Northern Territory in January 2018: a dry start and a very wet finish

A late onset of the monsoon saw a dry start to January, though its arrival brought heavy falls to the Top End later in the month.  Temperatures were warmer than average in the south, but average to below average in the north.

Record wet across the Top End

  • Overall, the Northern Territory had 70% more rainfall than average, while the Top End had its wettest January since 1904; several sites had their highest total January rainfall on record
  • A monsoon trough to the north of Australia brought significant rainfall to parts of northern Australia from about the 18th, with monsoon onset officially occurring on 21 January (equal-4th latest onset since 1957)
  • The active monsoon continued to the end of the month. The 28th was a particularly wet day, many sites had their highest January daily rainfall on record 
  • Squally showers and thunderstorms during monsoon conditions caused isolated pockets of severe damage
  • Major flooding occurred on the Daly River leading to the evacuation of the township, with minor and moderate flooding causing disruption at several other regions across the Top End
  • Some sites in the Top End had their highest total January rainfall for at least 20 years as a result of this wet weather

Average temperatures for much of the Territory - warm in the south

  • It was warmer than average in the south, largely due to a persistent high in the Bight during the first and third weeks of the month, but monsoonal activity created cooler than average daytime temperatures at the base of the Top End, from Victoria River Downs and Elliot through to Borroloola  
  • Averaged across the Territory, both maximum and minimum temperatures were close to the long-term mean

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 857.2 mm, which is 99% above the long-term average of 429.8 mm and its highest January rainfall total since 1995
  • The warmest day was 34.6 °C on the 1st, and the coolest day was on the 27th when the temperature reached 27.2 °C 
  • The coldest morning was 21.3 °C on the 16th, and the warmest morning was on the 3rd when the minimum temperature was 27.6 °C

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 31.2 mm, which is 24% below the long-term average of 41.0 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 38.9 °C, which is 2.6 °C above the long-term average of 36.3 °C; the warmest day was 43.0 °C on the 6th, and the coolest day was on the 15th when the temperature reached 32.1 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 23.0 °C, which is 1.5 °C above the long-term average of 21.5 °C; the coldest morning was 14.9 °C on the 3rd, and the warmest morning was on the 28th when the minimum temperature was 29.2 °C

Further information

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Extremes in January 2018
Hottest day 43.9 °C at Jervois on the 10th
Warmest days on average 40.1 °C at Jervois
Coolest days on average 31.3 °C at Charles Point
Coldest day 24.5 °C at Batchelor Airport on the 29th
Coldest night 14.0 °C at Arltunga on the 6th
Coolest nights on average 21.8 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 26.2 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 31.2 °C at Jervois on the 11th
Warmest on average overall 32.9 °C at Walungurru Airport
Coolest on average overall 27.5 °C at Batchelor Airport
Wettest overall 1204.8 mm at Humpty Doo Collard Road
Driest overall 6.8 mm at Marqua
Wettest day 286.4 mm at Humpty Doo Collard Road on the 28th
Strongest wind gust 104 km/h at Centre Island on the 5th

Maps

Observed Anomaly Decile 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 January daily rainfall

New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Middle Point Rangers 210.0 on the 28th 146.8 on the 3rd in 1997 52
McArthur River Mine Airport 196.4 on the 25th 173.4 on the 20th in 1977 48
McMinns Lagoon 280.0 on the 28th 217.6 on the 3rd in 1997 41
Elizabeth Valley 223.4 on the 28th 161.0 on the 13th in 2003 32
Bing Bong Port 211.0 on the 23rd 168.5 on the 10th in 2003 23
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 189.2 on the 7th 161.4 on the 25th in 2012 22



Record highest January total rainfall

New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Adelaide River Post Office 711.0 699.7 in 1997 56 335.7
Centre Island 891.2 672.6 in 2014 49 238.8
Darwin River Dam 955.8 761.4 in 1997 48 379.8
Tanumbirini 597.8 470.2 in 2009 44 216.2
Jabiru Airport 655.4 611.0 in 2006 43 357.3
McMinns Lagoon 909.0 789.8 in 1997 41 452.4
Humpty Doo Collard Road 1204.8 845.8 in 1997 38 463.9
Stokes Hill 813.6 714.5 in 1974 32 429.7
Elizabeth Valley 991.2 849.4 in 1997 29 425.5
Channel Point 908.4 897.1 in 2015 28 463.5
Yulara Airport 69.2 66.8 in 2017 28 28.8
Cape Wessel 788.6 683.0 in 1993 27 261.8
Wandie Creek 711.8 389.0 in 2008 25 283.5
Labelle Downs 1138.0 807.6 in 2012 24 428.3
Batchelor Airport 757.2 639.2 in 2006 23 331.5
Geriatric Park 859.0 791.6 in 2014 20 535.4



Highest January total rainfall for at least 20 years

Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Darwin Airport 857.2 940.4 in 1995 429.8
Leanyer 755.0 829.2 in 1995 456.4
Mount Sanford 297.0 331.5 in 1993* 175.1
Darwin Hospital 682.8 717.8 in 1998 423.7

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




Record highest January temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Point Fawcett 35.0 on the 1st 34.9 on the 14th in 2016 21 31.7



Record lowest January daily maximum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Douglas River Research Farm 24.6 on the 29th 25.6 on the 25th in 2012 29 33.7
Batchelor Airport 24.5 on the 29th 25.1 on the 18th in 2013 22 32.7



Record highest January daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Warruwi Airport 29.4 on the 3rd = 29.4 on the 8th in 2014 50 25.6



Record lowest January mean daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Batchelor Airport 23.4 = 23.4 in 2011 21 24.0



Summary statistics for January 2018

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2018
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2018
Mean for
January
2018
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2018
Total for
January
2018
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2018
Fraction of
January
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 31.4 -1.3 35.4 1st 23.4 -0.6 22.1 23rd 757.2 331.5 highest 228%
Black Point 31.7 +0.2 33.8 2nd 25.5 -0.4 23.0 6th 472.4 302.5 high 156%
Bradshaw 34.0 -1.1 39.9 1st 24.6 -0.4 22.8 6th 251.6 246.3 average 102%
Channel Point 31.4 -0.3 34.9 3rd 24.2 -0.9 22.5 6th 908.4 463.5 highest 196%
Charles Point 31.3   33.8 1st 24.8   22.4 30th 617.8


Croker Island Airport 31.6   34.2 1st 25.5   23.6 31st 436.8


Darwin Airport 31.8 0.0 34.6 1st 24.5 -0.4 21.3 16th 857.2 429.8 v high 199%
Delamere Weapons Range 33.5 -1.0 40.1 1st 23.9 -0.2 22.1 18th 194.8 206.4 average 94%
Douglas River Research Farm 32.6 -1.1 37.0 1st 23.8 -0.1 22.3 30th 679.4 291.7 v high 233%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 31.8 +0.2 33.7 3rd 24.7 -0.9 22.5 23rd 831.2 420.5 v high 198%
Jabiru Airport 33.1 -0.5 37.2 1st 24.3 -0.4 22.5 17th 655.4 357.3 highest 183%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 32.8   37.4 14th 23.8   21.7 23rd 1185.0


Katherine Country Club 33.5   38.1 2nd 23.7   21.5 12th 430.8


McCluer Island 31.5 0.0 34.4 2nd 26.2 -0.4 23.4 28th 482.0 245.9 high 196%
Middle Point 32.5 -0.9 36.2 1st 23.8 -0.5 22.6 23rd 508.0 294.3 v high 173%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 32.3   36.6 2nd 23.8   22.0 30th 928.4


Mount Bundey South (Defence) 32.7   37.6 2nd 24.0   22.0 30th 1026.2


Murganella Airstrip 32.3   37.1 2nd 23.9   22.3 31st 582.6


Noonamah Airstrip 32.9   36.5 14th 24.0   21.8 2nd 782.8


Oenpelli Airport 32.8   37.3 1st 24.5   23.0 17th 723.6


Pirlangimpi Airport 32.2 +0.3 35.1 4th 24.5 -0.2 23.1 6th 480.2 414.3 average 116%
Point Fawcett 31.9 +0.2 35.0 1st 25.1 -0.7 23.3 5th 479.4 335.6 high 143%
Point Stuart 32.3   36.6 2nd 24.5   22.6 30th 676.8 290.7 v high 233%
Port Keats Airport 31.8 -0.7 34.8 1st 24.0 -0.9 21.8 19th 720.4 316.5 high 228%
Tindal RAAF 33.3 -0.8 37.3 2nd 24.1 -0.2 22.4 5th 286.6 265.9 average 108%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.5   36.6 3rd 25.5   22.9 5th 788.6 261.8 highest 301%
Gove Airport 31.5 -0.5 36.1 3rd 24.7 0.0 23.1 12th 366.6 276.8 high 132%
Groote Eylandt Airport 32.7 -0.6 38.2 2nd 25.3 +0.1 23.0 16th 294.8 246.0 high 120%
Maningrida Airport 31.8 -0.7 35.2 2nd 24.6 -0.5 22.8 30th 431.6 285.7 high 151%
Milingimbi Airport 32.1 -0.8 37.6 3rd 24.9 -0.6 23.2 28th 933.4 276.2 v high 338%
Ngayawili 31.6 -0.1 34.0 2nd 25.5 -0.2 23.5 28th 817.8 381.2 v high 215%
Warruwi Airport 31.7 -0.4 35.0 2nd 25.4 -0.2 22.9 30th 402.2 262.4 high 153%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 33.1 -1.1 42.1 1st 24.8 0.0 22.6 7th 666.2 217.2 v high 307%
Bulman 34.1 -0.9 40.8 1st 24.2 -0.3 21.5 5th 345.6 227.2 high 152%
Centre Island 32.2 -1.5 38.1 2nd 25.9 -0.8 22.8 7th 891.2 238.8 highest 373%
Daly Waters Airstrip 34.2 -1.6 41.2 2nd 23.8 -0.2 20.9 3rd 334.0 168.3 v high 198%
McArthur River Mine Airport 34.8 -1.2 42.6 1st 25.4 +0.5 23.3 7th 627.4 220.7 v high 284%
Ngukurr Airport 35.8   42.1 1st 25.3   23.5 7th 234.4


Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw (Angallari Valley) (Defence) 34.0   40.4 1st 24.4   22.9 3rd 405.4


Lajamanu Airport 36.9 -0.2 42.6 1st 24.1 0.0 21.6 31st 224.2 147.9 high 152%
Victoria River Downs 34.1 -2.4 41.7 1st 24.7 -0.2 22.6 12th 304.8 156.9 v high 194%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 36.8 -0.1 43.5 1st 24.6 +0.1 22.5 25th 82.8 107.5 average 77%
Elliott 34.3 -3.1 41.7 1st 24.1 -0.1 22.3 18th 195.0 140.2 high 139%
Tennant Creek Airport 36.6 0.0 43.5 1st 24.4 -0.5 21.4 18th 135.0 119.3 average 113%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 38.9 +2.6 43.0 6th 23.0 +1.5 14.9 3rd 31.2 41.0 average 76%
Arltunga 37.2 +1.5 41.7 6th 21.8 -0.3 14.0 6th 39.4 46.7 average 84%
Jervois 40.1 +1.7 43.9 10th 24.9 +2.1 19.9 4th 25.2 50.6 average 50%
Rabbit Flat 38.1 -0.3 41.6 6th 24.1 +0.1 20.3 17th 101.4 129.9 average 78%
Territory Grape Farm 39.0 +1.8 41.6 21st 22.6 +0.7 16.9 5th 59.0 65.5 average 90%
Walungurru Airport 39.9 +0.5 43.8 6th 25.9 -0.1 20.7 15th 65.6 51.4 average 128%
Yulara Airport 38.9 +0.5 43.3 6th 22.5 -0.3 18.1 4th 69.2 28.8 highest 240%

Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists 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. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Thursday 1 February 2018. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries