May 2018 third driest

Sunset clouds

the heavens’ embroidered cloths

Temperatures did not stray far from normal. The first (black) frost that I observed was on the 15th, near the normal date for it (13th May). That began a week of sunny skies and very dry air.
There was only one rain day. An early morning shower gave a reading of 1.2 mm on the 30th.

May 2018 weather log

Comparing May months

The May months in 2018, 2017, and 2016, as well as in 2014, were all warm. The average temperature was more than half a degree above the normal value of 13.3°. While May 2017 was warm, wet, and humid, May 2018 was warm, dry, and arid. The air was exceptionally dry, with the mean early morning dew point (0.0°) the lowest for May, and the relative humidity at that time 68% instead of the usual 80% to 90%.
The rainfall total of 1.2 mm was third driest for May, equal with May 2002, but not as dry as May 2006 ( 0.2 mm). Only May 1927 was drier, with zero. May rainfall values have been low in the 21st century, with an average of 23 mm, compared to the long-term average of 41 mm.

Climate in May months

Rainfall Shortages

Last month, April 2018, had only two rainfall shortages classed as “serious” (below the 10th percentile): those for durations of five years and six years. Since then, more shortages have appeared. Those five-year and six-year shortages remain, but there are now serious shortages for durations of five months and twelve months, and severe shortages (below the 5th percentile) for one month, two months and three months. The current three-month total (45 mm) is at the 4th percentile.


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March. However, during the month of May eleven daily readings were blank. I have substituted my own gauge readings, which were all zero.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

April 2018 very warm and sunny

Gum tree

Schoolyard Lemon-scented Gum

Warm spells several degrees above normal persisted until late in the month. Then normal temperature returned.
While no day went over 35°, thirteen days went over 30°, which was a record. ANZAC Day, at 27.3°, was 3° warmer than usual. That was much the same as last year, but not nearly as warm as in 2002 (28.7°).
A record 25 nights were warmer than 10°. There were no frosts, the coldest night (the 29th) being 5.2°.
There were only three rain days, with the highest reading of 10.2 mm on the 20th. The number of cloudless mornings (16) was a new record, beating April 2001 (15).

Weather log for April 2018

Comparing April months

As in March, so in April, this very warm dry month matched the same month in 2016. The three highest mean temperatures for April months were: in 2018, 20.7°; in 2005, 20.6°; and in 2016, 20.5°. For mean daily maximum temperatures, however, 2005 was the warmest, at 29.5°. April 2018 claims the record highest mean minimum temperature of 12.5°, beating April 2014, which had 12.2°.
The rainfall total of 17.8 mm was at the 31st percentile, well below the average (40 mm). In 2018, rainfall has been below normal in January, March and April. However, serious rainfall shortages below the 10th percentile are still seen only in the medium term: the 60-month total of 2780 mm is at the 8th percentile, and the 72-month total of 3370 mm is at the 6th percentile.

Climate in April months


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

March 2018 very warm indeed

Acacia salicina

Young Cooba

Eight days went over 35° this March, beaten only by nine days in March 2016. The 19th (38.6°) was the fifth hottest March day of the new century. Weekly mean temperatures rose to 4.6° above normal by the 18th, and remained almost as high beyond the end of the month.
There were seven rain days, with the highest reading of 16.5 mm (est.) coming early in the month.

Weather log for March 2018

Comparing March months

Average temperatures this month very nearly match those of the record-breaking March 2016. They are only 0.1° lower! Moisture variables are also similar: rather dry, in stark contrast to the sogginess of March 2017.

The rainfall total of 25.6 mm (est.) was at the 40th percentile, well below the average (53 mm). Serious rainfall shortages are seen only in the medium term: the 60-month total of 2770 mm (8th percentile) and the 72-month total of 3410 mm (9th percentile).

Climate in March months


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March. However, not all later days have readings reported.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

February 2018 had heavy rain at last

Wave cloud photo

Lenticular over Warrabah

Although there were eleven hot days over 35° this month, no days went over 40°. On the average, the second week was just 3.4° above normal, but the first week had been 3.5° below. Through most of the month, the weather was sunny with little rain, making the soil extremely dry. A drought seemed likely.
A violent front on the 25th brought an estimated 54 mm of rain: the heaviest fall in years. There is no official record of this rain event. Nor is there an official record of the only recent events of such a large amount: 47.0 mm on 4 February 2016, and 54.5 mm on 17 June 2015. The latest official readings that were higher were more than five years ago. They were in the record-breaking month of November 2011: 60.8 mm on the 14th, and 62.9 mm on the 27th.

[See note below on “Very wet days at Manilla”.]

Weather log for February 2018

Comparing February months

Compared to last February, this one was not nearly so hot and not so dry. Nights were near normal and days, at 33.9°, only one degree above normal (32.9°). Despite other signs of high moisture, the early morning dew point of 9.9° was very low.
Thanks to the one day of heavy rain, the estimated monthly rainfall total (71 mm) was above the average (67 mm) and at the 65th percentile. Among totals for more than one month, there is just one serious shortage. The 72-month (6-yr) total of 3400 mm is at the 8th percentile (450 mm low).

Climate in February months

Note.
Very wet days at Manilla

Log of decade totals of rainfall excess, Manilla, NSWDaily rainfall amounts of over 50 mm (“flooding rains”) are extreme events that feature in several posts on this blog. A graph in the first post on the topic is a log of every very wet day in the 130-year record. In a second post, I graph the pattern of how the total rainfall in very wet days changes decade by decade (Graph copied here.). Very wet days have a curious relation to drought that is analysed in “More Droughts After Heavier Rains”, Parts I, II, and III.


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available, but it is not.  The gauge last reported on 24 September 2017.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

January 2018 hot and dry

Brushtail possum resting

Brushtail Possum

The first heat wave of the month was nearly five degrees above normal: a little worse than last January’s. Rain, mainly on the 12th, brought a cool spell with very dry air. A second heat wave was not so bad, and it was gone by the 31st.
Three days went over 40° (but January 2003 had five) and three nights did not go below 25° (a January record).
Rain fell on five days (usually seven), the highest reading being 15 mm.

Weather log for January 2018

Comparing January months

The average temperature this January (27.9°) was not as high as last January (28.7°), or even January 2013 (28.2°). The days (36.2°) were second hottest after 2017 (36.4°), but the nights (19.7°) were only fourth hottest.
The estimated rainfall of 20.6 mm was low: at the 11th percentile, and only one quarter of the January average (87 mm). However, there are still no serious rainfall shortages. The lowest percentile value (12th percentile) is the five-year total of 2760 mm, which is 440 mm below the normal five-year total of 3200 mm.

Climate in January months


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available, but it is not.  The gauge last reported on 24 September 2017.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

December 2017 as in 2016

Blooms of San Pedro Cactus at Manilla NSW

San Pedro Cactus 2017

The weather in this December was very like the weather a year ago. Even details were similar. Each had just one 40° day. Each had one night near 25°, about 9° above normal. This December had one hot spell 6.3° above normal: last December had two hot spells 4.8° and 3.6° above normal. Neither had cool spells.
This December’s highest rainfall reading, 15.5 mm (unofficial), was like last December’s 17.8 mm (also unofficial). This month had fewer rain days (5 vs. 12) and longer dry spells.

Weather log for December 2017

Comparing December months

This was one of the hottest Decembers in the new century. The mean daily maximum, at 33.7°, equals that of December 2005, but is beaten by 33.8° last December. The mean daily minimum, at 18.2°, equals that of last December, but is not as warm as the 18.6° of December 2009. By contrast, December 2011 was the coldest, with a mean maximum of only 27.0°, and a mean minimum of only 13.9°.
This month’s subsoil temperature (23.0°) was very cool; one of four December values more than a degree below normal.
Like last December, this month was not very moist, but not very sunny either.
The rainfall of 48.2 mm was practically the same as in December 2016 and 2013. It is at the 35th percentile: not high, but high enough to prevent shortages.

Climate in December months

The Year 2017 was warm and dry

In this record (2000 to 2017), Manilla’s average annual temperature this year (18.65°) shows it to be the third warmest, after 2014 (19.01°) and 2009 (18.85°). The coolest was 2008 (17.19°), which was also cool globally. (Apart from 2008, Manilla annual temperatures do not follow global temperatures closely: the hottest year globally (2016) was not a very warm year here.)
Like the previous two years, 2017 had night temperatures half a degree below the normal value. Day temperatures, which had been near normal in 2015 and 2016, became a degree warmer. This year’s subsoil temperature (19.80°) was cool, very much cooler than in 2013 (22.19°).

It was a year of very low rainfall: 517 mm, which is at the 20th percentile, and 135 mm below the average (652 mm). Three even lower rainfall totals have occurred in the last sixteen years: 366 mm in 2002 (2nd percentile), 495 mm in 2009 (16th percentile), and 447 mm in 2014 (8th percentile).
Manilla yearly rainfall history: four momentsThis unusually high ratio of very dry years agrees with other patterns seen in Manilla’s annual rainfall. That is, in the moments of the frequency distributions. Recently, Manilla’s annual rainfall has had (i) very high kurtosis, showing increased extremes (“fat tails”), and (ii) negative skewness, showing that these extremes are low extremes, not high extremes.


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available, but it is not.  The gauge last reported on 24 September 2017.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

November 2017 dry again with cold nights

Cockatoos feeding in a wattle

Corellas in Acacia decora

While day temperatures were normal, many nights were below normal, around 10°. The cold night air was extremely dry. The early morning dew point on the 1st was minus 3.6°, about 14° below normal.
My rain gauge registered seven rain days, but readings were moderate, the highest being 14.0 mm on the 30th. (The automatic gauge at the Museum remained down.)

Weather log for November 2017

Comparing November months

With a mean of 20.8°, this month was cool, but not as cool as several other November months. November 1999, at 19.4°, was the coolest. On the graph, November 2014 (25.4°) stands out as very much warmer.
The rainfall of 44.2 mm is at the 31st percentile: not high, but enough to prevent any shortages. This graph still includes November 2011, the wettest on record. At 242.9 mm, it beat a record of 226 mm that had stood for fifty years.

Climate log for November


Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge last reported on 24 September 2017.

All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.