Tasmania in December 2017: wet and cold start, then warm and dry

The prolonged warm spell over Tasmania through November came to an abrupt end on 1 December, with record-breaking heavy rain and highland snow. Most of the month after that first week brought little rain and above average temperatures.

Some wet days bring records, but much of the month dry

  • Statewide rain, some heavy with thunderstorms, occurred as a trough of low pressure crossed Tasmania on the 1st, with an associated low passing just to the east through the 3rd
  • Some sites, mostly in the north and including Launceston, had their highest December daily rainfall on record in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 3rd
  • The rain from the first few days of the month, combined with that from a front that crossed on the 7th, was enough to give several sites in the east their wettest December for over 20 years (and a few sites with short record their wettest December on record)
  • Rain was mostly light and confined to the west after the first week, apart from some showers and thunderstorms on the 19th
  • Overall, rainfall was above average in the eastern half, close to average in the west and below average in the northwest; the State total rainfall for the month was 2% above average

A cold outbreak to start, but a warm month overall

  • The prolonged warm spell over Tasmania through November came to an abrupt end as a trough crossed on the 1st, to be replaced with several cold days – cold enough for snow to fall below 900 metres
  • A few sites with short record had their coldest December day (lowest maximum temperature) on record on the 3rd
  • Daytime temperatures were generally above average from the 9th onward, with cool days on the 24th and 30th countered by some temperatures over 30 °C on the 14th, 19th, 27th and 28th
  • There were some cold mornings, including as late as the 17th when Liawenee on the Central Plateau dipped to -2.3 °C
  • Most nights were warmer than average, ensuring several sites (including Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Strahan) had their highest December mean daily minimum temperature on record
  • Tasmania's mean minimum temperature for December was a record 1.78 °C above average, 0.2 °C warmer than the previous record from 1985
  • The State's mean maximum temperature was 1.68 °C above average (the sixth-warmest in 108 years of comparable record), and the overall mean temperature second only to 2015 at 1.73 °C above average

A wet start then a warm month for Hobart

  • Most of Hobart's rain fell in the first few days, with 92 mm by 9 am on the 4th; there was little rain after the 9th
  • Total rainfall for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 101.0 mm, which is 179% of the long-term average of 56.5 mm
  • The mean temperature for the month (taking both daytime maxima and overnight minima) was 18.0 °C, equalling the record set in 1994
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 22.5 °C, which is 2.1 °C above the long-term average
  • The city's warmest day saw 32.3 °C on the 19th, whilst on the 3rd the temperature reached only 12.9 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was a record high 13.4 °C, which is 2.6 °C above the long-term average
  • Hobart's coldest morning was 8.5 °C on the 8th, and the warmest morning was on the 14th when the minimum temperature was 19.6 °C

Further information

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Extremes in December 2017
Hottest day 33.2 °C at Campania (Kincora) on the 28th
Warmest days on average

23.7 °C at Cressy Research Station, Fingal (Legge Street)
and Ross (The Boulevards)

Coolest days on average 12.9 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day 2.3 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 3rd
Coldest night -2.3 °C at Liawenee on the 17th
Coolest nights on average 4.3 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Warmest nights on average 14.6 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 21.0 °C at Hobart Airport on the 28th
Warmest on average overall 18.3 °C at Friendly Beaches
Coolest on average overall 8.6 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall 299.0 mm at Mount Read
Wettest day 102.0 mm at Pyengana (Forest Lodge Road) on the 3rd
Strongest wind gust 131 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse on the 9th

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 December daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Miena Dam 65.6 on the 3rd 58.2 on the 8th in 1982 92
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 51.8 on the 3rd 46.0 on the 8th in 1982 38
Mount Seymour 53.0 on the 3rd 33.0 on the 22nd in 2007 25
Corra Linn (North Esk River) 45.8 on the 3rd 26.0 on the 15th in 2012 24
Llewellyn (South Esk River) 63.6 on the 3rd 39.8 on the 28th in 1991 24
Ross (Macquarie River) 49.0 on the 3rd 30.6 on the 18th in 2009 24
Below Craigbourne Dam (Coal River) 64.0 on the 3rd 32.2 on the 22nd in 2007 22
Judbury (Huon River) 37.0 on the 3rd 26.6 on the 22nd in 2003 22
Upper Esk (South Esk River) 54.6 on the 3rd 48.2 on the 28th in 1999 22
Targa (Mountain Views) 58.0 on the 3rd 53.0 on the 27th in 1998 21
Bothwell (Clyde River) 44.2 on the 3rd 37.4 on the 4th in 2005 20
Friendly Beaches 84.2 on the 3rd 45.0 on the 27th in 1998 20



Record highest December total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Llewellyn (South Esk River) 113.4 92.8 in 1991 23 40.8
Mount Seymour 123.6 94.8 in 2014 23 46.1
Ross (Macquarie River) 79.6 74.4 in 1991 23 33.7
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 85.8 85.2 in 1998 22 40.8
Molesworth (Glen Dhu Road) 110.0 75.4 in 1995 21 47.3
Tunnack Fire Station 136.4 90.8 in 2010 21 55.4
Below Craigbourne Dam (Coal River) 138.8 87.8 in 2005 20 47.9

Highest December total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Launceston (Kings Meadows) 106.6 153.0 in 1985* 50.8
Avoca (Railway House) 85.4 95.0 in 1991* 47.4
Dover 134.0 149.8 in 1993 71.4
Lucaston (Bakers Creek Road) 115.4 168.4 in 1993 68.8
Lymington (Fattys Lane) 131.0 195.6 in 1993 65.4
Mount Rumney (Mount Rumney Road) 140.4 183.6 in 1993 62.2
Opossum Bay 110.4 187.2 in 1993 54.2
Rotherwood 116.4 127.8 in 1993 51.8
Woodbridge 126.6 174.0 in 1993 73.7
Bicheno (Council Depot) 148.3 161.8 in 1995 67.7
Fern Tree (Grays Road) 151.4 222.2 in 1995 106.8
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 101.0 130.6 in 1995 56.5
Hobart Airport 98.2 102.4 in 1995 52.8
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 91.2 111.0 in 1995 71.9
Levendale 163.0 181.8 in 1995 75.7
Lewis Hill (St Pauls River) 98.4 138.6 in 1995 56.8
Orielton (East Orielton Road) 106.6 111.6 in 1995 58.3
Seven Mile Beach (Royal Hobart Golf Club 119.2 140.4 in 1993* 53.5
Tea Tree (The Point) 117.0 136.2 in 1995 54.7
Wattle Hill 117.0 118.4 in 1995 67.2
Yarlington (Blacks Pinnacle) 143.8 165.4 in 1995 62.0
York Plains (Handroyd) 85.0 85.8 in 1995 55.9
Eaglehawk Neck (Jetty Road) 128.2 158.4 in 1995* 75.9
Hermitage (Shannon River) 116.6 122.6 in 1991* 44.5
Margate (Sunnyside) 105.6 116.6 in 1995* 67.3
Nierinna (Cuthberts Road) 118.6 156.0 in 1995* 70.6
Hobart (Waterworks Reserve) 122.8 183.6 in 1995* 75.3
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 148.0 318.8 in 1995* 89.9
Oatlands Post Office 109.8 146.2 in 1993* 54.5
Taroona (Taroona Crescent) 85.6 120.0 in 1995* 59.2

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




Lowest December total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
December
King Island Airport 20.8 19.8 in 1980 48.6

 




Record highest December temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Cape Sorell 28.3 on the 27th 27.3 on the 19th in 2013 21 17.0



Record lowest December daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Ross (The Boulevards) 12.9 on the 3rd 13.4 on the 11th in 1995 25 22.7
Friendly Beaches 13.7 on the 3rd 13.9 on the 4th in 2011 21 21.8
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 11.8 on the 3rd 12.2 on the 4th in 2012 21 21.8



Record highest December mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 22.0 21.8 in 1994 23 20.2

Highest December mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 19.3 19.6 in 1994 17.0
Orford (Aubin Court) 22.7 22.9 in 1994 20.4



Record highest December daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 18.3 on the 28th 17.4 on the 20th in 2015 21 10.7



Record highest December mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 13.4 12.8 in 2005 135 10.8
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 13.7 = 13.7 in 2015 104 12.0
Cape Sorell 12.7 12.6 in 1919 77 10.9
Hobart Airport 13.2 12.7 in 2005 59 10.8
Flinders Island Airport 14.1 13.7 in 2007 54 11.9
Orford (Aubin Court) 12.8 12.2 in 2007 49 10.6
Marrawah 12.3 11.9 in 2007 46 10.7
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 11.1 10.8 in 2015 45 9.2
Bicheno (Council Depot) 13.2 12.8 in 2015 42 11.6
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 12.3 12.2 in 1992 34 10.7
Fingal (Legge Street) 10.3 10.0 in 1990 31 8.7
Strahan Aerodrome 11.7 11.1 in 2005 28 9.7
Dover 11.1 11.0 in 2005 27 9.0
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 8.7 8.2 in 2014 27 7.0
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 13.5 13.3 in 1985 26 11.9
Devonport Airport 12.3 12.0 in 2015 26 10.6
Lake St Clair National Park 7.2 6.6 in 2004 25 5.0
Maydena Post Office 9.4 9.1 in 2005 25 7.5
Ross (The Boulevards) 10.4 10.3 in 2014 24 8.7
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 12.6 = 12.6 in 2015 23 11.1
King Island Airport 12.8 12.6 in 2007 22 11.1
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 6.6 6.3 in 2005 21 5.2
Friendly Beaches 13.1 12.9 in 2005 20 11.7
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 10.6 10.1 in 2004 20 8.8
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 10.9 10.1 in 2005 20 9.0
Sheffield School Farm 10.0 = 10.0 in 2002 20 8.9
Tunnack Fire Station 9.1 8.7 in 2005 20 7.5

Highest December mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 10.7 =10.7 in 1985 9.1



Record highest December mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 18.0 = 18.0 in 1994 135 15.6
Cape Sorell 16.1 15.6 in 2015 77 14.0
Hobart Airport 18.1 17.8 in 1994 59 15.8
Orford (Aubin Court) 18.0 17.3 in 2007 49 15.5
Bicheno (Council Depot) 17.6 17.4 in 2005 42 15.8
Fingal (Legge Street) 17.0 = 17.0 in 2015 31 15.1
Wynyard Airport 16.3 = 16.3 in 2015 31 14.7
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 14.2 = 14.2 in 2015 27 12.4
Lake St Clair National Park 12.7 = 12.7 in 1994 25 11.2
Friendly Beaches 18.3 = 18.3 in 2015 20 16.8

Highest December mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Burnie (Round Hill) 16.9 17.0 in 1975 15.3
Maydena Post Office 15.0 15.2 in 1994 13.6



Summary statistics for December 2017
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2017
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2017
Mean for
December
2017
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2017
Total for
December
2017
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2017
Fraction of
December
average
Northern (district 91)
Bridport (Sea View Villas) 22.0 +1.8 27.0 28th 12.6 +1.5 8.0 25th 33.0 45.7 average 72%
Burnie (Round Hill) 21.0 +1.5 24.3 11th 12.8 +1.7 7.7 8th 54.3 63.2 average 86%
Cape Grim 18.8   23.8 27th 13.4   10.4 5th 21.6
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 18.7 +1.3 23.3 27th 13.5 +1.6 10.5 26th 26.4 44.8 low 59%
Cressy Research Station 23.7 +0.9 29.8 28th 9.9 +1.4 3.5 25th 58.6 45.0 high 130%
Devonport Airport 20.9 +1.2 25.2 19th 12.3 +1.7 7.4 25th 45.0 53.1 average 85%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 23.2 +0.7 28.8 27th 12.3 +1.6 6.7 25th 83.2 48.0 high 173%
Launceston Airport 22.8 +0.3 28.9 28th 10.3 +1.3 4.9 25th 84.8 51.3 high 165%
Low Head 19.8 +0.9 23.0 28th 14.1 +1.3 8.8 3rd 51.6 43.8 average 118%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 19.2 +0.5 26.8 18th 10.6 +1.8 5.6 8th 60.0 90.3 v low 66%
Marrawah 19.7 +1.3 25.0 27th 12.3 +1.6 9.0 8th 39.0 63.1 low 62%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 21.4 +0.5 27.6 28th 11.1 +1.9 6.3 21st 69.4 66.7 average 104%
Sheffield School Farm 20.6 +0.9 26.3 28th 10.0 +1.1 6.0 8th 62.4 68.4 average 91%
Smithton Aerodrome 20.9 +1.3 25.5 28th 10.6 +0.9 3.0 8th 31.2 57.7 low 54%
Wynyard Airport 21.6 +1.9 27.8 12th 11.0 +1.4 4.5 21st 59.6 65.0 average 92%
East Coast (district 92)
Bicheno (Council Depot) 22.0 +1.9 30.4 14th 13.2 +1.6 8.2 3rd 148.3 67.7 v high 219%
Fingal (Legge Street) 23.7 +2.1 32.1 28th 10.3 +1.6 4.1 21st 96.2 49.9 high 193%
Friendly Beaches 23.5 +1.7 32.8 28th 13.1 +1.4 8.8 3rd 174.2 47.9 v high 364%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 19.7 +1.9 27.2 19th 8.7 +1.7 4.3 25th 91.2 71.9 high 127%
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 21.8 +2.5 28.8 28th 13.7 +1.7 9.2 3rd 92.6 60.0 high 154%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 21.0 +1.1 27.9 28th 13.8 +1.6 9.5 3rd 121.2 50.9 v high 238%
Orford (Aubin Court) 22.7 +2.3 33.0 28th 12.8 +2.2 7.5 8th 82.0 63.1 high 130%
St Helens Aerodrome 23.1 +1.9 31.3 28th 13.4 +1.7 8.1 3rd 92.2 53.0 high 174%
Swan Island 20.4 +1.0 25.3 28th 14.6 +1.3 9.8 3rd 79.8 47.6 high 168%
Swansea (Francis Street) 22.3   31.7 28th 12.5   7.8 25th 98.2
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 23.7 +1.0 30.0 28th 10.4 +1.7 4.6 25th 64.0 39.0 high 164%
Southeast (district 94)
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 19.5 +1.1 28.7 27th 11.8 +1.1 8.5 5th 105.4 59.0 v high 179%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 19.3 +2.3 27.5 19th 12.0 +1.6 7.0 31st 84.3 75.8 average 111%
Dennes Point 21.3   30.4 28th 13.0   9.2 3rd 103.2
Dover 20.8 +1.6 28.0 27th 11.1 +2.1 5.6 8th 134.0 71.4 v high 188%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 21.3   27.7 28th 13.7   9.8 15th 78.6
Grove (Research Station) 21.7 +0.6 30.9 19th 10.4 +2.0 5.1 8th 75.0 60.4 high 124%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 22.5 +2.1 32.3 28th 13.4 +2.6 8.5 8th 101.0 56.5 high 179%
Hobart Airport 22.9 +2.2 32.5 28th 13.2 +2.4 8.0 8th 98.2 52.8 high 186%
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 12.9 +1.7 22.5 28th 4.3 +1.4 -0.5 8th 148.0 89.9 high 165%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 16.2 +0.5 28.4 19th 11.1 +1.5 7.4 24th 66.8 89.8 average 74%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 22.3 +0.5 31.7 28th 10.9 +1.9 6.0 17th 85.8 40.8 highest 210%
Tasman Island 17.3 +0.7 25.1 13th 11.4 +1.2 7.7 4th 115.8 65.1 v high 178%
Tunnack Fire Station 21.0 +1.5 30.0 28th 9.1 +1.6 2.7 17th 136.4 55.4 highest 246%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 23.2 +1.1 32.3 28th 10.7 +1.6 6.7 8th 79.2 50.5 high 157%
Maydena Post Office 20.7 +0.9 30.0 27th 9.4 +1.9 4.6 17th 96.7 85.7 average 113%
Ouse Fire Station 23.2 +0.1 32.4 19th 10.3 +1.6 4.9 26th 53.0 36.0 high 147%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 17.7 +1.0 26.5 13th 7.0 +1.5 0.4 17th 150.2 125.1 high 120%
Lake St Clair National Park 18.1 +0.7 26.9 19th 7.2 +2.2 0.0 17th 123.6 130.6 average 95%
Liawenee 17.2 +0.8 24.6 18th 5.1 +1.3 -2.3 17th 66.8 61.7 high 108%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 19.4 +2.4 28.3 27th 12.7 +1.8 9.4 8th 61.4 80.6 average 76%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 15.2 +0.2 27.2 27th 6.6 +1.4 2.3 8th 136.2 82.5 v high 165%
Low Rocky Point 18.4   32.3 19th 11.7   7.6 5th 98.4 90.6 average 109%
Scotts Peak Dam 19.6 +0.8 31.6 27th 9.3 +1.3 5.1 8th 111.6 145.2 low 77%
Strahan Aerodrome 20.5 +0.7 32.0 19th 11.7 +2.0 7.5 8th 94.8 95.0 average 100%
Warra 18.0 +0.6 28.5 27th 8.0 +1.1 3.9 6th 111.4 135.4 low 82%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 20.4 +1.5 32.7 27th 12.8 +1.7 7.9 17th 20.8 48.6 v low 43%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 21.5 +1.2 29.5 28th 14.1 +2.2 6.6 26th 110.6 58.0 v high 191%
Hogan Island 20.5 +0.6 26.6 1st 14.3 +1.0 11.0 3rd 52.2 44.5 average 117%
Note: From 2017, information about Macquarie Island can be found in the climate summary for the Remote Islands and Antarctica

Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists 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. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available on Tuesday 9 January 2018. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries