Northern Territory in February 2010: A cool wet finish

The first three weeks of February were generally warm and sunny, with average to below average rainfall for the month. In the last week, the monsoon trough developed across the Top End, with showers, storms, heavy rain and flooding extending throughout the Northern Territory.

Late monsoon burst and a tropical low

A tropical low formed over the Top End, south of Katherine, on Monday the 22nd within the intensifying monsoon trough. The low was slow moving over the northern Victoria River District until Saturday the 27th when it moved south-eastwards and passed through the north-eastern Alice Springs District on Sunday the 28th. Widespread heavy falls occurred generally over the northern half associated with the monsoon trough and low. Heavy falls also developed in the southern half through the Victoria River, Barkly and eastern Alice Springs District. A man drowned on 26th after trying to cross the Todd River. There were many road closures due to flooding and damaged roads.

Squally monsoonal showers and storms were experienced across the Top End, associated with the active monsoon between the 24th and the 28th. This also brought damaging winds to the Darwin-Daly District coastline, with estimated wind gusts up to 90 km/h and tree branches broken.

 

Rainfall

Rainfall across the Territory was generally average to below average over the first 3 weeks of February. In the last week of the month, the monsoon trough developed across the Top End, with a moist north to northeast flow extending across the rest of the Territory. This brought widespread showers, storms, heavy rain and localised flooding to most of the Northern Territory. By the end of the month, rainfall totals were higher than average across eastern parts of the Alice Springs, Victoria River, and Roper-McArthur districts, and the Barkly District. The most significant falls were in the northeast Alice Springs District and in the Roper-McArthur District. Several stations in the central and eastern Alice Springs Disctrict had very much above normal rainfall, while Tobermorey had its wettest February on record with 182 mm. The eastern Alice Springs Distict had close to its wettest February on record, and also close to its wettest January to February period in some parts. Alice Springs Airport had its wettest 5 day period (24th to 28th inclusive with 190.8 mm) since January 2001. In contrast, parts of the north coast had close to their driest February on record.

The area averaged rainfall across the Territory was 145.9 mm, which is 25.3 mm above the long-term mean of 120.6 mm.

The wettest overall was 530.8 mm at Oenpelli, followed by 492.4 mm at Pinelands, and 469.0 mm at Nutwood Downs.

The driest overall was 12.0 mm at Yulara Aero AWS.

One site (Tobermorey) had its highest total February rainfall on record. Some sites had their highest daily February rainfall on record.

The wettest single day was 195.2 mm at Nutwood Downs on the 26th, followed by 168.3 mm at Shoal Bay on the 27th, and by 152.0 mm at Leanyer on the 27th.

 

Maximum temperature

Maximum temperatures were between 1 °C and 2 °C greater than the long-term mean across the north and along the far western border. This was in part due to the lack of cloud cover during the first 3 weeks of the month. The far southwest had cooler maximimum temperatures, with anomalies between 1 °C and 2 °C below the long-term mean.

The hottest day was 42.5 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 11th, followed by 42.4 °C at Walungurru AWS on the 21st, and 42.3 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 10th.

The warmest days on average were 38.3 °C at Rabbit Flat, followed by 36.7 °C at Yulara Aero AWS, and then by 36.6 °C at Curtin Springs and Lajamanu AWS.

The coolest days on average were 31.9 °C at McCluer Island AWS, followed by 32.1 °C at Black Point and Cape Don AWS, and then by 32.2 °C at Central Arnhem Plateau AWS.

The coldest day was 19.8 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 28th, followed by 20.1 °C at Arltunga on the 28th, followed by 21.2 °C at Watarrka on the 28th.

One site (Pirlangimpi AWS) had its highest February temperature on record. Some sites had their highest February mean daily maximum temperature on record.

 

Minimum temperature

Minimum temperatures were between 1 °C and 2 °C warmer than normal in the far south and north of the Territory.

The warmest nights on average were 27.5 °C at Point Fawcett AWS.

The warmest night was 29.7 °C at Walungurru AWS on the 21st.

The coldest night was 17.5 °C at Watarrka on the 2nd, followed by 17.6 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 8th, followed by 17.7 °C at Arltunga on the 26th.

The coolest nights on average were 21.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport, followed by 22.0 °C at Territory Grape Farm AWS, followed by 22.2 °C at Kulgera.

Some sites had their warmest February night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record. Some sites had their highest February mean daily minimum temperature on record.

 

Wind

The strongest wind gust was 93 km/h at Victoria River Downs on the 3rd, followed by 89 km/h at Bradshaw AWS on the 6th, followed by 87 km/h at Borroloola AWS on the 12th.


Other Phenomena

Severe Thunderstorms

During the afternoon of the 3rd, Victoria River Downs reported a 93 km/h wind gust from a thunderstorm.

During the late afternoon of the 5th a squall line of thunderstorms developed southeast of Adelaide River and moved northwards towards Lake Bennett and Manton Dam. Reports of broken branches, heavy rain and estimated wind gusts to 100 km/h were received from Acacia Hills as the thunderstorm passed.

