Coldest May day in almost a century

MORE than 50 Queensland towns yesterday shivered through their coldest May day since record keeping began, as a combination of thick cloud, cold air and rain sent the mercury plunging across most of the state.

Brisbane reached a maximum temperature of 15.1C on Saturday.

"It was the coldest May day (in Brisbane) since 1922," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Rosa Hoff said, adding: "1922 isn't the current record, it's still warmer than the record."


Sunshine Coast Airport saw its coldest day in almost four decades as temperatures reached 14.7C, breaking its record since data started being collected at that site 38 years ago.

Several other Queensland towns broke coldest May maximum records set in 1978: Gladstone Airport reached just 13.4C, Maryborough reached 13.8C, Bundaberg hit 13.8C and in Rockhampton the highest temperature was 12.2C.


Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kimba Wong said the intense cold was caused by the combination of thick cloud cover, light rainfall and a very cool air mass moving up from the south.

"Largely speaking across the eastern parts of the state we had a very thick band of cloud cover and that cloud cover really stopped the sunlight coming through and warming things up too much during the day," Ms Wong said.

The forecast maximum in Brisbane today is 22C and on Monday is 23C.

"That thick band of cloud has moved off the east coast now so the sunlight is able to move things up during the day," Ms Wong said.

"But we still have that very cool southerly air mass sitting over much of the state so … things are still expected to remain a little bit below the May average over most of the state for the next couple of days."

Ms Wong said Queensland would experience a "reasonably dry week" although there is a chance of frost across parts of the southern and central interior.

"We could see some light frost patched over the southern parts of the tropic as well, which is quite significant for early times in the season," she said.

Originally published as Coldest May day in almost a century