Northern Territory in January 2010: The Territory gets a soaking

Heavy rains saturated the Alice Springs district and Top End with some sites recording their wettest January on record. Active monsoonal bursts and a low pressure system, along with ex-Tropical Cyclone Olga at the end of the month, contributed to the above average rainfall. Meanwhile, the heavy rain and cloud cover contributed to much cooler days across the Territory.

 

 

Rainfall

Active troughs over the Top End during the month contributed to the high rainfall in that region, with a few sites in the Darwin and rural areas and coastal Arnhem land receiving over 200 mm more than their average for January. Darwin Airport had 623 mm which has only been exceeded eight times since records began there in 1941, while Oenpelli's total of 533 mm has been higher just six times since 1911. A low pressure system over the Top End moved south into the western Alice Springs district on the 6th, bringing heavy rains over the next three days to most sites. Alice Springs had 122 mm during this time, which is more than the average rainfall it receives in the first four months of the year. On the 7th, the Todd river flowed for the first time in over a year with some flooding in the town and surrounding areas. Some sites had their highest total January rainfall on record. There were some small pockets near Victoria River Downs and the north-eastern Alice Springs district that received below average rainfall. Heavy rain near Katherine at the end of the month associated with ex-TC Olga produced falls of over 100 mm in that area, however no major flooding occurred with Katherine River peaking at just 12 metres.

The wettest overall was 819.0 mm at Channel Island, followed by 791.0 mm at The Chase and 772.1 mm at Wagait Beach.

The wettest single day was on the 29th associated with ex Tropical Cyclone Olga with 251.0 mm at Favenc Range, 213.0 mm at Mallapunyah and 201.5 mm at Baileys Grave GS.

Some sites also had their highest January daily rainfall on record, mostly in the Alice Springs District on the 7th.

 

Maximum temperature

Daytime temperatures were 1 °C cooler than average across the Territory, with the south and east up to 2 °C cooler. The presence of heavy cloud during active monsoonal bursts throughout the month, the presence of the low that moved south from the Top End into the Alice Springs district in the second week and ex-TC Olga in the last week of the month contributed to these lower than average temperatures. Small patches of the Territory in the northwest were slightly above average, including Kidman Springs and Delamere Weapons Range. These were up to 1 °C warmer. The warmest days were around the middle of the month over the Top End with a low in the Gulf directing warm south-easterlies over this region. Warm days also occurred during the last week of the month in southern parts.

The hottest day was 43.9 °C at Curtin Springs on the 27th, followed by 43.2 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 26th, then 43.1 °C at Yulara Aero AWS on the 26th and again on the 27th.

The warmest days on average were 37.4 °C at Rabbit Flat, followed by 37.1 °C at Curtin Springs and 37.0 °C at Wave Hill.

The coolest days on average were 30.7 °C at Central Arnhem Plateau AWS, followed by 30.8 °C at McCluer Island AWS, then 31.1 °C at Black Point.

The coldest day was 23.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport and 23.6 °C at Arltunga on the 7th, followed by 24.5 °C at Yulara Aero AWS on the 12th (which was also its coldest January day (lowest maximum temperature) on record.)

 

Minimum temperature

Overnight temperatures were close to average across the Territory, with some warmer spots in the Victoria River district (Victoria River Downs was up to 1 °C above average) and cooler in the Barkley district (Tennant Creek was almost 1 °C below average).

The coldest night was 6.6 °C at Papunya on the 7th, followed by 13.9 °C at Arltunga on the 20th and 14.0 °C on the 21st.

The coolest nights on average were 21.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport, followed by 21.5 °C at Arltunga and 21.8 °C at Kulgera.

The warmest nights on average were 27.8 °C at Northern Endeavour AWS, 26.7 °C at Centre Island and 25.9 °C at Cape Don AWS

The warmest night for the month was 30.1 °C at McArthur River Mine on the 26th, followed by 30.0 °C at Northern Endeavour AWS on various nights throughout the month.

January had a mixed bag of very warm and very cool nights in some places; Oenpelli had its lowest January temperature on record on the 30th while Boroloola had its warmest January night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record on the 26th.

 

 

Other phenomena

Severe storms

The strongest wind gust recorded for the month was 91 km/h (49 kts) at McCluer Island on the 30th, associated with a squall line south of Timber Creek that moved north towards the coast. A squall line on the 17th that spanned the Darwin and rural areas generated gale force wind gusts at Dundee Downs, Bynoe Harbour and Annaburroo. The line weakened rapidly after it passed Middle Point, with Darwin Airport reporting sustained 20kt winds for at least 40 minutes.

 

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in January 2010
Hottest day 43.9 °C at Curtin Springs on the 27th
Warmest days on average 37.4 °C at Rabbit Flat
Coolest days on average 30.7 °C at Central Arnhem Plateau AWS
Coldest day 23.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 7th
Coldest night 6.6 °C at Papunya on the 7th
Coolest nights on average 21.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 26.7 °C at Centre Island AWS
Warmest night 30.1 °C at McArthur River Mine on the 26th
Wettest overall 819.0 mm at Channel Island
Wettest day 251.0 mm at Favenc Range on the 29th
Highest wind gust 91 km/h at McCluer Island AWS on the 30th

Record highest January daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
(mm)
Previous highest
Years of
record
Vaughan Springs 140.0 on the 7th 98.2 on the 22nd in 1974 49
Mount Skinner 121.6 on the 7th 118.6 on the 4th in 2005 46
Mallapunyah 213.0 on the 29th 140.0 on the 19th in 1979 44
Papunya 76.2 on the 8th 70.0 on the 23rd in 1974 37
Wollogorang 167.8 on the 29th =167.8 on the 11th in 2003 33
Palm Valley 81.4 on the 9th 42.8 on the 11th in 1984 27
Territory Grape Farm AWS 111.0 on the 7th 95.4 on the 18th in 1995 15
Wallace Rock Hole 109.6 on the 9th 69.6 on the 30th in 2001 22
Gemtree Park 84.0 on the 7th 83.2 on the 18th in 1995 19



Record highest total January rainfall
Total rainfall
(mm)
Previous highest
Years of
record
Average
Arltunga 228.8 216.2 in 1995 66 40.0
Palm Valley 170.6 162.7 in 1995 27 27.2
Territory Grape Farm AWS 280.4 158.4 in 1995 15 46.9
Wallace Rock Hole 168.6 143.4 in 2001 22 23.0
Gemtree Park 188.7 158.5 in 2007 19 57.0
Tilmouth Well 151.6 150.7 in 2007 14 41.8
Walker Creek 756.6 712.6 in 1997 14 383.4
Dum In Mirrie AWS 573.8 489.2 in 2004 12 328.1




Record lowest January daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
(°C)
Previous lowest
Years of
record
Average
Yulara Aero AWS 24.5 on the 12th 25.0 on the 17th in 1995 22 38.5




Record highest January daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
(°C)
Previous highest
Years of
record
Average
Borroloola AWS 29.2 on the 26th 28.8 on the 7th in 2007 13 24.9



Record lowest January temperature
Lowest temperature
(°C)
Previous lowest
Years of
record
Average
Oenpelli 15.5 on the 30th 17.5 on the 15th in 1979 40 24.5





