Northern Territory in October 2013: Top End thunderstomrs and heat in the Centre

  • Records:
    • 4 new daily maximum temperature records
      • Alice Springs Airport sees Hottest October Day on record
    • 2 daily rainfall records set and 3 monthly total rainfall records set
      • Geriatric Park sees triple their October average rainfall
  • Temperatures (NT Average):
    • Mean - 1.22 °C above average and highest in five years
    • Maximum (daytime) - 8th highest on record
    • Minimum (overnight) - 0.69 °C above average and highest in five years
  • Rainfall:
    • Record setting rainfall event over northwest Top End on the 23rd
  • Extremes:
    • Hottest day was 39.7 °C at Timber Creek on the 20th
    • Coldest night was -1.6 °C at Arltunga on the 4th

 

Thunderstorms return to the western Top End

October marks the first month of the wet season and is often characterized by occasional isolated afternoon thunderstorms. This month these storms occurred mostly over the western Top End and were associated with heavy rainfall and strong winds. Places like Port Keats Aero and Geriatric Park near Dundee Beach saw record high rainfall, this month, as some storms moved over these locations. Strong, and at times damaging winds were were measured with a few storms early in the month. On the 3rd a series of thunder storms moved over the western Top End as Central Arnhem Plateau measured a wind gust of 89 km/h, the strongest recorded in the NT this month. There were a series of reports of damage from these winds on the 3rd.

Alice Springs Hot Days

Alice Springs Airport is on track to record its hottest calendar year on record, and October was no exception to the string of really hot months. The mean daily maximum temperature for October at Alice Springs was 32.6 °C, 1.7 °C above normal. Alice Springs Airport exceeded 40 °C on three days this month, this is another first for Alice Springs (2002 was the first October to break 40 °C on twice in the same month). Alice Springs Airport also set a new record for highest October daily maximum temperature with 42.6 °C on the 10th, the previous record 41.7 °C set on 24 October last year.

Rainfall

There were a few rainfall events over the western Top End, this month, bringing high rainfall totals and breaking some rainfall records at some locations. The wettest single day was at Geriatric Park with 127.2 mm on the 28th (their highest October daily rainfall on record), followed by Darwin Botanic Gardens with 67.8 mm on the 24th, followed by Stokes Hill with 63.0 mm on the 24th. When summed over the whole month, the wettest overall was Geriatric Park with 273.0 mm, followed by Darwin Bowls Club with 174.4 mm, followed by Shoal Bay with 161.4 mm. Darwin Airport finished the month with 98.2 mm, which is 27.6 mm above the long-term average.

When averaged across the NT the mean rainfall was 7.11 mm. This is 11.72 mm (62.2%) below the long term average. The Top End saw a strong rainfall gradient from west to east, this month. With places in the west, such as Port Keats Aero setting a new October total rainfall record while Gove Airport in the eastern Top End did not receive any rain this month. The Alice Springs District also saw little-to-no rainfall this month. Alice Springs Airport ended the month with 0.0 mm, the driest October since 2009.

Temperature

When averaged across the Northern Territory the monthly mean temperature (average of daily maximum and daily minimum) was 28.55 °C, which is 1.22 °C above normal for October and the hottest since 2008. High maximum temperatures were the strongest contributor to the mean temperature anomaly this month. A lack of cloud cover and persistent high pressure are two factors that contributed to the high temperatures.

The warmest on average was Bradshaw with 32.7 °C, followed by Katherine Country Club with 32.1 °C, and then Timber Creek with 32.0 °C. The coolest on average was Arltunga with 22.4 °C, followed by Kulgera with 22.8 °C, and then Alice Springs Airport with 23.2 °C.

Maximum temperature

The mean daily maximum temperatures were above average for all of the NT with most of the Barkley and Arnhem Land seeing close to record maximum temperatures this month. When averaged across the Territory, the average mean daily maximum temperature was 36.26 °C, which is the 8th highest on record and 1.73 °C above average

Early in the month saw a spell of hot weather in the Alice Springs District. The hottest single day in the Territory was at Rabbit Flat with 43.3 °C on the 10th, followed by Lajamanu with 42.6 °C on the 9th, and Alice Springs Airport also with 42.6 °C on the 10th, which is their highest October temperature on record at Alice Springs. Bradshaw and Timber Creek both had 42.5 °C on the 9th.

The warmest days on average were at Bradshaw with 40.0 °C, followed by Victoria River Downs with 39.9 °C, followed by Timber Creek with 39.8 °C. The coolest days on average were at McCluer Island with 30.8 °C, followed by Kulgera with 31.3 °C, and then Arltunga with 32.0 °C. Lajamanu was among the sites had their highest October mean daily maximum temperature on record.

The lowest daily maximum temperature was at Kulgera with 23.3 °C on the 14th, followed by Arltunga with 23.6 °C on the 14th, and then Kulgera again with 23.8 °C on the 13th, and Alice Springs Airport also with 23.8 °C on the 23rd.

Minimum temperature

Minimum temperatures were generally above average across the northern half of the NT while near average to below average in the Alice Springs District. When averaged across the NT the mean daily maximum temperature for October was 28.8 °C, highest since 2008 and 0.69 C above average. The warmest night was at Wave Hill with 30.2 °C on the 10th, followed by Rabbit Flat with 28.9 °C on the 11th, followed by Delamere Weapons Range with 28.6 °C on the 10th. This was a new record for the highest daily minimum temperature for October at Wave Hill and Delamere.

The warmest nights on average were at McCluer Island with 26.6 °C, followed by Cape Don with 26.4 °C, followed by Darwin Harbour with 26.1 °C.

There were no new low minimum temperature records set for October this year. The coldest night in the NT was at Arltunga with 4.7 °C on the 5th, and again at Arltunga with 5.4 °C on the 16th, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 6.0 °C on the 4th.

The coolest nights on average were at Arltunga with 13.1 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 13.9 °C, and then Curtin Springs and Kulgera both with 14.8 °C.

Wind

There were several strong wind events in the Northern Territory, this month. Most were associated with thunderstorm activity across the western Top End. The strongest wind gust was at Central Arnhem Plateau with 89 km/h on the 3rd, followed by Lajamanu with 78 km/h on the 17th, followed by Douglas River with 76 km/h on the 19th, and then Douglas River which recorded a wind gust of 76 km/h on the 19th, 20th and 27th.

Further information

Media
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Extremes in October 2013
Hottest day 43.3 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 10th
Warmest days on average 40.0 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 30.8 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 23.3 °C at Kulgera on the 14th
Coldest night 4.7 °C at Arltunga on the 5th
Coolest nights on average 13.1 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 26.6 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 30.2 °C at Wave Hill on the 10th
Warmest on average overall 32.7 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest on average overall 22.4 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 273.0 mm at Geriatric Park
Wettest day 127.2 mm at Geriatric Park on the 28th
Highest wind gust 89 km/h at Central Arnhem Plateau on the 3rd

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall 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

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest October daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in October 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for October
Years of
record
Stokes Hill 63.0 on the 24th 53.8 on the 15th in 2008 24
Geriatric Park 127.2 on the 28th 93.2 on the 22nd in 1998 17
Ngayawili 22.8 on the 15th 18.0 on the 8th in 2003 15



Record highest total October rainfall
Total rainfall
for October 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for October
Years of
record
Average for
October
Geriatric Park 273.0 194.2 in 1999 17 85.9
Port Keats Aero 143.2 132.6 in 2010 14 45.9

Highest total October rainfall for at least 10 years
Total rainfall
for October 2013 (mm)
Most recent October
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
October
Darwin Botanic Gardens 153.4 180.1 in 1992* 20 66.1
Stokes Hill 158.4 262.9 in 1978* 16 64.5
Tipperary 64.5 85.8 in 2000* 10 45.0

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.





Record highest October temperature
Highest temperature
in October 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for October
Years of
record
Average for
October
Alice Springs Airport 42.6 on the 10th 41.7 on the 24th in 2012 72 30.9
Mango Farm 41.5 on the 9th = 41.5 on the 4th in 2003 33 37.4
Pirlangimpi 37.7 on the 10th = 37.7 on the 22nd in 2008 30 33.4
Point Fawcett 36.3 on the 26th = 36.3 on the 17th in 2009 16 32.9



Record highest October mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for October 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for October
Years of
record
Average for
October
Pirlangimpi 35.0 34.9 in 2008 29 33.4
Lajamanu 39.4 39.2 in 2002 20 37.1
Borroloola 38.3 = 38.3 in 2002 19 36.6

Highest October mean daily maximum temperature for at least 10 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for October 2013 (°C)
Most recent October
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
October
Victoria River Downs 39.9 40.4 in 1971 42 37.8
Brunette Downs 39.0 39.4 in 1988 25 36.7
Centre Island 34.3 34.4 in 1988* 24 33.0
Tindal RAAF 39.3 39.4 in 1988* 22 37.5
Daly Waters 39.6 40.0 in 2002 11 37.2
Delamere Weapons Range 39.0 39.4 in 2002 11 37.3
Jabiru Airport 38.9 39.1 in 2002 11 37.6
Mango Farm 38.8 39.0 in 2002 11 37.4
McArthur River Mine 39.4 39.6 in 2002 11 37.8
Wollogorang 38.4 38.8 in 2002 11 36.6

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.




Record highest October daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in October 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for October
Years of
record
Average for
October
Wave Hill 30.2 on the 10th 30.0 on the 13th in 1998 40 21.6
Delamere Weapons Range 28.6 on the 10th 28.0 on the 30th in 2005 17 23.8



Summary statistics for October 2013
Maximum temperatures
for October
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for October
(°C)
Rainfall
for October
(millimetres)
Mean for
October
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
October
2013
Mean for
October
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
October
2013
Total for
October
2013
Average
for
October
Rank of
October
2013
Fraction of
October
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 36.6 -0.1 38.9 10th 23.2 +0.2 21.1 2nd 64.0 68.3 average 94%
Black Point 33.2 +0.5 35.1 18th 24.6 0.0 22.1 6th 7.8 12.3 average 63%
Bradshaw 40.0 +1.3 42.5 9th 25.5 +0.7 19.5 5th 48.2 25.9 high 186%
Cape Don 34.5   36.6 30th 26.4   23.3 15th 23.6 26.4 average 89%
Central Arnhem Plateau 37.4   39.4 26th 22.7   18.0 1st 0.4 35.3 low 1%
Croker Island Airport 34.0   36.4 5th 24.9   23.2 5th 0.2
Darwin Airport 34.0 +0.8 36.6 10th 24.7 -0.2 20.5 26th 98.2 70.6 high 139%
Darwin NTC 32.7   35.3 10th 26.1   20.6 4th
Delamere Weapons Range 39.0 +1.7 41.3 9th 24.9 +1.1 18.2 5th 18.2 33.0 average 55%
Douglas River 39.0 +1.5 41.2 9th 22.8 +0.5 17.3 5th 57.0 37.8 high 151%
Dum In Mirrie 32.9 +0.2 35.1 16th 25.0 -0.6 21.9 19th 110.4 70.0 average 158%
Gunn Point 33.6   37.0 10th 23.2   20.9 2nd 80.2
Jabiru Airport 38.9 +1.3 40.5 19th 24.4 +0.5 22.3 2nd 1.8 40.2 low 4%
Katherine Country Club 39.3   41.5 9th 24.9   18.9 5th 14.4
Mango Farm 38.8 +1.4 41.5 9th 22.0 -0.2 17.5 5th 41.0 44.2 average 93%
McCluer Island 30.8 +0.2 32.3 16th 26.6 +0.5 24.7 5th 0 7.7 lowest 0%
Middle Point 38.1 +0.9 40.3 9th 22.2 +0.1 19.5 11th 41.2 49.4 average 83%
Murganella Airstrip 34.5   37.8 9th 22.3   18.1 5th 14.0
Noonamah (Mkt) 36.6   38.6 10th 23.6   20.9 2nd 85.2
Oenpelli Airport 38.2   39.9 25th 22.7   19.8 1st 55.4
Pirlangimpi 35.0 +1.6 37.7 10th 23.5 +0.5 21.8 2nd 129.6 83.0 average 156%
Point Fawcett 33.3 +0.4 36.3 26th 23.3 -0.5 20.4 2nd 86.2 68.5 average 126%
Point Stuart 34.9   36.2 10th 24.6   22.6 2nd 0.8 49.3 low 2%
Port Keats Aero 34.5 +0.1 36.9 10th 24.5 +0.5 22.1 5th 143.2 45.9 highest 312%
Tindal RAAF 39.3 +1.8 41.1 26th 24.3 +0.2 18.4 5th 5.6 34.9 average 16%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 33.1   34.1 19th 25.4   23.2 3rd 2.2 13.0 average 17%
Gove Airport 32.6 +0.9 34.8 25th 21.2 -0.4 17.5 5th 0 11.1 lowest 0%
Groote Eylandt Airport 34.3 +0.1 36.3 25th 21.2 +0.1 14.2 5th 25.2 27.7 average 91%
Maningrida Aero 33.5 +0.4 36.0 4th 23.3 +0.3 20.6 5th 11.0 14.7 average 75%
Milingimbi 33.1 +0.3 36.0 25th 23.9 +0.3 19.9 5th 13.0 11.0 average 118%
Ngayawili 33.3 +0.7 35.4 15th 22.2 -0.5 18.7 5th 23.0 9.4 high 245%
North East Island 32.6   33.6 10th 24.8   21.6 27th 30.0 7.0 high 429%
Warruwi 32.9 +0.4 36.0 9th 25.8 +0.5 23.6 5th 46.4 12.2 v high 380%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 38.3 +1.7 41.3 25th 21.7 +0.2 15.6 5th 0.8 14.9 average 5%
Centre Island 34.3 +1.3 37.0 8th 25.6 +0.7 23.1 5th 0 8.3 lowest 0%
Daly Waters 39.6 +2.4 41.4 9th 21.6 +0.5 12.8 4th 3.4 22.9 average 15%
McArthur River Mine 39.4 +1.6 41.8 8th 23.4 +2.3 15.9 5th 4.4 20.3 average 22%
Ngukurr 39.4   41.3 8th 22.8   16.5 5th 2.4
Wollogorang 38.4 +1.8 41.7 9th 21.3 +1.5 13.2 5th 4.2 25.9 average 16%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu 39.4 +2.3 42.6 9th 21.8 +1.4 12.1 5th 0 20.3 lowest 0%
Timber Creek 39.8 +1.5 42.5 9th 24.3 +0.3 14.6 6th 55.8 29.0 high 192%
Victoria River Downs 39.9 +2.1 42.4 22nd 23.7 +1.4 14.5 6th 6.8 19.4 average 35%
Wave Hill 39.4 +1.8 42.0 9th 23.6 +2.0 18.6 17th 14.8 28.9 average 51%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 39.0 +2.3 41.9 13th 22.8 +2.2 15.1 8th 0.4 15.4 average 3%
Tennant Creek Airport 36.7 +2.0 40.9 10th 22.8 +1.1 17.9 4th 9.0 20.3 average 44%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 32.6 +1.7 42.6 10th 13.9 -0.9 6.0 4th 0 21.1 lowest 0%
Arltunga 32.0 +1.1 40.2 21st 13.1 -1.5 4.7 5th 0 22.1 lowest 0%
Curtin Springs 33.9 +2.3 42.0 20th 14.8 +0.5 9.0 15th 1.0 18.8 average 5%
Kulgera 31.3 +1.1 40.5 20th 14.8 -0.1 9.1 4th 0.4 21.6 low 2%
Rabbit Flat 38.9 +1.9 43.3 10th 18.8 +0.3 8.6 5th 1.0 21.4 low 5%
Territory Grape Farm 35.1 +2.0 40.7 10th 16.0 +0.4 8.2 4th 0 15.9 lowest 0%
Walungurru 36.9 +1.2 41.8 20th 21.1 +0.4 17.7 14th 6.2 18.8 average 33%
Yulara Aero 34.0 +2.0 41.4 9th 14.9 +0.1 9.1 5th 0 22.3 lowest 0%

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 8 am on Friday 1 November 2013. 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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is being used for temperature area averages from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries