Northern Territory in October 2012: A dry start to the wet

  • Below average rainfall across the Territory
  • Hot days across the south and the Top End
  • Relatively cool nights throughtout

Hottest October day for Alice Springs

On October 24th at 14:30 hours, the temperature at the Alice Springs Airport reached 41.7 C, equaling the previous hottest Ocotber day record set on 18 October 2002. This came at the end of a hot spell for the Alice Springs which saw 9 consecutive days above 37 °C, a new record for an October hot spell of that magnitude.

Darwin Northern Suburb wettest October

On the morning of Sunday the 29th, a slow moving trough crossed over the western Top End. The rainfall was a classic example of very localised heavy rainfall over Darwin as both the northern suburbs and the region from Humpty Doo to the Cox Peninsula received more than 40 mm while the Airport and the immidiate suburbs to the south, including the city, missed out (The Airport recorded only 6 mm for the day). Leanyer managed to pick up 110.8 mm, their highest October daily total in 23 years worth of records.

Rainfall

October heralds the beginnig of the wet season across northern Australia, however, raingauges across most of the NT were left empty. Areas across the southern Darwin - Daly, Roper McArthur and Barkly received below average rainfall while Victoria River and eastern Alice Springs Districs were very much below average. Area averaged, the Northern Territory only managed to receive 5.77 mm of rain, well below the average of 18.82 mm.

Throughout October, rain fell over Darwin Airport on 10 days, 3 more rain days that the average, yet it only manage to received 14.6 mm of rain which is well below the monthly average of 71.0 mm. Conversely over the south, Uluru just managed 0.4 mm of rain (average is 26.7 mm) and Alice Springs 0.6 (average is 21.7 mm). Only the Tiwi Islands, Darwin's northern suburbs, and the far southeastern corner of the Arnhem Land managed to get above average rainfall with Pirlangimpi picking up 166.4 mm of rain in 13 days, nearly twice as much as their monthly average rainfall of 83.6 mm.

The wettest overall was Pirlangimpi with 166.4 mm, followed by Leanyer with 147.2 mm and then by CSIRO Berrimah with 109.1 mm.

The wettest single day was on the 28th when Leanyer recieved 110.8 mm (their highest October daily rainfall on record), followed by The Chase with 79.0 mm and then by Karama had 74.4 mm.

Temperature

During Ocotber, the overall mean temperature (average of daily maximum and daily minimum temperature) was above average across the far southern NT and the Tiwi Islands while below average mean temperatures were only observed in the far southern Darwin - Daly and Victoria River districs. Everywhere else across the Territory was average with a mean area averaged temperature of 27.3 °C.

The warmest on average was Bradshaw with 31.6 °C, followed by Timber Creek with 31.0 °C and then Jabiru Airport with 30.8 °C.

The coolest on average was Arltunga with 22.5 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 23.4 °C and then Kulgera with 23.4 °C.

Maximum temperature

Maximum temperatures were above average across the Top End and the Alice Springs District, with areas in the far south and far northwest experiencing very much above average. During the month, two hot spells affected the southern NT as high pressure systems over the Tasman directed hot northerly winds across the region ahead of slow moving troughs. The first hot spell earlier in the month was short lived as it lasted only from about the 5th to the 9th bringing daytime temperautres 7 to 8 °C warmer than usual. Maximum temperatures in the Roper - McArthur, Victoria River and Bakly Districs were around average just a degree cooler than the norm. The second hot spell lasted from about the 16th to the 24th with temperatures up to 10 C warmer than usual. Alice Springs Airport recorded 11 consecutive days above their monthly average, including 9 days above 37 °C. Alice Springs Airport tied their highest October temperature on record with 41.7 °C on the 24th. Overall, when averaged across the NT, the mean daily maximum temperature for the month was 35.5 C, just one degree above normal.

The hottest day this month was recorded at Rabbit Flat with 42.8 °C on the 10th, followed by Lajamanu with 42.2 °C on the same day, and then Walungurru with 42.2 °C on the 23rd.

The warmest days on average were at Bradshaw with 39.2 °C, followed by Timber Creek with 39.0 °C, and then by Douglas River with 38.5 °C.

The coolest days on average were at McCluer Island with 30.5 °C, followed by North East Island with 31.5 °C and then by Arltunga with 31.6 °C.

The coldest day was at Arltunga with 20.4 °C on the 26th, followed by Jervois with 21.6 °C also on the 26th and then by Arltunga with 22.0 °C on the 12th.

Minimum temperature

Daily minimum temperatures across the entire Northern Territory were below average by about 1 to 2 degrees. An area extending from the base of the Top End into the Victoria River had the coolest nights of the months with very much below average temperatures reaching up to 3 degrees below the norm. Minimum temperatures at Daly Waters dropped to 9.9 C on the 14th, their coolest in 43 years worth of records while Lajamanu dropped to 9.0 C on the same night, their coldest in 20 years worth of records.

The coldest night was at Alice Springs Airport with 4.0 °C on the 13th, followed by Arltunga with 4.8 °C on the 13th and then Alice Springs Airport with 4.9 °C on the 2nd.

The coolest nights on average were at Arltunga with 13.3 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 13.5 °C and then Yulara Aero with 14.4 °C.

The warmest nights on average were at McCluer Island with 26.3 °C, followed by Cape Don with 25.9 °C and then Darwin Harbour with 25.8 °C.

The warmest night was at Timber Creek with 28.0 °C on the 28th, followed by Bradshaw with 27.9 °C on the 31st and then by Katherine Country Club with 27.9 °C on the 31st.

Some sites, including Daly Waters and Wollogorang, had their lowest October temperature on record. Walungurru their warmest October night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record with 27.7 on the 22nd. Lajamanu and Rabbit Flat both had their lowest October mean daily minimum temperature on record.

Wind

The strongest wind gust recorded in the Northern Territory during October 2012 was at Walungurru with 87 km/h on the 24th as gusty, northerly winds spread across the Alice Spring District ahead of a cool change.

Further information

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Extremes in October 2012
Hottest day 42.8 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 10th
Warmest days on average 39.2 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 30.5 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 20.4 °C at Arltunga on the 26th
Coldest night 4.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 13th
Coolest nights on average 13.3 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 26.3 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 28.0 °C at Timber Creek on the 28th
Warmest on average overall 31.6 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest on average overall 22.5 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 166.4 mm at Pirlangimpi
Wettest day 110.8 mm at Leanyer on the 28th
Highest wind gust 87 km/h at Walungurru on the 24th

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of monthly rainfall anomaly Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Record highest October daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall (mm) Previous wettest (mm) Years of
record
Leanyer 110.8 on the 28th 63.4 on the 31st in 2010 23



Record highest October temperature
Highest temperature (°C) Previous warmest Years of
record
Average for
October
Alice Springs Airport 41.7 on the 24th = 41.7 on the 18th in 2002 71 30.9



Record highest October daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature (°C)
Previous warmest
Years of
record
Average for
October
Walungurru 27.7 on the 22nd 27.5 on the 21st in 2008 12 20.7



Record lowest October temperature
Lowest temperature (°C) Previous coolest
Years of
record
Average for
October
Daly Waters 9.9 on the 14th 10.0 on the 2nd in 2002 43 21.2
Wollogorang 10.0 on the 14th 10.7 on the 6th in 2009 31 19.8
Lajamanu 9.0 on the 14th 10.0 on the 13th in 2003 20 20.5



Record lowest October mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for October 2012 (°C)
Previous coolest
for October
Years of
record
Average for
October
Lajamanu 18.1 18.3 in 2003 19 20.5
Rabbit Flat 15.9 16.1 in 2003 15 18.6



Summary statistics for October 2012
Maximum temperatures
for October
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for October
(°C)
Rainfall
for October
(millimetres)
Mean for
October
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
October
2012
Mean for
October
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
October
2012
Total for
October
2012
Average
for
October
Rank of
October
2012
Fraction of
October
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 36.2 -0.6 37.6 23rd 23.1 +0.1 20.8 3rd 58.6 68.5 average 86%
Black Point 32.9 +0.2 34.7 2nd 24.5 -0.2 21.4 7th 3.2 12.4 average 26%
Bradshaw 39.2 +0.5 41.6 10th 24.1 -0.8 15.6 3rd 5.8 24.4 low 24%
Cape Don 33.7   35.2 13th 25.9   24.2 1st 5.4 26.5 average 20%
Central Arnhem Plateau 35.0   37.3 9th 21.6   16.3 2nd 27.0
Croker Island Airport 33.6   35.7 18th 24.5   22.0 7th 1.0
Darwin Airport 33.9 +0.7 36.6 13th 24.3 -0.6 22.6 1st 14.6 70.2 low 21%

Darwin Harbour

32.6   34.6 13th 25.8   22.3 28th
Delamere Weapons Range 37.8 +0.5 41.1 10th 23.4 -0.4 18.4 14th 0 33.9 lowest 0%
Douglas River 38.5 +1.0 40.9 27th 22.0 -0.4 15.3 3rd 7.0 37.4 average 19%
Dum In Mirrie 32.7 0.0 35.5 12th 25.2 -0.4 22.2 2nd 14.8 67.6 low 22%
Jabiru Airport 37.9 +0.3 39.5 11th 23.8 -0.1 19.8 2nd 26.8 41.2 average 65%
Katherine Country Club 38.1   40.1 29th 23.7   16.1 3rd 3.2
Mango Farm 37.6 +0.2 39.8 10th 21.5 -0.8 15.3 3rd 2.7 44.2 v low 6%
McCluer Island 30.5 -0.1 32.2 23rd 26.3 +0.2 23.8 7th 0 8.2 lowest 0%
Middle Point 36.7 -0.6 39.3 11th 21.7 -0.5 18.6 14th 43.8 50.1 average 87%
Noonamah 37.3   39.1 27th 22.4   19.8 14th 18.6
Oenpelli Airport 38.0   39.5 11th 22.6   17.9 2nd 4.8
Pirlangimpi 33.7 +0.3 36.4 14th 23.2 +0.2 20.7 1st 166.4 81.8 high 203%
Point Fawcett 32.6 -0.3 33.7 14th 22.5 -1.4 19.6 3rd 76.2 67.4 average 113%
Port Keats Aero 34.0 -0.4 37.3 11th 23.1 -0.9 17.3 15th 58.0 38.4 high 151%
Tindal RAAF 38.0 +0.5 39.9 9th 23.2 -0.9 15.4 3rd 0.2 35.8 low 1%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.7   33.8 15th 25.1   23.1 9th 5.8 13.5 average 43%
Gove Airport 32.2 +0.5 35.5 28th 21.5 -0.1 17.7 6th 7.8 11.4 high 68%
Groote Eylandt Airport 33.4 -0.8 36.8 10th 20.5 -0.6 15.0 2nd 26.8 27.9 average 96%
Maningrida Aero 33.5   35.9 12th 22.8   16.9 2nd 0.6 15.1 average 4%
Milingimbi 32.9   34.4 13th 23.6   19.9 2nd 0.6 10.8 average 6%
Ngayawili 32.9 +0.3 34.6 24th 22.4 -0.3 20.0 6th 0 8.4 lowest 0%
North East Island 31.5   33.2 28th 24.5   22.5 3rd 2.4 6.0 high 40%
Warruwi 33.0 +0.5 34.1 30th 25.5 +0.2 23.7 19th 0 11.9 lowest 0%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 36.7 +0.1 40.0 9th 20.5 -1.1 13.7 14th 0 15.7 lowest 0%
Bulman 37.3 -1.1 39.8 10th 20.5 -1.2 15.3 3rd 28.4 22.6 high 126%
Daly Waters 37.8 +0.6 40.9 10th 18.4 -2.8 9.9 14th 21.2 23.3 average 91%
McArthur River Mine 37.5 -0.3 41.0 10th 21.0 -0.1 11.7 14th 0 20.7 lowest 0%
Ngukurr 37.6   41.0 9th 22.3   16.5 14th 0.2
Wollogorang 37.1 +0.5 40.5 9th 18.4 -1.4 10.0 14th 15.8 26.5 average 60%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu     42.2 10th 18.1 -2.4 9.0 14th 0 20.7 lowest 0%
Timber Creek 39.0 +0.7 41.7 30th 23.1 -0.9 15.6 4th 0.4 28.1 v low 1%
Victoria River Downs 38.2 +0.4 41.5 30th 20.2 -2.2 11.3 16th 0 19.5 lowest 0%
Wave Hill     40.5 10th 20.1 -1.5 11.0 14th 0 29.3 lowest 0%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 36.7 0.0 41.6 23rd 19.1 -1.6 11.5 13th 0 15.5 lowest 0%
Elliott 36.9 -1.1 41.4 10th 19.5 -1.4 12.7 15th 0 22.8 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 35.1 +0.4 40.3 10th 20.9 -0.8 14.2 12th 3.0 20.5 low 15%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 33.3 +2.4 41.7 24th 13.5 -1.3 4.0 13th 0.6 21.4 low 3%
Arltunga 31.6 +0.8 39.6 24th 13.3 -1.4 4.8 13th 4.2 22.4 low 19%
Curtin Springs 33.6 +2.0 42.0 23rd 14.9 +0.7 6.0 3rd 3.0 19.0 average 16%
Jervois 33.6 +0.4 41.6 24th 15.8 +0.2 8.4 13th 0.2 15.4 low 1%
Kulgera 31.9 +1.8 40.2 23rd 15.1 +0.2 5.3 2nd 0 22.1 lowest 0%
Rabbit Flat 37.2 +0.2 42.8 10th 15.9 -2.7 7.8 3rd 28.6 22.6 average 127%
Territory Grape Farm 33.9 +0.9 39.5 23rd 15.2 -0.4 6.6 13th 6.0 16.5 average 36%
Walungurru 36.1 +0.5 42.2 23rd 20.3 -0.4 13.8 11th 1.4 19.8 average 7%
Yulara Aero 33.9 +2.0 41.3 23rd 14.4 -0.4 6.3 3rd 0.4 23.3 v low 2%

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 4 pm on Wednesday 31 October 2012. 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 all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, 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