Sure, Canberra’s winter was wet but the rest may be surprising

Ian Bushnell 9 September 2021 7
Storm clouds

A common sight over Canberra last winter. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It was a soggy winter this year, the seventh wettest on record for the ACT, with well above average rainfall across all locations.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s season summary says June was the wettest month, with most locations receiving at least double their average rainfall.

It was the fourth-wettest June on record at Canberra Airport, although not as wet as June 2016.

Overall, Canberra Airport received a total of 217.0 mm, 69 per cent more than the long-term average of 128.7 mm.

But the 2016 winter was wetter, only a few years before the Black Summer bushfires, a reminder of how quickly the climatic conditions can change.

The rain eased off a little in July but was still above average, while rainfall was average in August.

The wettest day was 17 June when 34.6 mm fell at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

The rain filled all of Canberra’s dams to capacity for a combined storage total of nearly 300 gigalitres.

But it also wreaked havoc on Canberra roads and kept crews busy filling potholes and repairing sections of pavement.

While the season had its cold snap from 16 to 25 July, which brought snow to the Brindabellas and some Canberra suburbs, overall maximum and minimums temperatures were slightly above average.


READ ALSO: Roads project to help weather-proof Arboretum set to start


The mean daily maximum temperature for Canberra Airport was 13.2 °C, 0.8 °C above the long-term average of 12.4 °C, while the mean daily minimum was 1.2 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 0.5 °C.

In fact, maximums spiked in August to be well above average, with 20.9°C degrees recorded at the Airport on the 23rd, 6°C degrees above average.

It probably felt like the coldest winter for some time because there were 11 days when the maximum temperature was below 10 °C, the largest number since 2007. But this was still fewer than the long-term average.

The coldest day was 6 July, when it reached just 6.3°C at the Airport, the coldest day since June 2009. The coldest morning was -6°C on 22 July, and the warmest night was 8.0 °C at on 15 July.

Nationally, it was the fourth warmest winter on record with a mean temperature 1.18°C above average.


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7 Responses to Sure, Canberra’s winter was wet but the rest may be surprising
JC JC 7:38 am 09 Sep 21

Of course temps would be above average if rain was above average. To have rain you need clouds if you have clouds warm air cannot escape which means temperatures on the ground stay warmer. So not sure the surprise.

Futureproof Futureproof 4:57 am 09 Sep 21

My gas bill says it was one of the coldest Winters I’ve experienced

Jonno Bazza Jonno Bazza 8:29 am 07 Sep 21

I couldn't tell with being in lockdown inside my home. :P

    Hugh Munro Hugh Munro 12:17 am 09 Sep 21

    Jonno Bazza Canberra lockdown started august 12. That was only 20% of winter.

    Jonno Bazza Jonno Bazza 6:46 am 09 Sep 21

    Hugh Munro I know. That was my birthday. A really significate birthday and I was all set to go out for a nice birthday dinner that night with family and friends. So if everyone does the right thing and vaccinates. Things might go back to a near normal again.

Gay McGuire Gay McGuire 4:52 pm 06 Sep 21

Nicole McGuire interesting given our discussion today.

    Nicole McGuire Nicole McGuire 4:54 pm 06 Sep 21

    Gay McGuire I could feel it in me waters lol 🤣

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