Tasmania in May 2018: a record wet day around Hobart, dry in the north, a warm month overall

Temperatures were above average in Tasmania during May, with days especially warm in the first week. There was record-breaking rain in the southeast overnight from the 10th to 11th, but total rainfall was below average in the north. Strong and damaging winds occurred on several occasions.

Record-breaking rain in the southeast

  • A complex low pressure system crossed Tasmania on the 10th, then deepened to the northeast during the 11th bringing strong, gusty and moist southerly flow over the State
  • Rain and thunderstorms brought exceptionally high rainfall to the southeast of Tasmania, in particular to Hobart and the nearby Wellington Range where almost all sites reported their highest May daily rainfall on record (and in some cases their wettest day for any time of year) in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 11th
  • The daily totals of 236.2 mm at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) and 226.4 mm at Leslie Vale are now ranked two and three in the list of highest May daily rainfalls ever recorded in Tasmania
  • Much of the rain fell in about 6 hours on the evening of the 10th, leading to flash flooding in many streams in the southeast
  • There was extensive damage to bridges, roads, buildings and other infrastructure, with reports of nearly thirty million dollars in insurance claims together with nearly thirty million dollars in damage to municipal infrastructure
  • The heavy rain ensured that most of the southeastern third of the State had above average rainfall for the month; for several sites it was their wettest May since 1958 or in some cases their wettest May on record

Rainfall below average in the north

A warm month overall

  • There was very warm weather in the first few days of the month, with Campania reaching 25.3 °C on the 1st and a few sites (including Launceston) having their highest May temperature on record on the 1st or the 3rd
  • Days were mostly cool from the 10th to the 27th, and again at the very end of the month
  • There were several cold mornings in the middle of the month (Liawenee dropped to -4.1 °C on the 14th), but the coldest temperatures were in the final week; Liawenee dipped to -6.1 °C on the 25th
  • Despite the cool end to the month temperatures were above average overall, with the State's mean temperature 0.64 °C above average
  • Tasmania's mean minimum temperature was 0.76 °C above average, and the mean maximum temperature 0.52 °C above average

Damaging winds

  • Cold fronts crossing the State on the 5th and again on the 7th brought strong to locally storm-force winds including several gusts well over 100 km/h, leading to some damage
  • Along with the heavy rain on the 10th and 11th, there were strong and gusty southerly winds that caused further damage, including significant power outages
  • Another sequence of cold fronts on the 21st and 22nd brought gusts well over 100 km/h to many areas, leading to downed power lines, felled trees and structural damage

Hobart (Ellerslie Road)

  • Hobart (Ellerslie Road) had its wettest May day on record with 129.2 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 11th, almost half of which fell in the 3 hours between 9 pm and midnight on the 10th
  • This was the wettest day in Hobart since April 1960, and only the fifth time a daily total of more than 100 mm had been registered in 125 years of record
  • Total rainfall for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 146.2 mm, the wettest May since 1958 more than three times the long-term average of 46.7 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 15.8 °C, which is 1.3 °C above the long-term average of 14.5 °C. The warmest day was 23.1 °C on the 1st, and the coolest day was on the 27th when it reached just 11.3 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 8.4 °C, which is 1.4 °C above the long-term average of 7.0 °C. The coldest morning was 2.6 °C on the 27th, and the warmest morning was on the 4th when the minimum temperature was 13.3 °C
  • Hobart registered wind gusts to 113 km/h late on the 21st and again early on the 22nd, the strongest May gust since 1994; there was also a gust to 109 km/h on the 7th and a southerly gust to 89 km/h on the 10th.

