Tasmania in January 2019: record warm and record dry

January 2019 was Tasmania's warmest and driest on record, with many warm, dry days and very few cool or wet days. Lightning led to significant fires.

Record dry

  • Total rainfall for Tasmania was record low for January at about one-fifth of average, and the third-driest month at any time of year
  • Most of the east and north of Tasmania had less than 10 mm of rain for the whole month, and even in the usually wet western highlands totals were less than 100 mm
  • Almost the entire State had very much below average rain, with some areas the lowest on record
  • Several sites across the State, including Hobart and Launceston, had their lowest total January rainfall on record
  • There were several bursts of thunderstorms, but mostly these gave only localised rain

Record warm

  • It was Tasmania's warmest January on record with many warm days, and only a few cool days, the main feature of the month
  • The mean temperature for the month was 2.50 °C above average, clear of the previous record from 1961 when the anomaly was +2.24 °C
  • Daytime temperatures were record warm, with the State's mean maximum temperature 3.22 °C above average, exceeding January 1961 when the anomaly was +2.99 °C
  • Tasmania's night-time temperatures were third-warmest for January, at 1.78 °C above average
  • Tasmania missed most of the extreme heat that affected the mainland (as detailed in the Special Climate Statement Widespread heatwaves during December 2018 and January 2019)
  • Several sites, mostly in the southeast, had a record number of warm days; for example both Hobart and Hobart Airport had a record 17 days over 25 °C
  • No individual daily temperature records were broken, although Hobart Airport's maximum of 40.1 °C on the 25th was the equal second-highest temperature ever recorded there (behind 40.3 °C on 4 January 2013)
  • Numerous sites, including Hobart, Launceston and Devonport had their highest January mean daily maximum temperature on record; in some cases they were more than a degree warmer than the previous record
  • A few sites, most notably Hobart and Flinders Island Airport, had their highest January mean daily minimum temperature on record

Thunderstorms, fires and smoke

  • There were several bursts of thunderstorms, often with little or no rain, most notably on the 14th, 15th and 31st
  • Lightning strikes onto dry vegetation led to bushfires, including over 60 that started on the 15th, many in remote and difficult terrain
  • Repeated warm days, little or no rain and some periods of strong winds saw several very large fires that were still burning at the end of the month,
  • The largest fires reported by the Tasmanian Fire Service as still going at the end of January included the "Riveaux Road" fire from the southwest into the Huon Valley (over 56 000 ha burned by the end of January), the "Great Pine Tier" fire on the Central Plateau (51 000 ha), the "Moores Valley" fire in the southwest (30 000 ha), and the "Gell River" fire in the southwest (27 000 ha); dozens of smaller fires were also still burning at the end of the month
  • Communities near to the fires were affected by thick smoke, which was also blown across different parts of the State during the month: for example Hobart experienced particularly high smoke concentrations on the evenings of the 29th and 30th and again on the morning of the 31st

Hobart's warmest and driest month

  • Only 0.4 mm of rainfall was recorded at Hobart (Ellerslie Road); the driest January on record (below 2.8 mm in 2008), equal with December 1994 as the driest for any month, and less than 1% of the long-term January average
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was a record warm 25.9 °C, which is 4.2 °C above the long-term average, and 0.9 °C warmer than any previous month (January 2003 and February 2001 both had 25.0 °C)
  • A record run of 31 consecutive days over 20 °C in Hobart started on 23 December 2018 and ended on 22 January 2019; the 23rd and 31st were the only days that did not reach 20 °C
  • Hobart had a record total of 17 days over 25 °C during January, and a record 7 days that reached at least 30 °C
  • The warmest day was the 25th, with 37.9 °C in the city and 40.1 °C at the airport
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was a record warm 14.7 °C, which is 2.7 °C above the long-term average, 0.3 °C warmer than the previous January record (from 2016), and the second-warmest month for any time of year (just behind the 14.8 °C from February 1972)
  • The coldest temperature was 9.9 °C on the 13th, the only morning below 10 °C compared to a January average of about seven mornings that cool
  • The warmest morning was on the 29th when the minimum temperature was 19.1 °C

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Extremes in January 2019
Hottest day 40.1 °C at Hobart Airport on the 25th
Warmest days on average 28.4 °C at Ouse Fire Station
Coolest days on average 16.1 °C at Mount Read
Coldest day 5.9 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 31st
Coldest night -0.5 °C at Butlers Gorge on the 13th
Coolest nights on average 6.1 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Warmest nights on average 16.5 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 20.1 °C at Flinders Island Airport on the 18th
Warmest on average overall 20.6 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest on average overall 11.3 °C at Mount Read
Wettest overall 92.0 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 0.4 mm at Hobart (Ellerslie Road)
Wettest day 20.6 mm at Hummocky Hills on the 31st
Strongest wind gust 130 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on the 27th

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 lowest January total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 0.4 2.8 in 2008 138 47.1
Yolla (Sea View) 7.0 7.1 in 1939 114 62.4
Naracoopa 2.4 3.3 in 1920 108 39.6
Cape Sorell 11.2 16.0 in 1939 95 68.0
City of Melbourne Bay 3.6 5.4 in 2008 85 41.7
Flinders Island Airport 5.2 5.4 in 1990 74 45.7
Woodbridge 6.0 6.4 in 1958 68 55.0
Waterhouse(Barooga) 2.2 6.2 in 2010 59 40.6
Fern Tree (Grays Road) 6.8 14.2 in 2008 51 87.4
Margate (Sunnyside) 3.2 4.6 in 2008 51 53.1
Zeehan (West Coast Pioneers Museum) 36.6 47.0 in 1999 47 126.7
King Island Airport 3.0 8.6 in 2018 45 38.3
Lucaston (Bakers Creek Road) 5.4 6.0 in 2008 41 55.7
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 5.6 7.4 in 2010 38 45.9
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 9.6 18.6 in 2003 36 88.3
Loongana (Serendipity) 12.2 = 12.2 in 2008 33 89.4
Tea Tree (The Point) 5.0 6.0 in 2008 33 51.4
Richmond (Strathayr) 5.2 = 5.2 in 2008 31 41.0
Lake St Clair National Park 20.8 25.8 in 2008 30 97.8
Quamby Bluff 10.4 19.8 in 2010 23 85.0
Smithton Aerodrome 6.2 7.8 in 2008 23 38.8
Low Head 4.0 5.4 in 2010 22 49.4
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 12.4 15.4 in 2008 22 72.1
Ouse Fire Station 0.6 2.6 in 2010 20 25.0

Lowest January total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
January
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 3.0 0.5 in 1939* 45.3
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 2.0 0.0 in 1939* 43.6
Bronte Heights 6.4 5.2 in 1939* 53.7
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 8.9 8.1 in 1961 54.1
Mathinna (South Esk River) 2.8 0.2 in 1996* 57.4

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




Record highest January mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 25.9 25.0 in 2003 136 21.7
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 25.3 24.3 in 2010 108 20.8
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 28.3 27.8 in 1954 84 24.0
Hobart Airport 26.3 25.2 in 2003 60 22.6
Orford (Aubin Court) 25.4 24.5 in 1969 50 22.1
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 26.0 25.6 in 1988 46 22.9
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 17.2 15.9 in 2003 38 13.5
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 27.3 26.9 in 1981 35 24.5
Fingal (Legge Street) 27.6 26.6 in 2018 32 23.7
Wynyard Airport 24.3 = 24.3 in 2016 31 21.6
Dover 24.0 23.7 in 2018 29 20.9
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 23.6 22.0 in 2018 29 19.6
Devonport Airport 23.9 23.8 in 2016 27 21.5
Lake St Clair National Park 22.5 22.1 in 2018 27 19.5
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 20.7 = 20.7 in 2018 26 19.0
Maydena Post Office 24.9 24.5 in 2001 26 22.2
Ross (The Boulevards) 28.3 27.2 in 2018 25 24.6
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 27.4 25.9 in 2003 22 24.0
Smithton Aerodrome 23.8 23.7 in 2018 22 21.7
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 22.4 22.0 in 2018 21 19.9
Friendly Beaches 26.6 25.0 in 2018 21 23.2
Sheffield School Farm 24.9 24.3 in 2018 21 22.2
Ouse Fire Station 28.4 27.2 in 2001 20 25.5
Scotts Peak Dam 23.8 23.1 in 2008 20 20.9