Summary statistics for January 2010
Maximum temperatures (°C) Minimum temperatures (°C) Rainfall (mm)
Mean Diff
from
average
Highest Mean Diff
from
average
Lowest Total Average
Rank Fraction
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero AWS 31.9 -1.0 35.0 16th 23.9 -0.1 21.5 28th 422.4 286.0 high 148%
Black Point 31.1 -0.3 33.7 16th 25.5 -0.3 23.6 14th 369.4 298.0 high 124%
Bradshaw AWS 34.7   38.0 1st 25.0   22.4 18th 577.2
Cape Don AWS 31.4   32.6 16th 25.9   23.5 5th 261.4 221.9 high 118%
Central Arnhem Plateau AWS 30.7   34.5 16th 23.0   20.3 19th 503.8
Channel Point 31.5 -0.2 33.0 16th 25.2 +0.3 22.9 28th 485.3 407.2 average 119%
Darwin Airport 31.5 -0.3 33.5 16th 24.8 0.0 22.6 28th 630.2 420.4 high 148%
Delamere Weapons Range AWS 35.3 +1.0 38.9 26th 24.4 +0.6 22.2 30th 137.8 200.6 average 69%
Douglas River 33.1 -0.6 35.3 16th 24.1 +0.3 22.1 28th 463.4 272.3 v high 170%
Dum In Mirrie AWS 31.2 -0.4 32.8 1st 25.3 -0.4 22.4 28th 573.8 328.1 highest 175%
Jabiru Airport AWS 32.5 -1.1 36.1 16th 24.5 -0.1 22.9 19th 471.4 356.5 high 132%
Katherine Aviation Museum 34.0 -0.8 36.5 23rd 24.4 +0.2 22.9 29th 342.8 262.6 high 131%
Mango Farm 33.4 -0.2 36.0 16th 23.9 0.0 21.8 18th 516.6 333.1 high 155%
McCluer Island AWS 30.8   32.6 20th 25.8   22.9 14th 347.4 221.5 high 157%
Middle Point AWS 33.2   35.6 16th 24.3   22.2 19th 304.2
Noonamah AWS 32.6   35.7 16th 24.3   22.4 28th 714.8
Oenpelli 31.9 -1.2 34.4 16th 24.3 -0.2 15.5 30th 533.2 337.6 v high 158%
Pine Creek Council 32.5   34.9 16th 24.1   21.6 28th 507.2
Pirlangimpi AWS 31.8 0.0 33.7 18th 25.2 +0.7 22.1 28th 413.4 408.8 average 101%
Point Fawcett AWS 31.1 -0.6 33.1 19th 25.8 0.0 22.5 28th 424.0 339.0 high 125%
Tindal RAAF AWS 33.5 -0.5 35.8 20th 24.7 +0.5 22.7 29th 315.4 266.8 high 118%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 31.9 -1.2 33.8 20th 25.5 -0.3 23.7 31st 266.6 221.5 average 120%
Gove Airport 31.3 -0.7 33.4 24th 25.1 +0.4 21.8 20th 303.4 275.8 average 110%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 32.8   36.5 20th 24.9   23.6 13th 180.4
Maningrida Aero AWS 32.0   34.2 14th 24.8   22.5 19th 607.0
Milingimbi AWS 32.4   34.4 16th 24.9   21.2 19th 391.4
Ngayawili AWS 31.1   32.5 15th 25.6   24.0 19th 478.8
Warruwi AWS 31.7 -0.3 33.8 16th 25.2 -0.4 23.4 3rd 398.8 261.2 high 153%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola AWS 34.2 +0.1 38.8 24th 25.0 +0.1 22.4 20th 276.6 199.2 high 139%
Bulman AWS 34.0   36.6 20th 24.5   23.3 19th 236.2
Centre Island AWS 33.4 -0.2 38.4 24th 26.7 0.0 24.2 3rd 228.6 218.2 average 105%
Daly Waters AWS 34.8 -1.0 38.7 26th 23.9 -0.1 18.1 20th 176.4 150.5 average 117%
Larrimah 34.3 -1.1 38.4 26th 24.0 0.0 21.9 20th 177.5 208.1 average 85%
McArthur River Mine 35.1 -0.9 40.5 22nd 25.5 +0.7 21.5 20th 328.8 198.1 high 166%
Ngukurr 34.5 -1.1 39.3 24th 25.0 +0.2 22.5 29th 347.9 179.7 v high 194%
Wollogorang 34.1 -0.9 40.6 24th 24.4 +0.1 19.7 20th 685.7 210.1 v high 326%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 36.8 +0.7 40.5 26th 25.8 +0.7 22.7 30th 170.8 161.4 average 106%
Lajamanu AWS 36.8 -0.3 41.0 26th 24.2 +0.2 19.6 20th 215.8 142.6 high 151%
Timber Creek 35.9 0.0 39.6 26th 25.1 +0.1 22.9 30th 349.8 219.5 high 159%
Victoria River Downs 36.6 -0.1 39.6 1st 25.8 +0.9 24.0 11th 107.4 150.5 average 71%
Wave Hill 37.0 -0.1 40.7 26th 25.0 +0.7 20.0 20th 133.2 144.3 average 92%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 36.3 -1.4 42.5 26th 23.8 -0.3 18.5 20th 181.1 134.8 high 134%
Tennant Creek Airport 35.8 -1.0 41.0 26th 24.2 -0.8 20.2 21st 173.6 107.5 high 161%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 35.2 -1.2 41.3 1st 21.4 0.0 16.0 20th 140.8 37.5 v high 375%
Arltunga 34.3   39.6 1st 21.5   13.9 20th 228.8 40.0 highest 572%
Curtin Springs 37.1 -0.6 43.9 27th 22.3 +0.2 18.5 5th 30.0 28.9 high 104%
Jervois 36.6 -1.9 41.7 1st 23.4 +0.8 17.9 21st 148.8 48.4 high 307%
Kulgera 36.0 -0.7 43.0 27th 21.8 -0.2 15.8 19th 12.3 31.4 average 39%
Rabbit Flat 37.4 -1.2 43.2 26th 24.2 +0.3 18.8 19th 130.2 116.8 high 111%
Territory Grape Farm AWS 36.4 -1.2 41.4 1st 22.4 +0.8 16.8 20th 280.4 46.9 highest 598%
Watarrka 36.9 -1.6 42.3 1st 23.4 -0.2 18.2 19th 114.4 32.1 v high 356%
Yulara Aero AWS 36.8 -1.7 43.1 27th 22.4 -0.2 18.1 18th 55.0 26.2 high 210%

Notes

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Northern Territory using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 11 am on Monday 1 February 2010. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages are long-term means based on observations from the years 1800 to 2008. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record in that time, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries