August 2018: A remarkable month indeed
LAST month turned out to be unusual - not only a greater part of the nation had a colder than normal August, but also many places experienced maximum temperatures which were lower than the previous month of July.
In Sydney the mean maximum temperature for August was 0.7 lower than that for July and the last time this happened was back in 1975.
In 2014, August was colder than July but there was very heavy rain quite unlike the very dry July and August this year which was the driest such period since 1927.
In addition, the monthly rainfall pattern has continued to run parallel to 1975 - but the excessive rainfalls which occurred in North East Victoria from August to December in 1975 has not yet happened this year so far.
In Western Australia, Broome has had its coldest August since 1901; the mean temperature of 20.3 degrees Celsius was the lowest for August since 19.8 in 1901 and this looks alarming as that year was the start of the so-called Federation Drought which ran from September 1901 for 18 months.
Wangaratta was lucky to get heavy rain in mid-October in 1901.
Marble Bar also had a cold August, the coldest there since since 1968 and other colder Augusts were in 1901, 1933, and 1953.
Those four particular years saw the heaviest rain in North East Victoria during October, but very hot weather in mid November, just before Christmas and more of the same in late January.
Wangaratta last winter had below average rainfall, and each month had below normal minimum temperatures for the second successive winter and this back to back situation previously occurred in 2006-2007 and one other occurred in 1901-1902.
The first 40 degree temperature for the coming season was recorded at Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia, one of the earliest on record.
Early occurrences of 40 degrees were in 1981 and 2000.
This does indicate that to some extent that there will be maximum temperatures in North East Victoria to be well over 40 degrees next January and early February. On a brighter note an early autumn break is expected possibly late in February.
former CSIRO climatologist