Northern Territory in March 2010: Dry northwest and wet southeast

March rainfall was below average to very much below average in the northwestern parts of the Territory. Rainfall was above average in the northeastern Top End and Gulf country mainly due to TC Paul which moved through the area during the last week of the month. Above average rainfall was recorded in the southern parts of the Alice Springs District. Maximum temperatures were below average across most of the Territory except the northwest Top End where they were above average. Minimums were generally close to average across the Territory..

Darwin

Darwin was drier and warmer than normal during March 2010. Darwin Airport recorded a below average monthly total of 209mm. The average monthly maximum temperature was 33.3 °C and the minimum 25.3 °C - both values being above their respective long-term means.

Alice Springs

Alice Springs was wetter than normal with a 32.8 mm monthly rainfall total. Alice Springs was much cooler during the day with a mean maximum temperature of 30.1 °C, which was 2.6 °C below long-term average. The average overnight minimum temperature of 17.4 °C was close to the long-term mean.

Rainfall

A few stations in the Darwin Daly District received their lowest March rainfall total on record. Some of the lowest rainfall totals in the district were; Douglas River 24.0 mm (235.7 mm average), Mary River Rangers 50.1 mm (233.2 mm average), Darwin River Dam 86.0 mm (301.6 mm average) and Humpty Doo Collard Road 92.4 mm (average 346.5 mm).
The Arnhem and Roper-McArthur districts received significant rainfall during the last week of the month associated with the presence of Tropical Cyclone Paul in the region.
Southern parts of the Alice Springs District received above average to well above average rainfall during the month.

The wettest overall was 568.6 mm at Alyangula Police, followed by 566.0 mm at Bulman AWS, and then 514.0 mm at Groote Eylandt Airport AWS.

The driest overall was 1.2 mm at Brunchilly, followed by 1.4 mm at Tilmouth Well.

Some sites had their highest total March rainfall on record. Some sites had their highest total March rainfall for at least 20 years. Some sites had their lowest total March rainfall on record. Some sites had their lowest total March rainfall for at least 20 years.

The wettest single day was 442.8 mm at Bulman AWS on the 31st, followed by 215.0 mm at Mainoru Outstation Store on the 31st, and then 183.6 mm at Limmen River on the 31st.

There is a map of rainfall deciles below.

Temperature

Maximum temperature

Daytime temperatures remained warmer across most of the Top End and cooler in southern parts of the Territory.
The northwest Top End remained 1 - 2 °C warmer than normal with areas near Jabiru, Daly River Mouth and the Tiwi Islands recording maximums 2 - 3 °C above the norm. Maximum temperatures in southeastern parts of the Territory remained 2 - 3°C cooler than normal.

The hottest day was 41.1 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 6th, followed by 39.2 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 8th, and then 39.1 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 7th.

The warmest days on average were 36.9 °C at BradshawAWS, followed by 36.4 °C at Kidman Springs, and then 36.1 °C at Timber Creek.

The coolest days on average were 30.1 °C at Alice Springs Airport, followed by 31.0 °C at Gove Airport and Watarrka, and then 31.4 °C at Kulgera.

The coldest day was 18.9 °C at Watarrka on the 13th, followed by 19.5 °C at Arltunga on the 1st, and then 20.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 1st.

Some sites had their highest March mean daily maximum temperature on record. There is a map of maximum temperature anomalies below.

Minimum temperature

Minimums remained within one degree of the long-term mean. Some areas near Oenpelli in the Top End and Kulgera in the Alice Springs District recorded 1 - 2 °C above average minimums during the month.

The coldest night was 10.5 °C at Watarrka on the 12th, followed by 12.1 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 12th, and then 13.0 °C at Watarrka on the 7th and at Yulara Aero AWS on the 7th.

The coolest nights on average were 17.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport, followed by 18.4 °C at Watarrka, and then 18.6 °C at Curtin Springs.

The warmest nights on average were 26.4 °C at McCluer Island AWS, followed by 26.2 °C at Cape Don AWS.

The warmest night was 29.3 °C at Point Fawcett AWS on the 29th, followed by 28.2 °C at McCluer Island AWS on the 8th, and then 28.1 °C at Ngayawili AWSon the 1st.

Some sites had their highest March mean daily minimum temperature on record. There is a map of minimum temperature anomalies below.

Wind

The strongest recorded wind gust was 87 km/h at Ngayawili AWS on the 30th, followed by 83 km/h at Centre Island on the 30th, followed by 78 km/h at Centre Island AWS on the 12th.

Tropical Cyclone Paul

Tropical cyclone Paul formed near the northeast coast of Northern Territory on the 28th. It moved erratically and slowly drifted southwest. It weakened to below cyclone intensity on the 30th. The thunderstorm activity associated with the tropical cyclone caused widespread heavy rainfall in the Arnhem and the Roper-McArthur districts. Coastal areas along the western Gulf of Carpentaria experienced gale force winds during the period.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
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Extremes in March 2010
Hottest day 41.1 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 6th
39.2 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 8th
39.1 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 7th
Warmest days on average 36.9 °C at Bradshaw AWS
36.4 °C at Kidman Springs
36.1 °C at Timber Creek
Coolest days on average 30.1 °C at Alice Springs Airport
31.0 °C at Gove Airport
31.0 °C at Watarrka
31.4 °C at Kulgera
Coldest day 18.9 °C at Watarrka on the 13th
19.5 °C at Arltunga on the 1st
20.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 1st
Coldest night 10.5 °C at Watarrka on the 12th
12.1 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 12th
13.0 °C at Watarrka on the 7th
13.0 °C at Yulara Aero AWS on the 7th
Coolest nights on average 17.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport
18.4 °C at Watarrka
18.6 °C at Curtin Springs
Warmest nights on average 26.4 °C at McCluer Island AWS
26.2 °C at Cape Don AWS
Warmest night 29.3 °C at Point Fawcett AWS on the 29th
28.2 °C at McCluer Island AWS on the 8th
28.1 °C at Ngayawili AWS on the 1st
Wettest overall 568.6 mm at Alyangula Police
566.0 mm at Bulman AWS
514.0 mm at Groote Eylandt Airport AWS
Driest overall 1.2 mm at Brunchilly
1.4 mm at Tilmouth Well
Wettest day 442.8 mm at Bulman AWS on the 31st
215.0 mm at Mainoru Outstation Store on the 31st
183.6 mm at Limmen River on the 31st

Maps

Anomaly in mean maximum temperature

Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature

Anomaly in mean minimum temperature

Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature

Rainfall deciles

Map of Rainfall deciles


Record highest March daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in March 2010 (mm)
Previous highest
for March
Years of
record
Jervois 80.6 on the 1st 71.0 on the 18th in 1983 45
Watarrka 76.0 on the 14th 53.5 on the 21st in 2007 20



Record highest total March rainfall
Total rainfall
for March 2010 (mm)
Previous highest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Alyangula Police 568.6 511.6 in 1999 32 257.9

Highest total March rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for March 2010 (mm)
Most recent higher
for March
Years since
higher
Average for
March
Tobermorey 69.6 187.5 in 1973 21 22.8



Record lowest total March rainfall
Total rainfall
for March 2010 (mm)
Previous lowest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Darwin River Dam 86.0 103.7 in 1979 38 301.6
Douglas River 24.0 63.4 in 1990 35 235.7
Humpty Doo Collard Road 92.8 106.0 in 1987 28 346.5

Lowest total March rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for March 2010 (mm)
Most recent lower
for March
Years since
lower
Average for
March
Oenpelli 101.0 57.3 in 1962 44 280.3
Larrakeyah 90.7 77.4 in 1978 25 357.5
Howard Springs 93.0 64.6 in 1987 23 376.1
Mango Farm 33.1 28.0 in 1987 22 222.1



Record lowest March daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in March 2010 (°C)
Previous lowest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
McArthur River Mine 24.8 on the 31st 25.1 on the 8th in 1989 32 34.9



Record highest March mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for March 2010 (°C)
Previous highest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Mango Farm 35.4 = 35.4 in 2002 28 33.9
Pirlangimpi AWS 33.4 32.7 in 1992 26 31.9



Record highest March mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for March 2010 (°C)
Previous highest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Oenpelli 25.3 = 25.3 in 1998 45 24.4
Warruwi AWS 26.1 26.0 in 1988 43 25.1



Summary statistics for March 2010
Maximum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Rainfall
for March
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2010
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2010
Mean for
March
2010
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2010
Total for
March
2010
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2010
Fraction of
March
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero AWS 34.0 +1.2 36.0 29th 23.8 +0.4 22.2 4th 92.2 257.0 average 36%
Bradshaw AWS 36.9   38.7 29th 24.2   19.6 11th 37.2
Cape Don AWS 32.4   33.6 9th 26.2   22.8 11th 199.0 257.3 low 77%
Central Arnhem Plateau AWS 32.6   35.4 8th 23.1   21.3 18th 89.0
Channel Point 33.4 +1.7 35.0 21st 24.9 +0.5 22.5 12th 202.0 392.8 low 51%
Darwin Airport 33.3 +1.4 35.4 12th 25.3 +0.8 23.4 26th 209.0 323.8 low 65%
Delamere Weapons Range AWS 34.9 +0.7 36.7 7th 23.3 +0.1 21.3 3rd 21.6 178.3 low 12%
Douglas River 35.1 +1.5 37.5 26th 23.4 +0.3 19.3 12th 24.0 235.7 lowest 10%
Dum In Mirrie AWS 32.8 +1.3 35.0 18th 25.4 +0.4 22.7 9th 286.4 354.0 average 81%
Jabiru Airport AWS 34.8 +1.3 36.8 9th 25.0 +0.7 22.6 13th 158.6 325.8 low 49%
Katherine Aviation Museum 33.8 -0.5 36.6 7th 22.9 -0.2 19.8 11th 107.2 207.5 average 52%
Mango Farm 35.4 +1.5 37.5 29th 23.3 -0.3 19.6 12th 33.1 222.1 v low 15%
McCluer Island AWS 32.0 +1.3 33.5 11th 26.4 +0.6 24.2 29th 123.8 223.3 average 55%
Middle Point AWS 34.8   36.5 22nd 24.0   22.1 8th 69.8
Noonamah AWS 35.3   38.1 29th 24.0   22.1 12th 175.8
Oenpelli 34.2 +1.3 35.7 21st 25.3 +0.9 24.2 13th 101.0 280.3 v low 36%
Pine Creek Council 34.2   35.6 6th 24.0   22.1 18th 36.5
Pirlangimpi 33.4 +1.5 34.5 6th 24.4 +0.4 21.8 30th 243.6 362.3 low 67%
Point Fawcett AWS 32.5 +0.9 33.7 23rd 24.7 -0.2 22.2 10th 139.8 236.3 average 59%
Port Keats Aero 35.1   37.2 29th 24.6   19.9 12th 47.0
Tindal RAAF 34.4 +0.3 36.2 7th 23.2 +0.1 19.8 11th 73.8 174.7 low 42%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 31.9 -0.2 34.6 7th 24.4 -0.2 22.6 17th 568.6 257.9 highest 220%
Gove Airport 31.0 -0.2 33.7 7th 23.9 0.0 22.1 8th 334.0 269.8 average 124%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 32.5   35.6 9th 23.3   21.4 22nd 514.0
Maningrida Aero 32.6   35.5 10th 24.9   23.5 18th 178.0
Milingimbi AWS 32.7   35.2 17th 25.1   23.9 11th 158.6
Ngayawili AWS 31.7   34.4 11th 24.7   20.7 4th 174.6
Warruwi AWS 32.5 +1.1 34.0 9th 26.1 +1.0 24.6 15th 111.2 240.0 low 46%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola AWS 32.6 -0.8 36.4 8th 23.1 -0.3 20.4 11th 205.4 156.1 high 132%
Bulman AWS 33.7   37.0 7th 23.0   20.3 11th 566.0
Centre Island 32.3 -0.5 36.0 7th 26.1 -0.2 22.9 31st 380.8 269.6 high 141%
Daly Waters AWS 34.2 -0.4 36.5 7th 21.9 -0.7 17.3 11th 17.0 108.4 low 16%
Larrimah 33.9 -0.2 36.8 7th 21.9 -0.7 17.0 11th 38.4 154.2 low 25%
McArthur River Mine 34.4 -0.5 38.0 9th 24.1 +0.8 21.0 11th 100.8 138.0 average 73%
Ngukurr     38.0 6th 24.8 +0.9 23.0 11th 46.0 172.4 low 27%
Wollogorang 32.9 -1.6 37.4 7th 22.5 -0.2 19.2 10th 123.8 163.7 average 76%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 36.4 +0.9 38.9 29th 23.6 +0.2 18.5 11th 28.0 131.6 low 21%
Lajamanu AWS 34.5 -0.2 38.1 7th 21.7 -0.4 16.6 11th 41.6 79.7 average 52%
Timber Creek 36.1 +0.7 38.4 7th 23.6 0.0 19.7 11th 46.1 167.0 low 28%
Victoria River Downs 35.4 +0.3 38.0 7th 23.3 +0.1 17.5 11th 57.8 109.1 average 53%
Wave Hill 35.5 +0.1 37.8 7th 21.7 -0.4 16.4 11th 19.8 118.9 low 17%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 33.5 -1.7 36.2 29th 22.0 -0.3 19.0 10th 38.4 54.8 average 70%
Elliott 34.6 -1.1 38.0 7th 22.2 -0.1 19.0 12th 36.8 87.5 low 42%
Tennant Creek Airport 33.2 -1.2 37.0 6th 22.6 -0.7 19.2 3rd 13.0 55.7 average 23%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 30.1 -2.6 34.3 5th 17.4 -0.1 12.1 12th 32.8 31.4 high 104%
Curtin Springs 32.3 -1.4 38.8 5th 18.6 +0.2 14.0 7th 29.5 28.4 high 104%
Jervois 31.8 -2.9 35.4 29th 19.3 +0.1 16.0 10th 94.0 29.9 high 314%
Kulgera 31.4 -0.8 37.1 28th 19.1 +1.1 14.4 8th 20.6 32.0 average 64%
Rabbit Flat 35.5 -0.5 41.1 6th 21.7 +0.1 18.9 4th 57.6 69.8 average 83%
Territory Grape Farm AWS 31.8 -2.5 36.3 6th 18.7 -0.9 14.4 10th 17.8 18.6 average 96%
Watarrka 31.0 -3.5 37.1 5th 18.4 -2.3 10.5 12th 140.2 27.9 v high 503%
Yuendumu 32.4 -0.9 37.5 6th 18.9 -0.8 16.5 2nd 57.7 45.3 high 127%
Yulara Aero AWS 32.3 -2.1 38.8 5th 18.8 -0.3 13.0 7th 35.8 31.9 high 112%

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 3 pm on Thursday 1 April 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