Northern Territory in February 2014: Cool with average rainfall

The month began with a continuation of monsoonal conditions over the Northern half of the NT. Temperatures stayed down for most of the month and for the first time in over a year more low temperature records were set than high temperature records.

  • Coolest February since 1976
  • Active monsoon brought plenty of rainfall

Month begins with a monsoon

The month began with monsoon conditions already in place over the Top End. Heavy falls over the western Top End during the last few days of January and the early February rose the Adelaide River above major flood levels with a peak of 10.67 metres at 2:00 am on February 1st at Adelaide River Township. As part of these monsoonal storms, Douglas River measured 207.2 mm in the 24 hours to 9am of the 1st, new February daily rainfall record at this site.

On the 4th and 5th a surface trough moved across the continent bringing rainfall to the Alice Springs District, including 44 mm at Alice Springs Airport over the two days. While this was not a record, it was still a significant amount of rainfall equaling the monthly mean for February at Alice Springs over the course of only two days.

Another series of heavy falls occurred on the 18th over the northwest Top End . While the large-scale monsoonal pattern was beginning to dissipate, a band of convection formed in the early morning bringing heavy rainfall to a very narrow area including Darwin and the surrounding rural region. By the 9:00 am reading on the 18th, Black Point had accumulated 205.6 mm over the 24 hour period and Walker Creek had set a new February daily rainfall on record with 262.0 mm.

The monsoon activity waned toward the end of the month. When averaged across the Territory, February's total rainfall was 169.2 mm which is almost 40% higher than the long term average.

Coolest February since 1976

The mean temperature (average of daily maximum and daily minimum) for the Northern Territory this month was 27.8 °C, this is 1.5 °C below normal for February and represents the coolest February mean temperature since 1976. This came about by a combination of low daytime temperatures and cool nights due to monsoon activity in the north and fresh winds and a few passing storms in the south.

Thick cloud meant cool days in the tropics

On average, the Northern Territory saw cooler than normal days this month. The average daytime maximum temperature in the NT was 33.1 °C which is 2.3 °C below normal for this time of year and is the coolest February in the NT in 21 years (since 1993). The cool temperatures in the north were mostly attributed to the thick cloud cover and monsoonal rainfall for most of the month. After the monsoons retreated temperatures returned to normal across the Top End. There were two sites that experienced their lowest February mean daily maximum temperature on record, these were Rabbit Flat and Port Keats (Wadeye) Aero.

Even with the overall cool weather, there were a few hot days this month, especially in the south. The hottest day in the NT this month was at Jervois with 41.8 °C on the 14th when a low pressure system over the Kimberly and a high over the Tasman pulled warm air south over the Red Centre.

Mild overnight temperatures

The monsoonal conditions kept the overnight temperatures close to normal, if not a little cooler than normal, for most of the month. Across the desert regions, the relatively cool days allowed for the nights to remain relatively cool also.

Milingimbi Airport recorded their lowest February temperature on record, this month, with 21.9 °C on the 22nd. When averaged across the month Bradshaw, Port Keats (Wadeye) and Walungurru each had their lowest February mean daily minimum temperature on record. There were no high minimum temperature records set this month. The Territory as a whole ended the month with a mean daily minimum temperature of 22.5 °C, 0.75 °C below normal for February. The coldest night in the NT this month was at Kulgera with 11.2 °C on the 23rd and the the warmest night was at Curtin Springs with 29.0 °C on the 11th.

Wind

A few monsoonal lows around the north coast provided some strong wind gusts this month. The strongest wind gust was at Cape Wessel with 94 km/h on the 19th, followed by McCluer Island with 87 km/h and Cape Wessel with 85 km/h on the 4th. There were no tropical cyclones to cross the Northern Territory coast this month and very few gusty storms.

Darwin Region

Monsoon activity at Darwin saw several burst and break periods throughout the month. The first few days saw a very active monsoon but after that much of the monsoon activity moved inland. When the monsoon trough was located to the south, Darwin and the surrounding area was mostly on the fringe of the heavy rainfall region. The highest rainfall total came overnight and early morning of the 18th when a narrow band of convection formed over the northwest Top End and Darwin Airport received 108.2 mm in the space of a few hours. Darwin Airport ended the month with 366.0 mm which fell over 21 days of rain and is 8.5 mm below the long-term average for February.

Daytime temperatures were near average at Darwin Airport this month, with a mean daily maximum temperature of 31.3 °C. High humidity levels kept overnight minimum temperatures slightly warmer than average at Darwin; Darwin Airport ended the month with a mean daily minimum temperature of 25.2 °C, this is 0.5 °C above average.

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Extremes in February 2014
Hottest day 41.8 °C at Jervois on the 14th
Warmest days on average 35.8 °C at Curtin Springs
Coolest days on average 30.4 °C at Central Arnhem Plateau
Coldest day 22.6 °C at Arltunga on the 26th
Coldest night 11.2 °C at Kulgera on the 23rd
Coolest nights on average 20.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 26.3 °C at North East Island
Warmest night 29.0 °C at Curtin Springs on the 11th
Warmest on average overall 29.6 °C at Ngukurr Airport
Coolest on average overall 26.5 °C at Central Arnhem Plateau
Wettest overall 842.7 mm at Walker Creek
Driest overall 8.8 mm at Undoolya
Wettest day 262.0 mm at Walker Creek on the 18th
Highest wind gust 94 km/h at Cape Wessel on the 19th

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 February daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in February 2014 (mm)
Previous wettest
for February
Years of
record
Douglas River 207.2 on the 1st 206.4 on the 5th in 1980 41
Timber Creek 110.8 on the 8th 103.6 on the 19th in 2002 34
Walker Creek 262.0 on the 18th 178.8 on the 19th in 2008 21
Edith Falls Ridge 96.2 on the 28th 75.8 on the 1st in 2009 11
Upper Seventeen Mile Creek 84.4 on the 1st 81.0 on the 18th in 2008 11


Record highest total February rainfall
Total rainfall
for February 2014 (mm)
Previous wettest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Timber Creek 494.8 452.6 in 2002 33 240.8
Upper Fergusson River 507.4 461.4 in 1997 15 231.2
Port Keats Airport 729.0 643.4 in 2004 14 313.9
Edith Falls Ridge 473.0 438.2 in 2004 11 284.3
Foelsche Headland 464.2 361.6 in 2011 11 256.1
Upper Seventeen Mile Creek 377.2 351.4 in 2008 11 226.1



Record highest February temperature
Highest temperature
in February 2014 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Maningrida Airport 35.9 on the 22nd 35.5 on the 26th in 2013 11 32.2


Record lowest February daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in February 2014 (°C)
Previous coolest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Timber Creek 26.0 on the 7th 26.6 on the 19th in 2002 34 35.2
Delamere Weapons Range 24.6 on the 4th 26.0 on the 16th in 2003 16 34.3


Record lowest February mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for February 2014 (°C)
Previous coolest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Rabbit Flat 34.5 34.7 in 2004 17 37.3
Port Keats Airport 31.0 31.4 in 2011 12 32.7



Record lowest February temperature
Lowest temperature
in February 2014 (°C)
Previous coolest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Milingimbi Airport 21.9 on the 22nd 22.1 on the 16th in 2011 11 25.2


Record lowest February mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for February 2014 (°C)
Previous coolest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Bradshaw 24.1 24.2 in 2004 13 24.7
Port Keats Airport 24.1 24.4 in 2011 12 24.9
Walungurru Airport 23.3 23.7 in 2002 12 25.9




Summary statistics for February 2014
Maximum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Rainfall
for February
(millimetres)
Mean for
February
2014
Diff
from
average
Highest for
February
2014
Mean for
February
2014
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
February
2014
Total for
February
2014
Average
for
February
Rank of
February
2014
Fraction of
February
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 31.5 -0.8 33.8 21st 23.6 -0.2 21.6 21st 402.6 363.0 average 111%
Bradshaw 34.1 -0.8 36.8 20th 24.1 -0.6 20.2 22nd 336.8 231.0 high 146%
Cape Don 31.9   34.5 22nd 26.2   23.8 18th 197.2 214.4 average 92%
Central Arnhem Plateau 30.3 -1.4 33.3 22nd 22.6 -0.5 19.9 21st        
Channel Point 30.8 -0.7 32.2 22nd 24.9 -0.2 22.4 19th 419.3 406.3 average 103%
Croker Island Airport 31.0   32.7 22nd 25.4   21.5 21st 248.6
Darwin Airport 31.3 -0.1 33.7 22nd 25.2 +0.5 21.6 18th 366.0 374.5 average 98%
Darwin NTC AWS 30.4   32.8 12th 25.7   22.5 18th
Delamere Weapons Range 32.9 -1.4 35.7 26th 23.7 -0.2 20.5 22nd 226.4 224.7 average 101%
Douglas River 32.8 -0.5 35.1 2nd 23.4 -0.3 20.3 22nd 542.8 295.8 v high 184%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 30.9 -0.4 32.0 26th 25.8 +0.4 22.3 18th 377.0 416.0 average 91%
Gunn Point 31.1   33.1 12th 24.9   22.2 18th 303.8
Jabiru Airport 32.6 -0.6 36.2 22nd 24.5 0.0 22.2 19th 395.0 363.8 average 109%
Katherine Country Club 33.5   35.5 18th 23.4   19.6 22nd 326.6
Mango Farm 32.5 -0.7 35.3 21st 23.6 -0.1 21.0 18th 560.7 337.3 v high 166%
McCluer Island 30.8 -0.2 32.7 14th 26.2 0.0 24.2 3rd 191.6 237.5 average 81%
Middle Point 32.4 -0.8 35.2 23rd 24.2 +0.2 22.4 20th 125.2 304.4 low 41%
Murganella Airstrip 31.9   33.9 22nd 24.0   22.3 18th 349.2
Noonamah Airstrip 32.0   35.0 22nd 24.3   20.9 21st 565.6
Oenpelli Airport 31.9   34.2 22nd 24.8   22.7 19th 464.6
Pirlangimpi Airport 31.8 +0.3 33.4 22nd 24.5 +0.1 21.4 21st 334.8 388.4 average 86%
Point Fawcett 31.5 0.0 33.6 11th 26.1 +0.5 22.7 18th
Point Stuart 31.5   33.1 22nd 25.2   22.8 19th 244.2 283.7 low 86%
Port Keats Airport 31.0 -1.7 34.4 22nd 24.1 -0.8 20.3 23rd 729.0 313.9 highest 232%
Tindal RAAF 33.0 -0.8 35.3 25th 23.5 -0.6 19.3 22nd 220.4 239.4 average 92%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.5   33.0 27th 26.1   23.7 18th 216.2 249.9 average 87%
Gove Airport 31.1 -0.4 33.0 24th 24.1 -0.4 21.6 10th 220.2 277.2 average 79%
Groote Eylandt Airport 32.5 -0.4 34.9 3rd 25.2 +0.3 23.1 27th 255.6 242.4 average 105%
Maningrida Airport 31.8 -0.4 35.9 22nd 24.5 -0.3 22.1 21st 281.6 282.5 average 100%
Milingimbi Airport 32.2 -0.4 34.9 22nd 24.6 -0.6 21.9 22nd 328.8 227.3 average 145%
Ngayawili 30.9 -0.5 33.0 21st 25.2 -0.4 23.0 21st 313.0 316.7 average 99%
North East Island 32.1   34.1 20th 26.3   22.6 10th 125.4 163.2 average 77%
Warruwi Airport 31.4 -0.1 32.8 20th 25.4 +0.1 22.9 1st 263.6 235.0 average 112%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 33.1 -0.8 35.9 19th 24.3 -0.2 23.2 19th 243.4 214.5 average 113%
Bulman 33.5   35.3 19th 23.9   21.9 23rd 231.6 208.8 average 111%
Centre Island 32.7 -0.3 36.0 19th 25.9 -0.7 23.7 12th 328.8 272.1 average 121%
Daly Waters Airstrip 32.7 -2.2 35.0 25th 22.9 -0.6 19.6 21st 432.4 183.7 v high 235%
McArthur River Mine Airport 33.8 -1.4 37.3 19th 24.7 0.0 22.0 19th 240.4 183.2 high 131%
Ngukurr Airport 34.3   36.5 20th 24.7   22.4 27th 367.0
Wollogorang 32.3 -2.1 37.1 19th 24.3 +0.3 22.8 22nd 387.1 247.6 high 156%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 32.8 -3.3 37.9 1st 22.6 -0.9 17.6 22nd 289.0 150.3 high 192%
Timber Creek 33.8 -1.4 37.1 1st 23.9 -0.7 20.0 22nd 494.8 240.8 highest 205%
Victoria River Downs 33.0 -2.4 36.8 19th 23.7 -0.7 18.7 22nd 216.2 162.5 average 133%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 33.2 -3.1 38.2 1st 23.7 -0.5 21.4 21st 369.8 102.1 v high 362%
Elliott 32.8 -4.0 39.7 19th 23.1 -0.6 19.5 21st 408.1 164.1 v high 249%
Tennant Creek Airport 32.2 -3.5 37.0 1st 22.8 -1.7 18.7 22nd 194.4 125.9 high 154%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 33.7 -1.4 39.0 1st 20.2 -0.5 12.1 23rd 47.4 43.9 high 108%
Arltunga 33.2 -1.1 38.6 14th 21.1 +0.1 16.1 18th 36.8 44.1 average 83%
Curtin Springs 35.8 -0.6 40.9 10th 21.5 -0.1 16.0 23rd 40.0 26.8 high 149%
Jervois 35.6 -1.2 41.8 14th 23.4 +1.3 17.9 21st 34.0 58.2 average 58%
Kulgera 34.4 -1.1 40.7 9th 20.6 -0.9 11.2 23rd 14.8 36.3 average 41%
Rabbit Flat 34.5 -2.8 39.0 1st 22.1 -1.4 16.6 22nd 53.6 95.7 average 56%
Territory Grape Farm 34.3 -1.9 38.3 1st 21.2 -0.5 16.9 18th 72.8 68.2 average 107%
Walungurru Airport 35.1 -3.7 40.9 2nd 23.3 -2.6 19.8 26th 100.2 37.3 high 269%
Yulara Airport 35.5 -1.3 41.0 9th 20.8 -1.3 15.2 21st 57.6 39.7 high 145%

Notes

This statement was prepared before all data for the period were available. This may affect some of the statistics presented.

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 1 pm on Friday 28 February 2014. 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