The Truth about the Weather in Australia This Summer

‘UK Set To Be Hotter Than Australia This Weekend’

Yeah, right.

The sub-headline above has not been written by me, I’ve copied it from a UK tabloid who has been running with this story leading up to this weekend.

Being a born and bred Brit, I like to keep up with the news in the UK from time to time, and The Mirror is one of the few remaining UK online newspapers that don’t charge a subscription. So I can catch up with my football news, the latest on the mess that is known as Brexit and also, on a regular basis, read a few headlines that make me laugh out loud.

Like this one…

Mirror headline

At the time of reading, just to paint the picture for you, I was sitting in my home office, ceiling fan on full spin, window wide open, with the room temperature sitting at around 32°C. Here in Brisbane, we have now had 42 consecutive days where the maximum temperature has been 30°C or above.

Hopefully that will help you understand why I almost destroyed my keyboard as I burst into instant involuntary hysterics, whilst trying to contain a mouthful of coffee.

In fairness to The Mirror, they weren’t the only ones, the Sun also ran a similar story. Well, they are Britain’s leading tabloids.

As regular readers will know from my series How Do Brisbane’s Winters Compare with London’s Summers, it is sometimes difficult for the UK to be hotter than Australia in the middle of their summer; at the moment though, it’s winter in the UK and summer here in Australia.

So, I decided to do a fact check on the claim “Temperatures in Britain to top Australia with highs of 18°C“.

Fact check: Temperatures in Britain to top Australia’s

Here is the weather map, as it appears in The Mirror, of the UK showing the potential temperatures around the country this coming weekend…

UK weather

I can’t even see any mention of 16°C, let alone 17°C or even 18°C. But let’s move past that for now, and just assume that somewhere in the UK, at some point during the weekend, no matter where that somewhere or that point is, may just touch on 18°C, even if just for a tiny indiscernible amount of time.

So, if that does happen, will it be hotter than Australia? Let’s look at the weather in all of Australia, as it was yesterday, when I read the article…

Australian weather

Nope, not hotter than Australia, not anywhere. But forget mainland Australia, that’s not what the article means when it says “Temperatures in Britain to top Australia“, what they are actually hoping to top are temperatures somewhere in Tasmania. Here is a quote from the article…

Parts of Tasmania in Australia will be slightly cooler than the UK over the weekend, with highs of 17°C predicted.”

Well, it was 19°C in Hobart yesterday, is it likely to get cooler there by the weekend? Let’s have a look…

Hobart 7-day

Ooh! So unlucky, it’s still 19°C on Saturday, and Sunday, well, it’s possibly going to shoot up to 25°C. But this prediction does not pin its hope on Hobart, it’s “Parts of Tasmania” that matter, so anywhere in Tasmania will do.

Here is the weather for all of Tasmania…

Tasmania weather

And there you have it. Smithton and/or Queenstown could well possibly be colder than potentially somewhere in the UK that might just possibly reach 18°C at some point assuming one or other of those Tasmanian towns do not exceed the 17°C they were yesterday.

So, let’s check out the seven day weather forecast for Smithton…

Smithton 7-day

Ooh! So unlucky, looks like it’s going to be 20°C and sunny on Saturday, windy on the Sunday, but still 20°C. Never mind, we still have Queenstown…

Queenstown 7-day

Nooo! So unlucky. Queenstown is going to be even hotter on the Saturday at around 22°C, and on Sunday it could even be 25°C.

So, a great article from The Mirror; very funny, but not accurate.

The truth about the weather in Australia this summer

This is why The Mirror’s article is so ridiculous. This summer has been quite tough for many here, here is a quick look at what the weather’s been like in some of our states:

New South Wales

Sydney suffers in heatwave as NSW temperatures soar past 46 degrees Celsius.

Paramedics were on standby at some train stations around the network, with a Transport Management Centre spokesperson confirming paramedics had expanded operations to cope with the demand.’

ABC – 19 January, 2019

Victoria

Victorian weather records under threat as towns brace for hot days in mid-40s.

Extreme fire danger is forecast for the Wimmera district, while the danger is rated as severe in the Mallee, Northern Country, North Central and South West districts.’

ABC – 14 January, 2019

South Australia

Adelaide breaks its all-time heat record, hitting 46.6C, in extreme Australia heatwave. Seventeen records broken in South Australia amid animal culls and mass fish deaths in other parts of the country.’

The Guardian – January 24, 2019

Tasmania

Three out-of-control bushfires have consumed more than 100,000 hectares of wilderness. Natural Parks and precious World Heritage sites have been razed. Towns and hamlets are at risk of incineration. So far, only a handful of houses are confirmed lost, but this number is likely to rise sharply in coming days, with high temperatures and gusty winds forecast.’

SMH – January 31, 2019

Queensland

Townsville, a large town in North Queensland, received over 1300 mm of rain between January 27 and February 7 of this year, that’s more than double the annual rainfall in London. It’s not raining today there, but it is close to 40°C, making for shocking conditions under which the residents are attempting to clean up the mess.

It’s been devastating for the farmers a little further west in North Queensland too. After surviving 10 years of drought, the rain finally came, but much too much. Floods have taken the lives of something like 500,000 cattle and 30,000 sheep. The cost is estimated to be around $1 billion.

For graziers who sweated to keep their herds alive, praying for rain, the scale of the flood is hard to take.

The Guardian – February 13, 2019

SBS – February 18, 2019

Still in Queensland, Brisbane, where I live, appears to have got off quite light. Temperatures have been between 30°C and 34°C, which is quite manageable, and we’ve had no flooding. But, I am told, things could get worse this weekend.

Cyclone Oma is on her way…

Cyclone Oma

ABC – February 20, 2019

My thanks to weatherzone and BOM for the images.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Tony June 15, 2019, 1:57 am | Link

    I am currently living in the Pacific, and here is a tropical country temperatures averaging 29-34 degrees, and I even thought my whole life that Australia is much hotter though.

    • BobinOz June 17, 2019, 5:00 pm | Link

      Those are the kinds of temperatures we get in Darwin in the north of Australia, but not in any of the major cities further south.

  • Sharon April 11, 2019, 6:44 pm | Link

    Wow! Such a well-researched article you have here. Definitely a great resource to read. The weather sure is getting hotter and it is no fun at all. May we all stay comfortable and well-hydrated. Kudos!

  • Aaron February 26, 2019, 10:42 am | Link

    Hi Bob, I am seeing articles in Daily Mail; Ladbible, that UK just had it’s warmest Feb day ever , 18 deg or so? , and we had plenty of photos of white guys with shirts off dancing around? Meanwhile is everyone in SE Qld ok with Oma not delivering much needed rain? Higgins Stormchasing is a great page to follow East Coast Aussie weather. One consolation is it’s brought temps finally below 30deg? Speaking of hot or not , Spurs certainly weren’t in last game lol. Anyway great blog, keep em coming.

    • BobinOz February 27, 2019, 6:51 pm | Link

      Yes, it’s definitely been cooler since Cyclone Oma almost appeared, but didn’t. I’m definitely enjoying the lower temperatures, but didn’t think much of the not hot Spurs performance.

      They looked nervous to me, and it’s not the first time that’s happened when they’ve got close to the summit. I’m not giving up yet, there is still quite a way to go.

      I have watched one of two of Higgins Stormchasing videos on YouTube, it’s good stuff.

  • Dave February 26, 2019, 8:05 am | Link

    Great to find another column, and a really well researched one, thanks Bob! Weather bulls- , er I mean exaggeration has long been a bugbear of mine. Anyone that ever went to Alicante seemingly came back to tell me it was 110 degrees in the shade (er no, no it wasn’t). It’s generally the Daily Mail who who try to jump on any slight weather story and compare it to a mountain top somewhere warm that no one lives at, or in the case of a cold snap, find out what it’s doing at the top of Ben Nevis and then quote it as fact!

    At least in Brisbane you can just refer to facts and they’re impressive enough on their own.

    • BobinOz February 27, 2019, 6:42 pm | Link

      I know what you mean, I think one of the newspapers, and it possibly was the Daily Mail, were quoting the UK to be hotter than Egypt during this same weekend.

      Seems it’s all about the headline, or clickbait, as it is now refer to.

      Well, they do have papers to sell. Glad you enjoyed my take on it Dave, cheers, Bob

  • Emily February 21, 2019, 12:54 am | Link

    Um, hello? 45.9 degrees in Canberra. Today was 33 and we said, oh great a cooler day, UK your summer is a cold Tasmanian one!

    • BobinOz February 21, 2019, 8:56 pm | Link

      That is 7.4° higher than the highest ever temperature recorded in the UK. So I think we can safely say that no matter the temperature in the UK over the weekend, it’s not gonna be hotter than Canberra 🙂

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