Tasmania in autumn 2013: Hot start, cold finish, warm and dry overall

March was exceptionally warm, several sites observing their highest autumn temperature on record, but then in May Launceston and Devonport observed their coldest autumn day on record. Local heavy rain events in the north and in the southeast saw some sites break autumn daily rainfall records, but most areas had below average autumn rainfall overall.

  • Both record warm and record cold temperatures
  • Launceston's warmest autumn days on record
  • Isolated, record heavy rain in the north and southeast
  • Below average autumn rain for most areas

Monthly summaries have also been prepared for March, April and May. The heatwave that affected southeast Australia in early March was discussed in a Special Climate Statement.

A record warm start, but a cold finish

Autumn 2013 started off very warm: March 2013 was Tasmania's warmest on record, with a prolonged heatwave affecting Tasmania between the 2nd and 13th. Several sites, including Launceston, recorded their highest autumn temperature on record during this period, with some sites also observing their warmest autumn night on record. Bushy Park's 37.4 °C on the 12th was the highest temperature observed in autumn 2013, Burnie's 21.2 °C that morning the warmest night of the season.

The rest of autumn had a mix of both warm and cool weather. A notable run of warm days and nights from the 7 to 12 May was followed by especially cold temperatures in cloudy and wet conditions on 20 May, when both Launceston and Devonport observed their coldest autumn day on record. Liawenee recorded a low of -7.0 °C that morning, the coldest temperature of the season. Earlier that month, Mount Wellington recorded a maximum of just -0.6 °C on the 4th, the coldest day of autumn 2013.

Record falls in the north and southeast

Some localised heavy rain events pushed autumn rainfall totals above average in parts of the north and southeast of Tasmania, but autumn rain was below average elsewhere. This is in stark contrast to the generally wet autumn 2012.

There were two significant rainfall events in autumn. On 21 March thunderstorms produced heavy rain across northern Tasmania, some sites breaking autumn daily rainfall records. On the morning of 9 April isolated showers produced very heavy rain in the southeast, Eaglehawk Neck's 156.4 mm its wettest autumn day on record. Other wet events were overnight on 3 May when a cold front delivered daily rainfall totals of around 50 mm to the west, and between 14 and 16 May when a low in Bass Strait brought daily falls of up to 65 mm to the north.

The driest overall was Tunbridge with just 52 mm for the whole of autumn, whilst the wettest was Mount Read with 957 mm.

A warm autumn overall

Autumn temperatures were warmer than average overall, by up about 1.5 to 2 °C by day and about 0.5 to 1.0 °C by night. A few sites (including Launceston) had their highest mean daily maximum temperature, or their warmest for many years.

Damaging winds, fires and hail

The windiest day of autumn was 27 April when an approaching cold front directed very strong northwesterly winds across Tasmania. Maximum wind gusts reached 156 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse, the strongest wind gust of autumn, 96 km/h in Hobart and 113 km/h at Cape Bruny.

The winds pushed temperatures into the low twenties in the southeast, the warm and very windy conditions causing late-season bush fires to flare near Tea Tree, Cygnet, Judbury, Ouse and Campania. The strong winds also caused some damage to property and downed trees and power lines, leaving thousands of premises without power across Tasmania. A few days later, thunderstorms blanketed the Launceston area with small hail on 1 May, contributing to a number of car crashes.

A warm and dry autumn in Hobart

Autumn was warmer and drier than usual in Hobart. 93 mm of rain was recorded, much less than Hobart's autumn average of 143 mm. It rained on 35 days, close to the autumn average of 37 days, but only 5 days of those days saw 5 mm or more recorded (the autumn average is 8 days).

Hobart's autumn mean maximum temperature was 1.7 °C above average at 19.0 °C, with markedly more warm days than usual. The temperature reached 20 °C or more on 34 days, much more than Hobart's autumn average of 23 days. The autumn mean minimum temperature of 10.0 °C was also warmer than usual, by 1.1 °C. The coldest morning was a chilly 1.6 °C on 20 May, Hobart's coldest autumn morning since 2010.

