The year started with the beaches closed as ex-cyclone “Oswald” launched its fury along our coastline. On Wednesday 9th January temperatures soared when a mini-heatwave sent the mercury eight degrees above the norm to 34.8°C. In the last week of January a deep low pressure system travelled down the east coast leaving a wake of destruction; and in over four days filled our rain gauges with 675.2mm.Total Rainfall for the month was 732.4, representing 434.8 above the norm.
Across the region February is normally the wettest month of the year, with an average rainfall of 335mm. This is the month when the monsoonal trough line drifts south into Australia. The month started with a week of sunshine and showers. By the middle of the month the weather deteriorated when a small east coast low developed offshore near Bundaberg bringing extensive rain and flooding. Over the next few days the east coast low deepened off Fraser Island. This brought strong winds and big surf to our beaches. Erosion of beaches was widespread. Rain associated with the east coast low fell on the ranges, but not as much as expected. At the end of the month the inland intense upper level system rapidly approached the Queensland eastern seaboard. Severe weather conditions and extensive flooding warnings were issued for our region on Sunday evening by the BOM. In four days Maleny recorded 353mm, bringing the month’s total to 694mm
March came in like a lion. In the first week of the month local residents were awakened in the middle of the night by a cacophony of sound on their roofs. There were three hours of strong gusting winds and extreme heavy rain. At times the rains increased in intensity to an official category of ‘Violent’, with a Rate of Fall of 75mm/hr. Total rainfall from 3.00pm to 9.00am was 89.8mm. Our weather pattern for the remainder of the month was influenced by a high in the Tasman Sea extending a ridge of high pressure up the east coast. The result was a stream of moist south-easterly winds into SE Queensland. This brought a series of isolated showers over the Ranges and brought the total number of Rain Days to 23, making it the wettest March month since 2010.
April’s weather in the hinterland began with an upper level trough bringing rain and strong wind gusts. This was the weather pattern throughout Easter and the school holiday period. It has rained on 15 days to measure 191.4mm in the gauges. This was 10mm above the April average. Temperatures and Humidity were on par with the April average.
There was a change in the weather pattern on Friday 12th when a very active low formed-up in the upper level trough; while simultaneously a surface low deepened in the Coral Sea. A combination of the two systems brought atmospheric instability resulting in strong gale force winds, erosion to our beaches and torrential rains over the hinterland. At 5.30pm it rained ‘cats and dogs’, with a measuring rate of 82mm/hr. The 24 hour total and daily maximum for the month was 50.8mm.
In May a deep low in the Coral Sea, heading toward Cape York, became TC ‘Zane’ for a short while, before becoming a rain depression. It had no effect to our weather on the Ranges apart from producing some good surfing waves on the coast. On the 15th an upper level trough brought in thick altostratus cloud and very little sunshine was seen over the next 8 days . Maleny Show Day has a long tradition of being ‘wet’, but this year it was ‘fair to middling’, although it could have been a lot worse. There was some heavy rain on Thursday, a few showers on Friday and fine for the fireworks. on Saturday. Total rainfall for May was 139.0mm, representing 0.2mm above the 117year Maleny average for May. We had a number of 5- year record weather observations in May.
Highest Relative Humidity 3.00pm reading.
Maximum annual 5-month rainfall
Maximum number of rain days
Maximum daily evaporation
Highest maximum daily temperature
June, the first month of winter began with overcast conditions from an upper level system, and a moist southeasterly air stream kept temperatures four degrees above average with showers. In the middle of the month we had three consecutive days and nights of thick fog making for hazardous driving conditions on the Rages. In the following week a change in the weather brought strong winds gusting to 50km/hr before backing from southeast to south west when winter made itself felt with a sudden drop of five degrees.
Weather in the first week of July was dominated by a high of 1028hPa over Southern Australia, and a deep East Coast low approximately 180km NE of Cape Moreton. The combined effect was to influence Maleny’s weather over the next week. Overhead we had thick nimbostratus cloud bringing drizzle and some isolated showers. The East Coast Low brought strong southeasterly winds with gusts of over 45km/hr, and rough surf conditions causing significant beach erosion along some of the Sunshine Coastline, before moving away southeast off the NSW coast.
There is a touch of spring in the air with magnolia in bud and crows gathering twigs for their nests. The sounds of lawn mowers and whipper snippers fill the air and the weeding of an abundance of cobbler pegs is in progress.
In August there was a series of high pressure systems moving slowly east across the northern half of the continent. This was a synoptic system resulting in a dry sunny August with no precipitation; similar to the previous year when we also recorded no rainfall. According to our records August in 1991, 1936, 1927 and 1926 were all totally dry. The mean temperature for the month is two degrees above the norm, mainly attributed to nighttime temperatures that were recording three degrees above the norm. On twelve occasions the temperature fell below ten degrees.
In September and the first week of spring a few light showers brought an end to our dry spell of thirty-three days. The remainder of September was dry apart from a cloudburst at 9.30pm on Monday 16thwhen rain pelted down at a rate of 152mm/hr. This phenomena was followed an hour later by a thunderstorm. The combined rainfall for this event was 33.6mm - great for flowering shrubs and trees who showed their pleasure by an abundance of blooms. The hinterland became a blaze of colour It is worth noting that many parts of Australia have had the hottest September weather on record. Not at Maleny our hottest Septembers was in 1997, when the mercury topped 33.2°C
October has been an unusual month with a high in the northern Tasman Sea bringing strong hot northerly winds to the Ranges. On Friday 11th a vigorous surface trough moved eastward across our region sending hot gusty 47km/hr winds with temperatures soaring to 34°C. A thunder storm mid-month brought some welcomed rain to top up water tanks. Unfortunately very little of the rain penetrated the very dry ground, not enough to relieve the stress shown by many trees and shrubs. The ‘In ground’ moisture sensors recorded 200 centibars [very dry] throughout the entire month. This month’s rainfall was the fourth month in succession with below average rainfall.
November was a month embracing all seasons! Cold days, hot days, thunderstorms with lightning and monster hail stones not seen in the hinterland for many a year. A slow moving high in the Tasman Sea brought a stream of hot dry air with temperatures in the high twenties, the maximum temperature of the month was 31°C.
In the latter half of the month there was a complete change in the synoptic pattern starting with a weak monsoonal trough line flowing across the Gulf of Carpentaria, this brought humid air to eastern districts. Over the ranges we had a surface trough and an upper level trough overhead. The combination of these systems with the humid air resulted in very unstable conditions and ripe for thunderstorm cells that developed throughout our region. The rainfall was a welcome blessing to many people with low level water tanks and parched paddocks and gardens
December was a record breaking month with the highest maximum temperature of 38.2°C recorded on Sunday 29th – representing ten degrees above the norm . Maleny’s previous record of 36.4°C was observed on December 26th 2001. In the first week of the month a trough line extended down the east coast with a low of 1007hPa showing a promise of rain that failed to eventuate. We had to wait for the next trough line to develop on 11th with rain clouds precipitating over the Ranges. With 10mm in the gauges it was insufficient to moisten the very dry ground. Not since June – six months ago – have we enjoyed a month of average or above average rainfall. Unusual for Maleny!