Highest January mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Butlers Gorge 22.5 =22.5 in 1961* 18.9

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




Record highest January mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 14.7 14.4 in 2016 136 12.0
Flinders Island Airport 15.3 15.2 in 2007 56 13.4
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 14.5 = 14.5 in 2018 26 13.2
King Island Airport 13.9 13.6 in 2001 23 12.5
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 11.7 11.6 in 2016 22 10.4
Low Head 15.8 15.7 in 2016 21 14.4



Record highest January mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 20.3 19.4 in 2018 136 16.8
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 20.3 19.8 in 2016 108 17.0
Hobart Airport 20.1 19.3 in 2018 60 17.4
Flinders Island Airport 19.9 19.8 in 2008 56 17.8
Orford (Aubin Court) 19.6 18.7 in 2003 50 17.0
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 19.0 = 19.0 in 1988 46 16.9
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 11.6 11.0 in 2018 38 9.1
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 20.6 20.4 in 1981 35 18.4
Fingal (Legge Street) 19.3 19.1 in 2018 32 17.0
Dover 17.8 17.4 in 2018 29 15.6
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 16.6 15.8 in 2018 29 14.0
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 17.6 = 17.6 in 2018 26 16.1
Maydena Post Office 17.3 = 17.3 in 2001 26 15.6
Ross (The Boulevards) 20.1 19.5 in 2018 25 17.6
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 19.6 18.4 in 2018 22 17.2
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 17.8 17.7 in 2018 21 16.1
Friendly Beaches 20.4 19.7 in 2018 21 18.2
Sheffield School Farm 18.4 18.2 in 2016 21 16.4
Ouse Fire Station 19.8 19.2 in 2001 20 17.8
Scotts Peak Dam 17.0 16.7 in 2018 20 15.1

Highest January mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 19.7 20.1 in 1951* 17.1
Butlers Gorge 14.9 15.4 in 1961* 12.7

