Tasmania in January 2016: Record wet finish to a warm, otherwise dry month

Record-breaking rain in the east and northeast of Tasmania at the end of January came after what had been a very dry month. Temperatures were persistently warm, with records set at some places, and very significant bushfires occurred in the west.

  • Heavy rain and flooding in the northeast and east to end the month
  • Rain below average in the west
  • Persistently mild nights, record warm in the east
  • Warm days, especially in the north
  • Large bushfires in the west

Much of January was dry over most of Tasmania, with the western half of the State having much less rain than is usual. That picture changed on the 27th, when a complex area of low pressure brought heavy rain to the northeast. Humid easterly flow around the low meant there was further rain, heavy showers and thunderstorms in the north and east for the next few days, with many sites reporting their wettest January day on record, some their wettest January total, and some their wettest day for any month. Gray (Dalmayne Road) registered 221 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 29th, and went on to have a monthly total of 533.4 mm. There was widespread flooding in the east, northeast and central north. Some rain did reach into the west, but most of the West Coast had totals below the January average.

Warm days were far more common than cool ones right through the month, and sites across the State reported mean maximum temperatures above average, by over one degree in most areas. The north coast was particularly mild: Burnie, Devonport and Wynyard had their highest January mean daily maximum temperature on record. Devonport had a record four days over 28 °C and a record eight days over 25 °C. The warmest weather was in the south in the middle of the month, with several sites topping 35 °C on the 13th ahead of a cold front, quickly followed by many locations across the State having their coldest day on the 14th. Nights were also generally mild, apart from a short cool spell on the 15th and 16th. Mean minimum temperatures were above average across the State, typically by a degree or more, and several sites in the east (including Hobart) had their highest January mean daily minimum temperature on record.

A trough and cold front crossed Tasmania late on the 13th and into the 14th. Hot and strong northerly winds ahead of the front were followed by thunderstorms, then much cooler conditions. After several months of below average rain and above average temperatures (extending back to at least spring), lightning strikes ignited a number of fires, mostly in the west of the State. Many of the fires continued to burn for the rest of the month, with reports of over 80 burning at one time, at least 95 000 hectares burnt, and smoke affecting most of the State and parts of Victoria. Despite some rain in the north and east at the end of the month, many fires continued to burn into February.

Hobart's mean minimum temperature of 14.4 °C was 2.5 °C above the long term average and the warmest for January in 134 years of record. Even on the coolest morning of the 15th the temperature in the city only dipped to 9.8 °C. Daytime temperatures were also above average for most of the month, with the mean for the month 22.5 °C, which is 0.8 °C above the long term average. The warmest day was 34.0 °C on the 13th, which was the only day over 30 °C. Total rain for the month was 40.2 mm, somewhat below the long term average of 48 mm and with all but 9 mm of it falling in the final four days of the month.

 

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Extremes in January 2016
Hottest day 36.8 °C at Grove (Research Station) on the 13th
Warmest days on average 26.1 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 13.8 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day 5.1 °C at Mount Read on the 14th
Coldest night -0.4 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 15th
Coolest nights on average 5.7 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Warmest nights on average 16.3 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 19.3 °C at St Helens Aerodrome on the 14th
Warmest on average overall 20.2 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest on average overall 9.7 °C at Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall 533.4 mm at Gray (Dalmayne Rd)
Wettest day 221.0 mm at Gray (Dalmayne Rd) on the 29th
Strongest wind gust 128 km/h at Cape Sorell on the 28th