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Extremes in autumn 2013
Hottest day37.4 °C at Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) on 12 Mar
Warmest days on average20.2 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest days on average9.6 °C at Mount Wellington
Coldest day-0.6 °C at Mount Wellington on 4 May
Coldest night-7.0 °C at Liawenee on 20 May
Coolest nights on average 2.3 °C at Liawenee
Warmest nights on average12.7 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night21.2 °C at Burnie (Round Hill) on 12 Mar
Warmest on average overall15.9 °C at Larapuna (Eddystone Point)
Coolest on average overall6.3 °C at Mount Wellington
Wettest overall957.4 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall52.4 mm at Tunbridge (Austin-Vale)
Wettest day156.4 mm at Eaglehawk Neck (Jetty Road) on 9 Apr
Highest wind gust156 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on 27 Apr

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 autumn daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in autumn 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for autumn
Years of
record
Eaglehawk Neck (Jetty Road) 156.4 on 9 Apr 110.2 on 27 May 1947 92
Poatina (Billopp) 90.2 on 22 Mar 80.6 on 13 Mar 1989 65
Dunorlan (Sharmans Road) 82.4 on 22 Mar 80.0 on 30 May 1971 62



Record highest autumn temperature
Highest temperature
in autumn 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Marrawah 29.8 on 6 Mar = 29.8 on 12 Mar 1998 43 16.9
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 33.0 on 7 Mar 32.9 on 17 Mar 2008 32 19.0
Strathgordon Village 33.1 on 12 Mar 31.5 on 14 Mar 1985 32 14.3
Wynyard Airport 30.3 on 7 Mar 28.9 on 10 Mar 2008 28 17.6
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 36.8 on 12 Mar 36.4 on 1 Mar 1989 27 17.3
Dover 37.0 on 12 Mar 36.5 on 13 Mar 1998 24 16.9
Strahan Aerodrome 35.4 on 12 Mar 34.3 on 17 Mar 2008 22 16.7
Maydena Post Office 35.7 on 12 Mar 35.2 on 17 Mar 2008 21 16.1



Record lowest autumn daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in autumn 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 9.0 on 20 May 9.6 on 12 May 2011 32 19.0
Devonport Airport 8.8 on 20 May 9.4 on 29 May 1997 22 17.7



Record highest autumn mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for autumn 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Cape Sorell 17.6 17.2 in 1956* 72 15.6
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 20.2 20.1 in 2010 29 19.0
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 17.6 17.5 in 2007 20 16.5
Strahan Aerodrome 18.1 17.7 in 2007 20 16.7

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.

Highest autumn mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for autumn 2013 (°C)
Most recent autumn
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
autumn
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.7 16.2 in 1985 28 14.5
Marrawah 18.1 18.5 in 1989 24 16.9
Dover 17.8 18.0 in 1990 23 16.9
Flinders Island Airport 20.0 =20.0 in 1989* 23 18.7
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 18.3 18.7 in 1990* 22 17.3
Mount Wellington 9.7 11.1 in 1993 20 8.4

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.




Record highest autumn daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in autumn 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for autumn
Years of
record
Average for
autumn
Hobart Airport 20.4 on 13 Mar 19.8 on 18 Mar 1967 55 8.7
Burnie (Round Hill) 21.2 on 12 Mar 20.7 on 11 Mar 1974 49 10.1
Marrawah 20.0 on 12 Mar 19.2 on 3 Mar 1974 43 10.3
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 19.1 on 10 Mar 19.0 on 21 Mar 2012 32 7.5
Scamander 20.0 on 13 Mar = 20.0 on 12 Mar 1974 31 9.7
Wynyard Airport 21.0 on 12 Mar 18.9 on 10 Mar 2001 28 7.3
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 19.8 on 12 Mar 19.0 on 10 Mar 2001 22 11.5



Highest autumn mean temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily
temperature
for autumn 2013 (°C)
Most recent autumn
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
autumn
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 13.2 13.4 in 1985 28 12.0



Summary statistics for autumn 2013
Maximum temperatures
for autumn
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for autumn
(°C)
Rainfall
for autumn
(millimetres)
Mean for
autumn
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
autumn
2013
Mean for
autumn
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
autumn
2013
Total for
autumn
2013
Average
for
autumn
Rank of
autumn
2013
Fraction of
autumn
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 18.7 +0.4 27.1 12 Mar 9.7 +0.1 2.7 2 May 177.3 169.5 average 105%
Burnie (Round Hill) 18.8 +1.1 26.5 7 Mar 11.0 +0.9 4.2 19 May 232.8 218.7 average 106%
Cape Grim 17.3   25.5 10 Mar 12.0   5.1 19 Apr 177.2
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 17.6 +1.1 25.7 10 Mar 12.0 +0.5 5.3 19 Apr 156.4 189.7 average 82%
Cressy Research Station 19.4 +0.8 34.3 7 Mar 5.7 0.0 -4.0 20 May 153.0 130.0 average 118%
Devonport Airport 18.3 +0.6 26.6 12 Mar 9.0 +0.3 0.8 19 May 205.0 182.1 average 113%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 20.2 +1.2 33.0 7 Mar 7.4 -0.1 -1.5 19 May 140.2 152.2 average 92%
Launceston Airport 19.3   33.9 7 Mar 6.6   -1.7 6 May 134.2
Low Head 18.0 +0.4 25.8 10 Mar 11.3 +0.1 4.4 2 May 245.0 164.8 high 149%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 17.1 +1.4 31.7 10 Mar 8.8 +0.6 0.9 19 Apr 334.0 341.9 average 98%
Marrawah 18.1 +1.2 29.8 6 Mar 10.8 +0.5 3.0 19 Apr 249.2 256.3 average 97%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 18.4 +0.4 32.0 7 Mar 8.2 +0.3 0.4 2 May 233.0 232.0 average 100%
Sheffield School Farm 17.5 +0.9 31.0 7 Mar 7.3 +0.1 -0.3 5 May
Smithton Aerodrome 18.7 +0.9 32.5 7 Mar 7.9 +0.1 -1.8 20 Apr 189.0 186.6 average 101%
Wynyard Airport 18.4 +0.8 30.3 7 Mar 7.9 +0.6 -0.5 20 Apr 209.2 218.3 average 96%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 19.2 +0.6 28.5 13 Mar 10.7 +0.4 3.5 2 May 125.1 173.4 average 72%
Fingal (Legge Street) 19.1 +0.8 32.6 6 Mar 5.0 -0.4 -4.6 30 Apr 121.2 146.9 average 83%
Friendly Beaches 19.6 +0.9 28.9 12 Mar 10.3 +0.3 2.5 7 May 127.2 170.3 average 75%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 15.3 +1.0 28.9 12 Mar 4.0 -0.1 -4.3 20 May 135.1 204.5 low 66%
Larapuna (Eddystone Point) 19.9 +1.8 27.8 12 Mar 11.8 +0.3 4.4 19 May 127.6 189.9 low 67%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 18.1   27.7 27 Mar 11.6   5.9 20 May 63.6
Orford (Aubin Court) 18.7 +0.5 31.0 27 Mar     0.7 7 May 85.6 162.5 low 53%
St Helens Aerodrome 19.2 +0.8 32.7 6 Mar 9.6 +0.2 1.8 5 May 121.6 168.3 average 72%
Swan Island 18.9 +0.8 27.1 27 Mar 12.7 +0.1 5.5 5 May 148.6 155.1 average 96%
Swansea (Francis Street) 19.6   32.8 27 Mar 8.7   -0.1 20 May 78.5
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 19.1 +1.3 33.6 7 Mar 5.1 -0.5 -5.3 20 May 92.0 100.6 average 91%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 20.1 +1.2 35.7 12 Mar 7.8 +0.2 -1.4 28 May 69.8 103.0 low 68%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 17.3 +0.9 35.5 12 Mar 10.4 +0.3 4.3 20 May 183.6 172.9 average 106%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 16.8 +1.3 33.8 12 Mar 10.5 +0.8 4.4 20 May 191.9 232.0 average 83%
Dennes Point 18.2   33.5 12 Mar 10.5   3.9 28 May 141.8
Dover 17.8 +0.9 37.0 12 Mar 7.6 +0.3 -0.5 20 May 163.0 202.5 average 80%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 18.3   31.3 27 Mar 11.2   4.8 20 May 139.0
Geeveston (Cemetery Road) 18.3 +1.0 36.8 12 Mar 6.7 +0.2 -2.9 20 May 139.0 192.6 low 72%
Grove (Research Station) 19.0   37.3 12 Mar 6.1   -3.5 28 May 118.4
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 19.0 +1.7 36.6 12 Mar 10.0 +1.1 1.6 20 May 92.8 142.5 low 65%
Hobart Airport 19.3 +1.3 36.1 12 Mar 9.0 +0.3 2.0 20 May 84.2 114.5 average 74%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 15.7 +1.2 30.2 12 Mar 10.7 +1.2 5.7 4 May 256.0 308.5 average 83%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 18.6 +1.2 34.6 12 Mar 6.0 -0.1 -5.4 20 May 68.0 90.7 average 75%
Mount Wellington 9.7 +1.3 26.1 12 Mar 3.1 +0.9 -3.9 4 May
Tasman Island 16.0 +1.0 26.2 5 Mar 10.4 +0.6 4.5 4 May 186.2 211.9 average 88%
Tunnack Fire Station 16.7 +1.2 31.2 6 Mar 5.1 -0.3 -6.0 20 May 97.8 138.6 average 71%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 19.7 +1.7 37.4 12 Mar 5.7 -0.5 -4.7 28 May 73.0 130.7 v low 56%
Maydena Post Office 17.3 +1.2 35.7 12 Mar 5.3 -0.3 -0.5 24 May 210.6 246.3 low 86%
Ouse Fire Station 19.4 +0.9 36.4 12 Mar 5.6 +0.1 -4.6 28 May 74.8 86.0 average 87%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 14.7 +1.5 28.9 4 Mar 3.6 +0.2 -4.5 28 May 314.2 403.3 low 78%
Lake St Clair National Park 14.3 +1.0 28.7 8 Mar 3.5 +0.5 -3.8 28 May 407.8 401.6 average 102%
Liawenee 13.1 +0.7 27.7 5 Mar 2.3 +0.5 -7.0 20 May 247.0 216.1 high 114%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 17.6 +2.0 28.8 12 Mar 11.2 +0.9 5.4 19 Apr 231.2 321.2 low 72%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 12.5 +1.1 31.0 12 Mar 5.5 +0.8 -0.7 4 May 220.8 213.5 average 103%
Low Rocky Point 17.2   31.2 12 Mar 10.6   3.8 20 May 324.2 319.3 average 102%
Mount Read 9.8 +0.8 24.4 12 Mar 4.1 +0.6 -2.0 19 Apr 957.4 949.6 average 101%
Scotts Peak Dam 16.1 +1.3 35.4 12 Mar 7.2 +0.3 -0.7 20 May 415.0 399.7 average 104%
Strahan Aerodrome 18.1 +1.4 35.4 12 Mar 8.6 +0.1 -0.2 20 Apr 358.6 358.6 average 100%
Warra 15.0   32.3 12 Mar 6.0   -3.3 20 May 342.6
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 19.2 +1.5 36.8 12 Mar 11.2 +0.6 3.8 12 Apr 235.4 194.7 high 121%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 20.0 +1.3 31.9 27 Mar 10.7 0.0 -0.4 5 May
Antarctica and Macquarie Island (district 300)
Macquarie Island 7.1 +0.2 10.3 27 Mar 3.8 +0.2 -4.2 28 May 372.2 277.7 v high 134%

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 Monday 3 June 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 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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