Rockhampton Area
Climate of Rockhampton

Rockhampton climate may be classified as Subtropical. The city is situated on the Tropic of Capricorn and lies within the southeast trade wind belt, too far south to experience regular north west monsoonal influence, and too far north to gain much benefit from higher latitude cold fronts.

Rockhampton's average annual rainfall is a little over 800mm. Rainfall averages suggest a distinct wet and dry season, with the wet generally December to March and the dry June to September.

Airport during 1991 flood

Typical daytime temperature ranges are 32 max 22 min in the summer /wet season and 23 max 9 min in the winter/dry season.

The prevailing winds are predominately southeast but during spring and summer late afternoon northeast sea breezes give some relief from the higher temperatures. During winter and early spring the high pressure systems of the sub tropical ridge can be far enough north to replace the southeast trades with southwesterlies winds behind the trough systems that split the high cells.

Rockhampton lies within the cyclone risk zone and the area is subject to summer thunderstorms. There is a high incidence of winter and early spring fogs. Maximum temperatures in the low to mid 40's have been recorded in October to March. Minimum temperatures as low as zero have been recorded during winter.

Fitzroy River, March 1988The Fitzroy River at Rockhampton has a long and well documented history of flooding with flood records dating back to 1859. The highest recorded flood occurred in January 1918 and reached 10.11 metres on the Rockhampton gauge. The most recent major flood occurred in January 1991 following the coastal crossing of Tropical Cyclone Joy near Ayr on 26th December 1990. The flood was the third highest on record and rose to a height of 9.30 metres on the Rockhampton gauge.

Fitzroy River in flood at Rockhampton,
Photo: Ace Studio