Weather in Sydney - Know The Best Time To Travel
So what's the weather in Sydney really like?
Well... Sydney boasts very warm and slightly humid days in summer, which are tempered by frequent afternoon sea-breezes.
During the winter months, some mornings will be quite cool and frosty in areas away from the coast, but the abundant sunshine ensures comfortable daytime temperatures.
If you're planning to travel to Sydney, then you're sure to generally have great weather across most months of the year, but just be aware that Sydney is subject to fierce thunderstorms during the afternoons on some days during summer.
If you want to read more information about these storms, please review the weather hazard section further down this page.
Find out what the weather in Sydney is like in:
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The weather in Sydney is warmer, sunnier and more humid than both Melbourne and Hobart due to its latitude.
In fact, Sydney's sunniest months (July and August) occurs around the same time as Melbourne's cloudiest months.
Contrary to popular belief, Sydney records twice as much rain as Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide and has more sunshine.
Best time to visit Sydney
Any time of the year (except maybe for a couple of weeks in the middle of winter) is generally a great time to visit Sydney since it doesn't normally get too hot or humid during the summer or freezing cold during daylight hours during the winter months. Having said that, if you don't bring enough warm clothes in winter, then you're likely to feel cold outside.
However, most people prefer to visit Sydney during the warmer months (November - April), but this sometimes coincides with the thunderstorm season. Unfortunately, some of these storms can be accompanied by hail.
Arguably, the best month or time to visit Sydney is during early Spring (i.e. September) since this month records warm sunny days and has the least amount of rain out of any month of the year.
You'll be happy to learn that the weather in Sydney isn't as changeable as Melbourne or Hobart's weather is.
Weather in Sydney during the summer (December, January and February)
The weather in Sydney varies depending upon where you're located. For example, the eastern suburbs (this includes the city itself) is located near the ocean and so the frequent onshore winds keep this part of Sydney warmer at night but cooler by day throughout the summer. You shouldn't feel cold anytime during the summer in Sydney unless you come from the tropical regions of the world.
The overnight temperature normally drops to about 18°C in the eastern suburbs but may be a degree cooler away from the coast. The maximum temperature ranges from around 25°C in the east to nearly 30°C in the west.
You'll find that summer is the cloudiest time of year since thunderstorms frequently affect the region during the afternoon. Most of the rain that falls during the summer is associated with these thunderstorms.
Weather in Sydney during the autumn (March, April and May)
The weather in Sydney in autumn is generally nice and pleasant. The last of the really hot weather ends in March/early April and from then on through to May, there is a gradual drop in temperature. Although the temperatures don't drop as quickly as in other parts of the world such as in southern Canada and eastern Europe during their respective autumn months.
You'll be able to enjoy the beach in the early part of autumn, but after that, the weather in Sydney begins to become influenced by cooler air masses coming in from the south and south-west, and so it will begin to feel quite cool by late April onwards. Most locals avoid swimming after April, but if you're from a cold climate, you probably won't find the temperature cold at all.
You may also notice that less rain begins to fall in the western suburbs from late April and May but there's still frequent showery periods in the city and other eastern suburbs throughout this period since most of the south-easterly trade winds begin to blow in moisture off the ocean. But even then, the rain is hit and miss.
Weather in Sydney in March
The weather in Sydney in March is still warm at night throughout the early-to-mid March. Most night-time temperatures drop down to around 18°C in the city near the beginning of March, however, by the end of March, overnight temperatures begin to hover between 16-17°C. However, just be aware that there will be occasions when the overnight temperature doesn't drop below 21°C, as occurred in March 2011. Conversely, there's normally one or two nights when the overnight temperature can drop down to between 12-14°C, but that didn't occur in 2011.
During the daylight hours, maximum temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit. It's quite possible that one day may record temperatures in the low 30's°C followed by a 10°C temperature drop the next day. However, based on climatological data, the maximum daytime temperatures range between 23-27°C throughout most of March. The western suburbs (those further from the sea) record higher daytime maximum temperatures.
Generally, you're unlikely to need to pack warm clothing for use during the day in March since the daytime maximum temperatures across Sydney are unlikely to drop below 20°C.
The weather in Sydney city in March is quite wet with at least half of the days recording some form of rain. You shouldn't be too concerned by this since the rain is generally short-lasting (i.e. less than 3 hours) and mainly occurs in the afternoon. The heaviest rain occurs during thunderstorms, but thankfully, these thunderstorms become less frequent by the end of March. The eastern suburbs generally record higher rainfall totals than the western suburbs, but there's large rainfall variations across the eastern suburbs from year-to-year due to Sydney's topography.
If you're planning to go to the beach, then by all means, don't let all this talk of wet weather stop you. Generally, most morning are relatively sunny and it's not until after 2pm that the clouds begin to dominate the skies but less so towards the end of March. So whether you plan to swim, surf, or sun bath, there should still be ample sunshine across Sydney to do this... but watch for those storm clouds in the afternoon.
Weather in Sydney in April
The weather in Sydney at this time of the year is usually incredibly nice. In fact, many locals prefer to say that April has the best weather. There's no doubt that the weather in Sydney in April is superb on most days, especially, the last two weeks of April, when there's a slight chill to the air at night followed by warm sunny days with relatively low humidity.
If you're looking to enjoy the night life, then you may need to take a light jacket with you in the latter half of April. The early part of the month in the city records overnight temperatures of 15-16°C (but this is subject to fluctuation), whereas the latter part of April sees the minimum temperature drop down to 13-15°C.
During the day, maximum temperatures in the city rise to a pleasant 23-24°C, although there might be one or two days when the temperature rises to between 27-28°C near the beginning of April. But of course, daytime temperature fluctates from year-to-year and so there's no guarantees. The highest ever recorded temperature in Sydney city in April is 33.9°C and this occurred back in the early part of April, 1986. In contrast, Sydney cities lowest maximum April temperature is a chilly 13.8°C, and this occurred in latter half of April, 1927.
While thunderstorms become less of a concer in April, they still occur. You may see a couple of storms throughout the month but generally that's all. Do you know what's special about the 14th April 1999? Well, that's the day when Australia's costliest hailstorm impacted Sydney's eastern suburbs. Of course, most thunderstorms are not as severe as this, so it's good to know that a hailstorm of this magnitude is rare not only in April, but at any time of the year in Sydney.
The weather in Sydney can be quite wet in April, particularly over the city and north-eastern suburbs due to the frequency of the coastal showers in this region. In 2011, Sydney city recorded its wettest April night in over a decade. On the 16th April, 56.8 mm or rain fell to 9am.
So what does that mean for you if you're travelling here in April? Generally, the more persistent showery weather in Sydney sticks to the eastern suburbs and does not extend inland since the majority of the wet weather comes in from off the sea. However, the rain generally doesn't last long and so you should be able to go wander around in the city ducking into shops if or when the rain gets heavier. But remember this, Sydney sometimes suffers from drought-like conditions and in some years, like in 1997, very little rain falls.
It's always important to remember that there's generally more sunshine in April than there is at anytime during the summer months (December - February), so don't reschedule your trip if you really want to travel to Sydney in April because the wet weather won't ruin it for you.
Weather in Sydney in May
There's no doubt that the weather in Sydney is starting to feel quite a bit cooler at this time of the year, and if you don't mind the cooler weather, you'll find that the local beaches in the areas are near deserted. Even the popular Bondi beach is far from crowded since the majority of the locals only head down to the beach when the daytime temperature exceeds 24°C in May, and there's not many of those days.
Overnight temperatures drop down to between 13-14°C near the start of the May but by the month's end, 11-12°C becomes commonplace. Like in other months, there is sometimes large temperature variations across the city from night-to-night. You can expect to see at least 5-6 nights when the overnight temperature plummets to between 7-8°C in the city and near freezing in the western suburbs. That may not sound cold to you if you're coming from the colder parts of the world, but you're sure to hear the locals complaining.
During the day, near the beginning of May, maximum temperatures rise to between 21-22°C in the city and a degree or so warmer in suburbs further away from the coast. The highest ever recorded maximum temperature in Sydney city in May in recent years is 29°C, which occured back in 1994. By the end of May, maximum temperatures fluctuate between 19-20°C. Of course, you may see one or two days when the maximum temperature doesn't rise above 16°C after a cold front passes through Sydney but such cool weather in Sydney does not last long.
Even though the weather in Sydney can be quite wet at times over the eastern suburbs, you certainly won't miss out on seeing sunshine at this time of the year. There will be some days when you won't see a cloud in the sky and on others, showery overcast weather will be the order of the day. Most of the shower and associated rain activity is short-lived, although it can be quite heavy at times. Usually, once a shower has passed, the sun quickly makes an re-appearance.
Of course, there are large fluctions in rainfall from year-to-year across all of Sydney. Back in May 2008, all of Sydney recorded very low rainfall totals with most suburbs across Sydney averaging less than 10mm of rain for the month. Whereas, rainfall totals were above normal over most areas of Sydney in May 2011 due to a sudden deluge of rain at the end of May. Such fluctuations in rainfall totals are a normal part of the weather in Sydney.
You shouldn't be overly concerned about severe weather in Sydney at this time of the year since thunderstorm activity is minimal. There may be a small chance that flash flooding may cause problems on at least one day out of the whole month like what happened at the end of May 2011, but thankfully the flooding isn't widespread. Don't be put off from travelling to Sydney during May just because there's a possiblity of flooding because it doesn't occur every year.
Weather in Sydney during the winter (June, July and August)
The weather in Sydney during the winter can get suprisingly cool. On average, mimumum night-time temperatures drop down to between 9-10°C, and during the daylight hours, maximum temperatures rise to between 17-19°C. The western suburbs (given their location in a basin, record frequent frosts at night, but record similar daytime temperatures to those experienced on the coast).
You may notice that the air feels quite dry throughout the winter months, since the majority of the winds come from the west and south-west. These westerly winds arrive in Sydney after losing their moisture content on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Consequently, the western suburbs of Sydney are located in a rain shadow as a result of these westerly winds. On such days, you can be quite sure that the weather in Sydney will be cool but thankfully sunny with little cloud cover.
However, you may notice on some days, that the wind occasionally switches direction and begins blow in from the south-east. When this happes, be prepared for some rainy weather ahead, since the winds coming from the ocean tend to gather a lot of moisture.
Additionally, the only time you'll experience windy weather in Sydney is when there's a low pressure system located just off the New South Wales coastline. On such days, strong gusty south-easterly winds combined with periods of rain are quite common. Such wet weather in Sydney normally lasts 5-7 days during each month in winter. Generally, though, you can expect that the early part of winter has more rain than the latter part of winter.
So obviously by mid-to-late winter, there's far more sunshine about than cloud and so you'll be able to head outdoors on most days without having to worry about whether it's going to rain or not.
What clothes should you pack in you're travelling to Sydney in the winter (June, July and August)
If you're visiting from the colder parts of the world, then you may find that a loose fitting short sleeved clothing is all you need during the day if there's no wind. However, it's likely that you'll need to wear jeans, jacket together with closed shoes at night, particularly by mid-July to early August since it can get quite cold outdoors.
If you're from the tropics, bring a jumper and jacket and multiple layers of long sleeved tops to wear underneath your outer layer of clothing and ensure you wear comfortable closed-fitting shoes. Remember to stay out of the cool wind.
Weather in Sydney in June
While June is probably not the best time to travel to Sydney if you're after warm weather, you can be quite sure you'll see plenty of sunshine. The weather in Sydney in June is generally wetter in the earlier part of the month but gradually becomes colder and sunnier in the later part of the month. But, like in most locations across Australia, there is much year-to-year variability.
For example, back in early June 2007, a deep cut-off low developed off the mid-north coast of New South Wales. This low pressure system caused gale force winds and torrential rain to impact the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney as well as across northern coastal parts of Sydney itself. Just over 510mm of rain fell during the whole month of June in Sydney city, which is the highest ever rainfall total since 1980.
If you're staying in accommodation in the city, then you're located in the warmest spot. Overnight minimum temperatures drop down to around 10°C in the city, whereas the surrounding suburbs are at least 2-6°C cooler due to the so-called urban heat island effect. Although the coldest June night in the city in the last 30 years is 4.3°C, you can expect to see one or two nights during your stay to record overnights temperatures dropping down between around 5-6°C. If you're planning to stay further from the coast, then rug up, since you're sure to see some frosts about in the early mornings.
During the daytime, the maximum temperatures reach about 18°C across most areas of Sydney, except along the elevated parts of the exposed coastline, where it's nearly 2°C cooler. At no time in the last 30 years has the maximum temperature in June risen above 26°C or dropped below 10°C in any part of Sydney.
The only time you'll feel cold is if you're caught out in the wind without adequate clothing. Even though the temperatures in Sydney appear quite warm, don't underestimate the wind chill factor at this time of the year.
Even though June is one of the wettest months of the year, it doesn't mean that it will rain every day. Most of the rain occurs in short heavy bursts. The majority of days in Sydney are quite sunny, but when it rains, it really comes down quite heavy. In comparison to Melbourne and Hobart, Sydney has far more sunshine, so don't worry about reports of bad weather in Sydney since the weather quickly improves.
Weather in Sydney in July
Even though July is the coolest month of the year in Sydney, it's not too cold at all if there's no wind. If you're planning to visit Sydney in July, expect to see daytime temperatures to reach about 17°C, but please be aware that it's quite common for large variations in temperature every second or third day. During the time you plan to stay in Sydney, you may experience one or two days when the temperatures rises to about 20°C followed at least three days when the temperature doesn't rise above 14°C.
The main reason why the weather in Sydney doesn't get really cold during the winter months is due to the cities close proximity of the southward flowing warm ocean current, known locally as the East Australian current, that originates within the tropical waters of the Coral Sea. Also, the water temperatures within the numerous inlets in and around Botany Bay remain warm throughout the winter and this greatly influences the weather in Sydney (coastal areas) by modifying the air temperature, humidity and to some extent, the rainfall.
At night, the weather in Sydney in July is best described as cool on the coast but cold over the inland regions. Overnight temperatures in the city typically drop down to between 8-9°C and over the western suburbs, 4-5°C. Frosts don't occur in the city, but they are quite common over the western suburbs on at least 10-15 days during July.
There's usually some warm nights in Sydney if it's been raining or it's particularly cloudy or windy at night, but this type of weather occurs in most temperate regions of the world. On such nights, the minimum temperatures don't drop below 11°C.
The weather in Sydney in July is generally not windy at this time of the year, but 2011 was quite windy and very wet. Most windy days in Sydney are associated with rain and so you may feel quite on such days. It's best to bring multiple layers of clothes with you on your trip. Having said that, the majority of days which are not normally windy, are quite comfortable if you're in the sunshine.
While the cool days can be nuisance at times, you shouldn't complain about not having enough sunshine. July normally has plenty of days when there's little, if any, clouds in the sky. While it's not the perfect beach weather, you should still be able to enjoy a stroll along the beach if you don't mind the cooler temperatures.
When it does cloud over, it normally indicates that it will rain. In contrast, when it begins to cloud over in Melbourne or Hobart, it may or may not rain. The rain in Sydney in July is generally short, heavy but doesn't occur as nearly as frequently as it did in June. Although, if there's a low pressure system located off the New South Wales coast, then it's highly likely that the wet weather and associated gale force winds may last for up to three consecutive days. This type of event occurs 1-2 times per year during the winter months.
Weather in Sydney in August
Even though the weather in Sydney is still cool during August, the temperatures are beginning to rise again and so if you're planning to visit Sydney in August, then you're sure to get reasonably nice days. Additionally, you'll be happy to know that August is the sunniest month of the year. However, it can get windy and so you're advised to bring a wind proof jacket and multiple layers of clothing with you as a precaution.
Night-time temperatures vary between 9-11°C, but there's normally a couple of nights when the temperature doesn't drop below 13°C or rise above 8°C. The lowest recorded minimum temperature in the last 30 years within the city is 5°C, whereas in the western suburb of Richmond, the temperature has dropped down to -3°C. There is normally large fluctuations in temperature at night across Sydney but if you're staying in the city, this is normally the warmest location.
During the daylight hours, you can expect to see maximum temperatures rising to between 18-20°C. But once again, the temperature does vary from day-to-day and so it's quite common for temperatures to rise to 23-24°C for 3-5 days during August and then be followed by 3-4 days when the temperatures are slightly below normal (16-17°C) after a cold front has passed through, before the temperatures return to near normal. Thankfully though, the weather in Sydney is not nearly as changeable as Melbourne or Hobart's weather is.
While Sydney city during August records similar rainfall totals to July, it doesn't have as many rainy days. This is good news for you since you needn't worry about the rain as it normally doesn't last long. However, what it does mean, though, is that the majority of Sydney's monthly rainfall totals occurs over a matter of days. And so, the rest of the days throughout August normally have nice sunny days.
Back in August 1995, many suburbs across coastal Sydney recorded no rain, but the following year, the city recorded nearly twice it's monthly average rainfall totals and this occurred from the 17th-19th August. But the highest ever August rainfall totals in the city was recorded in 1998, when 482.6mm of rain fell.
You shouldn't be concerned by thunderstorms at this time of the year since they are very uncommon. So, as previously mentioned, the only time you'll see severe weather in Sydney is if a low pressure system intensifies just off the New South Wales coastline but this only happens once or twice a year.
Weather in Sydney during the spring (September, October and November)
The beginning of spring is the transition season and so the weather in Sydney during this time is normally warm, sunny and very windy at times. The warmest days usually have a light afternoon sea breeze. There's usually a small number of days when winter-like weather makes a re-appearance, but such days are short-lived. Many people prefer to travel to Sydney in early Spring, since it's one of the best times of year to travel here due to the fact that there's abundant sunshine and the thunderstorm season hasn't yet started.
By mid-Spring, afternoon sea breezes begin to increase in both intensity and frequency and so do the rain events associated with thunderstorm activity. This shouldn't cause you to worry since there's far more sunshine about than there are thundery days, and with the warmer weather conditions, you'll be able to enjoy a day at the beach without having to worry about being overcrowded.
If you travel to Sydney in late Spring, you should bring more summer-like clothing for day use but pack a light jacket and jeans for night-time. Also, bring an umbrella since it's likely you'll encounter some afternoon shower activity or the occasional thunderstorms. Some of these storms can be severe, but there's normally plenty of warnings available through the local radio stations and the online weather forecasts.