During the afternoon of the 23rd, a thunderstorm caused 61.0 mm in less than three hours at Alice Springs Airport. Thunderstorms in the catchment area caused the Todd River to start flowing.

 

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
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Extremes in February 2010
Hottest day 42.5 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 11th
Warmest days on average 38.3 °C at Rabbit Flat
Coolest days on average 31.9 °C at McCluer Island AWS
Coldest day 19.8 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 28th
Coldest night 17.5 °C at Watarrka on the 2nd
Coolest nights on average 21.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 27.5 °C at Point Fawcett AWS
Warmest night 29.7 °C at Walungurru AWS on the 21st
Wettest overall 530.8 mm at Oenpelli
Driest overall 12.0 mm at Yulara Aero AWS
Wettest day 195.2 mm at Nutwood Downs on the 26th
Highest wind gust 93 km/h at Victoria River Downs on the 3rd

Record highest daily February rainfall
Highest daily rainfall (mm) Previous highest (mm) Years of
record
Anzac Oval 84.0 on the 28th 31.0 on the 21st in 2002 10
Big Dipper 60.0 on the 28th 42.0 on the 21st in 2002 10
Bond Springs 37.0 on the 28th 37.0 on the 21st in 2002 10
Mount Lloyd 60.0 on the 28th 43.0 on the 26th in 2002 10
Wigley Gorge 61.0 on the 28th 35.0 on the 21st in 2002 10

Record highest total February rainfall
Total rainfall (mm) Previous highest (mm) Years of
record
Average for
February
Tobermorey 182.0 177.9 in 2000 25 51.2


Record highest February temperature
Highest temperature (°C) Previous highest (°C) Years of
record
Average for
February
Pirlangimpi AWS 34.9 on the 19th 34.8 on the 13th in 1985 25 31.4



Record highest February mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature (°C)
Previous highest (°C) Years of
record
Average for
February
Pirlangimpi AWS 33.0 32.9 in 1998 25 31.4
Black Point 32.1 = 32.1 in 1998 18 31.0
Point Fawcett AWS 32.3 32.2 in 2005 10 31.4
Dum In Mirrie AWS 32.4 32.0 in 2007 11 31.1


Record highest February daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature (°C)
Previous highest (°C) Years of
record
Average for
February
Point Fawcett AWS 29.3 on the 20th 29.1 on the 4th in 2007 10 25.5



Record highest February mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature (°C)
Previous highest (°C) Years of
record
Average for
February
Warruwi AWS 26.9 26.6 in 1983 35 25.2
Gove Airport 25.5 25.3 in 2002 31 24.5
Pirlangimpi AWS 25.6 = 25.6 in 2004 25 24.3
Tindal RAAF AWS 25.2 25.1 in 1996 21 24.1
Douglas River 24.5 24.3 in 1998 15 23.7
Black Point 27.1 26.2 in 2001 18 25.6
Ngukurr 25.7 = 25.7 in 2003 16 24.7
Channel Point 26.6 25.7 in 2002 15 25.0
Batchelor Aero AWS 24.2 = 24.2 in 1998 14 23.8
Point Fawcett AWS 27.5 26.2 in 2004 10 25.5




Summary statistics for February 2010
Maximum temperatures (°C) Minimum temperatures (°C) Rainfall (mm)
Mean Diff
from
average
Highest Mean Diff
from
average
Lowest Total Average Rank Fraction of
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero AWS 33.1 +0.8 35.7 8th 24.2 +0.4 22.1 3rd 316.4 362.5 average 87%
Black Point 32.1 +1.1 33.3 21st 27.1 +1.5 23.3 9th 102.5 284.6 v low 36%
Bradshaw AWS 35.9   38.8 18th 25.2   21.4 23rd 178.4
Cape Don AWS 32.1   33.2 21st 26.9   23.0 26th 171.4 226.9 low 76%
Central Arnhem Plateau AWS 32.2   34.8 8th 23.7   21.6 3rd 302.0
Channel Point 32.3 +0.8 33.7 19th 26.6 +1.6 23.2 2nd 219.6 437.0 low 50%
Darwin Airport 32.6 +1.2 34.3 18th 25.8 +1.1 22.6 26th 428.8 364.5 high 118%
Delamere Weapons Range AWS 35.2 +0.8 38.4 8th 24.5 +0.6 22.5 4th 150.4 243.9 average 62%
Douglas River 34.3 +1.2 36.2 8th 24.5 +0.8 21.6 3rd 195.0 291.1 average 67%
Dum In Mirrie AWS 32.4 +1.3 33.8 19th 26.9 +1.7 23.7 23rd 266.2 466.3 low 57%
Jabiru Airport AWS 34.8 +1.7 37.5 21st 25.2 +0.8 22.5 1st 309.4 365.6 average 85%
Katherine Aviation Museum 34.6 +0.6 37.4 9th 24.5 +0.6 22.0 3rd 213.6 243.0 average 88%
Mango Farm 34.1 +1.0 36.5 18th 24.1 +0.4 22.6 7th 230.0 339.4 average 68%
McCluer Island AWS 31.9   33.4 21st 27.2   23.5 27th 127.6 273.9 low 47%
Middle Point AWS 34.6   37.6 18th 24.3   22.8 23rd 52.4
Noonamah AWS 34.2   36.5 18th 24.4   22.7 23rd 298.6
Pine Creek Council 33.5   36.3 9th 24.3   22.2 23rd 199.1
Pirlangimpi AWS 33.0 +1.6 34.9 19th 25.6 +1.3 24.3 10th 288.4 397.1 low 73%
Point Fawcett AWS 32.3 +0.9 33.5 20th 27.5 +2.0 24.3 27th 92.6 274.1 v low 34%
Tindal RAAF AWS 34.4 +0.7 37.5 9th 25.2 +1.1 23.3 16th 125.0 251.0 low 50%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 33.0 +0.5 35.0 10th 26.6 +1.0 24.4 22nd 78.3 242.2 low 32%
Gove Airport 32.4 +1.0 34.7 20th 25.5 +1.0 22.7 12th 436.4 280.2 high 156%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 34.5   36.8 10th 25.7   23.4 8th 79.0
Maningrida Aero AWS 33.4   35.4 15th 26.0   23.4 3rd 173.6
Milingimbi AWS 33.5   35.9 7th 25.9   22.4 3rd 214.2
Warruwi AWS 33.0 +1.6 34.8 18th 26.9 +1.7 24.1 27th 82.2 236.1 v low 35%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola AWS 34.0 +0.1 37.4 8th 24.6 -0.1 21.9 13th 361.2 223.7 v high 161%
Bulman AWS 35.6   38.5 9th 24.7   22.7 8th 154.6
Centre Island AWS 33.8 +0.9 37.0 1st 26.7 +0.1 23.5 3rd 249.8 270.0 average 93%
Daly Waters AWS 34.8 -0.1 38.5 9th 23.2 -0.3 20.2 8th 249.4 177.8 high 140%
Larrimah 34.3 -0.2 38.9 10th 23.7 -0.1 21.5 22nd 190.1 206.1 average 92%
McArthur River Mine 35.5 +0.3 38.5 6th 25.5 +0.8 23.1 4th 192.4 181.6 average 106%
Ngukurr 35.7 +0.7 38.4 9th 25.7 +1.0 23.9 24th 231.6 177.2 high 131%
Wollogorang 34.2 -0.2 38.0 5th 24.3 +0.2 22.3 11th 420.1 249.4 high 168%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 36.3 +0.6 39.8 20th 25.4 +0.6 22.9 3rd 163.2 192.7 average 85%
Lajamanu AWS 36.6 +0.6 41.1 9th 23.6 -0.1 20.7 19th 262.4 146.9 high 179%
Timber Creek 36.0 +0.9 39.5 8th 25.1 +0.5 22.4 23rd 160.4 228.0 average 70%
Victoria River Downs 36.0 +0.6 39.2 18th 24.7 +0.2 20.8 3rd 161.6 160.7 average 101%
Wave Hill 36.3 +0.4 40.0 20th 23.8 0.0 19.9 19th 219.2 176.2 average 124%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 36.0 -0.4 39.9 9th 23.9 -0.3 20.2 11th 165.0 98.7 high 167%
Elliott 36.3 -0.5 41.6 9th 23.5 -0.3 20.6 8th 251.9 156.2 high 161%
Tennant Creek Airport 35.7 -0.1 40.5 3rd 24.3 -0.3 21.5 26th 280.4 121.0 high 232%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 34.2 -0.8 38.8 22nd 21.4 +0.6 17.6 8th 193.0 41.8 v high 462%
Curtin Springs 36.6 +0.2 40.9 21st 23.0 +1.4 18.8 28th 25.2 25.7 high 98%
Jervois 35.2 -1.7 38.5 9th 23.2 +1.2 20.3 15th 174.8 56.4 v high 310%
Kulgera 34.6 -0.9 39.7 21st 22.2 +0.7 18.2 8th 49.2 34.8 high 141%
Rabbit Flat 38.3 +1.3 42.5 11th 23.7 +0.1 20.0 19th 32.0 116.6 low 27%
Territory Grape Farm AWS 35.0 -1.3 39.5 3rd 22.0 +0.3 18.4 8th 113.6 73.2 high 155%
Watarrka 35.3 -1.6 40.0 4th 22.5 -0.7 17.5 2nd 94.7 47.0 high 201%
Yuendumu 35.1 -0.1 40.0 10th 22.5 +0.5 19.6 17th 68.6 64.8 high 106%
Yulara Aero AWS 36.7 -0.2 40.7 21st 23.2 +1.1 19.0 2nd 12.0 41.5 average 29%

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 March 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