Northern Territory in October 2020: above average rainfall; warm days and nights across the Top End

Rainfall was above to very much above average across most of the NT, making it the wettest October since 2011 for the NT as a whole. Thunderstorms and showers were frequent throughout the month, and areas around Darwin had their wettest October day on record on the 8th.

Mean maximum temperatures were warmer than average across most of the Top End and the Gulf Country, and cooler than average in the south of the NT. Mean minimum temperatures were very much above average across the northern half of the NT. Low- to severe-intensity heatwaves affected the NT during the middle and end of the month.

Above to well above average rainfall across the NT

  • Rainfall was above to well  above average across much of the NT: it was the Territory's overall wettest October since 2011.
  • On the 5th and 6th, a trough and low pressure system moved over the central and southern NT, generating storms and moderate falls in the Alice Springs District.
  • The low pressure system deepened over the north-west and triggered thunderstorms in the north-west Top End from the 5th, with multiple lines of storms producing heavy rainfall reported to 9am on the 6th. Some sites recorded more than 100 mm, including 113 mm at Darwin Airport, and 136.8 mm at the Royal Darwin Hospital, with some sites having their highest October daily rainfall on record.
  • Storms and showers lingered in the north-west Top End from the16th to 22nd, and thunderstorms brought moderate to locally heavy rainfall through the Lasseter district on the 20th.
  • Thunderstorm activity increased across the Top End and brought moderate to locally heavy falls to the area from the 25th to 27th.
  • A few sites had their highest total October rainfall on record or their highest total October rainfall for at least 20 years.

Low intensity heatwaves across the Top End

  • In terms of mean temperature, the NT as a whole was 0.79 °C warmer than average. The NT's mean maximum temperature was 0.31 °C above the long-term average and the mean minimum temperature was 1.27 °C above the long-term average.
  • There were some cool days on the 5th and 6th, with thick cloud keeping maximum temperatures well below average, and some sites had their coldest October day on record.
  • Areas of rain and showers, and thick cloud, saw Walgungurru report its lowest October temperature on record on the 7th.
  • A low- to severe-intensity heatwave affected much of the north-west Top End around the 20th, and then a severe- to extreme-intensity heatwave affected much of the Top End at the end of the month.

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 162.0 mm, which is 229% of the long-term average of 70.7 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 33.6 °C, which is 0.3 °C above the long-term average of 33.3 °C.
  • The warmest day was 35.5 °C on the 29th, and the coolest day was on the 8th when the temperature reached 31.3 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 25.3 °C, which is 0.4 °C above the long-term average of 24.9 °C.
  • The coldest morning was 23.5 °C on the 8th, and the warmest morning was on the 25th when the minimum temperature was 26.8 °C.

Alice Springs

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs was 22.0 mm, which is just above the long-term average of 20.0 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs was 30.7 °C, which is 0.5 °C below the long-term average of 31.2 °C.
  • The warmest day was 39.2 °C on the 22nd, and the coolest day was on the 5th when the temperature reached 13.0 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs was 15.2 °C, which is 3.0 °C above the long-term average of 12.6 °C.
  • The coldest morning was 8.6 °C on the 8th, and the warmest morning was on the 4th when the minimum temperature was 26.7 °C.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057

Extremes in October 2020
Hottest day 42.4 °C at Ngukurr Airport on the 21st
Warmest days on average 38.8 °C at Bradshaw
38.8 °C at Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence)
Coolest days on average 29.1 °C at Arltunga
Coldest day 12.5 °C at Arltunga on the 5th
12.5 °C at Watarrka on the 5th
12.5 °C at Watarrka on the 6th
Coldest night 5.3 °C at Yulara Airport on the 7th
Coolest nights on average 13.6 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 26.7 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 30.1 °C at Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) on the 10th
Warmest on average overall 32.4 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest on average overall 21.4 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 274.0 mm at Karama
Wettest day 177.0 mm at Marrara on the 8th
Strongest wind gust 98 km/h at McArthur River Mine Airport on the 25th