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




Summary statistics for January 2019
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2019
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2019
Mean for
January
2019
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2019
Total for
January
2019
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2019
Fraction of
January
average
Northern (district 91)
Cape Grim 20.6   25.6 25th 14.6   9.6 11th 5.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 20.7 +1.7 25.6 25th 14.5 +1.3 9.0 11th 7.4 35.8 v low 21%
Cressy Research Station 28.3 +3.0 34.9 25th 11.2 +0.9 2.5 6th 8.2 36.6 low 22%
Devonport Airport 23.9 +2.4 32.2 20th 13.5 +1.2 8.6 6th 4.2 42.7 v low 10%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 27.3 +2.8 32.3 21st 13.9 +1.5 9.7 6th 5.6 45.9 lowest 12%
Launceston Airport 27.1 +1.9 33.7 25th 11.8 +0.9 6.2 6th 3.8 32.5 v low 12%
Low Head 21.8 +1.3 24.6 30th 15.8 +1.4 11.0 11th 4.0 49.4 lowest 8%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 22.9 +1.5 30.4 4th 11.4 +0.8 7.4 9th 12.4 72.1 lowest 17%
Marrawah 22.0 +1.8 27.8 25th 13.1 +1.1 9.8 11th 8.0 47.2 v low 17%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 26.0 +3.1 33.7 25th 12.0 +1.1 7.5 19th   56.1    
Sheffield School Farm 24.9 +2.7 33.0 22nd 11.9 +1.2 7.9 9th 10.8 51.6 low 21%
Smithton Aerodrome 23.8 +2.1 29.2 22nd 11.3 +0.2 2.1 11th 6.2 38.8 lowest 16%
Wynyard Airport 24.3 +2.7 33.1 22nd 12.0 +0.9 4.4 11th 5.4 42.7 v low 13%
East Coast (district 92)
Fingal (Legge Street) 27.6 +3.9 38.7 25th 10.9 +0.5 5.1 10th   44.5    
Friendly Beaches 26.6 +3.4 39.4 4th 14.3 +1.0 9.7 10th 4.2 64.5 v low 7%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 23.6 +4.0 31.9 25th 9.6 +1.2 3.1 6th 8.9 54.1 v low 16%
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 25.3 +4.5 32.7 25th 15.3 +2.1 10.9 10th 3.0 45.3 v low 7%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 24.0 +2.5 34.6 25th 15.3 +1.5 11.7 13th 17.0 47.3 low 36%
Orford (Aubin Court) 25.4 +3.3 37.3 4th 13.7 +1.7 9.0 13th 26.4 51.8 low 51%
St Helens Aerodrome 25.8 +2.9 36.5 25th 14.6 +1.3 10.2 10th 3.6 61.1 v low 6%
Swan Island 22.5 +1.5 29.1 25th 16.5 +1.6 14.5 10th 0.8 43.9 v low 2%
Swansea (Francis Street) 26.1   38.6 25th 13.8   8.1 13th 2.2
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 28.3 +3.7 36.2 25th 11.8 +1.2 4.6 13th 9.0 44.3 v low 20%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 27.9 +3.5 39.8 25th 12.8 +1.2 5.9 13th 9.0 38.4 v low 23%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 22.4 +2.5 33.0 25th 13.1 +0.9 9.3 13th 10.6 41.7 low 25%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 21.1 +2.7 32.8 25th 13.5 +2.0 10.1 9th 11.0 61.0 v low 18%
Dennes Point 23.6   36.2 25th 14.3   10.6 13th 2.0
Dover 24.0 +3.1 34.8 25th 11.6 +1.3 5.5 13th 8.0 52.8 v low 15%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 25.1   37.9 25th 15.0   10.8 13th 12.8
Grove (Research Station) 26.0 +2.7 36.7 25th 10.7 +0.9 2.8 13th 2.4 42.1 v low 6%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 25.9 +4.2 37.9 25th 14.7 +2.7 9.9 13th 0.4 47.1 lowest 1%
Hobart Airport 26.3 +3.7 40.1 25th 14.0 +1.9 9.4 13th 8.2 40.0 v low 21%
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 17.2 +3.7 26.8 25th 6.1 +1.3 0.6 9th 9.6 88.3 lowest 11%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 17.8 +0.7 25.6 25th 12.3 +1.5 8.5 9th 40.0 78.3 low 51%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 27.4 +3.4 38.1 4th 11.7 +1.3 5.5 13th 10.4 31.0 low 34%
Tasman Island 20.7 +2.6 32.3 25th 13.0 +1.5 9.8 23rd 8.8 65.7 v low 13%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 28.3 +4.3 37.7 4th 10.8 +0.7 4.9 13th   40.5    
Maydena Post Office 24.9 +2.7 34.4 25th 9.6 +0.6 2.5 13th   58.9    
Ouse Fire Station 28.4 +2.9 38.1 4th 11.1 +0.9 3.8 13th   25.0    
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 22.5 +3.6 31.5 15th 7.6 +1.2 -0.5 13th   94.3    
Lake St Clair National Park 22.5 +3.0 32.3 16th 7.1 +0.8 0.2 11th 20.8 97.8 lowest 21%
Liawenee 22.2 +3.3 31.4 15th 6.8 +1.4 0.6 7th 3.8 48.9 v low 8%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 21.3 +3.0 26.7 15th 13.7 +1.8 10.2 11th 11.2 68.0 lowest 16%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 19.5 +1.8 29.3 4th 8.0 +0.9 3.0 9th 16.0 63.9 v low 25%
Low Rocky Point 19.8   26.2 25th 12.9   9.3 11th 35.2 77.4 low 45%
Mount Read 16.1 +1.8 25.3 4th 6.5 +0.7 1.4 9th 92.0 195.3 low 47%
Scotts Peak Dam 23.8 +2.9 34.1 15th 10.1 +0.7 5.9 9th 30.2 99.1 low 30%
Strahan Aerodrome 22.2 +1.3 32.4 4th 12.2 +1.4 7.2 11th 29.8 82.5 v low 36%
Warra 22.3 +2.8 33.1 4th 8.8 +0.4 3.4 13th 21.2 99.4 v low 21%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 22.5 +1.5 29.7 30th 13.9 +1.4 7.3 3rd 3.0 38.3 lowest 8%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 24.5 +2.3 38.4 25th 15.3 +1.9 6.8 11th 5.2 45.7 lowest 11%
Hogan Island 23.4 +1.7 36.2 25th 16.0 +1.2 13.2 11th 13.2 36.7 low 36%
Note: 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 9 am on Friday 1 February 2019. 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries