Northern Territory in April 2014: Rainfall in the Alice

A couldband event early in the month pulled moist, tropical air over the western half of the Territory causing the wettest April in 14 years and a few new rainfall records across the Tanami Desert and western Alice Springs district. Temperatures were higher than usual for most of the month across most of the Northern Territory, and a few temperature records were set.

  • New rainfall records for western Alice Springs district
  • Tindal RAAF sees warmest April on record
  • Darwin Airport has above average rainfall and temperatures

Rainfall for western Alice and eastern Arnhem

There were two noteworthy rainfall events in the Northern Territory this month. The first occurred from the 7th to 10th when a northwest cloudband event pulled moist tropical air across the southwest edge of the Territory. Some notable rainfall totals and records from that event include: Yulara Airport with 65 mm measured on the 8th (previous record was 47.0 mm on 21 April 1998), Walungurru Airport with 64 mm, also on the 8th (previous record was 7 mm on 6 April 2012). Generally across the western Alice Springs District and southern Victoria River District, this April was the wettest in 14 years.

Another noteworthy rainfall event occurred over the Gulf of Carpentaria and eastern Arnhem land from the 23rd to the 25th when a small tropical trough developed over the region. In the 24 hours up to 9am on the 24th, 115.2 mm fell at North East Island and Yirrkala Tropical Gardens measured 115.0 mm for the same period. Because of this heavy rainfall event along the Top End's east coast, the wettest locations in the NT for the month were Yirrkala Tropical Gardens with 373.0 mm, followed by Nhulunbuy with 339.0 mm and then North East Island with 314.6 mm.

Overall, April was wetter than normal for the NT. The average rainfall total for the Territory this month was 41.2 mm, 48% higher than normal for April.

Warmer than normal days

Most of the rainfall over the western Top End was confined to coastal locations, while sites further inland missed most of the cloud cover and rainfall. Hence some of the hottest temperatures in the Territory this month occurred at inland locations near the base of the Top End. The hottest days were at Bradshaw with 40.5 °C on the 1st, followed by 40.2 °C on the 2nd. Tindal RAAF had its highest April mean daily maximum temperature on record with 35.8 °C, their previous April record was 35.4 °C in 2009. Most of the Territory saw above-average mean daily maximum temperature for the month, with the exception of the southwest corner of the Territory which experienced cooler conditions early in the month associated with the cloudband and rainfall event. The mean daily maximum temperature for the NT this month was 32.8 °C, 1.0 °C above normal for April.

Warm nights for the NT

Minimum temperatures were very warm in the NT this month. Walungurru Airport, near the NT/WA border in the Alice Springs district was the only location to measure a mean daily minimum temperature that was below average this month; all other sites were above average. The mean minimum temperature for the NT for April was 20.6 °C, 1.5 °C above the long-term April average. Across the Top End, Darwin Airport and Jabiru Airport both had a mean daily minimum temperature of 24.8 °C, the warmest April minimum since 1998 (16 years). Centre Island’s mean minimum temperature of 26.3 °C equalled the record set in 1998.

Darwin region

Thunderstorm activity overnight on the 27th (measured on the morning of the 28th) was the wettest day for most of the Darwin city and rural area. Howard Springs Nature Park had a 24 hour total (to 9am on the 28th) of 94 mm, Gunn Point had 87 mm, Elizabeth Valley had 65 mm and Darwin Airport measured 36 mm. Northern suburbs received slightly less rainfall than the rest of the region on that day; Leanyer had only 12.2 mm as did Darwin Hospital. Palmerston (Yarrawonga) received 66.4 mm from the event which was enough to increase the monthly total rainfall 261.8 mm, exceeded their previous April total rainfall record of 199.5 mm set in 1996.

By the end of the month Darwin Airport had accumulated a total of 183.4 mm over 16 raindays (the April mean is 102.3 mm). The mean daily maximum temperature at the Airport was 32.9 °C, 0.2 °C above the April average, and the mean daily minimum was 24.8 °C, 0.8 °C above normal for April and the warmest in 16 years.