Also, by late Spring, the daytime temperatures vary from 22-28°C on most days, with some days recording even higher temperatures than this when there's wind blowing in from the north-west. The Sydney beaches are beginning to become quite popular, especially Manly, Bondi and Coogee and so you may have to choose one of the quieter beaches.
Weather in Sydney in September
September is a fantastic time of year to visit Sydney since this month is one of the driest months of the year. Additionally, the majority of the days will be sunny and so there's little chance you'll encounter particular bad weather. Of course, at this time of the year, you're sure to see abrupt changes in the weather in Sydney on at least 5-6 days throughout September that lead to cooler overcast conditions.
During the night-time, you can expect to see cool minimum temperatures of around 10-12°C near the start of the month, rising to between 12-13°C towards the end of September. Although, it's quite common for night-time temperatures to not drop below 15°C if there's a gusty north-westerly winds about that's preceding a cool change. This occurred on then night of the 23rd September 2003, when Sydney city recorded it's warmest ever minimum temperature of 22°C.
The weather in Sydney during the day is generally mild to warm out of the wind. Throughout September, maximum temperatures fluctuate between 19-25°C. Given that the weather in Sydney is so changeable at this time of the year, then there might be one or two days when the maximum temperature doesn't rise above 17°C after a cool change or drop below 30°C ahead of a cold front. However, you shouldn't be concerned by these temperature fluctuations since they are quite bearable since the humidity is still quite low at this time of the year.
September is one of the windiest months and so you may encounter quite a number of bad hair days throughout your stay here. Such squally windy weather in Sydney normally occurs just after the passage of a prefrontal trough, weak cold front or very occasionally, a southerly buster.
Weak sea-breezes begin to form in early-to-mid September along the coast on the warmest days after about 2-3pm and manage to only progress a short distance inland. However, both the duration and the strength of the sea-breeze begins to increase by the end of September and so it's quite possible that while you're on the beach, you're experience quite windy conditions. However, only a short stroll away in the car park, the wind is quite light. Such is the nature of a sea-breeze. Throughout September, sea-breezes occur on about 30% of the days near the coast but are unlikely to progess further than Paramatta.
Even though September is well known for its dry weather, it doesn't mean you shouldn't pack any umbrellas. The coastal parts of Sydney are far more likely to see isolated showers than the inland suburbs, and given that the city and the other major tourist attractions are located near the coast, then you should still bring your water-proof jacket with you, even though you may or may not have to wear it.
However, if an intense low pressure system forms off the New South Wales coastline, then be prepared to extended periods of wet and windy weather in Sydney and so you'll be glad that you packed that water-proof jacket after all.
Weather in Sydney in October
The weather in Sydney in October is generally quite windy with abundant sunshine and mild night and daytime temperatures. There's very little air pollution at this time of the year due to the fact that the windy weather blows a majority of the smog out of the area. Throughout October, the warmer weather and the associated unstable atmospheric conditions may help to initiate one or two afternoon thunderstorms and the occasional southerly buster, but for most of the time, the weather in Sydney is very nice.
Many people who don't like hot weather prefer to travel to Sydney in late September/October, since there's a tiny chance that the daytime temperatures will rise high enough to become problematic. Having said that, there's normally two days in October when the maximum temperatures reach 30-33°C. However, on most days though, you can expect to see maximum temperatures to reache between 20-25°C, which is very similar to the daytime temperatures recorded in September. There might be a couple of days when the maximum temperature doesn't reach 19°C, but such cool weather in Sydney is not of frequent occurence.
At night-time in the city, it's quite common for temperatures to drop down to around 13°C near the start of the month and gradually rise to about 15°C by the end of October. But please remember, there's normally large fluctuations in the night-time temperature from night-to-night throughout October. If you're planning to go out at night, it's advisable to bring a light jacket.
There's usually one or two nights when the overnight temperature drops down to at least 10°C. By comparison, the coldest ever recorded minimum temperature in the last 30 years in the city is 7.3°C. You may even greeted by a warm balmy night in Sydney, when the temperature doesn't drop below 18°C. Such nights are rare however.
While the temperatures may appear to fluctuate a great deal in Sydney, you can be assured that the night and daytime temperatures are not nearly as changeable as what occurs in outback Australia or Melbourne at this time of the year.
If you're concerned about the rain at this time of the year, don't be. There's usually 5-7 days when the sky remains cloudy for the whole day. And on such days, there's gusty south-south-easterly winds with frequent short, sharp showers along the coastal parts of Sydney. You see, the rain doesn't travel to far inland when winds blow in from off the ocean.
On the warmer days, you can expect that the afternoon sea-breeze will begin to make its presence felt along Sydney's beaches after about 3pm. So if you want to enjoy light winds on the warm days, then head down to the beach in the morning before the sea-breeze arrives.
Weather in Sydney in November
The weather in Sydney in November is warm with an occasional hot day. You can expect to see afternoon sea-breezes to occur on nearly 50% of the days throughout this month, and so you'll find that the beach will be quite windy after 2pm. November is also known as one of the cloudiest months of the year in the city, but that doesn't mean that you won't get sunburnt since the UV rays are able to penetrate the cloud layer on most days, when there's no rain.
If you're planning to travel to Sydney in November, then you'll find that the overnight are quite comfortable. The coldest minimum temperature in the city in the last 30 years is 8.3°C, but on most nights, the temperatures vary from 14-16°C near the beginning of November and 15-18°C by the end of the month.
It's wise not to over analyse the climatological data for Sydney since the temperatures from day-to-day tend to fluctuate quite a bit above and below average temperatures at this time of the year. However, as a guide, you can expect to see maximum daytime temperatures hover between 22-24°C, with some days approaching 30°C. By the end of November, maximum temperatures range between 23-26°C with one or two days rising above 30°C. Of course, if there's a wet overcast day with south-easterly winds, then you're unlikely to see maximum temperatures rising above 18°C.
While November is officially the stormiest month of the year, it doesn't mean you have to abandon your travel plans and come to Sydney at a different time of year. Generally there are normally between 4-6 thunderstorms throughout November. A couple of these thunderstorms are severe enough to produce large hail, gusty winds and flash flooding.
A particularly severe thunderstorm that led to widespread flooding hit Sydney on the evening of the 8th November 1984. On this night, 196mm (~8 inches) of rain fell in the city in just under three hours. The flooding was so bad that many car parked on the side of the road were swept away before being buried in thick mud. Houses didn't escape the rapid rise in water levels either.
Although the weather in Sydney is not normally this wild and wet. Back in 2009, very little rain fell. Only 13.2mm or rain was recorded in the city during November. So, while there's a slight chance that you may get bad weather in Sydney during your stay, you shouldn't worry too much since about these types of events, as they are quite rare.
Weather in Sydney during summer (December, January and February)
Summer time weather in Sydney is known to be very warm and humid at times with extended periods of sunshine. After about 1pm, the sea-breeze frequently makes its presence felt along the coastal areas bringing with it slightly lower temperatures. However, the western suburbs of Sydney tend to remain hot for longer periods of time since the sea-breeze takes a couple of hours to advance inland.
If you're planning to go to the beach in Sydney during the summer months, just be aware that many beaches are very crowded on the weekends. The best time to go obviously is during the week days when all the locals are at work. Of course, during the Christmas break (22nd December - 9th January, you'll be sharing the beach with the locals.
Having said that, it's probably wise to get down to the beach before the afternoon since the arrival of the gusty afternoon sea breeze can make life unpleasant on the beach on some days. Just be aware, you'll have to anchor your beach towels and other possesions to prevent them from being blown away.
The weather in Sydney during summer is generally nice, but you have to be on the lookout for severe thunderstorm activity at this time of the year. These thunderstorms are sometimes accompanied by large hail, gusty winds and torrential rain and tend to move in rather quickly, and so please keep up to date with the local weather reports.
Weather in Sydney in December
The weather in Sydney in December is normally warm and humid near the coast, but the inland suburbs are hotter but have lower humidity levels.
You'll find that the weather at night in the city and coastal areas is quite humid with light winds. Overnight, average minimum temperatures in the city vary between 17-19°C during the first couple of weeks of December and rise to 18-20°C by the end of the month. There's normally 2-3 nights when the minimum temperature drops to about 15°C. In fact, the coldest overnight temperature in the city during December in the last 30 years is 11.1°C, which was recorded back in 1995. In comparison, there's usually 3-4 nights when the minimum temperature only drops down around 20°C.
During the daylight hours, average maximum temperatures near the beginning of December rise to a comfortable 24-26°C and by the end of the month, 25-27°C. The temperatures in the afternoons do drop 2-4°C once the sea-breeze passes through and normally provide a welcome relief from the midday heat.
Although, on the beach, you'll suddenly realise that the arrival of a strong sea-breeze will bring windy conditions and so the rapid change in temperature may make you feel quite cool. You may also realise that the beach is less crowded once the sea-breeze arrives as quite a few of the locals may find it too windy and so they'll pack up and leave.
If you're concerned about excessively high temperatures during your stay in Sydney in December, then don't be. There's normally 3-4 days when the maximum temperature in the city rises to between 30-35°C, and such days have low humidity levels. Normally, the sea-breeze passes through Sydney city between 1-2pm and so the higher temperatures won't last long. However, you might need air conditioning at night since typically, the minimum overnight temperature may only drop down to between 21-23°C after such hot weather.
The rain is not normally a problem in the city during December. Sure, you might see an afternoon thunderstorm about that may dump 20-40mm of rain over a period of an hour, but usually the torrential rain associated with the low pressure systems that appear during the cooler months have for most part, gone by December. Short-lived heavy rain is the norm and typically occurs in the afternoons, and so the rest of the day has reasonably nice weather.
The weather in Sydney in December can be quite cloudy at times, although many mornings start out sunny. Although, the lack of sunshine later in the day doesn't mean that you won't get a sun tan since the UV rays are quite capable of passing through the cloud layers if the clouds aren't too thick. Most cloudy days are quite warm and so if you're gauging what to wear by looking out the window, then is not the best approach. Please go outside and feel what it's like before you make your decision.
Weather in Sydney in January
The weather in Sydney in January is very warm and humid on most days throughout January, although the gusty afternoon sea-breezes acts to lower the midday temperatures a little. Actually, January is the hottest month of the year and so be aware of that before you travel here.
On most nights, minimum temperatures drop down to between 19-21°C over the coastal suburbs, whereas the western suburbs are usually 2°C cooler than that. If you're planning to go out at night in the city, the outdoor temperatures are still about 22°C at 10pm and so the night air usually feels quite balmy. In the western suburbs of Sydney, outdoor temperatures at 10pm are typically around 20°C, and while this sounds nice, you may end up being chased indoors by mosquitos at that time of the night.
During the day, maximum temperatures in January reach between 25-28°C over the eastern suburbs whereas the western suburbs vary between 28-31°C. In fact, the far inland suburbs frequently record much higher temperatures than the coastal areas, that is, daytime maximum temperatures of between 30-35°C occurs on about 13-15 days throughout the month at Richmond and Camden. In comparison, the city only records 3 days when the daytime maximum temperature reaches between 30-35°C. However, thankfully, the much lower humidity levels over the inland suburbs make the heat bearable.
Obviously, this type of weather will make you want to head off to the local beach, but just rememember, plenty of other people will have the same idea. In fact, January is one of the busiest time of the year on the city beaches and so you may want to try going to beaches further afield to escape the crowds.
There's always an odd day or two when the maximum daytime temperatures only reach between 20-23°C. Such days are generally cloudy, windy and showery, so while it's normally okay to wear summer clothing on most days in January, just remember, that on that rare cool day, you may be looking for something warmer. In this case, you're best to pack at least one light waterproof jacket and long pants (jeans are okay unless you're going out to something formal).
The weather in Sydney in January is normally sunnier than both December and February. This fact combined with higher daytime temperatures means that you're most likely to get sunburnt and dehydrated at this time of year. So be very careful if you plan to drink alcohol during hot weather, since this will excerbate the problem.
Since January is the thunderstorm season in Sydney, you should keep an an eye out on the local weather conditions so you don't get caught on the beach or busy traffic when there's a severe storm approaching. While, thunderstorms don't occur every day in January, when they do occur, they have the potential to produce hail, torrential rain leading to flash flooding and very strong winds.
Don't be too concerned about the wet weather in Sydney at this time of the year, since you're more likely to experience sunny days and pleasant conditions than floods along the coast. When it does rain, it normally doesn't last long. Furthermore, you may even enjoy the occasional wet weather day in Sydney since it's not really that cold at all. The only time you may find it cold on such days is if you decide to travel westwards out of Sydney up into the mountains.
Weather in Sydney in February
You can be sure that the weather in Sydney in February remains very warm and humid throughout this month. Even though daytime temperatures are similar to what is experienced in January, you're less likely to have to deal with extended periods of excessively hot weather (temperatures above 35°C), since there's more cloud about in February.
During the daylight hours, maximum temperatures reach 25-28°C in the city and over most of the coastal suburbs. In comparison, the western suburbs record higher maximum temperatures (27-30°C) due to the late arrival of the sea-breeze.
Of course, there's much year-to-year variability and so it's likely that the recorded maximum temperatures may be different on the days you visit Sydney. For example, back in February 2011, Sydney city recorded six straight days of maximum temperatures exceeding 31°C with one of those days reaching 41.5°C. Such extreme weather conditions in Sydney occur occasionally and so if you plan to travel to Sydney during summer, you need to plan your trip accordingly.
You can expect to see overnight temperatures in Sydney during February to be very similar to January. Most nights near the coast typically record minimum temperatures of between 19-21°C over the coastal suburbs including the city, whereas, suburbs located far from the coast see minimum temperatures drop down to between 16-19°C.
