MEDIA RELEASE  - Monday, 1 June 2009

May 2009 in the Northern Territory

May marks the official start to the dry season and this year saw average to above average rainfall and cooler temperatures then usual over most of the Territory. East to southeast winds prevailed over the Top End during the month.

Rainfall

Rainfall over north-eastern parts of the Arnhem district in the Top End received above average to well above average rainfall. This was mainly due to the westward propagating gulf-lines during the month.

Rainfall was above average in the Alice Springs district mainly due to the weather associated with the cloud bands that passed through the region.

The wettest overall was 594.4 mm at Cape Wessel, followed by 352.0 mm at Yirrkala Tropical Gardens, followed by 335.2 mm at Gove Airport.

Some sites had their highest total May rainfall on record.

The wettest single day 153.0 mm at Cape Wessel on the 5th, followed by 98.0 mm at Cape Wessel on the 2nd, followed by 81.0 mm at Nhulunbuy DTW on the 3rd.

Some sites had their highest May daily rainfall on record.

Temperature

Maximum temperature

Maximums were within a one degree range over the Top End, except in the far northeast where they were one to two degrees below normal. Maximums were also below average in the southern parts of the Alice Springs district with some patches between two and three degrees below average. The cloud cover associated with several cloud bands passing through the region led to the below average maximums in the area.

The hottest day was 36.6°C at Wave Hill on the 1st, followed by 36.2°C at Jabiru Airport AWS and Noonamah AWS on the 2nd, followed by 36.1°C at Noonamah AWS on the 5th.

The warmest days on average were 34.5°C at Noonamah AWS, followed by 33.8°C at Douglas River, followed and Jabiru Airport AWS, followed by 33.5°C at Batchelor Aero AWS and Bradshaw AWS.

The coolest days on average were 20.4°C at Kulgera, followed by 21.3°C at Yulara Aero AWS, followed by 21.6°C at Alice Springs Airport and Arltunga.

The coldest day was 9.0°C at Kulgera on the 30th, followed by 9.6°C at Alice Springs Airport on the 30th, followed by 10.1°C at Arltunga on the 30th.

Some sites had their coldest May day (lowest maximum temperature) on record.

Minimum temperature

Minimum temperatures also remained within a one degree range from the long term mean over most of the Territory. A few patches in the far northeast of the Top End and far south in the Alice Springs district, recorded minimums one degree lower then average.

The coldest night was 2.8°C at Kulgera on the 12th, followed by 3.2°C at Kulgera on the 14th, followed by 3.5°C at Kulgera on the 11th.

The coolest nights on average were 6.4°C at Kulgera, followed by 7.2°C at Alice Springs Airport, followed by 8.1°C at Curtin Springs.

The warmest nights on average were 24.9°C at Cape Don AWS.

Wind

The strongest wind gust was 67 km/h at McCluer Island AWS on the 5th, followed by 65 km/h at McCluer Island AWS on the 4th and the 6th and at Tennant Creek Airport on the 17th, followed by 61 km/h at McCluer Island AWS on the 2nd and the 16th, Tennant Creek Airport on the 4th and Warruwi AWS on the 5th .


Extremes

Hottest day
Highest temperature
36.6°C at Wave Hill on the 1st
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
34.5°C at Noonamah AWS
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature
20.4°C at Kulgera
Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature
9.0°C at Kulgera on the 30th
Coldest night
Lowest temperature
2.8°C at Kulgera on the 12th
Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature
6.4°C at Kulgera
Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
24.9°C at Cape Don AWS
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
594.4 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
153.0 mm at Cape Wessel on the 5th
Highest wind gust
67 km/h at McCluer Island AWS on the 5th

Records

Record highest May daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall (mm) Previous highest Years of
record
Vaughan Springs 58.0 on the 30th 49.0 on the 25th in 1979 47
Cape Wessel 153.0 on the 5th 146.0 on the 19th in 2004 19



Record highest total May rainfall
Total rainfall (mm) Previous highest Years of
record
Alyangula Police 143.9 126.4 in 1990 31
Cape Wessel 594.4 257.8 in 2000 19



Record lowest May daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature (°C)
Previous lowest Years of
record
Alice Springs Airport 9.6 on the 30th 10.5 on the 21st in 1980 67
Kulgera 9.0 on the 30th 10.0 on the 22nd in 1990 27
Watarrka 12.0 on the 30th 12.4 on the 29th in 2004 18
Black Point 27.2 on the 9th = 27.2 on the 29th in 2000 16
Territory Grape Farm AWS 12.4 on the 30th 16.0 on the 27th in 2004 14




Summaries

This table is very wide and may not fit if printed.

Summary statistics for May 2009
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimeters)
Mean Diff
from
average
Highest Mean Diff
from
average
Lowest Total Rank Fraction of
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero AWS 33.5   35.3 4th 19.5   11.8 23rd 16.0 high 136%
Black Point 30.9 −0.2 32.4 3rd 23.3 −0.2 18.7 23rd 44.4 high 114%
Bradshaw AWS 33.5   35.4 2nd 18.4   12.1 13th 0
Cape Don AWS 31.1   32.7 17th 24.9   22.6 24th 8.6 average 25%
Central Arnhem Plateau AWS 30.4   32.6 2nd 19.3   12.1 23rd 0
Darwin Airport 32.6 +0.7 34.3 4th 22.6 +0.5 18.7 23rd 0.4 average 2%
Delamere Weapons Range AWS 31.2 −0.3 32.9 1st 17.9 +0.4 11.6 22nd 0 lowest 0%
Douglas River 33.8 +0.7 35.4 4th 17.6 +1.5 8.8 23rd 0 lowest 0%
Dum In Mirrie AWS 32.3   35.1 4th 22.4   16.6 23rd 0 lowest 0%
Jabiru Airport AWS 33.8 +0.3 36.2 2nd 22.6 +0.9 16.6 23rd 0.4 average 4%
Katherine Aviation Museum 31.8 −0.3 33.9 2nd 17.0 +0.2 9.7 23rd 0 lowest 0%
Mango Farm 33.2 +0.2 35.0 20th 18.6 +0.1 10.7 23rd 0 lowest 0%
McCluer Island AWS 29.1   30.6 1st 25.0   22.6 24th 85.6 very high 207%
Noonamah AWS 34.5   36.2 2nd 20.4   14.3 23rd 2.4
Pine Creek Council 32.5   34.6 2nd 20.2   14.6 23rd 0
Pirlangimpi AWS 32.2 −0.2 34.1 4th 22.1 +0.9 18.4 23rd 26.2 high 119%
Point Fawcett AWS 31.5   33.5 1st 21.3   17.4 23rd 29.6 high 97%
Tindal RAAF AWS 32.0 −0.1 33.7 30th 17.5 0.0 10.2 13th 0 lowest 0%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 29.6 −1.1 31.8 1st 21.4 +0.2 15.0 22nd 143.9 highest 463%
Gove Airport 28.5 −1.4 29.9 19th 21.4 −1.2 14.3 22nd 335.2 very high 403%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 30.4   31.8 4th 19.6   12.1 23rd 26.8
Maningrida Aero AWS 31.4   33.4 16th 21.5   14.6 22nd 18.6
Milingimbi AWS 30.9   33.0 14th 21.8   15.7 22nd 136.8
Ngayawili AWS 29.8   31.2 3rd 22.1   16.1 23rd 99.6
Warruwi AWS 30.7 0.0 33.0 11th 24.0 +0.1 19.4 24th 4.2 average 28%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola AWS 32.2 −0.1 34.2 2nd 16.5 +0.8 9.4 22nd 0 lowest 0%
Bulman AWS 32.2   34.4 29th 18.6   9.0 23rd 8.0
Centre Island AWS 29.0 −0.5 31.3 3rd 22.6 +0.1 19.3 23rd 0.2 low 2%
Daly Waters AWS 31.1 +0.1 33.4 1st 15.4 −0.7 8.2 22nd 0 lowest 0%
Larrimah 31.4 −0.4 33.6 1st 15.4 −1.1 8.9 22nd 0 lowest 0%
McArthur River Mine 32.2 0.0 34.4 1st 17.8 +1.5 10.4 22nd 0 lowest 0%
Ngukurr 32.1 +0.2 34.0 2nd 20.1 +0.9 14.0 23rd 0 lowest 0%
Wollogorang 31.0 −0.4 33.3 1st 15.9 −0.1 9.0 22nd 0 lowest 0%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 32.1 −0.3 34.2 31st 15.6 −0.3 8.9 13th 0 lowest 0%
Lajamanu AWS 29.7 +0.5 32.3 24th 13.8 +0.5 8.5 22nd 2.0 average 29%
Timber Creek 32.9 0.0 35.8 31st 18.1 −0.2 10.1 23rd 0 lowest 0%
Victoria River Downs 31.6 −0.2 33.5 30th 14.1 −1.8 8.7 13th 0 lowest 0%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 29.5 −1.8 32.6 30th 15.8 0.0 8.3 22nd 0 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 26.9 −0.6 30.2 25th 16.1 −0.2 12.5 12th 2.0 average 25%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 21.6 −1.4 29.6 24th 7.2 −1.0 3.9 12th 21.2 average 109%
Arltunga 21.6   28.4 24th 8.8   3.6 23rd 42.4 high 208%
Curtin Springs 21.8 −1.9 30.1 23rd 8.1 −0.5 4.0 13th 16.6 average 93%
Jervois 23.9 −1.4 29.4 24th 11.2 +1.3 5.9 23rd 8.6 average 43%
Kulgera 20.4 −2.2 28.8 23rd 6.4 −2.7 2.8 12th 13.4 high 111%
Papunya 24.2   29.4 24th 9.9   4.5 22nd 21.5 average 88%
Rabbit Flat 28.3 −0.8 32.5 26th 12.2 +0.7 5.9 22nd 21.0 high 339%
Territory Grape Farm AWS 24.4 −1.1 29.2 24th 10.1 +1.0 5.6 22nd 32.4 high 129%
Watarrka 21.9 −2.8 27.4 22nd 9.5 −1.0 4.4 15th 22.5 high 86%
Yuendumu 25.0 +0.1 28.9 24th 11.1 +0.1 6.2 22nd 23.0 average 94%
Yulara Aero AWS 21.3 −3.1 29.3 23rd 8.7 −0.9 4.6 12th 17.4 high 126%

Further information

NT Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (08) 8920 3813
Email climate.nt@bom.gov.au