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 January daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Fingal (Legge Street) 113.8 on the 30th 111.0 on the 29th in 1995 119
Ormley 81.8 on the 30th 69.4 on the 29th in 2004 119
Frankford (Rossville) 122.2 on the 30th 104.8 on the 28th in 2004 116
Northdown (Hamley) 98.8 on the 30th 84.4 on the 28th in 2004 107
Latrobe (Coal Hill Road) 104.4 on the 30th 88.8 on the 28th in 2004 106
Naracoopa 48.4 on the 31st 46.7 on the 25th in 1952 100
Launceston (Kings Meadows) 71.6 on the 29th 55.2 on the 25th in 1996 88
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 130.0 on the 30th 77.6 on the 5th in 2000 86
Orford (Aubin Court) 140.5 on the 30th 98.8 on the 29th in 1995 64
Lorinna 105.2 on the 30th 105.0 on the 28th in 2004 62
Barrington Post Office 99.4 on the 30th 94.0 on the 28th in 2004 50
Tooms Lake (Tooms River) 64.8 on the 30th 53.8 on the 5th in 2000 41
Westbury (Birralee Road) 96.0 on the 30th 48.8 on the 28th in 2004 39
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 85.8 on the 29th 54.0 on the 29th in 2004 36
Ross (The Boulevards) 60.0 on the 29th 51.8 on the 25th in 1996 23
Meander (Meander River) 91.8 on the 29th 81.4 on the 28th in 2004 22
Mount Seymour 39.0 on the 29th 37.0 on the 14th in 2015 22
Strathbridge (Meander River) 114.2 on the 29th 47.6 on the 28th in 2004 22
Golden Valley (Brodies Road) 125.8 on the 29th 88.8 on the 28th in 2004 21
Hermitage (Shannon River) 37.6 on the 29th 34.8 on the 28th in 2004 21
Quamby Bluff 148.6 on the 29th 105.0 on the 28th in 2004 21
Corra Linn (North Esk River) 69.0 on the 30th 46.4 on the 29th in 2004 20
Deloraine Railway Bridge (Meander River) 88.2 on the 29th 86.0 on the 28th in 2004 20
Mount Barrow (South Barrow) 75.0 on the 30th 74.2 on the 29th in 2004 20
Weymouth (Tam O'Shanter) 73.0 on the 30th 59.0 on the 29th in 1995 20



Record highest daily rainfall for any month
New record
(mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Frankford (Rossville) 122.2 on 30 Jan 109.0 on 2 Apr 1989 117
Orford (Aubin Court) 140.5 on 30 Jan 118.6 on 7 Jun 1954 65
Westbury (Birralee Road) 96.0 on 30 Jan 79.2 on 23 Sep 1998 39
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 85.8 on 29 Jan 67.6 on 21 Jul 2000 37
Meander (Meander River) 91.8 on 29 Jan 89.6 on 31 Aug 2005 24
Strathbridge (Meander River) 114.2 on 29 Jan 69.8 on 31 Aug 2005 24
Friendly Beaches 138.2 on 29 Jan 105.8 on 16 May 2003 20
Sheffield School Farm 117.0 on 30 Jan 95.4 on 12 Jul 2009 20



Record highest January total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Deal Island 162.1 151.0 in 1920 145 41.2
Fingal (Legge Street) 195.8 192.0 in 1995 134 44.7
Frankford (Rossville) 224.8 195.8 in 2004 123 53.7
Latrobe (Coal Hill Road) 212.0 173.8 in 2011 116 44.9
Northdown (Hamley) 174.4 157.0 in 2004 105 40.2
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 189.8 139.4 in 1986 86 44.1
Orford (Aubin Court) 235.9 174.2 in 1996 64 51.8
Westbury (Birralee Road) 193.5 163.8 in 1996 39 51.2
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 150.4 139.4 in 1996 35 47.7
Weymouth (Tam O'Shanter) 133.0 118.2 in 2004 21 57.3

Highest January total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Ormley 130.6 195.1 in 1894 40.8
Ross (The Boulevards) 93.8 149.2 in 1996 46.4
York Plains (Handroyd) 85.2 138.2 in 1996 42.1

* 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 maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Burnie (Round Hill) 23.5 23.2 in 1981 65 21.1
Wynyard Airport 24.2 23.2 in 2009 28 21.4
Dover 22.7 22.6 in 2003 26 20.7
Devonport Airport 23.7 23.1 in 2010 24 21.3
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 23.4 22.7 in 2003 21 21.8

Highest January mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 26.1 26.9 in 1981* 24.3
Marrawah 22.0 22.4 in 1988 20.1

* 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) 14.4 14.0 in 1981 133 11.9
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 13.5 13.3 in 1951 92 11.4
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 15.8 15.4 in 1999 58 13.6
Hobart Airport 14.2 13.8 in 1981 57 12.0
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 13.1 12.6 in 1995 43 10.8
Bicheno (Council Depot) 15.0 14.4 in 2012 40 12.9
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 14.3 14.0 in 1995 32 12.3
Fingal (Legge Street) 12.5 11.7 in 1998 29 10.3
Dover 11.9 11.2 in 2001 26 10.2
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 10.0 9.5 in 2011 26 8.3
Devonport Airport 13.9 13.6 in 1995 24 12.2
Strahan Aerodrome 12.4 12.1 in 2007 24 10.7
Maydena Post Office 10.3 10.1 in 2007 23 8.9
Ross (The Boulevards) 12.4 12.3 in 1999 22 10.5
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 14.5 14.0 in 2006 20 13.0

Highest January mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 11.9 12.5 in 1971 10.1
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 12.6 12.7 in 1974 10.7



Lowest January mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
lower
Average for
January
Macquarie Island 4.4 4.2 in 1966 5.3



Record highest January mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 16.9 16.8 in 1974 92 14.9
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 19.8 19.3 in 2010 58 17.3
Wynyard Airport 18.6 17.7 in 1999 28 16.2
Dover 17.3 16.9 in 2003 26 15.4
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 15.1 = 15.1 in 2008 26 13.9
Devonport Airport 18.8 17.7 in 2012 24 16.8
Strahan Aerodrome 17.5 17.2 in 2001 24 15.7
Ross (The Boulevards) 19.0 = 19.0 in 2008 22 17.5

Highest January mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 20.2 20.4 in 1981* 18.3

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




Lowest January mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
lower
Average for
January
Macquarie Island 6.2 =6.2 in 1970 7.0



Summary statistics for January 2016
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2016
Mean for
January
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2016
Total for
January
2016
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2016
Fraction of
January
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 23.4 +1.6 27.4 1st 14.5 +1.5 7.1 15th 107.6 55.4 high 194%
Burnie (Round Hill) 23.5 +2.4 31.2 9th 13.5 +0.9 6.9 15th 93.1 44.7 v high 208%
Cape Grim 19.8   24.0 18th 14.3   11.0 15th 46.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 20.1 +1.2 25.2 18th 14.2 +1.1 11.0 15th 45.4 36.7 high 124%
Cressy Research Station 26.0 +0.9 34.6 9th 12.5 +2.3 6.2 15th 117.4 36.7 v high 320%
Devonport Airport 23.7 +2.4 30.2 8th 13.9 +1.7 5.0 15th 151.2 43.8 v high 345%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 26.1 +1.8 33.5 1st 14.3 +2.0 6.9 15th 150.4 47.7 highest 315%
Launceston Airport 25.8 +0.7 32.5 9th 12.7 +2.0 5.0 15th 109.4 33.7 v high 325%
Low Head 22.2 +1.9 24.9 2nd 15.7 +1.5 9.7 15th 150.8 52.4 v high 288%
Marrawah 22.0 +1.9 27.2 18th 13.2 +1.3 10.0 15th 20.6 48.3 v low 43%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 24.3 +1.4 30.3 1st 13.1 +2.3 7.4 15th 80.4 57.1 high 141%
Sheffield School Farm 24.0 +2.0 31.5 9th 12.3 +1.7 4.7 15th 198.6 55.3 v high 359%
Smithton Aerodrome 23.5 +2.0 28.8 11th 12.1 +1.1 4.5 15th 33.8 40.7 average 83%
Wynyard Airport 24.2 +2.8 31.5 9th 13.1 +2.1 2.6 15th 39.8 43.8 average 91%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 21.7 +0.3 26.6 8th 15.0 +2.1 9.5 15th 181.2 54.4 v high 333%
Fingal (Legge Street) 23.9 +0.4 33.6 9th 12.5 +2.2 4.6 16th 195.8 44.7 highest 438%
Friendly Beaches 23.3 +0.2 28.6 8th 14.6 +1.5 9.3 15th 221.2 67.9 v high 326%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 20.2 +0.8 28.9 9th 10.0 +1.7 2.4 15th 110.4 54.8 v high 201%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 23.8 +2.8 31.7 11th 15.8 +2.2 10.1 15th 62.6 45.5 high 138%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 21.4 0.0 27.6 8th 15.0 +1.5 10.5 15th 221.2 50.2 v high 441%
St Helens Aerodrome 22.7 0.0 29.4 9th 15.0 +1.8 8.6 16th 125.6 55.3 high 227%
Swan Island 21.8 +1.0 25.4 28th 16.3 +1.5 10.8 15th 65.6 46.1 high 142%
Swansea (Francis Street) 22.3   32.2 9th 14.1   9.0 16th 242.4
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 25.3 +0.8 32.0 9th 12.4 +1.9 3.0 15th 93.8 46.4 high 202%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 24.5 +0.2 33.7 13th 13.6 +2.2 8.2 16th 46.4 38.4 average 121%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 21.1 +1.4 32.9 13th 13.3 +1.2 9.6 15th 23.6 44.6 average 53%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 20.3 +2.0 31.7 13th 13.5 +2.1 10.3 15th 22.7 61.7 v low 37%
Dennes Point 21.7   28.1 13th 14.3   10.1 15th 41.8
Dover 22.7 +2.0 31.8 13th 11.9 +1.7 7.0 15th 35.2 53.9 average 65%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 22.4   26.4 9th 14.9   11.1 15th 112.0
Grove (Research Station) 23.6 +0.4 36.8 13th 10.8 +1.2 4.8 4th 38.4 47.2 average 81%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 22.5 +0.8 34.4 13th 14.4 +2.5 9.8 15th 40.2 47.6 average 84%
Hobart Airport 23.3 +0.7 35.1 13th 14.2 +2.2 8.6 4th 35.4 40.8 average 87%
Kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 13.8 +0.4 24.8 13th 5.7 +1.0 -0.4 15th 137.0 92.6 high 148%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 17.9 +0.9 30.0 13th 12.6 +1.9 8.7 15th 35.0 79.0 low 44%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 24.0 +0.1 33.1 13th 11.6 +1.3 5.5 15th 40.6 32.7 average 124%
Tasman Island 18.8 +0.9 21.4 22nd 12.8 +1.5 7.8 15th 37.0 72.7 low 51%
Tunnack Fire Station 22.3 +0.6 29.0 13th 10.2 +1.4 3.9 16th 65.6 45.7 average 144%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 25.3 +1.4 36.1 13th 11.9 +1.8 4.6 15th 27.6 40.9 average 67%
Maydena Post Office 23.2 +1.1 35.0 13th 10.3 +1.4 5.3 4th 44.2 62.3 average 71%
Ouse Fire Station 25.9 +0.5 35.8 13th 11.8 +1.7 4.7 4th 37.4 26.9 high 139%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 20.4 +1.5 28.4 13th 7.3 +0.9 1.1 21st 47.2 96.4 low 49%
Lake St Clair National Park 20.8 +1.4 27.8 14th 6.1 -0.2 0.3 10th 67.0 103.6 low 65%
Liawenee 19.4 +0.7 27.2 1st 6.1 +0.8 1.2 10th 131.4 55.4 v high 237%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 20.6 +2.4 27.1 31st 13.7 +1.9 10.5 10th 29.6 68.9 v low 43%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 18.1 +0.4 32.3 13th 7.4 +0.3 2.4 15th 52.4 67.8 average 77%
Low Rocky Point 20.8   29.2 13th 13.1   9.4 21st 53.2 80.4 low 66%
Mount Read 15.8 +1.5 22.7 13th 6.7 +0.9 1.1 15th 68.2 201.0 v low 34%
Scotts Peak Dam 23.0 +2.3 36.3 13th 10.2 +0.9 5.7 15th 25.8 104.8 v low 25%
Strahan Aerodrome 22.5 +1.7 34.9 13th 12.4 +1.7 7.7 10th 32.0 84.5 v low 38%
Warra 19.6 +0.2 32.9 13th 8.8 +0.5 4.0 4th 57.0 108.5 low 53%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 21.6 +0.7 28.7 13th 13.4 +1.0 6.2 16th 76.8 39.4 v high 195%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 23.4 +1.3 30.8 18th 14.5 +1.2 4.4 16th 100.4 45.5 v high 221%
Hogan Island 21.8 +0.2 27.6 13th 15.3 +0.6 11.3 16th 116.6 38.3 v high 304%
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 8.1 -0.7 10.1 29th 4.4 -0.9 2.1 9th 78.0 86.6 average 90%

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 10 am on Monday 1 February 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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Climate

Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.