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Extremes in May 2018
Hottest day 25.3 °C at Campania (Kincora) on the 1st
Warmest days on average 16.6 °C at Friendly Beaches
Coolest days on average 6.4 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day 0.3 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 30th
Coldest night -6.1 °C at Liawenee on the 25th
Coolest nights on average 0.9 °C at Liawenee
Warmest nights on average 11.5 °C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 16.0 °C at Hogan Island on the 3rd
Warmest on average overall 13.7 °C at Hogan Island
Coolest on average overall 3.7 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall at least 562.8 mm at Mount Read*
Driest overall 24.6 mm at Wynyard Airport
Wettest day 236.2 mm at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 11th
Strongest wind gust 148 km/h at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 22nd

* note: Some data are missing from Mount Read, and the true rainfall total is higher

 


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 May daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 129.2 on the 11th 47.0 on the 3rd in 1973 125
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 43.4 on the 11th 37.6 on the 3rd in 1973 113
Bronte Heights 40.2 on the 11th 38.6 on the 3rd in 1973 91
Opossum Bay 123.0 on the 11th 46.5 on the 23rd in 1949 87
Wattle Hill 86.4 on the 11th 83.8 on the 17th in 1969 84
Fort Direction 107.2 on the 11th 53.1 on the 17th in 1969 70
Woodbridge 67.0 on the 11th 57.2 on the 27th in 1947 67
Mauriceton (Jordan River) 49.4 on the 11th 37.8 on the 26th in 2012 53
Fern Tree (Grays Road) 163.4 on the 11th 115.6 on the 19th in 1986 52
Margate (Sunnyside) 151.0 on the 11th 71.6 on the 19th in 1986 51
Huonville (Tutton Avenue) 150.0 on the 11th 66.3 on the 3rd in 1973 49
Rotherwood 56.8 on the 11th 49.8 on the 2nd in 1973 47
Lucaston (Bakers Creek Road) 147.0 on the 11th 33.8 on the 4th in 2016 40
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 236.2 on the 11th 89.0 on the 22nd in 2003 38
Tea Tree (The Point) 67.2 on the 11th 44.2 on the 26th in 2012 33
Richmond (Strathayr) 74.2 on the 11th 45.6 on the 26th in 2012 30
Maydena Post Office 64.0 on the 11th 40.4 on the 28th in 1994 26
Nierinna (Cuthberts Road) 146.4 on the 11th 41.0 on the 22nd in 2003 26
Yarlington (Blacks Pinnacle) 87.0 on the 11th 51.0 on the 26th in 2012 25
Hermitage (Shannon River) 52.6 on the 11th 31.4 on the 26th in 2012 24
Mount Seymour 71.0 on the 11th 26.0 on the 3rd in 2012 24
Bothwell (Clyde River) 48.4 on the 11th 29.0 on the 26th in 2012 22
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 82.8 on the 11th 28.6 on the 4th in 2012 22
Judbury (Huon River) 120.4 on the 11th 25.4 on the 25th in 2005 22
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 69.8 on the 11th 42.8 on the 26th in 2012 22
Below Craigbourne Dam (Coal River) 100.8 on the 11th 67.4 on the 26th in 2012 20

 

Record highest daily rainfall for any time of year
Highest daily rainfall
in 2018 (mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Opossum Bay 123.0 on 11 May 110.5 on 23 Apr 1960 88
Fern Tree (Grays Road) 163.4 on 11 May 156.0 on 12 Aug 2010 52
Huonville (Tutton Avenue) 150.0 on 11 May 73.0 on 27 Dec 1998 51
Margate (Sunnyside) 151.0 on 11 May 123.2 on 14 Jan 2015 51
Lucaston (Bakers Creek Road) 147.0 on 11 May 79.0 on 27 Dec 1998 41
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 236.2 on 11 May 202.0 on 19 Dec 1995 40
Judbury (Huon River) 120.4 on 11 May 50.4 on 29 Aug 2015 27
Maydena Post Office 64.0 on 11 May 62.8 on 4 Dec 2005 27
Mount Seymour 71.0 on 11 May 63.0 on 26 Jun 2009 27
Nierinna (Cuthberts Road) 146.4 on 11 May 127.2 on 4 Feb 2005 27
Below Craigbourne Dam (Coal River) 100.8 on 11 May 81.0 on 15 Mar 1999 25
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 69.8 on 11 May 66.6 on 27 Dec 1998 23


Record highest May total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Opossum Bay 149.6 103.2 in 2012 87 40.7
Fort Direction 132.1 130.1 in 1958 69 44.1
Margate (Sunnyside) 182.4 155.8 in 2016 51 58.7
Huonville (Tutton Avenue) 187.4 175.2 in 2016 48 63.6
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 286.6 185.4 in 2012 33 72.6
Yarlington (Blacks Pinnacle) 125.8 123.6 in 2016 25 51.5
Judbury (Huon River) 151.4 97.6 in 2012 20 52.4

Highest May total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
May
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 146.2 213.8 in 1958 47.4



Lowest May total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
May
Wynyard Airport 24.6 18.2 in 1996 98.5



Record highest May temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 14.9 on the 1st = 14.9 on the 11th in 2007 39 5.6
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 22.9 on the 3rd 22.0 on the 1st in 1997 37 15.8
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 20.9 on the 1st 20.7 on the 1st in 1997 29 11.4
Ross (The Boulevards) 22.5 on the 3rd 21.7 on the 4th in 2005 25 14.3
Low Head 20.4 on the 3rd 19.2 on the 6th in 1999 21 15.4



Summary statistics for May 2018
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2018
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2018
Mean for
May
2018
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2018
Total for
May
2018
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2018
Fraction of
May
average
Northern (district 91)
Cape Grim 14.6   18.9 2nd 10.6   6.7 10th 56.8
Cressy Research Station 15.4 +0.6 21.4 3rd 3.6 +0.1 -2.9 24th 44.6 50.5 average 88%
Devonport Airport 16.1 +0.8 19.7 3rd 6.9 +0.1 0.8 16th 28.4 75.5 low 38%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 16.3 +0.5 22.9 3rd 4.6 -0.5 -1.1 16th 55.8 64.7 average 86%
Launceston Airport 14.9 +0.2 21.9 3rd 4.0 -0.3 -1.3 16th 60.8 58.7 average 104%
Low Head 15.5 +0.1 20.4 3rd 9.7 +0.3 4.5 16th 39.8 65.8 low 60%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 12.6 -0.3 18.1 2nd 7.2 +0.2 3.5 16th 133.2 168.6 average 79%
Marrawah 14.4 -0.3 18.7 1st 9.5 +0.4 6.0 10th 86.4 109.3 average 79%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 14.8 -0.1 20.6 3rd 5.5 -0.4 1.0 16th 80.8 98.2 average 82%
Sheffield School Farm 13.9 +0.4 18.5 1st 5.7 +0.3 -0.1 16th 70.2 97.4 average 72%
Smithton Aerodrome 15.3 -0.1 18.3 7th 6.5 +0.2 0.8 30th 65.2 88.9 low 73%
Wynyard Airport 15.7 +0.5 18.8 3rd 5.4 +0.1 0.1 16th 24.6 98.5 v low 25%
East Coast (district 92)
Fingal (Legge Street) 15.8 +0.6 24.7 1st 2.9 0.0 -4.0 25th 101.4 51.1 v high 198%
Friendly Beaches 16.6 +0.5 23.2 3rd 8.5 +0.3 1.7 25th 70.0 56.8 high 123%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 12.0 +0.6 20.9 1st 2.4 +0.2 -4.3 25th 64.4 73.2 average 88%
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 16.5 +0.9 22.4 1st 9.6 +0.2 5.2 30th 61.2 65.8 average 93%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 15.5 +0.3 21.2 1st 10.3 +0.7 6.0 16th 108.4 44.0 high 246%
Orford (Aubin Court) 15.9 +0.2 21.4 1st 7.3 +1.1 2.5 25th 125.8 58.7 high 214%
St Helens Aerodrome 16.4 +0.3 24.1 3rd 6.8 -0.4 2.3 25th 74.4 52.3 high 142%
Swan Island 16.1 +0.2 21.5 3rd 10.8 0.0 5.6 31st 55.4 56.6 average 98%
Swansea (Francis Street) 16.4   23.9 3rd 7.0   0.2 25th 54.2
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 14.7 +0.4 22.5 3rd 3.7 +0.4 -2.7 25th 40.8 33.3 average 123%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 16.3 +0.4 25.3 1st 6.8 +1.0 -1.2 27th 83.6 36.2 v high 231%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 14.5 +0.2 20.9 7th 9.2 +0.6 6.2 10th 70.0 70.5 average 99%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 14.4 +0.9 20.2 7th 9.5 +1.2 6.5 11th 68.4 85.1 average 80%
Dennes Point 15.4   20.6 7th 9.4   5.3 25th 98.8
Dover 14.8 +0.1 22.3 1st 6.2 +0.4 1.1 27th 87.8 72.8 high 121%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 15.6   22.1 7th 9.4   4.9 26th 64.0
Grove (Research Station) 15.2 +0.2 22.4 1st 5.3 +1.0 -1.6 25th 186.6 69.9 v high 267%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 15.8 +1.3 23.1 1st 8.4 +1.4 2.6 27th 146.2 47.4 v high 308%
Hobart Airport 16.0 +0.7 23.9 1st 7.8 +1.2 1.9 27th 53.2 36.6 high 145%
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 6.4 +0.8 14.9 1st 1.0 +0.4 -3.4 31st 286.6 72.6 highest 395%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.3 +0.5 20.4 2nd 9.3 +0.8 5.9 31st 101.4 115.8 average 88%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 14.9 +0.7 23.7 1st 4.8 +0.5 -3.0 27th 96.8 36.3 v high 267%
Tasman Island 13.5 +0.3 18.9 3rd 9.2 +0.6 5.6 31st 91.2 74.7 high 122%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 15.7 +1.3 21.9 1st 4.7 +0.6 -2.7 25th 58.8 46.0 high 128%
Maydena Post Office 13.5 +0.4 20.9 1st 4.6 +0.2 -0.5 26th 148.2 104.2 high 142%
Ouse Fire Station 15.1 +0.3 22.5 3rd 4.2 +0.5 -3.4 27th 51.8 39.6 high 131%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 10.9 +0.9 19.3 1st 2.9 +1.1 -2.2 25th 210.0 163.2 high 129%
Lake St Clair National Park 10.1 0.0 18.3 1st 2.4 +0.6 -3.2 25th 216.8 178.8 high 121%
Liawenee 9.6 +0.6 19.2 1st 0.9 +0.7 -6.1 25th 98.0 90.8 average 108%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 14.6 +0.9 18.6 3rd 10.1 +1.0 5.4 25th 127.4 129.5 average 98%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 8.6 +0.1 15.3 28th 3.5 +0.1 -0.2 16th 159.0 88.7 v high 179%
Low Rocky Point 14.5   21.8 3rd 9.7   5.6 27th 127.0 141.8 average 90%
Mount Read 6.8 +0.4 12.9 1st 2.1 -0.1 -1.4 16th >562.8* 433.5 high 130%
Scotts Peak Dam 12.2 +0.7 20.6 3rd 5.7 +0.2 2.4 27th 166.2 186.6 average 89%
Strahan Aerodrome 14.6 +0.4 21.1 3rd 8.3 +0.9 2.8 26th 225.0 156.3 high 144%
Warra 11.4 +0.4 17.9 1st 4.6 +0.1 -1.5 27th 140.8 177.7 average 79%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 15.8 +0.2 21.7 2nd 10.3 +0.9 4.3 14th 90.4 88.6 average 102%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 16.3 0.0 24.2 3rd 9.9 +0.9 2.2 27th 70.6 78.8 average 90%
Hogan Island 15.9 +0.2 23.4 3rd 11.5 0.0 8.3 10th 79.4 54.0 high 147%

* note: Some data are missing from Mount Read, and the true rainfall total is higher
From 2017, information about Macquarie Island can be found in the climate summary for the Remote Islands and Antarctica


Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists 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. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Friday 1 June 2018. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

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