.5 +0.5 30.5 2nd 11.8 +0.3 7.9 6th 45.1 67.3 average 67%
Fingal (Legge Street) 21.9 +0.4 30.2 19th 7.9 -0.7 1.4 5th 39.6 49.6 average 80%
Friendly Beaches 21.7 +0.1 31.1 2nd 11.4 -0.3 7.6 6th 33.6 39.9 average 84%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 18.0 +0.4 25.0 3rd 6.4 -0.5 1.5 5th 34.8 72.3 low 48%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 19.9 +0.4 24.4 3rd 12.1 -0.1 7.8 6th 70.0 59.9 average 117%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 19.2   25.2 19th 12.1   8.0 6th 26.4
Orford (Aubin Court) 20.6 +0.2 29.6 2nd 10.4 -0.1 6.9 30th 22.9 62.8 low 36%
Spring Bay NTC AWS 19.2   27.3 19th 12.0   7.8 5th
St Helens Aerodrome 21.0 0.0 29.0 2nd 11.3 -0.2 6.4 6th 51.4 48.2 average 107%
Swan Island 18.7 -0.6 24.0 28th 12.7 -0.5 8.3 6th 59.8 49.2 average 122%
Swansea (Francis Street) 20.7   29.2 2nd 10.2   5.9 1st 19.2
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 22.1 -0.5 29.2 19th 8.2 -0.3 1.0 30th 19.2 38.0 low 51%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 19.7 -0.1 30.0 19th 10.8 +0.2 6.7 11th 29.2 59.4 low 49%
Campania (Kincora) 21.8 -0.9 34.8 19th 9.9 0.0 5.2 1st 16.8 35.4 v low 47%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 18.4 +0.1 28.6 28th 10.6 0.0 6.2 11th 39.4 57.0 average 69%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 17.7 +0.7 27.5 19th 10.5 +0.2 6.0 1st 42.6 76.1 low 56%
Dennes Point 20.1   30.7 19th 11.6   7.8 6th 17.0
Dover 19.5 +0.4 30.2 19th 9.0 +0.1 3.4 6th 55.6 70.9 average 78%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 19.9   30.4 19th 11.8   8.3 11th 29.0
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 20.2 +0.3 35.1 19th 9.3 +0.6 4.4 1st 70.2 70.5 average 100%
Grove (Research Station) 20.6   35.0 19th 8.6   4.2 7th 39.4 58.1 low 68%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 21.2 +0.9 35.5 19th 11.8 +1.0 7.7 6th 28.2 56.2 low 50%
Hobart Airport 21.4 +0.7 34.7 19th 11.3 +0.6 7.9 1st 15.8 52.5 v low 30%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.2 -0.5 24.9 19th 9.8 +0.2 5.5 11th 117.8 90.3 high 130%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 21.6 -0.1 35.2 19th 8.5 -0.5 3.2 6th 19.2 37.0 low 52%
Mount Wellington 12.4 +1.4 26.6 19th 3.4 +0.6 -2.5 6th
Tasman Island 16.6 +0.1 27.6 19th 10.0 -0.1 5.9 12th 45.2 59.9 average 75%
Tunnack Fire Station 18.6 -0.8 27.7 19th 7.3 -0.1 1.8 5th 24.6 51.6 low 48%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 22.8 +0.8 36.2 19th 9.0 -0.1 2.8 5th 30.4 50.2 low 61%
Maydena Post Office 19.8 +0.1 33.1 19th 7.8 +0.4 3.6 5th 78.7 85.8 average 92%
Ouse Fire Station 22.9 0.0 35.9 19th 8.7 +0.1 3.1 5th 13.8 33.6 v low 41%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 16.9 +0.3 29.7 19th 5.4 -0.1 1.1 1st 140.0 125.6 average 111%
Lake St Clair National Park 17.3 +0.1 30.6 19th 5.0 0.0 0.8 1st 146.4 131.5 high 111%
Liawenee 16.7 +0.6 28.3 19th 4.3 +0.6 -2.0 16th 37.8 62.9 low 60%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 18.2 +1.3 27.3 19th 11.4 +0.6 8.1 1st 81.2 81.1 average 100%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 14.9 +0.1 29.9 19th 5.4 +0.3 0.4 12th 81.4 78.6 average 104%
Low Rocky Point 17.1   24.4 19th 10.3   5.4 1st 109.0 90.2 average 121%
Mount Read 12.0 +0.3 27.6 19th 4.0 +0.1 -1.1 6th 349.2 295.0 high 118%
Scotts Peak Dam 18.3 -0.2 32.9 19th 7.9 0.0 4.2 6th 161.8 151.6 high 107%
Strahan Aerodrome 19.4 -0.3 33.1 19th 10.0 +0.4 5.2 1st 124.4 95.0 high 131%
Warra 17.5   31.9 19th 6.6   2.0 1st 163.4 140.1 high 117%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 18.7 0.0 27.3 19th 11.3 +0.3 5.7 1st 47.6 50.5 average 94%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 20.4 +0.2 30.0 19th 12.4 +0.6 5.0 1st 85.6 58.1 high 147%

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 8 am on Friday 3 January 2014. 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