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Extremes in April 2014
Hottest day 40.5 °C at Bradshaw on the 1st
Warmest days on average 37.4 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 27.2 °C at Kulgera
Coldest day16.9 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 30th
Coldest night 6.0 °C at Arltunga on the 21st
Coolest nights on average 14.1 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 26.8 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 29.2 °C at McCluer Island on the 1st
Warmest on average overall 30.5 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest on average overall 21.3 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 373.0 mm at Yirrkala Tropical Gardens
Wettest day 115.2 mm at North East Island on the 24th
Highest wind gust 87 km/h at Centre Island on the 24th

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 April daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in April 2014 (mm)
Previous wettest
for April
Years of
record
Yulara Airport 65.0 on the 8th 47.0 on the 21st in 1998 24



Record highest total April rainfall
Total rainfall
for April 2014 (mm)
Previous wettest
for April
Years of
record
Average for
April
Palmerston (Yarrawonga) 261.8 199.5 in 1996 24 86.6



Record highest April temperature
Highest temperature
in April 2014 (°C)
Previous warmest
for April
Years of
record
Average for
April
Centre Island 36.5 on the 10th 36.3 on the 5th in 2009 40 32.0
Gove Airport 35.1 on the 12th 34.8 on the 3rd in 1969 36 30.8
Pirlangimpi Airport 35.7 on the 2nd 35.6 on the 10th in 1985 32 32.7
Tindal RAAF 38.4 on the 1st 37.9 on the 6th in 1986 27 33.8
Black Point 34.0 on the 1st = 34.0 on the 14th in 2009 22 31.6



Record highest April mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for April 2014 (°C)
Previous warmest
for April
Years of
record
Average for
April
Tindal RAAF 35.8 35.4 in 2009 26 33.8




Record highest April daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in April 2014 (°C)
Previous warmest
for April
Years of
record
Average for
April
Centre Island 29.0 on the 12th 28.7 on the 2nd in 1988 40 25.3



Record highest April mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for April 2014 (°C)
Previous warmest
for April
Years of
record
Average for
April
Centre Island 26.3 = 26.3 in 1998 39 25.3



Summary statistics for April 2014
Maximum temperatures
for April
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for April
(°C)
Rainfall
for April
(millimetres)
Mean for
April
2014
Diff
from
average
Highest for
April
2014
Mean for
April
2014
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
April
2014
Total for
April
2014
Average
for
April
Rank of
April
2014
Fraction of
April
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.1 +0.4 35.7 2nd 23.1 +1.5 19.5 17th 52.8 99.4 average 53%
Black Point 31.8 +0.2 34.0 1st 25.6 +0.7 23.0 10th 216.2 108.6 high 199%
Bradshaw 37.4 +1.7 40.5 1st 23.5 +1.3 18.7 16th 14.6 23.3 average 63%
Cape Don 33.5   35.4 6th 26.7   24.3 14th 180.6 141.7 average 127%
Central Arnhem Plateau 32.8   36.4 1st 22.5   20.1 17th 15.0
Channel Point 32.6 +0.2 34.0 21st 24.6 +1.2 21.1 16th 84.0 113.9 average 74%
Croker Island Airport 32.1   33.5 5th 25.3   23.4 20th 80.8
Darwin Airport 32.9 +0.2 34.2 24th 24.8 +0.8 23.1 7th 183.4 102.3 high 179%
Darwin NTC AWS 32.6   34.4 24th 26.4   23.1 7th
Douglas River 35.5 +1.0 36.8 5th 22.6 +2.2 17.9 16th 7.8 51.3 average 15%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 33.3 +0.4 35.0 24th 25.1 +0.7 23.2 23rd 143.6 97.8 high 147%
Gunn Point 33.8   35.9 12th 23.2   21.4 16th 230.6
Jabiru Airport 34.7 +0.2 37.9 1st 24.8 +1.3 23.5 19th 207.0 88.5 high 234%
Katherine Country Club 35.8   38.1 1st 22.6   18.4 16th 26.8
Mango Farm 35.0 +0.7 37.0 1st 23.0 +1.4 19.0 16th 61.0 69.8 average 87%
McCluer Island 31.4 +0.7 33.0 12th 26.8 +0.9 23.9 11th 168.0 148.6 average 113%
Middle Point 34.0 -0.1 35.7 1st 23.6 +1.3 21.1 17th 203.8 108.3 high 188%
Murganella Airstrip 33.1   35.8 12th 23.7   21.4 20th 141.0
Noonamah Airstrip 34.7   36.6 3rd 24.0   21.8 17th 110.4
Oenpelli Airport 34.5   37.1 1st 24.8   22.6 20th 156.8
Pirlangimpi Airport 33.8 +1.1 35.7 2nd 24.3 +1.3 23.3 20th 230.4 155.6 high 148%
Point Fawcett 32.8 +0.6 34.2 18th 24.1 +0.6 22.7 1st
Point Stuart 32.4   34.1 6th 24.8   22.7 20th 143.8 140.8 average 102%
Port Keats Airport 33.9 -0.5 35.8 23rd 23.6 +1.3 20.3 16th 114.8 88.9 high 129%
Tindal RAAF 35.8 +2.0 38.4 1st 22.5 +1.9 18.3 15th 11.6 41.6 average 28%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.9   33.3 12th 26.1   23.9 19th 246.0 161.0 high 153%
Gove Airport 31.5 +0.7 35.1 12th 23.3 +0.1 21.5 30th 283.0 227.7 high 124%
Maningrida Airport 32.4 0.0 34.3 12th 24.3 +1.1 22.3 20th 135.0 137.5 average 98%
Milingimbi Airport 32.6 +0.5 35.3 12th 24.7 +1.0 22.8 19th 169.0 121.0 high 140%
Ngayawili 32.1 +0.4 34.1 4th 24.5 +0.9 22.6 16th 5.0 164.2 lowest 3%
North East Island 32.3   34.2 3rd 26.1   23.5 19th 314.6 184.5 high 171%
Warruwi Airport 32.1 +0.5 34.4 12th 25.5 +0.5 23.6 11th 131.0 118.2 high 111%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 34.9 +1.1 37.0 6th 21.5 +1.3 17.6 14th 38.8 73.4 average 53%
Bulman 34.2   37.8 12th 23.0   19.8 16th 62.6 70.5 average 89%
Centre Island 32.7 +0.7 36.5 10th 26.3 +1.0 23.7 25th 270.8 99.2 v high 273%
Daly Waters Airstrip 34.9 +1.1 36.8 1st 20.3 +0.6 16.4 15th 6.4 22.5 average 28%
McArthur River Mine Airport 35.2 +0.5 37.0 11th 22.8 +2.2 18.6 20th 48.2 33.0 high 146%
Ngukurr Airport 34.5   37.3 10th 23.1   19.1 15th 74.4
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 33.8 +0.3 38.2 2nd 19.0 +1.0 12.6 21st 69.8 15.9 v high 439%
Timber Creek 36.0 +0.8 39.0 2nd 22.3 +1.2 18.9 23rd 85.2 32.4 high 263%
Victoria River Downs 36.3 +1.8 38.4 2nd 21.2 +1.5 16.0 21st 3.6 22.9 average 16%
Wave Hill 35.2 +1.0 38.6 5th 19.6 +0.8 14.0 21st 5.0 19.2 average 26%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 34.6 +1.1 37.4 1st 21.2 +2.0 16.4 20th 2.8 15.2 average 18%
Elliott     37.5 1st 21.4 +1.9 17.0 22nd 4.2 23.0 average 18%
Tennant Creek Airport 33.6 +2.0 37.6 2nd 21.6 +1.2 15.6 22nd 3.0 17.7 average 17%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 28.7 +0.5 39.7 2nd 14.6 +2.0 9.5 19th 87.6 17.3 v high 506%
Arltunga 28.5 -0.4 37.5 2nd 14.1 +0.7 6.0 21st 30.6 16.1 high 190%
Curtin Springs 28.9 -0.3 37.9 1st 14.9 +1.4 10.0 30th 49.2 16.0 v high 308%
Jervois 32.6 +2.1 39.7 2nd 17.0 +2.7 10.8 21st 4.4 17.2 average 26%
Kulgera 27.5 -0.4 37.4 1st 16.2 +2.4 10.4 16th 69.9 14.7 v high 476%
Rabbit Flat 33.5 -0.4 38.9 2nd 17.4 +0.7 9.8 20th 61.0 24.6 high 248%
Territory Grape Farm 31.5 +1.0 38.9 2nd 15.9 +1.4 10.4 21st 35.0 18.0 high 194%
Walungurru Airport 31.1 -2.3 38.6 2nd 19.3 -1.5 14.9 9th 126.8 12.1 highest 1048%
Yuendumu 30.2 +0.1 38.9 2nd 15.9 +0.4 10.9 21st 60.2 22.8 high 264%
Yulara Airport 29.5 -0.4 37.2 1st     10.1 22nd 81.4 15.9 v high 512%

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 30 April 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.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries
>