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 October daily rainfall

New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Darwin Airport 113.0 on the 8th 95.5 on the 25th in 1969 80
Mount Skinner 43.0 on the 5th 39.0 on the 19th in 2005 57
Indiana 54.0 on the 6th 32.4 on the 22nd in 1976 49
Wave Hill 40.0 on the 18th 37.7 on the 14th in 1980 47
Karama 116.0 on the 8th 95.4 on the 31st in 2010 32
Channel Point 171.0 on the 7th 73.4 on the 5th in 1995 30
CSIRO Berrimah 91.0 on the 8th 77.0 on the 4th in 2016 27
Darwin Hospital 136.8 on the 8th 62.6 on the 31st in 1999 25
Birrimba 58.2 on the 27th 37.5 on the 14th in 2005 20



Record highest October total rainfall

New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
October
Indiana 67.0 66.5 in 1999 51 16.8
Karama 274.0 175.4 in 1999 30 71.3
Channel Point 224.8 182.6 in 1992 29 71.0
Birrimba 91.6 70.9 in 2005 20 23.5

Highest October total rainfall for at least 20 years

Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
October
Darwin Airport 162.0 169.8 in 1986 70.7
Wagait Beach 154.7 177.2 in 1996* 61.1

* 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

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
October
Gove Airport 37.2 on the 30th 37.0 on the 27th in 1987 41 31.9
McCluer Island 33.5 on the 31st = 33.5 on the 23rd in 2018 21 30.5



Record lowest October daily maximum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
October
Curtin Springs 13.0 on the 5th 13.9 on the 7th in 1968 56 31.9
Yulara Airport 12.6 on the 6th 15.9 on the 30th in 2011 33 32.5
Watarrka 12.5 on the 5th 17.1 on the 30th in 2011 30 33.2
Arltunga 12.5 on the 5th 17.2 on the 15th in 2010 20 31.5
Walungurru Airport 17.2 on the 5th 20.7 on the 30th in 2011 20 36.2



Lowest October mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years

Observed
(°C)
Most recent
lower
Average for
October
Port Keats Airport 33.2 32.7 in 2000 34.4



Record lowest October temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
October
Walungurru Airport 8.9 on the 7th 10.3 on the 3rd in 2016 20 21.2



Summary statistics for October 2020

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
October
2020
Diff
from
average
Highest for
October
2020
Mean for
October
2020
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
October
2020
Total for
October
2020
Average
for
October
Rank of
October
2020
Fraction of
October
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 36.1 -0.8 39.0 31st 23.5 +0.5 21.9 2nd 37.2 62.2 average 60%
Central Arnhem Plateau 35.1 -0.6 37.7 31st 22.4 +0.4 17.7 12th 67.6 32.3 high 209%
Channel Point 32.0 -0.3 33.0 8th 24.8 +0.7 23.0 3rd 224.8 71.0 highest 317%
Charles Point 31.7   33.3 31st 26.3   23.5 29th 58.2


Croker Island Airport 33.3   34.5 31st 25.0   22.7 17th 27.4


Darwin Airport 33.6 +0.3 35.5 29th 25.3 +0.4 23.5 8th 162.0 70.7 v high 229%
Delamere Weapons Range 37.6 0.0 40.4 31st 24.5 +0.7 21.4 6th 21.2 27.9 average 76%
Douglas River Research Farm 37.6 -0.3 40.5 2nd 23.7 +1.4 22.0 31st 134.0 37.2 v high 360%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 33.1 +0.3 34.3 3rd 25.4 0.0 22.8 21st 90.4 62.6 high 144%
Jabiru Airport 37.9 +0.2 40.3 31st 24.6 +0.7 22.7 12th 43.4 40.1 average 108%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 36.3   38.8 12th 24.4   22.3 20th 116.2


McCluer Island 30.3 -0.2 33.5 31st 26.7 +0.5 24.2 29th 9.6 7.5 high 128%
Middle Point 36.1 -1.3 38.8 31st 22.7 +0.7 20.1 22nd 75.2 47.3 high 159%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 37.3   39.3 31st 24.7   22.8 17th 71.2


Mount Bundey South (Defence) 37.5   39.4 22nd 24.7   22.8 16th 62.2


Murganella Airstrip 34.4   37.9 31st 22.9   20.3 21st 39.8


Noonamah Airstrip 35.4   38.5 13th 24.5   22.4 17th 150.8


Oenpelli Airport 38.3   40.2 31st 23.5   20.7 2nd 29.8


Pirlangimpi Airport 34.1 +0.4 36.4 12th 23.4 +0.4 22.1 22nd 109.2 83.2 average 131%
Point Fawcett 33.3 +0.2 34.8 1st 23.7 +0.2 21.2 2nd 87.2 63.9 average 136%
Point Stuart 34.5   37.0 25th 24.2   21.8 2nd 98.8 54.3 high 182%
Port Keats Airport 33.2 -1.2 36.0 2nd 24.9 +0.9 21.4 28th 130.6 46.6 high 280%
Tindal RAAF 38.6 +0.8 41.1 31st 24.6 +0.7 18.5 12th 20.8 31.2 average 67%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 33.2   35.4 30th 25.1   23.4 30th 0.6 11.3 average 5%
Gove Airport 32.6 +0.7 37.2 30th 22.9 +1.3 19.4 30th 2.6 9.9 average 26%
Groote Eylandt Airport 34.3 +0.2 36.1 29th 21.4 +0.5 16.2 30th 48.0 27.6 high 174%
Maningrida Airport 33.4 +0.2 35.7 29th 23.5 +0.6 21.2 3rd 14.4 11.6 high 124%
Milingimbi Airport 33.6 +0.6 36.6 30th 24.1 +0.5 21.6 31st 3.0 7.2 average 42%
Ngayawili 33.0 +0.3 35.3 10th 23.1 +0.6 19.7 31st 41.4 10.8 high 383%
Warruwi Airport 33.1 +0.6 36.3 31st 25.7 +0.3 24.0 29th 7.4 12.3 average 60%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 37.9 +1.0 40.7 22nd 21.9 +0.6 17.7 31st 30.8 13.5 high 228%
Bulman 38.2 -0.2 40.9 22nd 22.9 +1.2 10.0 31st 12.0 16.2 high 74%
Centre Island 33.9 +0.8 36.7 30th 25.6 +0.7 23.1 26th 13.8 7.9 high 175%
Daly Waters Airstrip 38.1 +0.6 40.9 24th 22.0 +1.1 15.5 30th 19.8 21.2 average 93%
McArthur River Mine Airport 38.4 +0.5 41.3 21st 22.3 +1.1 18.1 31st 60.6 20.2 v high 300%
Ngukurr Airport 38.4   42.4 21st 23.3   19.2 3rd 75.0


Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw 38.8 -0.2 41.8 31st 25.9 +0.9 20.7 12th 28.4 22.5 average 126%
Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) 38.8   41.6 31st 25.9   23.6 15th 30.2


Bradshaw - Koolendong Valley (Defence) 38.0   41.2 14th 23.4   16.4 12th 92.0


Lajamanu Airport 37.1 -0.5 41.6 24th 22.6 +2.0 17.1 11th 41.0 19.9 high 206%
Victoria River Downs 38.4 +0.4 41.5 15th 24.1 +1.7 17.0 12th 4.6 18.9 average 24%
Wave Hill 37.9 +0.2 40.4 21st 23.4 +1.7 19.5 12th 66.2 27.2 high 243%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 37.6 -0.4 41.2 21st 22.8 +1.8 17.4 11th 33.2 20.8 high 160%
Tennant Creek Airport 35.4 +0.4 40.3 21st 23.0 +1.2 18.3 10th 5.4 18.6 average 29%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 30.7 -0.5 39.2 22nd 15.2 +0.4 8.6 8th 22.2 20.1 average 110%
Arltunga 29.1 -2.4 36.6 22nd 13.6 -0.7 6.6 29th 81.8 21.7 v high 377%
Curtin Springs 30.6 -1.3 39.0 29th     7.0 7th 7.0 17.8 average 39%
Jervois 32.0 -1.4 42.0 22nd 16.1 +0.4 9.4 29th 38.0 14.4 high 264%
Rabbit Flat 37.1 -0.3 41.8 23rd 19.3 +0.8 12.2 7th 54.8 22.6 high 242%
Territory Grape Farm 32.8 -0.7 37.5 22nd 16.7 +1.0 11.5 27th 4.8 13.6 average 35%
Walungurru Airport 34.8 -1.4 41.2 17th 20.8 -0.4 8.9 7th 4.2 15.2 average 28%
Yulara Airport 31.4 -1.1 39.8 29th 15.7 +0.6 5.3 7th 40.6 21.8 high 186%

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 2 pm on Sunday 1 November 2020. 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

Climate