Tasmania in winter 2012: Dry, except in the northwest

Winter rainfall was below average across most of Tasmania, except in the northwest which had close to average winter rainfall. There were only a few very cold days and nights, most of those in June, with temperatures close to average overall.

  • Driest winter on record at Scamander
  • A few cold winter days and nights in June
  • Record 20 m wave off Cape Sorell
Monthly summaries have also been prepared for June, July and August.

A dry winter, except in the northwest

Winter rainfall was on the dry side of average for most areas, largely due to widespread dry conditions in July. The East Coast was particularly dry: Scamander only recorded 86.7 mm of rain, its driest winter on record (its previous winter record low of 90.0 mm was in 2002). The northwest was an exception, with winter rainfall totals close to average in some areas following wet conditions in August. Despite a dry July and average June, in parts of the northwest it rained on slightly more days than is usual for winter. Compared to winter last year, which had two significant flooding events in the northeast, winter 2012 tended to be drier in most areas.

The wettest winter days tended to be in June: on 4 June a low pressure system and southeasterly airflow brought rain to the northeast and Bass Strait with 69 mm falling at Gray, and on the 15 June a cold front delivered 65 mm to Loongana. Other wet days include 17 and 30 June when cold fronts delivered daily totals in excess of 20 mm to parts of the north and west.

Mount Read was the wettest location, recording at least 1154.6 mm (it is likely snow was not fully captured on several days). Campbell Town (Elizabeth R) was the driest site with only 65 mm for the whole of winter.

A few cold winter days and nights

Both maximum and minimum temperatures were within a degree of the winter average, with some areas a bit cooler than average and others a bit warmer. There were a few very cold days and nights, but most of those were in June and overall there weren't as many as is usual for winter. The coldest period was around 19 to 27 June when several cold fronts crossed Tasmania. Many areas had their coldest June day in several years as maximum temperatures struggled to reach 10 °C in the south and west, and 12 °C in the north and east. Mount Wellington reached only -2.9 °C on 25 June, the coldest day this year. Nights were also quite cold during this period; several sites had their coldest June night for many years. In Liawenee the temperature fell to -10.6 °C on 27 June, the coldest winter morning this year, before dropping to -9.7 °C the next day.

The mildest winter days were around 23 August when temperatures rose into the mid to high teens. Hobart recorded the highest temperature of 20.3 °C under clear sunny skies, followed by Fingal with 20.0 °C. Minimum temperatures were also warmer than average around 23 August, but were mildest around 14 June when moist northerly winds kept minima above 10 °C at sites in the north and east. Burnie recorded the warmest morning on this day, the temperature not dropping below 12.9 °C.

Snow

There were several days of snow this winter, the most significant of which was on 6 August when ice and snow down to 300 metres caused road closures across the south, west and midlands areas. Another cold outbreak saw snow settle below 200 metres in the south on the morning of 26 August. Between 18 and 26 June it also snowed down to 700 m on most days as several cold fronts affected the state, with snow down as low as 400 m on the 25th.

Record 20 m wave at Cape Sorell

A deep low pressure system passed to the south of Tasmania on 5 and 6 August, directing very strong winds across the Tasmanian region. A wind gust of 154 km/h was recorded at Maatsuyker Island. The waverider buoy at Cape Sorell reported a wave height of 20.0 m at 4:27 am on 6 August. The wave was probably the result of two wave trains combining. This is a new record wave for Cape Sorell, eclipsing both the 18.68 m reported there in July 2011 and the 19.83 m reported from the old CSIRO buoy in July 1985.

Mild and dry in Hobart

Winter was milder than usual in Hobart this year. The average maximum temperature of 13.1 °C was close to one degree warmer than the long-term average, though not as warm as in winter last year. There weren't many cold days: the temperature stayed below 10 °C on 7 days, compared to the long-term winter average of 17 such cold days. Mild days were more common, the temperature rising above 15 °C on 19 days which is slightly more than the long-term winter average of 14 days (but less than the 25 seen last winter). The warmest day was on 23 August when the temperature rose to 20.3 °C, the warmest winter temperature in Tasmania this year.

Nights were close to average in Hobart, the mean minimum of 5.2 °C just 0.2 °C above the long-term winter average. The temperature dropped below 2 °C seven times, which is a few nights less than the winter average of 11. Most of those frosty mornings were in June, and Hobart's coldest temperature for 2012 of 0.9 °C occurred on 28 June.

109 mm of rain was recorded in Hobart, which is less than the winter average of 160 mm. Both June and July were drier than usual, and August's rain was only just above average. It rained on 44 days which is average for winter, but daily totals were often less than 5 mm when it did fall. The wettest day was 6 August when a vigorous cold front delivered 15 mm of rain.

Further information

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Extremes in winter 2012
Hottest day 20.3 °C at Hobart (Ellerslie Road) on 23 Aug
Warmest days on average 14.3 °C at Eddystone Point
Coolest days on average 2.9 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day-2.9 °C at Mount Wellington on 25 Jun
Coldest night -10.6 °C at Liawenee on 27 Jun
Coolest nights on average -1.3 °C at Liawenee and Mount Wellington
Warmest nights on average 8.4 °C at Cape Grim and Swan Island
Warmest night 12.9 °C at Burnie (Round Hill) on 14 Jun
Warmest on average overall 11.0 °C at Swan Island
Coolest on average overall 0.8 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall1154.6 mm at Mount Read*
Driest overall65.1 mm at Campbell Town (Elizabeth R)
Wettest day 68.6 mm at Gray (Dalmayne Rd) on 4 Jun
Highest wind gust 154 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 6 Aug

* The true total at Mount Read is probably higher, as it is likely some snow was lost.


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 lowest total winter rainfall
Total rainfall
for winter 2012 (mm)
Previous driest
for winter
Years of
record
Average for
winter
Scamander 86.7 90.0 in 2002 29 173.2



Summary statistics for winter 2012
Maximum temperatures
for winter
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for winter
(°C)
Rainfall
for winter
(millimetres)
Mean for
winter
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
winter
2012
Mean for
winter
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
winter
2012
Total for
winter
2012
Average
for
winter
Rank of
winter
2012
Fraction of
winter
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 13.5 -0.2 17.0 23 Aug 5.4 -0.4 0.1 26 Jun 210.9 246.5 average 86%
Burnie (Round Hill) 13.9 +0.8 17.5 11 Aug     1.8 31 Aug 266.6 337.1 low 79%
Cape Grim 12.4   15.4 1 Jun 8.4   4.4 9 Aug 330.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 12.6 -0.2 16.2 1 Jun 8.2 -0.2 5.0 6 Aug 351.8 281.8 high 125%
Cressy Research Station 12.0 -0.4 18.1 23 Aug 1.9 -0.1 -5.2 27 Jun 155.4 193.2 low 80%
Devonport Airport 13.2 +0.1 16.4 8 Jun 4.5 -0.4 -1.7 27 Jun 180.8 263.4 low 69%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 13.3 +0.1 19.6 23 Aug 2.9 0.0 -3.5 27 Jun 173.3 229.8 low 75%
Launceston Airport 12.2   19.3 23 Aug 2.3   -5.6 27 Jun 153.8
Low Head 13.0 -0.1 15.1 1 Jun 6.9 -0.3 1.7 27 Jun 197.4 222.8 low 89%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 10.6 -0.4 14.2 28 Aug 4.8 -0.4 0.2 31 Aug 551.6 545.5 average 101%
Marrawah 12.7 +0.1 15.3 23 Aug 7.4 +0.4 3.4 31 Jul 362.8 391.4 average 93%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 12.2 -0.2 17.7 23 Aug 3.8 -0.1 -2.8 26 Jun 273.8 342.4 low 80%
Sheffield School Farm 11.5 +0.1 15.6 11 Aug 3.1 -0.6 -1.6 20 Jun 354.6 364.0 average 97%
Smithton Aerodrome 13.3 -0.2 16.2 1 Jun 4.7 -0.3 -1.4 26 Jun 310.4 322.2 average 96%
Wynyard Airport 13.4 +0.3 16.2 11 Aug 3.4 -0.5 -2.5 26 Jun 302.0 354.3 low 85%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 14.2 -0.2 18.0 28 Aug 6.6 +0.2 1.0 20 Jun 84.9 163.9 low 52%
Eddystone Point 14.3 +0.8 18.4 23 Aug 7.2 -0.2 2.5 29 Jul 144.2 222.8 low 65%
Fingal (Legge Street) 12.4 -0.3 20.0 23 Aug 0.8 -0.2 -6.9 27 Jun 106.4 180.6 low 59%
Friendly Beaches 13.8 -0.4 19.2 22 Aug 5.9 -0.2 -0.6 27 Jun 107.0 149.3 low 72%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 8.7 -0.3 16.9 23 Aug 0.6 +0.1 -6.8 27 Jun 126.7 242.5 v low 52%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 12.6   17.0 23 Aug 7.6   3.9 26 Aug 109.0
Orford (Aubin Court) 13.0 -0.5 18.0 23 Aug 4.0 +0.1 -1.5 28 Jun 107.6 171.6 low 63%
Scamander 14.0 -0.3 18.8 23 Aug 4.7 -0.4 0.4 28 Jun 86.7 173.2 lowest 50%
St Helens Aerodrome 13.8 -0.1 18.4 23 Aug 4.8 -0.4 -0.8 27 Jun 116.0 175.1 low 66%
Swan Island 13.5 -0.1 16.4 1 Jun 8.4 -0.3 3.2 29 Jul  
Swansea (Francis Street) 13.5   19.4 23 Aug 4.2   -2.1 28 Jun 92.3
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 11.4 -0.5 17.7 23 Aug 1.7 -0.2 -6.5 27 Jun 84.2 127.0 average 66%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 13.2 -0.5 19.7 23 Aug 3.4 -0.3 -2.9 28 Jun 94.2 124.4 low 76%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 12.3 -0.1 18.9 23 Aug     2.7 28 Jun
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 12.0 +0.4 18.3 23 Aug 6.7 +0.3 0.7 25 Jun 222.6 278.3 low 80%
Dover 12.4 -0.3 17.2 29 Aug 3.5 -0.3 -1.3 28 Jun 198.6 254.3 average 78%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 12.9   19.8 23 Aug 6.2   0.8 28 Jun 106.4
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 12.3 -0.2 19.4 23 Aug 2.6 +0.2 -3.2 28 Jun 220.6 267.9 average 82%
Grove (Research Station) 12.5   19.6 23 Aug 1.7   -4.1 27 Jun 159.0
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 13.1 +0.9 20.3 23 Aug 5.2 +0.2 0.9 28 Jun 109.2 159.5 low 68%
Hobart Airport 13.1 +0.2 19.4 23 Aug 4.5 0.0 -0.6 28 Jun 109.2 122.3 average 89%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 11.2 0.0 16.6 13 Jun 7.3 +0.5 3.2 26 Aug 362.4 369.8 average 98%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 11.5 -0.5 17.5 23 Aug 1.9 -0.4 -4.2 20 Jun 89.8 116.1 average 77%
Mount Wellington 2.9 0.0 8.4 18 Jun -1.3 +0.1 -5.5 26 Aug
Tasman Island 11.1 -0.1 15.6 23 Aug 6.6 -0.2 2.1 26 Aug 197.8
Tunnack Fire Station 9.6 -0.4 15.6 23 Aug 1.5 -0.5 -4.1 23 Jul 132.2 174.5 low 76%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 12.4 +0.6 19.9 23 Aug 1.7 -0.2 -2.7 20 Jun 108.0 151.3 low 71%
Maydena Post Office 10.9 -0.2 17.9 23 Aug 2.8 +0.4 -1.0 20 Jun 296.1 359.3 average 82%
Ouse Fire Station 12.1 -0.3 18.3 23 Aug 1.2 -0.4 -4.8 8 Jul 101.6 158.3 low 64%
Tarraleah Village 8.8 -0.1 14.4 23 Aug 1.2 +0.5 -3.1 8 Jul 258.7 343.4 low 75%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 7.9 +0.4 13.9 23 Aug 0.2 +0.3 -6.7 8 Jul 381.8 510.1 low 75%
Lake St Clair National Park 7.3 -0.4 12.6 23 Aug 0.3 +0.1 -4.6 8 Jul 541.1 622.0 average 87%
Liawenee 5.5 -0.8 9.5 23 Aug -1.3 -0.1 -10.6 27 Jun 306.8 366.2 low 84%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 12.6 +0.6 15.9 14 Jun 7.9 +0.6 3.7 31 Aug 407.0 449.6 average 91%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 5.9 -0.6 13.0 23 Aug 1.3 -0.4 -2.8 26 Aug
Low Rocky Point 12.5   16.5 14 Jun 7.2   3.6 20 Jun 332.0 414.7 low 80%
Mount Read 3.4 -0.7 6.6 13 Aug 0.0 -0.4 -3.6 6 Aug 1154.6*
Scotts Peak Dam 9.7 0.0 18.8 23 Aug 3.5 0.0 0.1 28 Jun 601.8 606.9 average 99%
Strahan Aerodrome 12.4 -0.2 17.0 23 Aug 5.4 0.0 -0.5 1 Aug 561.2 500.8 average 112%
Strathgordon Village 9.5 0.0 15.0 23 Aug 3.4 -0.1 0.0 28 Jun 687.8 777.7 average 88%
Warra 8.9   15.4 23 Aug 2.4   -2.6 20 Jun 468.6
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 13.3 -0.3 16.4 28 Aug 7.8 +0.1 2.5 1 Aug 324.8 328.0 average 99%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 13.9 +0.2 19.8 23 Aug 6.1 -0.5 -1.7 26 Jun
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 5.6 +0.6 7.9 11 Jul 2.1 +0.5 -4.4 5 Jun 266.6 222.8 high 120%

* The true total at Mount Read is probably higher, as it is likely some snow was lost.


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 8 am on Monday 3 September 2012. 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