Tasmania in autumn 2011: Dry end but still wet overall in the east

In the east, flooding rain during March and April made it a wet autumn despite a dry May. The west was drier than usual due to a lack of active cold fronts. Temperatures were cooler than usual overall, and most sites had their coolest autumn since 2006.

  • Downpours in the northeast during March and April
  • Tasmania's third-wettest day on record
  • Coolest since 2006 in most areas
  • Coldest autumn day on record for Launceston

Downpours and flooding in the northeast

Two exceptionally heavy rainfall events affected the northeast during autumn as complex low pressure systems moved near the state. Many sites in the east had their wettest autumn day on record during one or other of these.

The first exceptional rain occurred on 21-24 March and brought over 100 mm to much of the east and central north. The heaviest rain was in the northeast with 327 mm falling at Gray in 24 hours, making it Tasmania's third-wettest day on record. There was extreme flooding, including major flooding of the South Esk river basin with near record peak heights (for further details on this event see the Special Climate Statement).

The second heavy rainfall event on 11-15 April brought over 100 mm to much of the east, including 57 mm in an hour and 153 mm in a day at Eddystone Point. Once again, significant flooding developed in the northeast, though it was not as damaging as the March event.

Very wet in the northeast but dry in the west

Overall, autumn was wet in the east and dry in the west following a wet March and April in the east but a relatively dry May. Gladstone had its wettest autumn on record with 536 mm, of which only 26 mm fell in May. A number of other sites in the east had their highest total autumn rainfall for at least 20 years

Rainfall totals were unusually well-distributed across the state. Mount Read was still the wettest site with 800 mm, but Gray in the northeast had almost as much rain, totalling 729 mm. Away from the mountains, most areas received around 200 mm for the whole of autumn. Only a few sites in the Derwent Valley had less than 100 mm, with Ouse (70 mm) being the driest site.

Cooler days, and coldest autumn day on record for Launceston

Average maximum temperatures for autumn were mostly around a degree cooler than usual in the east and half a degree cooler than usual elsewhere, making it the coolest autumn since 2006. Scottsdale and Orford (16.7 C) had their lowest autumn mean daily maximum temperature on record.

There were several cold days, including the first week of autumn when snow fell to around 800 metres. Although it generally gets cooler through autumn, the coldest autumn day this year was on 4 March when the temperature at Mount Wellington didn't rise above -0.5 C. There were no great extremes of temperatures during April, but May saw more very cold temperatures and mountain snow, especially from 8 to 14 May. On 12 May Launceston only reached 9.6 C, its coldest autumn day on record

The warmest days occurred during the second week of March and around 8 April. Ouse recorded the highest temperature, reaching 30.8 C on 12 March.

Coolest autumn nights since 2006

Nights were mostly warm in March, near average in April, and mostly cold in May. The exception was the first week of March, which was much colder than usual. Liawenee fell to -5.3 C in that week, and didn't dip to such low temperatures again until May. The coldest autumn temperature was -7.4 C at Liawenee on 10 May. The warmest was 18.8 C at Hogan Island on 13 March.

Over the whole season, overnight temperatures were slightly cooler than usual except for a few sites in the south. Most sites had their coolest autumn nights on average since 2006, and Orford (7.3 C) had its lowest autumn mean daily minimum temperature since 1979.

Hobart: cooler and wetter than last autumn

There was quite a contrast between autumn 2010 and autumn 2011 in Hobart. Last autumn was much drier than usual with only 75 mm in total. This autumn 79 mm fell in a single day (on 13 April) — the wettest day in Hobart since 22 April 1960. The total autumn rain of 194 mm was over 50 mm wetter than usual, and it was the wettest autumn since 2003.

The average daytime maximum temperature in Hobart for autumn 2011 was 17.7 C and the average overnight minimum was 9.3 C. Both are about half a degree warmer than usual, but still much cooler than autumn 2010 (the warmest on record for Hobart) when average maximum and minimum temperatures were 19.2 C and 10.3 C respectively. This autumn, temperatures ranged from a minimum of 2.5 C on 28 May to a maximum of 29.6 C on 12 March.

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Extremes in autumn 2011
Hottest day 30.8 C at Ouse Fire Station on 12 Mar
Warmest days on average 18.5 C at Eddystone Point
Coolest days on average 8.2 C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day -0.5 C at Mount Wellington on 4 Mar
Coldest night -7.4 C at Liawenee on 10 May
Coolest nights on average 1.7 C at Liawenee
Warmest nights on average 12.7 C at Hogan Island
Warmest night 18.8 C at Hogan Island on 13 Mar
Warmest on average overall 15.0 C at Hogan Island
Coolest on average overall 5.2 C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall 799.6 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 69.6 mm at Ouse Fire Station
Wettest day 327.2 mm at Gray (Dalmayne Rd) on 24 Mar
Highest wind gust 128 km/h at Mount Wellington on 15 May

Maps

Observed Anomaly Decile 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 autumn daily rainfall

Highest daily rainfall
in autumn 2011 (mm)
Previous wettest
for autumn
Years of
record
Longford (Denton Close) 70.0 on 24 Mar 59.9 on 8 Mar 1911 108
Connorville (Lake River) 72.0 on 24 Mar 69.3 on 23 Apr 1960 82
Gladstone (Old Post Office) 149.8 on 24 Mar 139.2 on 5 Apr 1929 70
Chain of Lagoons 140.8 on 24 Mar 139.7 on 3 Mar 1931 55
South Mount Cameron (Gladstone Road) 150.8 on 24 Mar 98.0 on 13 May 1960 54
German Town 178.0 on 24 Mar 175.0 on 27 Apr 1974 52
Seven Mile Beach (Royal Hobart Golf Club 78.2 on 13 Apr 61.0 on 23 Mar 1983 51
Pyengana (Forest Lodge Road) 200.0 on 24 Mar 184.0 on 18 May 1986 50
Taroona (Taroona Crescent) 97.2 on 13 Apr 86.0 on 23 Mar 1983 49
Perth (Forestry Nursery) 57.0 on 24 Mar 47.0 on 3 Mar 1981 47
Rushy Lagoon (Cape Portland Road) 130.8 on 24 Mar 82.0 on 18 May 1986 45
Musselboro (Elverton) 70.0 on 24 Mar 52.2 on 8 Apr 2010 43
Evandale (Cambock Lane) 74.4 on 24 Mar 67.3 on 22 Apr 1960 41
Burns Creek (Janefield) 66.2 on 24 Mar =66.2 on 26 May 1987 39
Risdon Vale (Poplar Road) 88.4 on 13 Apr 55.9 on 21 Apr 1965 32
Blackmans Bay Treatment Plant 92.2 on 13 Apr 80.0 on 22 Mar 1983 30
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 75.0 on 13 Apr 70.0 on 21 Mar 2003 28
Nugent (Twilight Valley) 80.6 on 13 Apr 80.4 on 19 May 1986 28
Tea Tree (The Point) 74.4 on 13 Apr 53.2 on 21 Mar 2003 26
Richmond (Strathayr) 55.2 on 13 Apr 47.0 on 17 Apr 1996 23
Bell Bay (Temco) 53.0 on 24 Mar 47.0 on 5 Apr 1999 22
Three Hummock Island 112.4 on 23 Mar 41.1 on 24 Apr 1952 20


Record highest total autumn rainfall

Total rainfall
for autumn 2011 (mm)
Previous wettest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Gladstone (Old Post Office) 535.6 416.7 in 1931 81 212.2
Pyengana also had its record highest total autumn rainfall, with at least 583.2 mm (the exact total is not yet known). The precious record was 558.0 mm set in 1989.

Highest total autumn rainfall for at least 20 years

Total rainfall
for autumn 2011 (mm)
Most recent autumn
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
autumn
Eddystone Point 426.6 580.9 in 1960 50 190.5
Avoca (Railway House) 208.0 212.3 in 1973 37 125.2
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 312.0 321.2 in 1974 36 155.6
Deal Island 291.0 358.6 in 1974 35 185.9
Tooms Lake (Tooms River) 257.8 303.3 in 1970 28 148.0
Scamander 362.1 650.6 in 1974 27 189.4
York Plains (Handroyd) 163.4 198.2 in 1986 25 131.8
Orford (Aubin Court) 246.8 296.3 in 1986 24 162.4
Pioneer (Main Road) 424.2 440.0 in 1989 22 229.7



Record lowest autumn daily maximum temperature

Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in autumn 2011 (C)
Previous coolest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 9.6 on 12 May 9.8 on 21 May 1982 30 19.0



Record lowest autumn mean daily maximum temperature

Mean daily maximum
temperature
for autumn 2011 (C)
Previous coolest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Orford (Aubin Court) 16.7 = 16.7 in 1996 42 18.2
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 16.7 16.8 in 2006 31 18.1



Lowest autumn mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years

Mean daily minimum
temperature
for autumn 2011 (C)
Most recent autumn
at least this cool
Years since
cooler
Average for
autumn
Orford (Aubin Court) 7.3 7.1 in 1979 32 8.4



Record lowest autumn mean temperature

Mean daily
temperature
for autumn 2011 (C)
Previous coolest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Orford (Aubin Court) 12.0 12.2 in 2006 42 13.3




Summary statistics for autumn 2011
Maximum temperatures
for autumn
(C)
Minimum temperatures
for autumn
(C)
Rainfall
for autumn
(millimetres)
Mean for
autumn
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
autumn
2011
Mean for
autumn
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
autumn
2011
Total for
autumn
2011
Average
for
autumn
Rank of
autumn
2011
Fraction of
autumn
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 17.5 -0.8 24.0 13 Mar 9.3 -0.4 1.2 14 May 265.5 165.7 v high 160%
Burnie (Round Hill) 17.7 0.0 23.9 13 Mar 10.1 0.0 3.0 14 May 129.2 217.4 low 59%
Cape Grim 15.8   21.0 21 Mar 11.1   3.9 5 Mar 189.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 16.0 -0.6 20.8 15 Mar 11.1 -0.4 4.2 5 Mar 198.0 184.2 average 107%
Cressy Research Station 17.4 -1.3 27.8 13 Mar 5.5 -0.2 -5.3 28 May 206.2 127.9 v high 161%
Devonport Airport 17.1 -0.7 24.0 21 Mar 8.4 -0.3 -0.5 28 May 207.2 181.4 average 114%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 18.4 -0.6 26.4 21 Mar 7.1 -0.5 -2.0 28 May 194.7 151.9 high 128%
Launceston Airport 17.5   27.3 13 Mar 6.0   -3.8 29 May 198.6
Low Head 17.0 -0.7 22.3 10 Mar 10.7 -0.5 3.3 29 May 269.0 155.4 v high 173%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 15.2 -0.6 23.1 10 Mar 7.9 -0.3 1.2 9 May 232.6 338.2 v low 69%
Marrawah 16.4 -0.6 22.0 21 Mar 10.1 -0.2 3.5 5 Mar 205.6 253.3 low 81%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 16.7 -1.4 24.0 13 Mar 7.2 -0.7 -0.3 14 May 256.0 231.7 average 110%
Sheffield School Farm 15.8 -0.9 23.0 21 Mar 6.6 -0.7 -0.6 10 May 232.8 200.4 average 116%
Smithton Aerodrome 17.1 -0.7 23.8 13 Mar 7.7 -0.1 -2.9 10 May 130.2 179.4 low 73%
Wynyard Airport 17.4 -0.1 26.0 13 Mar 7.0 -0.3 -2.0 28 May 152.0 217.0 low 70%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 17.9 -0.8 25.7 13 Mar 9.9 -0.4 2.5 12 May 336.2 173.6 v high 194%
Eddystone Point 18.5 +0.4 25.6 9 Mar 11.0 -0.5 3.1 14 May 426.6 190.5 v high 224%
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.3 -1.1 29.0 13 Mar 5.3 -0.1 -4.6 29 May 288.4 147.1 v high 196%
Friendly Beaches 17.8 -1.0 29.0 13 Mar 9.6 -0.4 1.6 29 May 285.0 161.3 high 177%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 13.5 -0.9 23.8 13 Mar 4.0 -0.1 -5.9 28 May 245.0 205.0 high 120%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 16.4   25.2 13 Mar 10.8   5.1 14 May 198.8
Orford (Aubin Court) 16.7 -1.5 25.0 8 Apr 7.3 -1.1 -0.5 31 May 246.8 162.4 high 152%
Scamander 17.9 -0.8 29.0 13 Mar 9.3 -0.4 3.0 29 May 362.1 189.4 v high 191%
St Helens Aerodrome 17.7 -0.8 27.5 13 Mar 9.0 -0.5 1.3 29 May 420.6 160.7 v high 262%
