Northern Territory in March 2019: Hottest March on record

March 2019 was the hottest March since temperature records began for the Northern Territory in 1910. Nearly every site in the Territory recorded above average daytime and overnight temperatures, with the southern NT especially warm. Rainfall was well below average apart from areas in the east, due to tropical cyclone Trevor.

Highest maximum and mean temperature ever recorded for NT

  • Daytime temperatures were above average throughout, with only a small region in central parts not experiencing above average overnight temperatures: a significant proportion of the southwestern NT had record high temperatures
  • Averaged Territory-wide, the mean maximum temperature was 3.40 °C above the long-term average, beating the previous high set in 1986. Many sites had their highest March temperature or highest March mean daily maximum temperature on record
  • Rabbit Flat reached at least 39 °C every day for 115 consecutive days from 1 December 2018 to 25 March 2019, exceeding the previous longest run of such days at an Australia site of 106 days at Marble Bar in 1921-1922
  • Several other NT sites had a record number of consecutive and total days above 40 °C during March, including Tennant Creek (5 consecutive, 9 total), Lajamanu (13 and 23) and Walungurru (14 and 21). Victoria River Downs had 11 days in March above 40 °C, the most in its 54 year record
  • Curtin Springs, east of Yulara, recorded 45.0 °C on the 11th, a new record high March temperature for the NT
  • The mean minimum temperature across the NT was 1.97 °C above average, the 2nd-highest on record, slightly behind the record in 2016 (2.02 °C above average)
  • The NT-wide mean temperature (maximum and minimum combined) was 2.69 °C above average, nearly half a degree above the previous record set in 1992
  • Several sites had their warmest March night (highest daily minimum temperature), their highest March mean daily minimum temperature on record or their highest March mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
  • Many sites also had either their highest March mean temperature on record or highest March mean temperature for at least 20 years

Very dry month, partially saved by TC Trevor

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 171.4 mm, which is 54% of the long-term average of 314.7 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 33.4 °C, which is 1.5 °C above the long-term average of 31.9 °C. The warmest day was 35.2 °C on the 9th, and the coolest day was on the 22nd when the temperature reached 29.4 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 25.3 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 24.6 °C. The coldest morning was 21.7 °C on the 9th, and the warmest morning was on the 21st when the minimum temperature was 28.9 °C

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 1.6 mm, which is 5% of the long-term average of 30.5 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 36.2 °C, which is 3.4 °C above the long-term average of 33.8 °C. The warmest day was 42.7 °C on the 11th, a March record, and the coolest day was on the 31st when the temperature reached 25.9 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 19.3 °C, which is 1.8 °C above the long-term average of 17.5 °C. The coldest morning was 8.1 °C on the 31st, and the warmest morning was on the 24th when the minimum temperature was 27.6 °C

Severe weather across the NT

  • Tropical cyclone Trevor reached category 4 intensity prior to making landfall on the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coast, east of Borroloola, on 23 March. A maximum wind gust of 139 km/h was recorded at Centre Island, while nearly 250 mm fell at Merlin Mine, near McArthur River Mine, during the event
  • A severe wind gust of 91 km/h was recorded at Maningrida as Gulf-line thunderstorms moved over the region on the 8th
  • A thunderstorm squall line generated a 94 km/h gust at Darwin Airport on the 9th

Further information

Media
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Extremes in March 2019
Hottest day 45.0 °C at Curtin Springs on the 11th
Warmest days on average 40.9 °C at Rabbit Flat
Coolest days on average 31.5 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 23.4 °C at Jervois on the 25th
Coldest night 8.1 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 31st
Coolest nights on average 19.3 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 27.4 °C at Walungurru Airport
Warmest night 32.6 °C at Walungurru Airport on the 14th
Warmest on average overall 33.8 °C at Walungurru Airport
Coolest on average overall 27.8 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 437.6 mm at Dum In Mirrie Airstrip
Wettest day 172.0 mm at Marqua on the 25th
Strongest wind gust 139 km/h at Centre Island on the 23rd

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 March daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Kurundi 108.6 on the 25th 105.0 on the 8th in 2011 64
Jervois 90.2 on the 26th 80.6 on the 1st in 2010 54



Highest March total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Jervois 176.0 188.3 in 1983 35.6



Record lowest March total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Wagait Beach 93.0 98.8 in 1992 29 327.1

Lowest March total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
March
Elizabeth Valley 145.8 104.4 in 1992* 293.2

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




Record highest March temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Alice Springs Airport 42.7 on the 11th 42.5 on the 19th in 2015 78 32.8
Curtin Springs 45.0 on the 11th 43.4 on the 19th in 2015 55 33.9
Victoria River Downs 43.2 on the 21st 42.2 on the 3rd in 1988 54 35.2
Jervois 44.4 on the 12th 44.0 on the 19th in 2015 51 34.7
Tennant Creek Airport 42.5 on the 12th 42.0 on the 2nd in 2016 50 34.5
Yuendumu 42.6 on the 12th 41.7 on the 18th in 2015 50 33.5
Tindal RAAF 39.2 on the 14th 38.9 on the 10th in 2005 32 34.3
Yulara Airport 44.8 on the 11th 42.9 on the 6th in 1999 32 34.5
Douglas River Research Farm 38.9 on the 9th 38.6 on the 14th in 2015 28 34.0
Lajamanu Airport 43.5 on the 12th 42.9 on the 2nd in 2016 27 35.1
Channel Point 35.0 on the 31st = 35.0 on the 17th in 2014 25 32.0
Watarrka 44.0 on the 11th 42.6 on the 20th in 2015 25 34.8
Rabbit Flat 43.8 on the 12th 43.6 on the 2nd in 2016 23 36.5
Territory Grape Farm 43.5 on the 12th 42.1 on the 18th in 2015 23 34.6



Record highest March mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Curtin Springs 37.8 37.5 in 2017 54 33.9
Daly Waters Airstrip 38.5 = 38.5 in 1958 49 34.7
Douglas River Research Farm 35.7 = 35.7 in 2015 27 34.0
Lajamanu Airport 40.8 38.7 in 2016 26 35.1
Rabbit Flat 40.9 39.4 in 1998 22 36.5
Territory Grape Farm 37.5 = 37.5 in 2013 22 34.6
Delamere Weapons Range 37.8 36.6 in 2002 20 34.5
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 33.2 = 33.2 in 2016 20 31.9

Highest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Yulara Airport 38.1 38.4 in 1986* 34.5
Wave Hill 39.7 39.8 in 1990 35.5
Elliott 39.4 39.8 in 1990* 35.7

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




Record highest March daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Curtin Springs 28.2 on the 12th = 28.2 on the 3rd in 2016 55 18.6
Yuendumu 28.2 on the 12th 28.0 on the 4th in 2005 50 19.9
Lajamanu Airport 29.3 on the 11th 28.1 on the 4th in 2016 27 22.2
Channel Point 29.5 on the 22nd 29.4 on the 12th in 2005 25 24.7
Point Fawcett 29.5 on the 22nd 29.3 on the 29th in 2010 22 25.0



Record lowest March temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
McCluer Island 21.9 on the 7th 22.0 on the 23rd in 2003 21 26.1



Record highest March mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Wave Hill 25.2 24.9 in 1992 45 22.3
Elliott 24.5 = 24.5 in 2016 38 22.4

Highest March mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Tennant Creek Airport 25.3 25.7 in 1990 23.3



Record highest March mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Curtin Springs 29.3 = 29.3 in 1999 54 26.3
Wave Hill 32.4 32.3 in 1992 45 28.9
Lajamanu Airport 32.5 31.7 in 2016 26 28.7
Rabbit Flat 32.0 = 32.0 in 1998 22 29.1
Delamere Weapons Range 31.1 30.4 in 2016 20 28.9

Highest March mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Daly Waters Airstrip 30.9 =30.9 in 1959* 28.6
Yulara Airport 29.7 29.8 in 1986* 26.9
Elliott 31.9 32.1 in 1990* 29.1
Tennant Creek Airport 31.3 31.5 in 1992 28.9

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




Summary statistics for March 2019
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2019
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2019
Mean for
March
2019
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2019
Total for
March
2019
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2019
Fraction of
March
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.4 +1.3 36.5 8th 23.7 +0.2 20.4 2nd 173.6 235.8 average 74%
Black Point 32.1 +0.6 33.2 21st 26.4 +0.8 23.6 7th 174.2 242.4 average 72%
Central Arnhem Plateau 33.7 +1.5 35.8 14th 23.2 +0.2 20.8 22nd 68.0 216.7 average 31%
Channel Point 33.2 +1.2 35.0 31st 25.8 +1.1 23.0 15th 135.6 337.2 low 40%
Charles Point 32.4   33.6 13th 25.8   22.0 2nd 324.8
Croker Island Airport 32.0   33.8 21st 25.9   22.4 23rd 228.0
Darwin Airport 33.4 +1.5 35.2 9th 25.3 +0.7 21.7 9th 171.4 314.7 low 54%
Delamere Weapons Range 37.8 +3.3 40.1 14th 24.4 +1.1 20.3 10th 39.4 147.0 low 27%
Douglas River Research Farm 35.7 +1.7 38.9 9th 23.2 0.0 20.1 31st 168.0 224.7 average 75%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 33.2 +1.3 34.6 3rd 25.9 +0.6 20.8 10th 437.6 308.4 high 142%
Jabiru Airport 35.2 +1.5 37.0 27th 25.1 +0.7 22.1 22nd 189.2 310.2 low 61%
McCluer Island 31.5 +0.4 33.4 21st 26.9 +0.8 21.9 7th 111.0 213.3 average 52%
Middle Point 34.9 +1.2 37.0 8th 23.7 -0.3 21.9 9th 152.8 243.6 low 63%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 35.2   37.4 9th 24.2   22.6 22nd 74.2
Mount Bundey South (Defence) 35.6   37.4 9th 24.0   22.0 22nd 146.0
Murganella Airstrip 33.3   34.9 29th 24.0   22.2 7th 242.0
Noonamah Airstrip 35.0   37.2 8th 24.5   22.3 10th 80.6
Oenpelli Airport 34.4   35.8 18th 25.0   22.5 22nd 151.8
Pirlangimpi Airport 32.6 +0.5 34.9 9th 24.8 +0.7 22.5 23rd 363.8 355.9 average 102%
Point Fawcett 32.8 +1.0 34.1 6th 25.5 +0.5 22.2 9th 182.0 242.2 average 75%
Point Stuart 33.5   36.2 21st 24.7   22.5 24th 156.0 223.9 average 70%
Port Keats Airport 34.0 +0.5 36.4 9th 24.8 +0.6 21.2 10th 232.8 207.9 average 112%
Tindal RAAF 36.5 +2.2 39.2 14th 23.5 +0.4 20.1 30th 148.0 161.9 average 91%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.7   34.7 18th 26.0   22.4 22nd 161.6 215.8 average 75%
Gove Airport 32.2 +0.9 35.8 21st 24.8 +0.8 23.1 23rd 262.4 278.4 average 94%
Groote Eylandt Airport 32.7 +0.1 34.3 20th 24.3 +0.4 21.3 30th 336.8 296.9 average 113%
Maningrida Airport 33.0 +0.9 36.5 21st 24.6 +0.1 18.9 9th 303.2 306.6 average 99%
Milingimbi Airport 33.9 +1.5 37.2 21st 25.7 +0.8 22.9 22nd 116.4 266.2 low 44%
Ngayawili 32.3 +0.7 33.9 19th 24.8 -0.2 22.3 22nd 236.4 267.5 average 88%
Warruwi Airport 32.7 +1.2 35.0 21st 26.1 +0.9 22.1 7th 133.2 235.2 low 57%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 36.9 +2.9 41.3 7th 23.7 +0.3 21.9 19th 164.4 157.8 average 104%
Bulman 36.6 +2.1 39.2 20th 23.7 +0.4 22.0 9th 60.8 231.1 v low 26%
Centre Island 33.7 +0.7 36.1 7th 26.8 +0.4 23.4 24th 200.8 251.1 average 80%
Daly Waters Airstrip 38.5 +3.8 41.0 20th 23.4 +0.9 17.3 30th 27.0 110.4 low 24%
McArthur River Mine Airport 37.6 +2.5 42.1 20th 24.8 +1.3 22.4 29th 201.6 146.0 high 138%
Ngukurr Airport 38.0   41.0 21st 25.2   21.5 30th 8.8
Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw 38.5 +2.7 41.5 9th 25.5 +1.2 22.5 24th 133.0 122.4 average 109%
Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) 38.7   41.8 21st 25.0   20.3 29th 38.6
Lajamanu Airport 40.8 +5.7 43.5 12th 24.2 +2.0 18.1 29th 5.2 78.8 low 7%
Wave Hill 39.7 +4.2 42.5 21st 25.2 +2.9 19.6 29th 29.5 117.5 low 25%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 39.4 +3.7 42.2 21st 24.5 +2.1 21.0 29th 9.8 81.0 low 12%
Tennant Creek Airport 37.4 +2.9 42.5 12th 25.3 +2.0 18.3 31st 16.8 52.9 average 32%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 36.2 +3.4 42.7 11th 19.3 +1.8 8.1 31st 1.6 30.5 average 5%
Curtin Springs 37.8 +3.9 45.0 11th 20.8 +2.2 11.3 31st 0 27.5 lowest 0%
Jervois 36.5 +1.8 44.4 12th 21.4 +1.9 13.5 31st 176.0 35.6 v high 494%
Rabbit Flat 40.9 +4.4 43.8 12th 23.1 +1.3 14.3 29th 5.0 64.0 low 8%
Territory Grape Farm 37.5 +2.9 43.5 12th 21.0 +1.4 10.1 31st 1.0 20.7 low 5%
Walungurru Airport 40.3 +3.7 43.9 11th 27.4 +3.1 18.3 31st 0 41.8 v low 0%
Yulara Airport 38.1 +3.6 44.8 11th 21.3 +2.0 11.7 31st 0 31.5 lowest 0%

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 11 am on Monday 1 April 2019. 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