Back in February 2011, overnight temperatures were about 1.5°C higher than the 30-year February average minimum temperature. In fact, the city recorded six consecutive nights when the minimum temperature didn't drop below 22°C and one of those nights broke the highest ever recorded minimum temperature, i.e. 27.6°C.
The weather in Sydney during February in most years is generally more humid, cloudier and wetter than January but that doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. On the contrary, most of the wet weather occurs for a couple of hours during the afternoons and so there's little need to modify your outdoor activities. Just be aware that if your outdoor activities includes a visit to the beach, remember that gusty winds due to the sea-breeze make its presence felt after midday, but you may find that the cooling sea-breezes may bring a welcome relief from the summery conditions.
Futhermore, even though it can be quite cloudy at times during February, the sun's UV rays are powerful enough to pass through most cloud layers at this time of year. So in order to prevent getting sunburnt, wear some loose fitting clothing and a hat if you're planning to spend extended periods of time on the beach. Also, remember that the city beaches will be very busy on the weekends as you'll be competing with all of the locals to find somewhere to sit.
Like in any month during the summer, February is suspectible to severe thunderstorms. These storms needn't take you by surprise if you're aware of the latest weather forecast. As mentioned elsewhere, these thunderstorms have the potential to produce flash flooding, large hail and gale force winds, so if there's a storm approaching, don't plan to go outdoors.
In conclusion, the weather in Sydney in February is a great time to visit if you like nice warm, humid and somewhat cloudy conditions. If you're coming from Russia, northern Europe or the UK, you may find it too hot at night on some nights. So make sure you get accommodation that has air conditioning so you'll be able to sleep comfortably.
When do severe thunderstorms impact Sydney?
Sydney is renowned for having some of the most severe weather (during the summer months) out of any capital city in Australia.
From October-April, you should watch out for wild storms that are accompanied by hail, destructive winds, flash floods and occasionally tornadoes.
However, this is not the only weather hazards you'll encounter during these months. From December-February, the weather in Sydney can become hot. That is, the temperatures can exceed 40°C (104°F) at least once during the summer months.
If you're thinking of travelling up into the Blue Mountains in the summer, then make sure you are on the lookout for bushfires.
Hailstorms - how do you avoid them?
The most common months when a hailstorm is likely to hit Sydney is from November to February. They normally occur during the peak-hour rush (i.e. around 4-5pm). That's why so many people get caught since there's no escape when you're stuck in traffic.
Having said that, hail can occur anytime between 2pm and 7pm from August through to April, but they are not of frequent occurrence.
Please don't become overly concerned if you plan to visit Sydney during these months. It's highly likely you won't get caught in one during this time as Sydney only gets around 5-10 hailstorms every year.
Interesting facts about hailstorms in Sydney
Most of the severe storms are associated with the progression of a cold front moving up the eastern coastline of New South Wales. You may hear the locals talk of the "southerly burster" or "buster". Well these terms represent a particularly severe southerly change (i.e. winds that blow in from the south) where the inland part of the cold front becomes trapped by the mountains but the easterly part accelerates.
It's quite common for a southerly buster will lead to the formation of very severe thunderstorms over Sydney. Some of these thunderstorms can actually spawn tornadoes.
Past flash flooding events in Sydney
The worst flooding in Sydney occurred on the 5-8th August 1986. Almost half of Sydney's rainfall fell on the city during this time. Six people died due to flooded-related causes. The weather in Sydney during this time was dreadful to say the least. People had to spend many days indoors as it was simply to dangerous to venture outside due to the gale force winds and torrential rain. Worse still, no one wanted to drive on the roads for fear of being swept away by the flood waters.
Here are five quick facts about flooding in Sydney:
Bushfires near Sydney
Air pollution in Sydney
Compared with other Australian cities, Sydney can get quite smoggy during the winter months. There are two main reasons:
Should you wish to visit Sydney, you'll find that smog levels are at their highest levels during the winter on cold still clear nights or on windless sunny days during winter. The mountains west of Sydney drain cold air into western suburbs and this helps to enhance the temperature inversion over that region. Furthermore, the lack of wind combined with the temperature inversion builds up the concentration of air pollution and over time, if there's no wind or surface heating on the ground to disperse the temperature inversion, the smog can begin to irritate your eyes and respiratory tract.
As you fly into Sydney during the day, particularly on calm days, you'll notice a purplish haze that sits like a dome over the city. This is smog and unfortunately you'll be flying right into it.
In the warmer months, air pollution isn't always a problem in Sydney since the wind and surface heating act to break any temperature inversion that might be present over Sydney. The most common time in summer that air pollutants are a problem is during peak hour traffic on hot sunny days when car emissions react with sunlight to produce ozone. Of course, if there's a bushfire near Sydney, smoke could impact the city if the wind is blowing in the right direction.
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