Tasmania in May 2016: a cool end to a wet, warm and windy month

May was a wet month, especially in the west where persistent and gusty westerly winds brought some very high totals. The first three weeks of the month were mild, but the final week was cool.

  • Wettest May since 1958
  • Mount Read 919.2 mm in the month
  • Very warm in the first half of the month
  • Cold for the final week
  • Temperatures above average overall
  • Persistent and gusty westerly winds for much of the month

Persistent, and often strong, westerly winds brought frequent rain to the western two-thirds of Tasmania during May, with the northeast picking up some significant totals in the final week from a low pressure system to the east. Totals were well above average in many areas and a few sites reported their highest total May rainfall on record. Many other sites had their wettest May since at least 1986, and in some cases (including Hobart) their wettest since the 1970s. The entire State had a wetter than typical May, and the State total was double the May average, making it Tasmania's third-wettest May on record and the wettest May since 1958.

Mount Read registered 919.2 mm for the month, the second-highest monthly total ever reported by a Tasmanian station. The highest monthly total for a Tasmanian station was 984 mm at Mount Mawson in October 1988. Mount Read was not open back then, but comparison with nearby sites suggests it would have received well over 1000 mm in October 1988.

The first three weeks of the month continued the pattern of above-average temperatures that have been common since spring, through summer and into March and April. At the start of May most days were a few degrees above average, although no day was especially hot (the highest temperature was only 22.5 °C at Bicheno on the 14th). Nights were much warmer than usual, with the temperature often remaining in the mid-teens under the influence of persistent westerly winds. There was some highland snow on the 4th and 10th, but that soon melted as temperatures recovered. A cold front crossed on the 23rd, introducing much cooler air and commencing a run of below-average temperatures that lasted until the end of the month. The 27th was a particularly cold day in the east, and the morning of the 31st saw Liawenee dip to -8.9 °C.

Many sites reported gusts well in excess of 100 km/h in the first three weeks, with both Maatsuyker Island and kunanyi / Mount Wellington reaching that high on fourteen days.

Hobart

Hobart's mean daily maximum of 15.6 °C was 1.1 °C above the long-term average for May. The warmest day was a relatively mild 21.5 °C on the 5th, but there were few days markedly below average until the end of the month. Overnight temperatures came to a mean of 8.7 °C, which is 1.7 °C above the long-term average. The coldest weather was near the end of the month, with the city dipping to 1.8 °C in the morning of the 31st. Rain of 96.0 mm was almost double the long-term average, and the wettest May in the city since 1973. Strong and gusty westerly winds were prevalent through the month; a gust to 111 km/h on the evening of the 12th was one of eight days with gusts over 80 km/h in the city.

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Extremes in May 2016
Hottest day 22.5 °C at Bicheno (Council Depot) on the 14th
Warmest days on average 17.1 °C at Bicheno (Council Depot)
Coolest days on average 6.1 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day 1.0 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 24th
Coldest night -8.9 °C at Liawenee on the 31st
Coolest nights on average 0.9 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Warmest nights on average 11.8 °C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 16.5 °C at Swan Island on the 6th
Warmest on average overall 14.0 °C at Hogan Island
Coolest on average overall 3.5 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall 919.2 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 63.2 mm at Ross (Macquarie River)
Wettest day 105.0 mm at Mount Read on the 12th
Strongest wind gust 159 km/h at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 11th

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
Lucaston (Bakers Creek Road) 33.8 on the 4th 31.6 on the 26th in 2012 38
Nunamara Offtake (St Patricks River) 40.0 on the 10th 39.8 on the 14th in 2000 20



Record highest May total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Margate (Sunnyside) 155.8 151.8 in 1986 49 56.6
Zeehan (West Coast Pioneers Museum) 500.7 481.9 in 1975 48 249.8
Huonville (Tutton Avenue) 151.2 148.7 in 1973 46 60.9
Lucaston (Bakers Creek Road) 195.0 131.8 in 2012 38 60.3
Strahan Aerodrome 317.0 253.6 in 2007 30 152.6
Richmond (Strathayr) 85.2 63.8 in 2015 26 28.4
Nierinna (Cuthberts Road) 185.8 130.4 in 2012 24 67.5
Yarlington (Blacks Pinnacle) 123.6 119.8 in 2012 23 48.3
Low Rocky Point 296.4 241.8 in 1997 22 141.3
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 369.2 310.0 in 2007 20 169.6
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 97.6 91.6 in 2012 20 33.7
Queenstown (South Queenstown) 576.4 476.2 in 2000 20 268.6
Smithton Aerodrome 175.2 167.2 in 2007 20 87.2

Highest May total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
May
Dover 185.6 243.6 in 1958 72.5
Lunawanna 164.8 216.1 in 1960 74.2
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 181.8 197.5 in 1960* 85.1
Mauriceton (Jordan River) 108.6 247.1 in 1958* 41.7
South Forest (Plummers Road) 231.2 267.3 in 1968* 109.3
Savage River Mine 438.8 439.8 in 1968* 200.8
Bothwell (Cluny) 116.8 124.1 in 1973 43.7
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 96.0 98.7 in 1973 46.8
Rotherwood 121.2 122.4 in 1973 41.7
Colebrook (The Meadows) 107.6 130.0 in 1969* 47.0
Marrawah 184.6 211.9 in 1975 108.2
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 94.4 114.4 in 1975* 45.8
Waratah (Mount Road) 471.2 539.2 in 1958* 217.6
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 242.4 249.2 in 1982 116.1
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 131.0 165.4 in 1986 73.1
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 102.6 112.0 in 1986* 50.7
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 127.6 139.3 in 1986* 65.5
Taroona (Taroona Crescent) 112.6 116.8 in 1986* 45.6
Fern Tree (Grays Road) 204.6 226.5 in 1988* 88.9
Fort Direction 85.8 =85.8 in 1986* 43.0
Lady Barron (Franklin Parade) 149.4 182.4 in 1988* 73.7
Cape Sorell 223.6 326.2 in 1968* 129.2
King Island Airport 152.4 160.6 in 1992* 89.0
Lake Margaret Power Station 631.2 634.4 in 1994 299.0
Lake St Clair National Park 490.2 491.6 in 1994 178.7
Chain of Lagoons 88.4 162.1 in 1952* 53.5

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




Record lowest May daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 11.6 on the 27th 11.7 on the 29th in 1997 22 15.9
Friendly Beaches 9.8 on the 27th 10.0 on the 22nd in 2001 20 16.1



Summary statistics for May 2016
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2016
Mean for
May
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2016
Total for
May
2016
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2016
Fraction of
May
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 16.1 +0.2 18.5 8th 8.9 +1.1 2.5 25th 148.1 70.0 v high 212%
Burnie (Round Hill) 16.0 +0.7 18.5 8th     4.8 25th 164.1 94.4 high 174%
Cape Grim 14.9   17.6 22nd 10.9   7.5 30th 147.4
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 15.1 +0.5 17.8 7th 10.9 +0.7 7.7 30th 136.4 80.8 high 169%
Cressy Research Station 14.9 +0.1 18.8 13th 5.7 +2.3 -2.5 25th 91.2 48.8 high 187%
Devonport Airport 16.0 +0.7 18.0 15th 8.3 +1.6 1.5 25th 115.6 75.4 high 153%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 15.7 -0.1 18.5 9th 6.8 +1.7 -0.7 25th 128.8 64.4 v high 200%
Launceston Airport 14.4 -0.3 17.9 13th 5.7 +1.5 -1.7 25th 112.6 57.1 high 197%
Low Head 15.7 +0.3 17.9 5th 10.5 +1.2 3.7 25th 122.0 67.3 v high 181%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 12.6 -0.3 15.8 14th 7.7 +0.8 3.5 28th 369.2 169.6 highest 218%
Marrawah 15.0 +0.3 17.8 5th 9.8 +0.7 5.2 30th 184.6 108.2 v high 171%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 14.7 -0.2 18.0 9th 7.5 +1.6 1.0 25th 179.2 99.2 v high 181%
Sheffield School Farm 13.3 -0.3 16.7 13th 6.3 +1.0 -0.4 25th 162.8 95.6 high 170%
Smithton Aerodrome 15.7 +0.3 18.5 14th 7.7 +1.5 1.0 25th 175.2 87.2 highest 201%
Wynyard Airport 15.6 +0.4 18.6 6th 6.9 +1.6 0.4 25th 172.8 99.2 v high 174%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 17.1 +0.6 22.5 14th 9.7 +1.2 3.1 25th 88.1 56.3 high 156%
Fingal (Legge Street) 15.1 -0.1 20.1 6th 5.2 +2.4 -4.1 25th 90.6 50.1 high 181%
Friendly Beaches 16.3 +0.2 20.2 6th 8.8 +0.6 2.2 25th 88.4 54.4 high 163%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 11.4 0.0 16.5 22nd 3.4 +1.3 -4.6 25th 131.0 73.1 high 179%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 16.5 +0.9 19.8 6th 10.2 +0.8 4.1 25th 127.6 65.5 v high 195%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 15.3 0.0 19.5 6th 10.3 +0.8 5.3 31st 71.8 36.3 high 198%
Orford (Aubin Court) 15.6 -0.1 20.5 13th 7.7 +1.5 0.8 25th 74.8 57.4 high 130%
St Helens Aerodrome 16.2 +0.2 20.3 6th 8.6 +1.5 0.6 25th 97.8 46.4 high 211%
Swan Island 16.1 +0.2 18.9 6th 11.4 +0.7 6.5 29th 164.0 56.5 high 290%
Swansea (Francis Street) 16.4   20.6 12th 8.0   0.0 31st 67.0
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 14.4 +0.1 19.0 13th 4.7 +1.5 -3.4 25th 80.6 32.4 v high 249%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 15.7 -0.2 21.5 5th 7.9 +2.2 0.4 25th 73.6 33.9 high 217%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 14.5 +0.2 20.2 5th 9.0 +0.4 4.0 31st 164.2 69.6 v high 236%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 14.4 +0.9 19.6 5th 9.1 +0.8 4.4 31st 181.8 85.1 v high 214%
Dennes Point 15.2   20.5 5th 9.4   3.5 31st 101.8
Dover 14.4 -0.3 19.5 5th 6.0 +0.2 -0.2 25th 185.6 72.5 v high 256%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 15.4   21.0 14th 9.3   3.5 31st 83.6
Grove (Research Station) 14.8 -0.3 20.4 22nd 5.5 +1.3 -2.6 25th 177.6 64.0 v high 278%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 15.6 +1.1 21.5 5th 8.7 +1.7 1.8 31st 96.0 46.8 v high 205%
Hobart Airport 15.6 +0.3 21.4 5th 8.5 +1.9 2.5 31st 69.0 36.3 v high 190%
Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 6.1 +0.5 12.3 22nd 0.9 +0.3 -3.2 25th
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.3 +0.5 19.9 22nd 9.1 +0.7 5.1 4th 242.4 116.1 v high 209%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 14.1 -0.1 20.1 5th 6.0 +1.7 -2.1 25th 97.6 33.7 highest 290%
Tasman Island 13.6 +0.4 17.5 14th 8.9 +0.4 4.7 11th
Tunnack Fire Station 11.9 -0.4 15.9 13th 5.0 +1.4 -2.8 25th 103.8 48.7 v high 213%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 14.8 +0.4 21.8 5th 5.8 +1.8 -1.9 25th 94.4 45.8 v high 206%
Ouse Fire Station 14.5 -0.3 20.8 14th 5.5 +1.9 -1.7 25th 116.6 39.1 v high 298%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 10.3 +0.3 15.3 22nd 3.3 +1.5 -3.8 25th 384.8 163.3 v high 236%
Lake St Clair National Park 9.8 -0.4 14.8 22nd 3.0 +1.3 -3.1 25th 490.2 178.7 v high 274%
Liawenee 8.4 -0.6 14.7 21st 1.4 +1.3 -8.9 31st 207.8 89.8 high 231%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 14.7 +1.0 17.6 9th 10.1 +1.0 6.2 31st 223.6 129.2 v high 173%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 8.2 -0.3 15.6 22nd 3.2 -0.2 -0.3 30th 220.4 85.0 v high 259%
Low Rocky Point 14.5   19.6 9th 9.3   2.8 31st 296.4 141.3 highest 210%
Scotts Peak Dam 11.1 -0.4 17.0 9th 5.7 +0.2 0.8 31st 396.2 188.6 v high 210%
Strahan Aerodrome 14.4 +0.2 18.3 22nd 8.6 +1.2 1.5 31st 317.0 152.6 highest 208%
Warra 10.7 -0.4 16.4 22nd 4.6 0.0 -2.9 31st 438.0 186.4 v high 235%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 16.0 +0.4 19.0 5th 10.9 +1.6 4.6 25th 152.4 89.0 v high 171%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 17.0 +0.7 21.9 22nd 10.5 +1.5 2.4 31st 124.0 78.2 high 159%
Hogan Island 16.1 +0.5 19.4 7th 11.8 +0.3 7.7 11th 86.8 52.4 v high 166%
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 5.6 -0.3 8.9 3rd 2.7 +0.2 -0.4 16th 109.8 84.4 high 130%

Notes

The Monthly climate summary 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. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 1 pm on Wednesday 1 June 2016. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.

Further information

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