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National weather event summary

JULY

8: Fog and low clouds saw record low daytime temperatures recorded in the northwest of Victoria, with both Mildura and Ouyen having their coldest day for any month.

13–14: A low pressure system in the Tasman Sea brought heavy rain, isolated flash flooding and high seas along the New South Wales coast. Over 100 mm of rain fell on the South Coast and powerful sea swell led to significant coastal erosion and hazardous beach conditions, notably at Wamberal where residents were evacuated. The Sydney waverider buoy recorded peak waves of over 11.5 m.

16–17: Frost and fog were observed across much of western and central Victoria, including Melbourne.

26–28: An intense low pressure system for the month brought further heavy rain to New South Wales, with many sites in the Illawarra and South Coast districts recording their highest July daily totals on record. Sanctuary Point on the South Coast recorded 223.6 mm at on the 28th – the highest July daily total in New South Wales since 2005.

AUGUST

3–6: A cold front and associated low pressure system produced widespread significant rainfall along Western Australia’s south coast, with heavier falls between 80 and 100 mm. A daily total of 75 mm at Eyre on the 6th almost doubled the previous winter’s record at the site.

4–5: A complex area of low pressure brought heavy rain to Tasmania, with numerous sites reporting their wettest August day on record on the 5th. Snow fell and settled on the ground in Launceston, a rare occurrence, and snow closed the Huon Highway south of Hobart.

7: The daily minimum temperature of -14.2 °C at Liawenee in Tasmania is the state’s lowest-ever recorded temperature, and lowest Australia-wide since 29 August 2018.

13: A tornado was observed near Woodend in Victoria which uprooted trees and lifted hay bales into the air.

16: Warragamba dam spilled for the first time since July 2016.

21–23: A cold front brought cold, wet and windy conditions to Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. Some alpine areas received more than 50 cm of snow, up to 30 cm of snow fell around Orange, and snow falls were reported in many Canberra suburbs.

22–23: Several locations in northern Western Australia broke temperature records. Including at West Roebuck which recorded 41.2 °C on the 23rd, Australia’s highest August temperature on record. The previous day Yampi Sound recorded the country’s first 40 °C day in August for 50 years.

27: A cold front and associated trough rapidly crossed the state, resulting in squally westerly winds across southern and mountain districts of Victoria. Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse reported 157 km/h. The Victoria SES received over 1000 calls for help, mostly for downed trees and powerlines.

SEPTEMBER

3: ‘Muddy rain’ was observed in central Victoria as raised dust was brought to the surface by showers.

9: Casey Station in the Antarctic recorded a maximum daily wind gust of 248 km/h, equalling the site’s strongest wind gust for any month.

14: Mandora in Western Australia reached 41.8 °C, a new early season record for Australia.

19: Flash flooding and rescues followed intense rainfall around Broken Hill in New South Wales.

21–25: Several cold fronts crossed Victoria and brought widespread rainfall, snow, strong gusty winds, and low temperatures. Widespread heavy snow fell in the Victorian Alps and blanketed parts of southwest and central Victoria, with falls to the lower levels in some areas of western Victoria, including at Mount Macedon, the Otway Ranges, Ballarat, Lismore, Ararat and Mortlake.

25–26: A strong cold front brought an unusually late cold outbreak to New South Wales. Maximum temperatures were 6 to 10 °C below average over the Riverina and South West Slopes. Damaging winds were observed through parts of the Illawarra, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands and Sydney metropolitan areas. Some snow was reported in the ranges, including at Orange, Oberon and Barrington Tops. The cold outbreak also affected the ACT, with snow in the Brindabellas.

28: Macquarie Island had its coldest September day with temperatures rising to just -2.4 °C, the lowest for any month since 28 June 1996.

30: A severe thunderstorm hit Kununurra Airport, with the maximum wind gust recorded at 119 km/h.

OCTOBER

1–31: It was the wettest October in the Northern Territory since 2011, with territory-wide rainfall double the October average. Many sites had their highest-on-record daily and monthly falls for October.

8–9: A complex frontal system and low brought widespread rain to Tasmania, with heavier falls in the northeast. Moderate flooding occurred along the South Esk River.

24–29: Widespread thunderstorms affected central and southeast Queensland, bringing heavy rainfall, flash-flooding, and strong wind gusts to some areas.

26–29: A succession of troughs and low pressure systems along the New South Wales coast brought heavy rain and severe storms. Smiths Lake on the Mid North Coast recorded 209.8 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 27th, more than double its previous October daily record. Williamtown recorded 186.0 mm in the 12 hours from 4 am to 4 pm on the 26th, contributing to a record two-day October rainfall of 205.0 mm.

 Queensland Fire and Emergency Services).
Drone imagery of damage to roofs in Springfield Lakes (Source: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services).

31: Severe thunderstorms impacted much of southeast Queensland. Giant hail up to 14 cm in diameter was reported at Forestdale and up to 13 cm in diameter at Hillcrest. These hailstones were amongst the largest-ever measured in Australia. Insurance losses are estimated at over $1.173 billion.

NOVEMBER

1–30: It was the warmest November in the Northern Territory on record, with many sites recording their highest daily and monthly mean maximum, mean minimum and mean temperatures for November.

10–11: Widespread gusty thunderstorms affected large areas of South Australia, with multiple fires ignited on the southern Yorke Peninsula around Minlaton and more than 7000 properties left without power across the state.

10–11: In the Top End of the Northern Territory, a pulse thunderstorm generated a 107 km/h wind gust at Batchelor Airport on the 10th and a multi-cell thunderstorm complex generated a wind gust of 115 km/h at Bradshaw on the 11th.

15: Very heavy rainfall, including 91 mm in 1 hour, fell at Wandie Creek in the central Top End of the Northern Territory. Rainfall of this intensity is roughly equivalent to a 1-in-100 year event.

16: Severe thunderstorms generated a wind gust up to 146 km/hr at Nobbys Head in New South Wales.

27–30: Birdsville in Queensland had a November record run of 4 days above 46 °C.

28–29: Severe to extreme heatwave conditions occurred in the west and northeast of New South Wales, extending to the Sydney region. Smithville, north of Broken Hill, recorded 46.9 °C on the 28th, the highest November temperature ever recorded in New South Wales. Delta, west of Bourke, recorded a minimum temperature of 33.8 °C on the 29th, the highest November minimum temperature ever recorded in New South Wales, and the fourth highest for all of Australia.

DECEMBER

1–9: Extreme-intensity heatwave conditions affected southern inland Queensland, and parts of northeast inland New South Wales, while low- to severe-intensity heatwave conditions affected virtually all of Queensland.

1–15: Weather conditions continued to exacerbate a bushfire on Queensland’s K’gari (Fraser Island) that started in mid-October, in the northeast of K’gari. During the two months, the fire travelled from the north of the island, southwards towards Kingfisher Bay. It threatened townships including Orchid Beach, Happy Valley, Yidney Rocks and The Oaks; significant cultural sites of the Butchulla people; and tourist facilities including campgrounds at communities at Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village, and at Cathedrals. It had burnt around 50 per cent of the island (approximated 85 000 hectares) by mid-December. More than 50 mm of rain fell over four days (12 to 15 December), which helped to finally extinguish the fire.

2: An intense and destructive downburst brought a wind gust up to 145 km/h at Dalby in the Queensland after severe thunderstorms rapidly developed over the Darling Downs.

7: A tornado occurred at Horsham in Victoria. Winds were estimated to exceed 140 km/h and downed trees, damaged roofs and windows, scattered debris across roads and cut power to many houses.

5–12: A tropical low formed to the north of Christmas Island on the 5th and crossed the Pilbara coast (west of Port Hedland) on the 11th. Rainfall totals from 100 mm to 160 mm were recorded in the Pilbara, with major flooding of the Nullagine, Coongan, Shaw and De Grey rivers.

12–18: A slow-moving low pressure system and trough near the southern Queensland coast brought widespread heavy rainfall, damaging winds, abnormally high tides and dangerous surf to the northern half of the New South Wales coast and southeast Queensland. Some sites in the Gold Coast Hinterland received more than 1000 mm between the 13th and 17th. Damaging storm surges coincided with king tides, resulting in major coastal erosion at numerous beaches in northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland. On the evening of 16 December, one person lost his life in flash flooding
at Killarney on the Southern Downs in Queensland.

17: A line of severe thunderstorms swept across Melbourne and caused property damage, with wind gusts up to 117 km/hr reported at Fawkner Beacon in Port Phillip Bay.

19–23: The monsoon onset occurred at Darwin on the 19th and the monsoon trough extended over the Northern Territory’s Top End bringing moderate to heavy rainfall to the northern tropics.

JANUARY

2–6: A fire in the shires of Gingin and Dandaragan north of Perth in Western Australia burnt through 9500 hectares along a 102 km perimeter.

3–11: Tropical cyclone Imogen formed in the Gulf of Carpentaria on the 3rd, the first tropical cyclone in the Australian Region for the season. The system crossed near Karumba and weakened as it moved over the northern interior to the north tropical coast by the 5th. Major flooding occurred on the Herbert and Lower Burdekin rivers on the 11th, and flooding in some Gulf and western catchments.

11: A grassfire in South Australia’s Lower South East burnt through 16 800 hectares of land, with some properties damaged or destroyed, and significant losses to livestock and fencing. Electricity was also cut to over 3000 homes.

12–15: A low- to severe-intensity heatwave occurred in the north of Western Australia, with 47.1 °C at Roebourne Aero on the 15th; the state’s highest temperature recorded during January.

16: Tropical cyclone Joshua formed to the southwest of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and remained well offshore.

17: Tropical cyclone Kimi formed off the north tropical coast of Queensland but did not make landfall. Widespread thunderstorms brought heavy falls and flash flooding to southeast Queensland, with Alexandra Hills reporting 120 mm in one hour. The SES had around 205 requests for assistance and the QFES responded to 12 swift water rescue incidents. A tornado was observed west of Mareeba as thunderstorms interacted with strong wind shear created by Kimi.

21: Heavy rainfall associated with a tropical low generated 125 mm in two hours and 131 mm in three hours at Upper Wickham River in the Northern Territory.

23–26: A low- to severe-intensity heatwave affected most of mainland southeast Australia. The 24th was the hottest day, with 45.3 °C at Port Augusta Aero in South Australia, 43.9 °C at Ouyen in Victoria, and 43.6 °C at Hay Airport in New South Wales.

24: Sea fog stretched about 50 km along the coast from Sydney’s eastern beaches to Botany Bay.

FEBRUARY

1: A severe storm hit Canberra, resulting in 112 calls for assistance to the ACT SES.

1–6: Tropical cyclone Lucas formed in the Coral Sea on the 1st and moved eastwards towards Vanuatu and New Caledonia. The system remained well offshore, but generated dangerous surf conditions along the Queensland coast. Three people drowned on the Gold Coast in 36 hours on the 5th and 6th.

1–5: A bushfire ignited in the Perth Hills suburb of Wooroloo on the 1st and burnt until the 5th, with around 11 000 hectares burnt and 86 homes damaged or destroyed. Rainfall overnight on the 6th and the morning of the 7th, associated with a tropical low, helped to extinguish the fires.

13: Dangerous surf conditions and larges waves affected much of the New South Wales coast. Two people drowned after being swept off the rocks while fishing at Port Kembla.

14–19: Low- to severe-intensity heatwaves affected southwest and south coastal areas of Western Australia, southern parts of South Australia and most of Victoria.

Image showing heatwave advice issued during the 21–25 February event.
Heatwave advice issued during the 21–25 February event.

21–25: A low- to severe-intensity heatwave affected parts of the Pilbara, Gascoyne and southwest coasts of Western Australia, and from the Capricornia to Wide Bay coasts and adjacent inland districts of Queensland.

26–30: Tropical cyclone Marian formed to the south of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on the 26th and peaked as a Category 4 storm in early March, before decaying as it tracked towards the southwest.

MARCH

1–5: Tropical cyclone Niran formed off the Queensland coast near Cairns. The system stayed offshore but resulted in major flooding on the Herbert River and extensive damage to banana crops. The system continued to generate widespread moderate to heavy rainfall as it moved away from Australia’s coast.

1–7: Low- to severe-intensity heatwave conditions affected large areas of northern Australia, from western Queensland, much of the Northern Territory and into eastern parts of Western Australia.

2: Severe thunderstorms affected the Brisbane area, resulting in flash flooding and downed trees. Power was cut to 18 000 homes and 85 calls for assistance were made to the South East Queensland SES.

The estimated tsunami travel times for the M7.9 Kermadec Islands tsunami event of 5 March
The estimated tsunami travel times for the M7.9 Kermadec Islands tsunami event of 5 March

5: A tsunami marine warning was issued for Norfolk Island, following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake northeast of New Zealand. A sea level gauge at Norfolk Island recorded a 64 cm tsunami wave.

16: Parts of central Queensland received more than 100 mm in 3 hours causing major flooding, with the Retreat Creek in Sapphire reaching a peak of 10 m.

17: An isolated, extremely heavy daily rainfall total of 550 mm was recorded at Byfield in the Capricornia District of Queensland.

17–26: Extreme multi-day rainfall and significant flooding affected many parts of eastern and central Australia. The highest rainfall occurred in eastern New South Wales, with almost the whole coastline and adjacent ranges receiving significant falls. Many catchments on the east coast experienced significant flooding, as did numerous inland rivers, especially in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.

20: A potential tornado was reported at Chester Hill in Western Sydney, with a person injured by flying debris.

APRIL

5: A coastal trough and low pressure system off the north tropical Queensland coast produced heavy rainfall between Cairns and Innisfail, with widespread totals of 150 to 220 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am.

​ Cyclone track map for tropical cyclone Seroja ​
Cyclone track map for tropical cyclone Seroja

5–11: Tropical cyclone Seroja formed to the northwest of Australia on the 5th, moving initially west and then southwest. During 8 and 9 April Seroja interacted with another tropical low, that briefly intensified into tropical cyclone Odette, via the Fujiwara effect, a phenomenon which is rarely observed in the Australian region. The system intensified into a severe (Category 3) tropical cyclone on the 11th and made landfall just south of Kalbarri. It is unusual for severe tropical cyclones to maintain their strength this far south. Kalbarri and the nearby town of Northampton were severely impacted, with around 70 per cent of buildings sustaining significant damage, and many being destroyed.

11: Large swell and surf battered Victoria’s southwest coast, sweeping large boulders onto roads and trapping a family on an island off Port Fairy.

19: Flooding occurred in catchments around Cairns in Queensland after several consecutive days of 100 mm to 200 mm of rain at some sites beginning, including a 3-day total of 786 mm at Mount Sophia.

MAY

4: Five waterspouts formed off the New South Wales north coast at Old Bar.

10: Damaging winds were reported in southwestern and north-eastern Victoria, with a maximum wind gust of 111 km/h recorded at Mount William in the Grampians.

23–24: A strong cold front brought damaging winds to coastal areas of south-western Western Australia. Hail blanketed Albany and snow settled on Bluff Knoll, the first snow in Western Australia for 2021.

25: A cold front brought strong and gusty winds across elevated areas of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, with wind gusts of 126 km/hr at Thredbo and 102 km/h at Cabramurra.

26: A cold front brought damaging to destructive winds across parts of Tasmania, with wind gusts of 124 km/h at Hogan Island, 117 km/h at kunanyi/Mount Wellington, and 115 km/h at Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse.

27–31: A large and intense low pressure system to the southeast of Lord Howe Island led to very heavy surf, with large waves and abnormally high tides affecting areas along the New South Wales coast.

JUNE

7: Strong north to north-westerly winds affected much of Tasmania, with a maximum wind gust of 117 km/h at Mount Read.

8–10: A strong cold front tracked across southeast South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and southern Queensland. Snow was reported in the Northern and Central Tablelands, Southern Ranges and the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Snow also settled on elevated parts of the ACT including the Brindabellas and Mount Ginini.

9–11: Damaging winds across Victoria brought down trees and unroofed houses, with more than 4000 calls to the Victorian SES for assistance as power was cut to more than 200 000 people. Major flooding occurred in multiple catchments after more than 200 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 9 am on the 10th at some locations in West Gippsland in Victoria. On the 11th, several rivers experienced major flooding after rapid rises were observed and the Yarra River had its highest peak since 1934. On the 11th, two people died in separate flood-related incidents in south-western Victoria and Gippsland.

10: A low pressure system off the Western Australian coast brought widespread showers, rain, strong to damaging winds, and large seas and swell with abnormally high tides and damaging surf to Cape Naturaliste. Perth’s Riverside Drive was inundated after tides reached 1.7 m at Barrack Street Jetty.

24: A low pressure system brought severe winds, rain, and abnormally high tides to the Adelaide region, with trees brought down in the Adelaide Hills. The SES had responded to 60 requests for assistance in the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

29–30: Heavy fog covered Sydney on consecutive mornings and caused major delays to ferry services on Sydney Harbour.