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Capitals see coldest, wettest autumn for years

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The data is in, and it’s official – autumn was among the coldest and wettest for years across many parts of Australia. Sydney had its lowest minimum autumn temperatures for 13 years and saw its wettest March for almost 70 years. Brisbane had its wettest March since 1974. The soggy conditions culminated in March’s deadly east coast floods. And in one last impact, this morning – the last morning of autumn – the mercury dropped to -6.5C in Canberra, the coldest autumn low in the capital for a decade. But the country’s southeast missed much of the weather drama – Adelaide had its driest such season for more than a decade. Forecasters have said La Nina, solid cold fronts, and Cyclone Seroja helped keep temperatures down and top up the rain gauge. The rain is likely to linger in winter, but it could be a warmer season than average.

Sky News Weather has crunched the numbers for the weather across autumn in Australia’s capitals. Brisbane saw its coldest autumn since 2013. It was also the wettest such season in six years, and autumn was more drenched in the city than summer. The high levels of rainfall were primarily down to it being the wettest March since 1974. Sydney had its coldest autumn in minimum temperatures in 13 years, but days were still warmer than average. Just like Brisbane, it was the wettest autumn in six years and moister than summer, primarily due to the fifth wettest March on record and the soggiest since 1942.


Canberra had its coldest autumn in nine years. A wet March was again the main culprit. But the driest April since 1997 led to rainfall only being slightly above average for the season. Perth’s autumn was the wettest in eight years, but only by a whisker. The long-term average at multiple sites was only 13mm above 182mm. “La Nina heavily influenced the start of autumn,” Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe told news.com.au. “In the middle of March, coastal New South Wales had its wettest week since national daily records began in 1900. That event spread heavy rain across much of NSW, southeast Queensland, and eastern Victoria.

“However, by April, La Nina was over, and large high-pressure systems started to govern Australia’s weather more regularly, leading to drier than normal weather for much of the east and colder than usual nights,” Mr. Sharpe said. “Meanwhile, in the west, multiple low-pressure systems, severe Tropical Cyclone Seroja, and a few strong cold fronts all contributed to a wetter than usual season, bringing relief to some of Australia’s drought-ridden regions.”

Drier autumn in Australia’s south

It was a different story in much of Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia. Temperatures in Melbourne and Hobart were close to average or only a little above for the season. Hobart had its driest May since 2008, with just 12.6mm of rain. Autumn was almost 50mm short of the long-term average. Adelaide was also parched with its driest autumn in 16 years. But the dry weather did help to deliver colder than usual nights with the coldest autumn minimum temperatures in five years. Darwin, of course, doesn’t have autumn-like other Australian capital. It’s still seen some noticeable weather, however. “During the past three months, temperatures have remained marginally above average, while rainfall has been substantially below average with a lackluster end to the wet season,” said Mr. Sharpe.

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