Hot and cold in the (mostly) Sunshine State

There were no climatic surprises when it came to naming Queensland's hottest and coldest towns in 2012.

But, hard as it may be to believe in the midst of a hot summer, 2012 was a below-average year for temperatures in the state, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The year's highest temperature was recorded at Birdsville on January 7, when the mercury in the outback town topped 47.5 degrees, while Stanthorpe shivered as the coldest nook in the state at -6 degrees on July 4.

Applethorpe had the coldest day temperature (7.7 degrees), the coolest yearly average day temperature at 21.4 degrees and the coolest average night temperature at 8.5 degrees.

Overall, however, while official Bureau of Meteorology data showed Queensland was the only Australian state to have an overall below-average temperature in 2012.

About 43 per cent of Queensland had above average rainfall in 2012, though the state experienced only one tropical cyclone – Jasmine – during 2012.

Queensland recorded an average of 674.4 millimetres of rain per recording station for the year and the wettest weather station in Queensland on top of Mount Bellenden Ker on the north Queensland coast.

This weather station, atop Queensland's second highest mountain, received 6780 millimetres in 2012, as part of a "wetter than normal" year.

Overall, Queensland's 674.4 millimetres was an average extra 51 millimetres of rain more than the 30-year average rainfall of 623.4 millimetres.

Flooding was experienced in the Roma, Mitchell and St George areas in the inland southeastern corner of Queensland in February with Mitchell, west of Roma, experiencing its worst-ever flooding.

The year began with heavy rainfall and hot weather, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

"Extreme rainfall began in the southeast around the 24th (of January), continuing for eight consecutive days over the greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast," the report says.

"And for 16 days on the Sunshine Coast. Only 10 per cent of the State received below-average rainfall, with around 44 per cent above average."

The weather cooled dramatically during February and March in Queensland and stayed wet.

"Queensland was wet and cool (by March) with around 68 per cent of the state recording above-average rainfall," the Bureau's study says.

"There were a total of 21 daily rainfall records and one total autumn rainfall record set at various sites. March recorded the fifth-highest rainfall on record and over half the state experienced below-average temperatures."

During winter, minimum temperatures were below average over 68 per cent of the state, average for 30 per cent, and above average in the southeast.

As spring warmed Queensland, "above-average maximum temperatures covered around 70 per cent of the state," the Bureau noted.

However about half of Queensland recorded average minimum temperatures, while about 35 per cent had lower than average temperatures.

Summer 2012 was warm and relatively dry.

"The maximum temperature anomaly was the fifth highest on record," the Bureau of Meteorology notes.

"Around 59 per cent of the state recorded above average minimum temperatures, with around 36 per cent below average. These are mainly near the coast."

Queensland's weather for 2012:

  • Hottest day: 47.5 degrees at Birdsville Airport on January 7.
  • Coldest night: -6.0 degrees at Leslie Parade, Stanthorpe, on July 4.
  • Coldest day: 7.7 degrees at Applethorpe on June 5.
  • Warmest night: 32.8 degrees at Birdsville Airport on January 21.
  • Wettest day: 388 millimetres at Mount Jukes, near Mackay, on March 21.
  • Highest wind gust: 170 km/h at Hughenden Airport on January 22.

Brisbane's weather for 2012:

  • Mean temperature: 26.2 degrees (0.2 degrees below average).
  • Highest temperature: 37.9 degrees on December 4.
  • Mean minimum temperature: 16 degrees (0.2 degrees below average).
  • Lowest temperature: 4.1 degrees (overnight) August 3.
  • Rainfall: 1177.2 millimetres, which is 179.2 millimetres above the 998 millimetre average.

In summary:

  • 47 per cent of Queensland had average maximum temperatures, with 19 per cent below average, mainly in the north through to the central and central coast regions.
  • 49 per cent of Queensland had below average minimum temperatures.
  • Applethorpe in the Granite Belt had the coolest nights and was the coolest place in the state on average overall.

This story Hot and cold in the (mostly) Sunshine State first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.