Canberra in spring 2013: Heavy rain, warm days, severe frosts

  • Close to average rainfall, from few rain days but three heavy events.
  • Mild days; second-fewest days below 20 °C on record.
  • Cold nights, including severe October frosts.

Rainfall - Few rain days, but heavy events

Canberra airport recorded 210 mm of rain during spring, slightly above the historical average of 178.2 mm and the wettest spring since 2005. The rain fell over 22 days, below the historical average of 30 rain days. Four days recorded at least 25 mm of rain, the equal-highest on record with spring 1983, including the wettest September day on record; these four days contributed more than 70% of the rainfall recorded during the month.

Most of the rain recorded during spring fell during three rain events. A series of surface troughs produced rain during mid-September, with 57.8 mm recorded to 9am on the 17th and totals of up to 83.8 mm at Mt Ginini. Complex surface troughs again produced heavy rain in mid-November, with a two-day total of 65.8 mm to 9am on the 12th, while a short-lived severe thunderstorm produced 26 mm in thirty minutes on the afternoon of the 21st.

Temperature - Warm days, cold nights

The average maximum temperature at Canberra airport during spring was 21.9 °C, 2.5 °C above the historical average and the fifth-warmest spring on record. Spring began with well above average temperatures, with Canberra airport recording its warmest September on record and equal-seventh-warmest October, followed by closer to normal temperatures during November. The notable feature was the lack of cold days; only 28 days dropped below 20 °C during the season (average 52 days), the second-fewest cold days on record following 22 days in 2006.

In contrast, the average minimum temperature was 4.8 °C, 1.2 °C below the historical average and the equal-seventh-coldest spring on record. Nights were mild during September but well below average in both October and November, including the coldest October night on record. There were eleven nights below 0 °C during the season (average 8 nights), including several severe frosts that caused agricultural damage during October.

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Extremes in spring 2013
Hottest day 32.1 °C at Canberra Airport on 21 Oct
Warmest days on average 21.9 °C at Canberra Airport
Coolest days on average 12.8 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Coldest day 1.2 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 19 Sep
Coldest night -6.3 °C at Mount Ginini AWS on 13 Sep
Coolest nights on average 2.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Warmest nights on average 5.5 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Warmest night 15.5 °C at Canberra Airport on 23 Oct
Warmest on average overall 13.6 °C at Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS
Coolest on average overall 7.7 °C at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest overall 256.0 mm at Mount Ginini AWS
Wettest day 83.8 mm at Mount Ginini AWS on 17 Sep
Highest wind gust 98 km/h at Mount Ginini AWS on 26 Sep

Summary statistics for spring 2013
Maximum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Rainfall
for spring
(millimetres)
Mean for
spring
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
spring
2013
Mean for
spring
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
spring
2013
Total for
spring
2013
Average
for
spring
Rank of
spring
2013
Fraction of
spring
average
Canberra Airport 21.9 +2.5 32.1 21 Oct 4.8 -1.2 -3.4 18 Oct 210.0 178.2 average 118%
Mount Ginini AWS 12.8   22.0 21 Oct 2.7   -6.3 13 Sep 256.0
Tuggeranong (Isabella Plains) AWS 21.8   31.7 28 Nov 5.5   -2.0 18 Oct 200.2

Notes

As of March 2010, the official station for Canberra is 70351 'Canberra Airport'. Averages from the previous site, 70014 Canberra Airport Comparison, are used for comparisons (all years of record).

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Canberra 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 Monday 2 December 2013. 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 20 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 being used for temperature area averages from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries