Tasmania in spring 2010: wetter than usual, temperatures near normal

Several troughs and low pressure systems ensured that it was a wetter than usual spring across Tasmania. Temperatures gradually warmed from September to November, and overall nights were generally warmer than usual while days were cooler than usual.

  • Some record daily rainfall totals
  • Snow to low levels on several days
  • Waves to 18 metres on 16 September

A wet spring across the state

Troughs and cold fronts regularly affected Tasmania during spring, along with the odd low pressure system, making it wetter than usual nearly everywhere. In the east most sites were not as wet as spring last year, but most other areas had their wettest spring in at least 5 years. Some locations, including Marrawah, Cape Bruny and Bushy Park, had their wettest spring in over 20 years. Mount Read was the wettest site overall with a total of 1164 mm, while Fingal was the driest with 110 mm.

The wettest days were 4 September and 30-31 October, when low pressure systems moved over the state. More than 50 mm fell in most of the north on 4 September, with nearly 100 mm on higher ground in the northeast causing widespread flooding. The highest daily totals were to 9am on 31 October, when 84 mm was recorded at Erriba and 82 mm at South Riana, and Mawbanna (71 mm) and Gowrie Park (68 mm) had their highest spring daily rainfall on record.

Cold, snowy days in September; some hot days in November

Overall, daytime temperatures for spring were slightly cooler than usual in most areas, with several sites having their coldest spring since 2003 or even earlier. The exceptions were a few sites in the southeast, on the northwest coast and in the far northeast. Eddystone Point stood out, having its highest spring mean daily maximum temperature on record, with an average maximum temperature of 17.8 C. The warmest days on average were at Launceston with 18.1 C, while the coolest days on averate were at Mount Read with 7.2 C. 

Most of the cold days were in September, with Mount Wellington only reaching -2.2 C on the 28th and -2.1 C on the 29th. Snow settled to around 200 metres in the south on these days, behind a cold front that crossed the state on the 27th. It was almost as cold on 15-16 September and 15-16 October, with snow to similarly low levels. 

There were a few warm days in October (including the 3rd-4th, 22nd and 29th), but temperatures didn't climb into the 30s until 12 November, in a northerly airstream as a trough and cold front approached the state. The warmest temperature on this day was 31.6 C at Flinders Island Airport. Temperatures again soared on 23 November in a similar airstream, with many sites climbing into the 30s. Campania registered the hottest spring temperature, reaching 34.8 C on this day.

Many cold nights but mild at the end

There were several very cold nights in September and during the middle part of October, but by November nights were mostly mild. Minima ranged from -7.9 C at Liawenee on 7 September (the second coldest temperature recorded in Tasmania this year) to 18.4 C at Hogan Island on 24 November. Liawenee fell below -7 C on 3 and 8 September and 24 October, and Dover had its lowest spring temperature on record on 8 September, falling to -2.1 C. The coldest nights were mostly when high pressure ridges moved over the state behind cold fronts, while the warmest were on windy, rainy or cloudy nights.

For the whole season mean minima were within half a degree of normal, with slightly cooler than normal conditions in the west and warmer than normal conditions elsewhere. Mount Wellington had the coolest nights on average (0.2 C) and Swan Island had the warmest night on average (10.5 C).

Huge waves on 16 September

The waverider buoy off Cape Sorell on Tasmania’s west coast registered an 18.4 metre wave at about 11 am on 16 September. This approaches the record wave of 19.8 metres measured by a similar buoy operated by CSIRO in July 1985. The peak was a single wave, but for most of the day waves at the buoy were averaging over 8 metres. The observers at Maatsuyker Island just off Tasmania’s south coast reported an exceptional 11 metre swell, and at Cape Bruny 10 metres was reported. The huge waves were generated by strong winds around a deep low pressure system over the Southern Ocean south of Tasmania as a cold front swept across the state. The same system brought damaging winds, rain, hail and snow, with road closures, building damage and failed power lines reported across the state. Wind gusts reached 148 km/h at Maatsuyker Island and 141 km/h at Cape Bruny. A few days later the same system brought extreme weather to New Zealand. 

Hobart: warm and wet

Hobart was one of the few sites that had warmer then usual day and nights during spring. Both the mean maximum temperature of 17.4 C and the mean minimum temperature of 8.2 C were about half a degree above average. There were a number of days when the temperature didn't reach 12 C in September and October, the coldest being just 10.5 C on 28 September — a day when snow settled in suburban Mount Nelson. Another cold day was 16 September, when the temperature stayed below 6 C for much of the day. In contrast, the temperature reached 33.9 C on 23 November, making it Hobart's hottest spring day since 1988 and by far the warmest day for the season. Overnight temperatures varied from 1.7 C on 7 September to 15.7 C on 25 November. 

Hobart was also wetter than usual with a total of 232 mm, not as wet as the 268 mm that fell last year but still over 50 mm wetter than usual. The rain came from several cold fronts and low pressure systems. The wettest day was 4 September, with 30 mm recorded in the 24 hours to 9 am the next day.

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Extremes in spring 2010
Hottest day 34.8 C at Campania (Kincora) on 23 Nov
Warmest days on average 18.1 C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average7.2 C at Mount Read
Coldest day -2.2 C at Mount Wellington on 28 Sep
Coldest night -7.9 C at Liawenee on 7 Sep
Coolest nights on average 0.2 C at Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 10.5 C at Swan Island
Warmest night 18.4 C at Hogan Island on 24 Nov
Warmest on average overall 13.7 C at Eddystone Point
Coolest on average overall 3.8 C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 1164.2 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 109.6 mm at Fingal (Legge Street)
Wettest day84.4 mm at Erriba (Jubb Road) on 31 Oct
Highest wind gust 148 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 15 Sep

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 spring daily rainfall

Highest daily rainfall
in spring 2010 (mm)
Previous wettest
for spring
Years of
record
Mawbanna (Mawbanna Road) 71.2 on 31 Oct 70.4 on 29 Nov 1977 66
Gowrie Park 68.4 on 31 Oct 65.0 on 14 Oct 1986 39



Record highest total spring rainfall
Total rainfall
for spring 2010 (mm)
Previous wettest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Cape Grim BAPS * 309.0 304.2 in 1988 23 190.2
* Note that the rain gauge at Cape Grim moved in 2005

Highest total spring rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for spring 2010 (mm)
Most recent spring
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
spring
Macquarie Island 307.0 309.9 in 1955 53 222.5
Marrawah 379.0 423.0 in 1979 31 264.6
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 352.6 401.0 in 1984 26 240.7
Woodbridge 338.6 364.3 in 1962 23 249.6
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 223.0 271.0 in 1988 22 164.5
Lunawanna 297.2 298.6 in 1988 20 209.1



Record highest spring mean daily maximum temperature

Mean daily maximum
temperature
for spring 2010 (C)
Previous warmest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Eddystone Point 17.8 17.7 in 2009 51 16.3



Record lowest spring temperature

Lowest temperature
in spring 2010 (C)
Previous coolest
for spring
Years of
record
Average for
spring
Dover -2.1 on 8 Sep -1.0 on 9 Sep 1992 21 6.4





Summary statistics for spring 2010
Maximum temperatures
for spring
(C)
Minimum temperatures
for spring
(C)
Rainfall
for spring
(millimetres)
Mean for
spring
2010
Diff
from
average
Highest for
spring
2010
Mean for
spring
2010
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
spring
2010
Total for
spring
2010
Average
for
spring
Rank of
spring
2010
Fraction of
spring
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 16.1 -0.4 24.9 23 Nov 8.4 +0.1 0.6 29 Sep 216.4 182.5 high 119%
Burnie (Round Hill) 16.1 +0.1 22.0 23 Nov 8.9 +0.7 2.3 29 Sep 275.4 242.4 average 114%
Cape Grim BAPS 14.4 -0.1 23.4 23 Nov 9.3 -0.1 3.7 16 Oct 309.0 190.2 highest 162%
Cressy Research Station 17.0 -0.4 27.7 23 Nov 6.1 +0.8 -2.5 8 Sep 208.0 166.3 high 125%
Devonport Airport 16.1 +0.3 22.6 24 Nov 8.2 +0.8 -0.1 30 Sep 215.3 196.2 average 110%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.1 +0.1 27.8 12 Nov 7.6 +0.6 -0.6 30 Sep 179.4 166.7 average 108%
Launceston Airport 17.1   27.4 23 Nov 6.0   -2.5 30 Sep 178.4
Low Head 15.3 -0.2 21.7 28 Nov 10.0 +0.3 2.3 30 Sep 209.2 164.5 high 127%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 14.2 -0.6 28.3 23 Nov 6.2 -0.1 0.3 16 Oct 516.2 408.4 high 126%
Marrawah     27.2 23 Nov 8.4 +0.2 3.3 16 Oct 379.0 264.6 v high 143%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 16.1 -0.3 26.6 23 Nov 6.6 +0.5 -2.2 30 Sep 288.8 253.2 average 114%
Sheffield School Farm 14.9 -0.5 24.6 23 Nov 6.2 +0.2 -0.9 30 Sep 371.6 292.1 average 127%
Smithton Aerodrome 15.8 -0.7 23.6 23 Nov 7.0 -0.3 -0.6 2 Sep 314.0 243.1 high 129%
Wynyard Airport 16.3 +0.2 22.2 20 Nov 6.9 +0.6 -0.1 14 Sep 303.0 260.1 high 116%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 17.0 -0.3 32.5 23 Nov 8.8 +0.2 1.7 8 Sep 150.8 157.8 average 96%
Eddystone Point 17.8 +1.5 28.9 23 Nov 9.5 +0.2 2.1 29 Sep 190.8 193.0 average 99%
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.0 -0.4 30.3 12 Nov 5.5 +0.4 -3.2 30 Sep 109.6 149.2 low 73%
Friendly Beaches 17.7 -0.4 33.9 23 Nov 8.7 -0.1 1.3 8 Sep 167.8 152.2 average 110%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 13.4 -0.1 26.6 12 Nov 3.9 +0.3 -3.8 2 Sep 191.2 209.4 average 91%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 16.2   28.0 23 Nov 9.2   2.5 16 Oct 157.4
Orford (Aubin Court) 16.8 -0.4 31.9 23 Nov 7.4 +0.1 -0.4 8 Sep 190.8 177.2 average 108%
Scamander 17.4 -0.2 31.8 23 Nov 8.7 +0.4 1.2 14 Sep 153.9 180.3 average 85%
St Helens Aerodrome 17.4   30.1 23 Nov 8.4   0.7 14 Sep 160.0
Swan Island 15.9   25.7 23 Nov 10.5   4.0 30 Sep 155.0
Swansea Post Office 17.6 0.0 33.3 23 Nov 7.3 0.0 -0.7 8 Sep 132.5 146.0 average 91%
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 17.1 0.0 29.6 23 Nov 5.5 +0.4 -4.6 7 Sep 183.6 144.2 high 127%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 17.8 -0.5 34.8 23 Nov 6.6 -0.2 -1.5 7 Sep 194.6
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 15.3 -0.1 31.9 23 Nov 7.8 -0.7 2.2 16 Oct 294.8 196.0 v high 150%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 14.6 +0.2 31.3 23 Nov 7.9 -0.1 1.2 17 Oct 352.6 240.7 v high 146%
Dover 15.5 -0.6 32.2 23 Nov 6.0 -0.4 -2.1 8 Sep
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 16.2 -0.2 31.4 23 Nov 6.3 +0.3 -1.2 3 Sep 326.8 255.5 high 128%
Grove (Research Station) 16.6   31.1 23 Nov 5.5   -3.1 3 Sep 328.8
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 17.4 +0.5 33.9 23 Nov 8.2 +0.4 1.7 7 Sep 231.8 169.5 high 137%
Hobart Airport 17.4 +0.2 33.3 23 Nov 7.9 +0.3 0.5 8 Sep 179.4 133.3 high 135%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 12.8 -0.5 26.5 23 Nov 7.6 +0.1 2.6 14 Sep 304.0 308.2 average 99%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 16.3 -0.7 32.6 23 Nov 6.0 +0.2 -2.6 7 Sep 199.6 138.2 high 144%
Mount Wellington 7.4 +0.5 23.3 23 Nov 0.2 0.0 -6.1 16 Oct
Tasman Island 13.3   31.7 23 Nov 7.4   0.8 17 Sep 249.8
Tunnack Fire Station 14.4 -0.3 27.4 23 Nov 4.5 -0.1 -4.3 7 Sep 249.6 187.4 high 133%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 17.9 +0.3 32.9 23 Nov 5.6 -0.1 -3.5 8 Sep 223.0 164.5 high 136%
Maydena Post Office 15.1 -0.7 29.2 23 Nov 5.0 +0.2 -2.0 3 Sep 370.8 355.1 average 104%
Ouse Fire Station 17.5 -0.6 33.2 23 Nov 5.5 +0.1 -3.9 8 Sep 181.4 169.1 average 107%
Tarraleah Village 13.4 -0.3 27.5 23 Nov     -3.0 3 Sep 366.2 327.7 average 112%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 12.3 0.0 26.8 23 Nov 2.7 +0.3 -3.9 24 Oct 490.6 468.0 average 105%
Lake St Clair National Park 12.7 0.0 27.2 23 Nov 2.3 +0.2 -4.9 8 Sep 533.2 528.6 average 101%
Liawenee 11.3   24.2 23 Nov 1.1   -7.9 7 Sep 262.6 268.5 average 98%
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 10.3 -0.7 25.5 23 Nov 2.5 -0.4 -3.2 16 Oct 317.4 268.2 high 118%
Mount Read 7.2 -0.5 20.8 23 Nov 1.2 -0.3 -4.7 16 Oct 1164.2
Scotts Peak Dam 14.5 -0.3 28.3 22 Nov 5.1 -0.3 -1.6 8 Sep 599.2
Strahan Aerodrome 15.8 -0.2 29.7 23 Nov 7.2 -0.1 -0.6 3 Sep 496.4 328.0 v high 151%
Strathgordon Village 13.4 -0.4 28.2 23 Nov 5.4 -0.2 -0.5 3 Sep 807.6 707.7 high 114%
Warra 13.0   28.8 23 Nov 4.1   -2.7 7 Sep 594.0
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 15.8 0.0 29.3 23 Nov 8.7 -0.3 2.6 28 Oct 225.8 219.2 average 103%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 17.1 +0.3 31.7 23 Nov 9.6 +0.9 -0.1 8 Sep 152.5 179.9 average 85%
Hogan Island 15.9   30.2 23 Nov 10.4   5.3 28 Sep 154.6
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 5.8 -0.1 8.9 27 Nov 2.1 0.0 -6.8 25 Sep 307.0 222.5 v high 138%

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 9 am on Wednesday 1 December 2010. 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries