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National weather event summary

JULY

6–9: Fog persisted across Tasmania due to a high-pressure system over the southern Tasman Sea.

10: Strong to gale force winds, heavy showers and thunderstorms in South Australia resulted in power outages in the Mount Lofty Ranges. A tree fell on a house and car in Strathalbyn and a caravan was blown off the road near Callington. A tornado was reported near Lucindale.

10–12: Tasmania experienced several days of strong and gusty winds which resulted in widespread power outages, damaged roofs and downed trees across the north of the State. Snow fell in Tasmania’s highlands down to 300 m, while wind gusts reached 150 km/h on Hogan Island.

12–14: 40 to 50 cm of snow fell across alpine areas in Victoria.

AUGUST

7–8: Southeast Australia experienced damaging winds, squally showers, and storms. In South Australia storms brought localised flooding to the Adelaide Hills, with power blackouts affecting thousands of properties. Emergency services in Victoria and New South Wales received more than 800 calls for assistance. Heavy snow fell in elevated areas.

16–17: The lower west and southwest coasts of Western Australia experienced severe wind gusts and snow fell on Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range.

19: Heavy fog blanketed much of Greater Brisbane, with low-lying cloud spreading as far west as the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim in Queensland.

21–23: In Queensland, bushfires burned at Bribie Island, Noosa Heads and Dunwich in North Stradbroke Island.

29: A tornado at Harvey in southwestern Western Australia damaged five homes.

SEPTEMBER

1–10: Severe frost damaged crops in southwest Western Australia, with some low minimum temperature records set for September, including −5.5 °C at Salmon Gums Research Station.

6: Thunderstorms over the northeast of Victoria spawned a tornado at Peechelba, resulting in property damage and death of about a dozen cattle.

11: 70 fires burning in Queensland scorched more than 33 000 ha and destroyed 17 homes at Peregian Beach, the Scenic Rim, Applethorpe, Stanthorpe and Biboohra (Mareeba).

9–12: More than 50 fires were active in New South Wales, with five fires burning out of control at Drake near Tenterfield, Ebor near Armidale and Shark Creek in the Clarence Valley. After a reprieve on the 11th, winds strengthened during the 12th, expanding the fire fronts.

16: Snow fell overnight in most parts of Canberra, with 5–8 cm also falling at Goulburn.

17–18: Frost caused crop damage across southeastern South Australia and parts of western Victoria.

20: Severe winds were reported around Melbourne, with an A380 aircraft forced to make an emergency landing at Avalon Airport due to strong wind shear.

OCTOBER

1: Severe thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall to the Sunshine Coast. Caboolture had falls of around 100 mm in two hours.

8: A house was destroyed by fire at Thornton in Queensland. Other fires were burning at Grandchester, The Ridge, Mount Sylvia, Mount Morgan and Childers, but all were under control by the 9th.

10: Having burned more than 78 000 ha since early September, the Long Gully Road fire at Drake in New South Wales resulted in two fatalities at Coongbar.

17: In New South Wales, 44 homes were destroyed by the Busbys Flat fire, 19 in the Drake fire and another lost at the Purgatory Creek fire at Jackadgery, west of Grafton. One hundred and fifty-three outbuildings and seven other facilities were destroyed.

Bushfire at Busbys Flat.
Bushfire at Busbys Flat.

17: Severe thunderstorms developed from the Central Highlands, the Darling Downs and South East Coast districts of Queensland. Strong winds brought down trees in the Lockyer Valley and power outages affected around 20 000 homes.

24: Several fires burned across South Australia, including one at Wongulla where several firefighters were injured.

NOVEMBER

9–15: Numerous bushfires were burning across eastern Queensland during November, with 15 homes lost at Cobraball (near Yeppoon) and one lost at Cooroibah (near Noosa).

11: A statewide total fire ban and State of Emergency was declared across New South Wales due to extreme and catastrophic bushfire conditions. The Greater Sydney and Hunter Valley regions saw the first forecast catastrophic conditions for those areas since the rating was introduced.

12: A fire at Port Lincoln, on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, burned about 5000 ha and damaged at least 11 properties.

12: Poor air quality and reduced visibility was a feature in Greater Sydney during the month, with smoke from bushfires and dust resulting in many days of air quality alerts being issued.

17: Severe thunderstorms over southeast Queensland brought large hail around 4-6 cm in diameter to the Sunshine Coast region.

21: Lightning strikes and hot, gusty winds resulted in more than 60 fires across Victoria, with large fires in East Gippsland, at Rochester, and at Mount Glasgow north of Ballarat. A Code Red fire danger was declared for the Mallee and Northern Country. Strong winds blew debris into powerlines, leaving thousands of Victorians without power, and caused a dust storm at Mildura.

26: Major storms saw strong winds across New South Wales, causing widespread damage and major power outages. The State Emergency Service (SES) received over 2000 calls for assistance.

DECEMBER

11: Severe storms over Brisbane delivered record daily rainfall for December, with more than 120 mm falling in two hours leading to flash flooding in the metropolitan region.

13: Severe storms over southeast Queensland produced giant hail 8-10 cm in diameter at Wolvi and Wilsons Pocket near Gympie, and 11.5 cm hail at Goomboorian.

17–20: A severe to extreme heatwave in South Australia set records tumbling. Nullarbor recorded a maximum of 49.9 °C on the 19th; the State’s hottest December temperature and the fourth hottest ever recorded in Australia. Adelaide also had its hottest December day with 44.8 °C, exceeding the previous record from 1904.

20–31: Significant fires across South Australia included the Cudlee Creek fire, northeast of Adelaide, that burned 23 200 ha, causing one fatality and the loss of 87 homes. Fires on Kangaroo Island burned almost half the island, including both farmland and wilderness areas. The fires resulted in two fatalities, and the loss of 89 houses and 296 other structures. Tens of thousands of livestock and countless native animals were killed. The fire was declared safe in February following heavy rain and thunderstorms.

The aftermath of the Cudlee Creek fire.
The aftermath of the Cudlee Creek fire.

23: Widespread areas of smoke extended across eastern and southern Victoria from fires burning in New South Wales, Gippsland and southwest Victoria, and persisted over several days.

31: Accumulated Forest Fire Danger Index values were the highest on record for December over areas of southeastern Australia and Tasmania, including regions of significant fire activity in southern New South Wales, East Gippsland, and South Australia. By the end of December, more than 5 million ha had been burned across Australia since the start of July, including 3.6 million in New South Wales, half a million in Victoria, 250 000 in Queensland, and more than 60 000 in South Australia. At least 18 lives had been lost, and more than 1600 homes had been destroyed.

JANUARY

1–2: Extreme heat affected much of Greater Sydney, with temperatures reaching 46.8 °C at Richmond on the 1st.

4: Canberra Airport reached 44.0 °C –– the highest temperature ever recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), exceeding the previous record from 1939.

6–10: Tropical cyclone Blake briefly crossed over the Dampier Peninsula on the 6th, before moving back to water and making landfall a second time east of Wallal Downs on the 7th. Blake moved through the east Pilbara and Western Australian interior bringing heavy rainfall and flooding, causing extensive road closures.

7–10: Heavy rain resulted in major flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean and Georges rivers, and local flooding and coastal erosion were seen in some parts of Sydney. Observatory Hill recorded 391.6 mm of rain in four days.

11–17: From a tropical low that formed in the Arafura Sea and tracked westwards across the Top End, Tropical cyclone Claudia formed off Western Australia’s Kimberly coast and was upgraded to a severe tropical cyclone on the 12th as it moved further out to sea. The system generated locally heavy rainfall across the western Top End.

13–15: Smoke haze from bushfires extended across most of Victoria, including Melbourne. The State recorded the worst air quality in the world on the 14th, as smoke from fires in East Gippsland spread. Extensive smoke from bushfires persisted in regions across New South Wales and the ACT.

19: Severe thunderstorms developed over central and eastern Victoria, bringing heavy rainfall and giant hail, up to 5.5 cm in diameter at Glen Iris in Melbourne’s southeast.

20: One of the most severe hailstorms recorded in the ACT was felt in Canberra, with hail of 4-6 cm in diameter falling across the city causing extensive damage to buildings and motor vehicles.

20–22: Widespread rainfall helped reduce the number of uncontained bushfires in Victoria’s east. Bushfires burned more than 1.5 million ha across Victoria during January.

27–31: A large fire burned in Namadgi National Park south of Canberra, spanning over 80 000 ha. A State of Emergency was declared for the ACT for the first time since the 2003 bushfires.

31: Raised dust fell as dirty brown rain over southern Victoria. High temperatures and humidity fuelled thunderstorms over the southwest, generating strong winds that knocked over several electricity transmission towers near Colac.

31: A localised severe thunderstorm impacted Port Lincoln in South Australia, resulting in significant flash flooding.

FEBRUARY

1: Heavy and intense thunderstorms moved across South Australia. Widespread rainfall totals of 50 mm or more were recorded in central and northern regions, leading to flash flooding in some areas.

1–2: Extreme heat affected many parts of New South Wales, with numerous February record-high maximum and minimum temperatures. The minimum temperature of 34.7 °C at Condobolin was a February record for the State.

1–15: Heavy rainfall caused flooding on numerous rivers in Queensland and eastern New South Wales. Significant flood levels were recorded in in the Georgina/Eyre, Logan/Albert, Condamine/Balonne and Warrego catchments in Queensland, and on the Orara, Hawkesbury-Nepean and Georges rivers in New South Wales.

6–10: Tropical cyclone Damien developed to the northwest of Broome, moving west–southwest then south towards the Pilbara coast, intensifying to a severe Category 3 system on the 7th. Damien made landfall over the Karratha and Dampier regions on the 8th, before weakening and moving inland through the Pilbara, east Gascoyne and northern Goldfields districts.

12: Severe thunderstorms brought heavy and intense rainfall to Queensland’s southeast coast leading to swift water rescues, inundation of homes, and roads cut. 125 mm fell over two hours at Coolum and 30 nursing home residents were evacuated.

13: After widespread rain in New South Wales, all fires were declared under control.

13: After impacts in Vanuatu and New Caledonia, ex-tropical cyclone Uesi approached Lord Howe Island with strong winds damaging buildings and boats. Large waves were recorded from southeast Queensland and down the New South Wales coast.

23–25: Tropical cyclone Esther formed over the Gulf of Carpentaria and made landfall between Mornington Island, and the Northern Territory and Queensland border on the 24th. The system weakened to an ex-tropical cyclone as it moved slowly west across the Northern Territory delivering widespread rainfall. Stopping near the Kimberley coast in Western Australia, the system reversed its track and moved eastwards across the Northern Territory again at the end of the month.

23–24: An extensive dust-storm swept across the interior of the Northern Territory reducing visibility to less than 200 m in many locations.

24–27: Tropical cyclone Ferdinand formed to the northwest of Western Australia and slowly tracked to the southwest. The system had no impact on the Australian continent.

23–29: Heavy rainfall produced very significant river levels in Queensland; the highest recorded since 2012. Major flooding was recorded across the Balonne River catchment including at St George and Dirranbandi, and in the Bulloo River at Bollon and Quilpie.

27: Severe storms developed over the southeast, producing heavy rainfall around the Sunshine and Gold coasts. 76 mm was recorded in one hour at Coomera Shores.

MARCH

1–9: The remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Esther brought widespread heavy rainfall and flooding to many parts of the country. March daily rainfall records were broken at several stations in the Kimberley and Northern Territory. Significant flooding in western Queensland kept some properties isolated for weeks and major transport routes disrupted. Flash flooding caused disruptions to parts of Victoria’s train network, with the SES receiving more than 300 calls for assistance. Melbourne’s wettest March day since 1929 was recorded on the 5th.

Australian rainfall for the week ending 5 March

5–7: Severe thunderstorms developed in western, central and eastern parts of Queensland, with heavy and intense rainfall recorded at several locations.

15: Severe tropical cyclone Gretel developed in the Coral Sea and tracked southeast towards New Caledonia and away from the Australian coast.

APRIL

4: Tropical cyclone Harold developed in the northern Coral Sea and tracked south–southeast into the central Coral Sea. The system had no impact on the Australian continent.

5: Heavy rainfall and strong winds in Victoria resulted in flooded roads, fallen trees and damage to buildings; the SES responded to more than 400 calls for help. Strong winds were observed across Tasmania with a gust of 146 km/h recorded at Hogan Island.

2–11: Temperatures were persistently warm across Western Australia, with Perth reaching a new April record maximum of 39.5 °C on the 11th. Argyle Aerodrome had a new Australian April minimum temperature record with 31.1 °C on the 2nd.

11: Strong squally winds followed the passage of a cold front across Victoria, with gusts of 131 km/h reported at Wilsons Promontory. The SES received more than 450 calls, mostly for fallen trees.

19: A severe thunderstorm impacted Central Queensland, and in a rare event for April, giant hail of 5-12.5 cm in diameter was observed causing property damage in Rockhampton and Yeppoon.

30: A vigorous cold front brought strong winds and a drop in temperature, with significant snowfall over the alpine regions of Victoria and New South Wales. Mount Buller reported 10-15 cm of snow. Some sites had their coldest April day on record.

MAY

1–2: Strong winds combined with low pressure produced a storm surge which led to minor coastal flooding in low-lying areas of Melbourne and at Lakes Entrance.

20: A strong cold front brought a band of thunderstorms with lightning and winds in excess of 100 km/h to southern central Victoria. Areas west of Geelong were hardest hit, where more than 100 houses were severely damaged, including from a tornado.

21–23: A cold spell saw numerous low maximum temperature records set across the northern and central districts of Queensland. The 23rd was the coldest Queensland May day on record (16.97 °C) since records began in 1910.

24–25: A large and complex weather system impacted western parts of Western Australia, with strong winds through the Central West district whipping up large amounts of dust, blanketing many towns and reducing visibility below 500 m in Geraldton. At least 62 000 homes were without power across the State. Higher than normal tides were experienced in most locations around the west coast, leading to coastal inundation and significant beach erosion.

A footpath in Shoalwater, south of Perth, collapses due to the wild weather.
A footpath in Shoalwater, south of Perth, collapses due to the wild weather.

24–26: A deep low pressure system in the Tasman Sea off the Illawarra and Sydney coasts brought damaging surf conditions with some coastal inundation around Newcastle.

JUNE

1-2: Heavy snow was recorded in the Victorian Alps in the first two days of winter; Mount Hotham had more than 10 cm of fresh snow.

7: A large waterspout formed off the New South Wales coast between Wallabi Point and Diamond Beach near Taree.

17: A strong cold front moved over the west coast and southwest Western Australia and resulted in damaging wind gusts, higher than normal tides and damaging surf conditions.

22–24: Heavy rain in southeast Tasmania produced three-day rainfall totals that were more than double the June average in many parts.

27–29: A series of cold fronts produced strong wind gusts and heavy rainfall over coastal parts of the Lower West and South West forecast districts of Western Australia causing property damage and power outages.