Melbourne Weather & Climate
Weather affects everybody. Consequently it is of interest not only to residents of an area, but also to visitors. The following information is designed only as a general survey; one to give residents more knowledge of their environment and tourists an idea of what can be expected.
Melbourne enjoys a temperate climate with warm-hot summers; spring and autumn are balmy and mild, the winters cool. Melbourne is seldom unbearably cold or unbearably hot, temperature extremes when they do occur see the hotter realms of the thermometer causing more problems than the colder.
There is a reputation for rain in the city, which is statistically unfounded as Melbourne receives only 50 percent of the average rainfall of either Brisbane or Sydney. Perhaps it can sometimes be a little unpredictable, however, it is a comfortable environment to be in whatever the season. In fact it is a great place to watch the seasons change, they are so clearly defined and so highly visual within the many parks and gardens of autumn and spring, giving rise to all of natures spectacular beauty and charms within the confines of a great city.
Melbourne lays within the southern hemisphere where the seasons are reversed to those in Europe, North America and most of Asia. Melbourne’s changes of seasons are renown for starting late, the “official” first day of summer is 21st December, but it rarely feels like summer until mid January or even later. During the summer months outdoor activities in particular the fabulous Melbourne beaches are popular with both locals and visitors.
Melbourne's weather by the month
JANUARY & FEBRUARY
It is high summer in Melbourne during January and February, a typical day is warm and sunny with a freshening sea breeze arriving from the south in the afternoon. A few days are cool and cloudy, a maximum temperature below 20ºC being recorded about once a week. There are always hot days and the year's highest temperature of about 40ºC is usually recorded during these two months. Some of the hot days are accompanied by an unpleasant north wind, which can be quite strong. Mostly there are only one or two hot days in a row. Occasionally hot weather may continue for three or more days, when the daily appearance of that cool refreshing, north bound sea breeze in the afternoon, becomes that day’s most welcome visitor. The year's warmest night, with a minimum temperature of about 24ºC, is also recorded during these two months. Hot weather normally ends with an abrupt cool change when the mercury may fall by 10ºC in only twenty minutes. Some of these changes are dry and arid; showers and thunderstorms accompany others. High levels of humidity create discomfort on very few days, mostly towards the end of a hot spell. It is not uncommon for a fortnight to pass without rain. On occasions prolonged heavy rain can fall.
March is a transitional month between summer and autumn. Hot weather can be experienced in the first fortnight, when the month's highest temperature of about 35ºC is usually recorded; it may well be accompanied by a strong northerly wind during the day. The hot weather usually comes to an end with a sharp wind change to the southwest and a rapid fall in temperature. Humidity is uncomfortable on about one day only. Many days are mild and sunny although some days are cool and cloudy. A maximum temperature below 20ºC is recorded about twice a week. The afternoon sea breeze is not near as strong as in mid-summer. Nights are noticeably cooler than in the preceding month. Towards the end of March, it is quite common for the overnight temperature to fall below 10ºC on one or two occasions. The month is fairly dry however prolonged heavy rain, falls occasionally.
April is a pleasant month, often with spells of fine sunny weather lasting several days during which the temperature occasionally exceeds 25ºC. Every second year 30ºC is exceeded. The nights are quite cool with temperatures falling below 10ºC several times a week. Once in every five years an overnight minimum temperature below 5ºC is recorded. Fog occurs during the early morning on a few occasions but clears to a sunny day. There are usually several days of strong wind; mostly from the north but the average wind speed of 9 kilometres per hour is the lowest of any month. Prolonged heavy rain falls occasionally. In April 1960, 172 mm fell within three days. On the other hand, April 1923 is the only rainless calendar month on record.
May is an appreciably cooler month. The last instance until spring of temperatures in the low 20s usually occurs in the first fortnight. In May 1904 the temperature exceeded 20ºC on all but two of the first fifteen days. The first frosts of the year occur in the outer suburbs late in the month. In the city itself, the coldest night of the month usually has a minimum temperature of 4ºC, a little too high for frost. Fog occurs on several mornings but both frost and fog are usually followed by a fine and sunny day. This late autumn, early winter period is notable for extended periods of very light winds in Melbourne, although there are a few days of strong wind, mostly from the north. Cloudy and showery weather may persist for some days at a time, but prolonged heavy rain is rare.
The weather in June is cold, often with spells of fine and calm weather. There are more days with very light winds in June than in any other month. It is also the foggiest month. Fog usually forms in the late evening and clears by mid-morning, occasionally it may persist for most of the day. Many days are cloudy, June being the cloudiest month of the year. Nights are cold with occasional frosts, mostly in the outer suburbs, the lowest temperature for the month in the city usually being about 2ºC. Rain falls on one day in two and sometimes it is in the form of drizzle in the morning which clears to a fine day. Heavy rain is rare.
JULY & AUGUST
The windiest time of the year in Melbourne begins in July. There may be several days in succession of strong, cold north to northwest winds, often with cloud and some light rain. The weather is frequently cold and cloudy. The few days of calm sunny weather are accompanied by cold nights with frost or fog. Fog usually forms late in the evening and clears by mid-morning, but occasionally persists for the whole day during July. There are usually a few very cold days with strong southerly winds and showers, light snow may fall on the hills within 35 km of the city centre. The year's coldest day, with a maximum temperature of about 9ºC, usually occurs during July. Some rain falls on an average of one day in two; on some of these days there may be only a little drizzle or a light shower. The highest number of wet days in any one-month in the city is twenty-seven, in August 1939. However, heavy rain is rare at this time of the year. In late August there are some warmer days, when the temperature usually reaches 20ºC for the first time since May.
September is the first month of spring, which is the most changeable season of the year. A full range of weather may be experienced within a few days, from warm, calm and sunny to cold, windy and showery. There are several cloudy to overcast days. September is another windy month. Most strong winds are from the north, these often occur on the warmer days. There also are occasionally strong cold southwest winds with showery weather. The temperature usually reaches the mid-20s for the first time since April. Nights are cool, frost is fairly rare, and the lowest temperature for the month in the city being about 4ºC. Fog is uncommon. Rainfall is higher in spring than in winter, falling on one day in two. There are days with only a little drizzle or a light shower but heavy rain falls occasionally.
The changeable weather of spring continues in October, there is greater contrast between the warmer and colder days than in the preceding month. The maximum temperature exceeds 25ºC once a week. However, it also fails to reach 15ºC once a week. There are several cloudy to overcast days and many days are windy. Most strong winds are northerly and warm, but there are occasionally strong cold southwest winds bringing showery conditions. Warm windy weather may be followed by a sudden change to colder conditions with showers. Rain falls on almost one day in two, some of it heavy.
Changeable and windy weather continues in November. There is often great contrast in the temperature from day to day. Warm to hot and sunny days and cold and showery days may follow each other in rapid succession. There are also some cloudy to overcast days. Nights are usually mild. Many days are windy. Most strong winds are northerly and warm, however cold showery weather with strong southerly winds can occur. The month's warmest day registers a maximum temperature of about 34ºC while the month's coldest day experiences a maximum temperature of only 16ºC. Some of the most severe storms with gales and rain have occurred at this time of the year.
The weather is less changeable in December than it is in November, although it still can be quite varied. Cool and cloudy conditions can prevail for some days at a time during which the temperature remains below 20ºC. There are also some hot days, temperatures exceeding 30ºC on about six occasions, but hot weather does not often last for more than two days at a time. There have, however, been occasions when it persisted for much longer. Hot days are sometimes accompanied by an unpleasant north wind, which can be quite strong. On about two days high temperatures are associated with high humidity and there may be thunderstorms in the late afternoon on these occasions. Hot weather often comes to an end with an abrupt cool change when the temperature may fall by about 10ºC in twenty minutes. Some of these changes are accompanied by showers and thunderstorms then followed by strong and cold southwesterly winds. Nights are usually mild yet during hot weather the temperature overnight may not fall below 20ºC. Heavy rain falls on occasions.