Swan Island 17.4   23.9 13 Mar 12.0   5.4 12 May 304.6 156.3 v high 195%
Swansea (Maria Street) 17.5   30.5 13 Mar 7.3   -2.1 28 May 273.2
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 16.9 -0.9 28.5 13 Mar 5.6 0.0 -6.2 28 May 144.8 97.4 high 149%
Southeast (district 94)
Bull Bay (Lauriston) 16.6 -0.8 25.0 12 Mar 9.0 -0.7 3.9 10 May 208.4 131.0 high 159%
Campania (Kincora) 18.1 -0.9 29.3 12 Mar 7.7 +0.1 0.1 28 May 162.4 101.9 high 159%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 15.8 -0.6 25.0 8 Mar 9.7 -0.4 4.4 14 May 200.8 163.9 high 123%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 15.3 -0.2 24.0 8 Mar 9.8 +0.1 4.7 15 May 238.8 231.8 average 103%
Dover 16.4 -0.5 25.0 8 Mar 7.0 -0.3 0.4 10 May 210.6 202.2 average 104%
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 16.8 -0.5 28.5 12 Mar 7.0 +0.6 -0.8 10 May 183.8 191.4 average 96%
Grove (Research Station) 17.1   29.1 12 Mar 5.8   -1.8 28 May 186.8
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 17.7 +0.4 29.6 12 Mar 9.3 +0.4 2.5 28 May 194.2 142.9 high 136%
Hobart Airport 17.6 -0.4 28.8 13 Mar 9.1 +0.4 2.0 26 May 167.6 114.4 high 147%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.9 -0.6 22.6 7 Mar 9.6 +0.1 4.3 14 May 235.2 307.8 low 76%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 16.7 -0.8 29.4 12 Mar 6.1 0.0 -3.1 10 May 121.2 88.9 high 136%
Mount Wellington 8.2 -0.2 19.2 12 Mar 2.3 +0.1 -4.0 14 May 415.6 230.0 high 181%
Tasman Island 14.0   21.1 8 Mar 9.4   3.4 14 May 245.6
Tunnack Fire Station 14.5 -1.1 25.6 13 Mar 5.4 0.0 -4.0 28 May 268.2 141.5 v high 190%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 18.4 +0.4 29.3 12 Mar 5.7 -0.5 -2.1 9 May 72.6 130.9 v low 55%
Maydena Post Office 15.5 -0.7 27.7 12 Mar 5.8 +0.3 -1.5 5 Mar 164.7 244.6 low 67%
Ouse Fire Station 18.0 -0.5 30.8 12 Mar 5.3 -0.1 -3.8 31 May 69.6 87.0 low 80%
Tarraleah Village 13.7 -0.5 25.0 12 Mar 4.6 +0.5 -2.5 5 Mar 215.3 267.4 average 81%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 13.0 -0.2 23.5 12 Mar 3.5 +0.1 -4.4 5 Mar 314.0 404.4 low 78%
Lake St Clair National Park 12.9 -0.4 23.6 12 Mar 3.2 +0.3 -4.9 10 May 334.4 397.0 low 84%
Liawenee 11.9 -0.6 21.5 28 Mar 1.7 0.0 -7.4 10 May 159.0 204.4 low 78%
West Coast (district 97)
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 10.6 -0.9 22.8 12 Mar 4.6 -0.1 -1.2 14 May 266.0 212.9 v high 125%
Mount Read 8.6 -0.5 18.8 12 Mar 3.1 -0.4 -2.4 14 May 799.6 949.1 low 84%
Scotts Peak Dam 14.5 -0.3 28.2 12 Mar 6.8 0.0 0.9 14 May 412.4
Strahan Aerodrome 16.5 -0.2 27.8 12 Mar 8.7 +0.3 0.8 5 Mar 269.0 353.1 v low 76%
Strathgordon Village 13.9 -0.4 25.8 12 Mar 6.9 -0.1 1.4 12 May 452.6 588.7 low 77%
Warra 13.1   25.2 12 Mar 5.7   -1.3 5 Mar 357.2
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 17.1 -0.6 26.3 12 Mar 10.6 +0.1 3.8 28 May 203.0 191.2 average 106%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 18.0 -0.7 28.5 13 Mar 10.3 -0.4 0.0 10 May 187.8 188.6 average 100%
Hogan Island 17.3   26.0 13 Mar 12.7   6.9 11 May 311.6
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 6.9 0.0 9.9 9 Mar 3.2 -0.4 -2.4 28 May 268.6 276.0 average 97%


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 June 2011. 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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