Tasmania in spring 2009: wet in the east, warm overall

  • Wet in the east
  • Dry in the west
  • Warm overall
Several heavy rainfall events in September and again in November gave a wet spring to the east of Tasmania, but the west had less than usual rain. Temperatures were mostly above average, and there were some cold nights and some hot days.

A wet spring in the east — but dry in the west

A record-wet September and a very wet November combined to balance out a relatively dry October and give a wet spring in the east and southeast, with a a few sites having their wettest spring in many years. Included was Swansea where 324 mm was the wettest since 1889 and more than double the long-term average for the season. In the east much of the rain came in short bursts, with several sites having their wettest spring day on record on either 23 September (when Gray received 135 mm) or 29 November (when Eaglehawk Neck had 114 mm).

Meanwhile, total spring rainfall amounts in the west of the state were typically 300 to 500 mm; similar to the wettest place in the east. This is not the usual pattern, and rainfall for the west was well below average, with a few sites there having one of their driest springs on record. Totals were close to average for spring along the north coast, in the central north, and on King Island.

The wettest spot overall Mount Wellington with 501.6 mm (although the normally wet Mount Read was not operating in September); the second-wettest was 486.7 mm at Strathgordon. At the other extreme, the driest overall was Ouse with 131.6 mm.

Plenty of cool days early — but hot ones later in the season

November was very warm, but there were several quite cool days through spring, especially in the east and south when it was raining, or in the wake of cold changes (Mount Wellington did not get above -1.2 °C on 6 or 7 October). Warm to hot days began to appear in late October (with several some sites topping 30 °C on the 31st), but the hottest weather was in November: 33.6 °C at Ouse Fire Station on 9 November and 35.1 °C at Bicheno on 20 November. A few sites had their highest spring temperature on record on one of those days. The hot days in November were part of an extended heatwave that affected central and southeastern Australia, which is the theme of a Bureau of Meteorology Special Climate Statement.

Launceston, Bushy Park and Ouse shared the highest mean daily maximum for spring of 18.6 °C, whilst Mount Wellington's 8.3 °C was the lowest mean for the season.

Overall, maximum temperatures were above average across the state: by less than half a degree in the east but by more than a full degree in the west. Several sites had their highest spring mean daily maximum temperature on record.

Mild nights predominate — but some cold ones in October

Overnight temperatures were above average for most of spring, but the first week of October was generally cold by night and there was a cold snap late in October. The coldest night was -5.7 °C at Liawenee on 29 September, which also recorded -5.3 °C on 26 October. There were some very mild nights during November: Luncheon Hill in the northwest did not drop below 17.8 °C on the night of 9/10 November, and Hogan Island (in Bass Strait) did not drop below 17.7 °C that night.

Averaged across all of spring, minimum temperatures were warmer than usual, typically by half to one degree.

Floods and winds — but less windy than usual

The rain in the east, especially that of September (which followed several months of wet weather) and the end of November (where locally very heavy falls occurred), caused some rivers to flood.

There was also some very strong winds during September, with gusts to 146 km/h at Maatsuyker Island and 141 km/h at Cape Grim on on the 27th. However, there were less strong and gusty winds during spring than is normally the case. For example, although Hobart had a peak gust of 91 km/h (on 27 September) in most springs it records at least one gust over 100 km/h. 

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Extremes in spring 2009
Hottest day 35.1 °C at Bicheno (Council Depot) on 20 Nov
Warmest days on average 18.6 °C at Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates)
18.6 °C at Ouse Fire Station
18.6 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average 8.3 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day -1.2 °C at Mount Wellington on 6 and 7 Oct
Coldest night -5.7 °C at Liawenee on 29 Sep
Coolest nights on average 1.0 °C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 11.2 °C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 17.8 °C at Luncheon Hill (Forestry) on 10 Nov
Wettest overall 501.6 mm at Mount Wellington*
Driest overall 131.6 mm at Ouse Fire Station
Wettest day 135.4 mm at Gray (Blueberry Cottage) on 23 Sep
Highest wind gust 146 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 27 Sep

* Mount Read on the west coast was not functioning during September, but may have received more rain than Mount Wellington


Record highest spring daily rainfall

Highest daily rainfall
in spring 2009 (mm)
Previous highest
for spring
Years of
record
Eaglehawk Neck (Jetty Road) 113.6 on 29 Nov 88.9 on 9 Oct 1891 90
Margate (Sunnyside) 57.2 on 23 Sep 52.6 on 6 Sep 1983 42
Sandspit River (Ringrove) 60.0 on 23 Sep 51.0 on 4 Nov 1975 31
Mount Wellington 101.2 on 29 Nov 75.0 on 12 Oct 2001 29
Swansea (Belmont) 71.6 on 23 Sep 69.8 on 9 Oct 2005 29
Nugent (Twilight Valley) 88.4 on 23 Sep 72.2 on 12 Sep 2005 27



Record highest total spring rainfall

Total rainfall
for spring 2009 (mm)
Previous highest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Bicheno (Council Depot) 378.6 328.4 in 1934 83 157.9
Risdon Vale (Poplar Road) 255.8 240.4 in 2005 30 137.0
Nugent (Twilight Valley) 439.8 351.6 in 2001 26 212.1

Highest total spring rainfall for at least 20 years

Total rainfall
for spring 2009 (mm)
Most recent higher
for spring
Years since
higher
Average for
spring
Swansea Post Office 323.8 444.6 in 1889 119 146.1
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 292.8 300.8 in 1952 55 157.0
Levendale 359.4 359.8 in 1976 33 197.2
Copping 300.6 345.0 in 1976 30 194.1
Eddystone Point 315.8 414.2 in 1976 30 193.0
Blackmans Bay Treatment Plant 246.6 251.8 in 1983 25 159.3
Taroona (Taroona Crescent) 246.6 264.2 in 1983 23 170.0
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 274.4 312.0 in 1988 20 209.6



Record lowest total spring rainfall

Total rainfall
for spring 2009 (mm)
Previous lowest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Lake St Clair National Park 399.0 401.0 in 1999 20 528.4

Lowest total spring rainfall for at least 20 years

Total rainfall
for spring 2009 (mm)
Most recent lower
for spring
Years since
lower
Average for
spring
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 193.8 167.0 in 1937 71 308.1
Strathgordon Village 486.7 362.6 in 1985 24 705.4



Record highest spring temperature

Highest temperature
in spring 2009 (°C)
Previous highest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Marrawah 29.0 on 9 Nov 27.6 on 13 Nov 1988 39 15.0
Bicheno (Council Depot) 35.1 on 20 Nov 33.9 on 15 Nov 2003 36 17.3
Wynyard Airport 30.5 on 19 Nov 28.4 on 18 Nov 2002 23 16.0
Lake St Clair National Park 28.0 on 8 Nov 27.7 on 19 Nov 2007 20 12.6




Record highest spring mean daily maximum temperature

Mean daily maximum
temperature
for spring 2009 (°C)
Previous highest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.3 = 17.3 in 1981 60 16.0
Eddystone Point 17.7 17.5 in 2007 50 16.3
Flinders Island Airport 18.0 17.9 in 1980 46 16.7
Marrawah 16.3 16.0 in 2005 38 15.0
Strathgordon Village 15.1 = 15.1 in 2005 27 13.7
Wynyard Airport 17.8 16.9 in 2006 21 16.0


Highest spring mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years

Mean daily maximum
temperature
for spring 2009 (°C)
Most recent higher
for spring
Years since
higher
Average for
spring
Butlers Gorge 13.9 14.2 in 1963 27 12.3




Summary statistics for spring 2009

Maximum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for spring
(°C)
Rainfall
for spring
(millimetres)
Mean for
spring
2009
Diff
from
average
Highest for
spring
2009
Mean for
spring
2009
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
spring
2009
Total for
spring
2009
Average
for
spring
Rank of
spring
2009
Fraction of
spring
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 17.0 +0.6 27.0 19 Nov 8.7 +0.4 3.1 7 Oct 183.9 180.1 average 102%
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.3 +1.4 30.3 19 Nov 9.7 +1.6 4.6 7 Oct 198.1 241.9 average 82%
Cape Grim BAPS 15.6 +1.1 27.2 10 Nov 10.1 +0.7 5.0 7 Oct



Cressy Research Station 17.7 +0.3 31.6 19 Nov 6.4 +1.2 -1.0 2 Sep 182.8 162.5 average 112%
Devonport Airport 16.8 +1.0 24.5 19 Nov 8.4 +1.0 1.7 7 Oct 189.1 195.6 average 97%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.6 +0.6 30.0 9 Nov 7.9 +1.0 0.9 10 Oct 177.2 166.3 average 107%
Launceston Airport 17.6   29.5 9 Nov 6.5   0.9 2 Oct 199.8


Low Head 16.1 +0.6 24.6 19 Nov 10.4 +0.8 5.2 2 Sep 181.4 160.9 average 113%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 16.2 +1.5 30.8 9 Nov 7.1 +0.9 0.4 7 Oct 311.4 400.7 v low 78%
Marrawah 16.3 +1.2 29.0 9 Nov 9.1 +0.9 3.5 7 Oct 269.8 261.7 average 103%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 17.0 +0.6 29.3 19 Nov 7.1 +1.0 -0.1 2 Oct 202.0 252.3 average 80%
Sheffield School Farm 16.0 +0.6 28.7 19 Nov 6.4 +0.5 -0.1 8 Oct 273.8 284.8 average 96%
Smithton Aerodrome 17.5 +1.0 27.1 19 Nov 7.6 +0.4 0.5 11 Sep 216.8 237.7 average 91%
Wynyard Airport 17.8 +1.8 30.5 19 Nov 7.0 +0.8 0.6 3 Oct 219.6 258.9 average 85%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 17.3 0.0 35.1 20 Nov 9.3 +0.8 4.4 26 Oct 378.6 157.9 highest 240%
Eddystone Point 17.7 +1.4 30.0 9 Nov 10.1 +0.8 4.2 2 Oct 315.8 193.0 v high 164%
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.6 +0.2 31.8 20 Nov 6.2 +1.2 -0.9 2 Sep 238.2 149.5 v high 159%
Friendly Beaches 18.0 0.0 33.2 20 Nov 9.2 +0.5 4.1 11 Sep 174.2 150.6 high 116%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 14.1 +0.6 28.2 19 Nov 4.5 +0.9 -2.4 26 Oct 274.4 209.6 high 131%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 16.3   29.6 20 Nov 9.7   4.8 1 Sep 274.8


Orford (Aubin Court) 17.2 0.0 31.4 20 Nov 8.3 +1.0 2.1 2 Sep 307.0 177.0 v high 173%
Scamander 17.5 0.0 32.8 20 Nov 9.0 +0.7 3.4 3 Oct 294.3 181.4 high 162%
St Helens Aerodrome 17.6   32.9 9 Nov 8.9   2.7 2 Sep 327.2


Swansea Post Office 17.6 0.0 32.0 20 Nov 7.8 +0.5 1.1 2 Oct 323.8 146.1 v high 222%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.2 +0.1 32.4 19 Nov 6.2 +1.1 -1.6 26 Oct 176.6 141.7 high 125%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 17.9   33.5 20 Nov 7.1   0.0 11 Sep 215.2


Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 15.7 +0.3 25.6 9 Nov 8.7 +0.3 3.8 11 Sep 197.2 187.8 average 105%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 14.9 +0.5 24.7 9 Nov 9.1 +1.1 4.0 25 Oct 224.2 239.8 average 93%
Dover 16.1 +0.1 31.7 20 Nov 6.7 +0.3 -0.1 11 Sep 290.0 240.0 high 121%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 17.2 +0.8 32.9 9 Nov 6.8 +0.8 -0.8 11 Sep 289.8 253.6 average 114%
Grove (Research Station) 17.1   31.9 9 Nov 6.3   -1.0 4 Oct 301.6


Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 17.4 +0.6 32.6 20 Nov 8.7 +0.9 3.1 29 Sep 266.2 169.0 v high 158%
Hobart Airport 17.2 0.0 32.6 20 Nov 8.6 +1.0 2.5 15 Sep 203.0 132.4 high 153%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.7 +0.4 23.8 9 Nov 8.4 +0.8 3.7 1 Sep 193.8 308.1 v low 63%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 16.7 -0.3 31.0 20 Nov 6.4 +0.7 -0.5 11 Sep 198.0 133.5 high 148%
Mount Wellington 8.2 +1.3 23.7 9 Nov 1.0 +0.8 -4.9 1 Sep 501.6 249.2 v high 201%
Tasman Island 14.2   30.3 20 Nov 8.0   3.3 1 Sep 276.6


Tunnack Fire Station 14.5 -0.2 28.5 20 Nov 5.3 +0.8 -1.7 26 Oct 367.0 182.3 v high 201%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 18.6 +1.0 33.1 9 Nov     -1.7 11 Sep 161.2 164.1 average 98%
Maydena Post Office 16.4 +0.7 32.0 9 Nov 5.3 +0.5 -2.4 8 Oct 309.3 354.1 average 87%
Ouse Fire Station 18.6 +0.5 33.6 9 Nov 5.8 +0.5 -1.9 8 Oct 131.6 167.9 low 78%
Tarraleah Village 14.7 +1.1 28.5 9 Nov 4.3 +1.1 -1.9 11 Sep 261.2 327.1 low 80%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 13.9 +1.6 28.0 8 Nov 3.1 +0.7 -4.2 26 Oct 339.4 467.6 low 73%
Lake St Clair National Park 14.1 +1.5 28.0 8 Nov 2.7 +0.6 -3.5 26 Oct 399.0 528.4 lowest 76%
Liawenee 13.0   27.4 9 Nov 1.8   -5.7 29 Sep 270.2


West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 11.6 +0.6 26.9 9 Nov 3.5 +0.6 -1.6 1 Sep 320.8


Scotts Peak Dam 16.0 +1.3 31.4 9 Nov 5.9 +0.6 1.1 1 Sep 402.6


Strahan Aerodrome 17.0 +1.1 30.2 8 Nov 8.0 +0.8 1.0 7 Oct 304.0 319.6 low 95%
Strathgordon Village 15.1 +1.4 30.0 9 Nov 6.3 +0.7 -0.2 8 Oct 486.7 705.4 v low 69%
Warra 14.0   29.4 9 Nov 5.0   -1.2 11 Sep 445.8


King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 16.9 +1.1 30.2 9 Nov 10.0 +1.0 3.5 9 Oct 218.6 218.9 average 100%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 18.0 +1.2 33.0 19 Nov 9.5 +0.8 2.1 4 Oct 210.6 180.2 high 117%
Hogan Island 17.0   29.5 19 Nov 11.2   5.9 27 Sep 180.2


Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 5.8 -0.1 8.1 30 Nov 2.0 -0.1 -2.1 23 Sep 251.2 221.0 high 114%

Notes

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list 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, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Tuesday 1 December 2009. 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 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.

Further information

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(03) 9669 4057
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