February 2020: wet, humid, cool

Garden path suddenly overgrown.

Overgrown Path

High weekly temperature persisted only a few days into February. After that, the temperature was normal or below normal. Day temperatures varied, without reaching extremes. Although the warmest February night (27.6°) came on the 2nd, most nights were near normal (18.0°).
After the first days, the dew point was high, making for very humid mornings, which were also overcast.
There were fourteen rain days, over twice the usual number.
Two days had over 40 mm of rain, causing local erosion and flooding. For Manilla, these are not very wet days. [See note below: “Very Wet Days”.]

Weather log for Feb 2020.

Comparing February months

The mean monthly temperature, at 25.2°, is near normal, and cooler than the last four February months. More dramatic is the low mean daily maximum temperature (31.1°), which is fourth coolest for February in the new century.
All moisture indicators were extremely high. Compared to 21st century February values, they were:

Cloudy days percent (62%): highest.
Daily temperature range (11.9°): lowest.
Dew point (16.7°): 2nd highest.
Rainfall total (165.4 mm): 2nd highest.

The rainfall total of 165.4 mm is at the 92nd percentile for February, well above the average of 67 mm. The previous eight months all had rainfall below average.

Clime to Feb 2020.


I will report separately on the on-going drought that has again broken a low-rainfall record for a duration of 96-months.

Very Wet Days

I have a blog post that shows the 125 rain days at Manilla that exceeded 50 mm.
From time to time, there is a period of years without extreme daily rainfalls: when no day has more than 80 mm of rain. We are in the longest such period, beginning 21 years ago, on 7 September 1998. [That day was the 5th wettest, at 112 mm, which filled Split Rock Dam.] See the “Comments” section in the linked post.

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. Recording resumed on 20 July 2019. Unfortunately, the gauge failed during this month (25/02/2020 ). Pending repair, I am using my own gauge.
My estimates of early morning dew point have drifted anomalously low. From August 2019, I use data from the Tamworth Airport published graphs.
All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

3-year trends to February 2020

February suddenly cool and wet

3-year climate trends to Feb 2020

February raw anomaly data (orange)


Daily maximum temperature anomaly (all x-axes) suddenly fell by 5° to -2°.
Daily minimum temperature anomaly (lower left): fell from extremely high to normal.
Subsoil temperature anomaly (lower right): still near normal.

Moistures (moist is at the bottom)

Rainfall anomaly (upper left) suddenly rose by 130 mm/month to plus 100 mm/month.
Cloudiness anomaly (upper right): rose from normal to +32%.
Dew point anomaly (middle left): remained rather high (humid).
Daily temperature range anomaly (middle right) reached -3°.

 Fully smoothed data values (red) 

Smoothed anomaly values now include the winter season (JJA) of 2019. From the rather static values of the autumn, nearly all smoothed values for winter moved steadily in the direction towards drought that seems to have prevailed through spring.
There were two exceptions. Daily minimum temperature anomaly steadily fell. Subsoil temperature anomaly fell from a peak value in June.

The August 2019 daily maximum temperature anomaly of +1.83° just exceeded the previous record value.


January data points are marked by squares.

Smoothing Continue reading

Warm, Dry February 2019

Photo of bushfire smoke at 40 km.

Bushfire at Warrabah

The month began warm, with weekly temperature three degrees above normal, but it ended slightly cool. Day and night temperatures remained near normal. The highest maximum was just under 40°.
The morning of the 13th had very dry air, with a dew point of only 1.7°. (Serious bushfires were burning that day.)
There were only 2 rain days (usually 7). Neither recorded as much as 7 mm.

Graphical log for Feb 2019

Comparing February months

After the extreme heat of January, February was only 1° warmer than normal, by day and by night.
Two indicators of moisture, cloudiness and daily temperature range, were normal. However, the mean early morning dew point, 9.2°, showed the lowest February humidity this century.
The monthly rainfall of 10.6 mm was at the 9th percentile, far below the average (67 mm). This was the 12th driest February, but it had more rain than either February 2017 (6th driest) or February 2015 (ninth driest).
I have reported the on-going drought in another post.

The last 7 February 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.  Since no 9 am readings have been recorded since August, I have substituted my non-standard gauge readings for all days.
All other data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

3-year trends to February 2019

February arid

3-year trends to February 2019

February raw anomaly data (orange)

By February 2019, temperatures had returned from very high to normal. Rainfall remained very low, and dew point also became very low.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

Fully smoothed data to August 2018 showed that several trends for the spring were typical of drought:

Maximum temperature anomaly was steadily falling from the record high in March.
Minimum temperature anomaly was a little high and steady.
Subsoil temperature anomaly was falling towards normal from a low peak in June.
Rainfall anomaly was near the record low (smoothed) and steady.
Cloudiness anomaly was near zero.
Dew point anomaly was near the record low (smoothed) and steady.
Temperature range anomaly peaked rather high in July, then fell.

More recent data, only partially smoothed, suggest that temperatures and rainfall have since returned towards drought.


January data points are marked by squares.


Smoothing uses Gaussian functions.
For fully smoothed data the function has a Standard Deviation of 2.5 months, it spans 13 monthly data points, and has a half-width of 6 months, which suppresses cycles shorter than 12 months. For partly smoothed data, the span of the function is reduced to 11 months, 9 months and so on.

Fully smoothed data points are plotted in red, partly smoothed data uncoloured, and raw data for the last data point in orange.

Limiting values

Blue diamonds and the dashed blue rectangle show the extreme values in the fully smoothed data record since September 1999.

Normal values

Normal values are based on averages for the decade from March 1999.* They appear on these graphs as a turquoise (turquoise) circle at the origin (0,0). A range of anomalies called “normal” is shown by a dashed rectangle in aqua (aqua). For values in degrees, the assigned normal range is +/-0.7°; for cloudiness, +/-7%; for monthly rainfall, +/-14 mm.

 * Normal values for rainfall are based on averages for the 125 years beginning 1883.

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

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.