Northern Territory in May 2016: Hot, wetter than normal

Despite above average rainfall, the entire Northern Territory experienced well above average daytime and overnight temperatures during May.

  • Warmest mean overnight temperatures on record for May
  • Second-warmest mean daytime temperatures
  • Rainfall more than three times the May average

Total rain averaged across the Territory was more than three times the May average. It was the wettest May since 2004 and sixth-wettest ever recorded. Some sites had their wettest May on record. Virtually all parts of the NT received significantly above average rainfall. The southwest of the Territory was affected by heavy rainfall from the 6th to 9th of May as a northwest cloudband of tropical origin extended from the Indian Ocean across central Australia. Several locations in the region had their highest total May rainfall on record and also their highest May daily rainfall on record as a result of this event. Flooding and infrastructure damage was reported at Finke Gorge and Watarrka National Parks. In the northern half of the NT, persistent humidity contributed to regular shower activity. A trough which extended across the Top End on 9th and 10th of May led to significant rainfall extending from the far northwest of the NT to the Barkly District. Around the 21st of May a deep trough over the eastern Gulf of Carpentaria saw significant falls occur over the far northeast. Some sites in the Top End had their highest total May rainfall on record and also their highest May daily rainfall on record.

Both daytime and overnight temperatures were above average at all Northern Territory locations during May. The Territory-wide May mean minimum temperature was the highest ever recorded at 3.10 °C above average. The mean maximum temperature was the second-warmest on record at 2.23 °C above average, exceeded only by 1958. The mean temperature for May was 2.67 °C above average, also just pipped by the 1958 record.

Many sites throughout the NT had their highest May temperature, their warmest May night their highest May mean maximum temperature or highest May mean minimum temperature on record. Darwin Airport, Tennant Creek Airport and Borroloola Airport were three of the sites which exceeded their previous warmest May mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures during the month. Darwin's mean maximum temperature during May was 33.5 °C (beating the 33.4 °C reached in 2007) while the mean minimum temperature was 24.7 °C (compared to the 2010 mark of 24.3 °C). Bradshaw, in the far south of the Daly District, recorded a maximum of 40.2 °C on the 1st which was the highest temperature ever recorded in the NT during May. It was also the first time a temperature of 40 °C or above had ever been recorded anywhere other than Western Australia during May. McCluer Island, off the central north coast, had an overnight temperature of 28.9 °C on both the 7th and the 9th - exceeding the previous NT highest daily minimum temperature for May.

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Extremes in May 2016
Hottest day 40.2 °C at Bradshaw on the 1st
Warmest days on average 36.5 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 25.0 °C at Yulara Airport
Coldest day 16.0 °C at Kulgera on the 23rd
16.0 °C at Yulara Airport on the 23rd
Coldest night 2.6 °C at Arltunga on the 14th
Coolest nights on average 10.9 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 26.8 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 28.9 °C at McCluer Island on the 7th
28.9 °C at McCluer Island on the 9th
Warmest on average overall 30.3 °C at Oenpelli Airport
Coolest on average overall 17.9 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 330.0 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day 138.4 mm at Cape Wessel on the 21st
Strongest wind gust 72 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 May daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Rosewood 82.2 on the 9th 60.2 on the 1st in 1960 119
Hermannsburg 69.4 on the 8th 68.8 on the 28th in 1921 103
Nutwood Downs 85.2 on the 10th 63.0 on the 13th in 1968 76
Vaughan Springs 85.0 on the 8th 58.0 on the 30th in 2009 56
Darwin River Dam 76.4 on the 10th 66.2 on the 14th in 1993 46
Palm Valley 64.7 on the 8th 62.8 on the 11th in 1993 36
Borroloola Airport 26.2 on the 10th 24.6 on the 3rd in 2012 22
Darwin Hospital 38.9 on the 4th 34.5 on the 23rd in 1997 20
Glen Helen Lodge 50.0 on the 7th 38.0 on the 12th in 2013 20



Record highest May total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Vaughan Springs 208.0 153.4 in 2004 56 24.7
Darwin River Dam 100.8 95.6 in 1995 46 18.4
Palm Valley 131.1 121.6 in 2004 36 22.0
Humpty Doo Collard Road 123.1 113.2 in 1990 35 23.2
Borroloola Airport 50.0 49.6 in 2012 22 7.2
Darwin Hospital 90.9 75.6 in 2004 20 25.2

Highest May total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
May
Hermannsburg 104.4 106.5 in 1921* 18.8
Rosewood 100.2 116.6 in 1960* 7.5
Nutwood Downs 98.8 102.8 in 1968* 8.7
Camfield 56.8 63.0 in 1973* 6.7
Lambell's Lagoon 73.8 102.3 in 1987 16.6
Curtin Springs 70.6 83.9 in 1990 18.2
Darwin Botanic Gardens 111.6 188.2 in 1987* 25.3
Stokes Hill 73.2 215.9 in 1968* 20.4
Brunette Downs 31.7 43.8 in 1992 8.1
Katherine Council 40.2 85.6 in 1990* 5.5
Elizabeth Downs 12.0 24.0 in 1990* 6.5
Pirlangimpi Airport 58.4 88.4 in 1992* 22.1
Yulara Airport 74.6 109.6 in 1988* 15.4

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




Record highest May temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Brunette Downs 38.5 on the 1st 38.1 on the 6th in 2007 52 29.9
Tennant Creek Airport 36.8 on the 1st 36.4 on the 4th in 2007 47 27.6
Douglas River 38.4 on the 1st = 38.4 on the 14th in 1973 26 33.2
Black Point 34.4 on the 20th 33.9 on the 23rd in 2003 24 31.2
Lajamanu Airport 38.8 on the 1st 37.2 on the 3rd in 2007 23 29.4
Territory Grape Farm 34.9 on the 1st 34.8 on the 4th in 2007 23 25.5
Delamere Weapons Range 37.6 on the 1st 37.0 on the 6th in 2007 20 31.4
Rabbit Flat 38.8 on the 1st 36.8 on the 5th in 2007 20 28.5



Record highest May mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Darwin Airport 33.5 33.4 in 2007 74 32.0
Victoria River Downs 35.1 34.7 in 1988 51 31.9
Warruwi Airport 32.6 32.1 in 2003 50 30.7
Tennant Creek Airport 30.4 30.3 in 2014 46 27.6
Centre Island 31.5 31.2 in 2007 41 29.5
McArthur River Mine Airport 34.8 = 34.8 in 2007 38 32.3
Tindal RAAF 35.0 34.8 in 1988 28 32.1
Douglas River 35.5 34.9 in 2014 25 33.2
Black Point 32.6 32.4 in 2007 23 31.2
Borroloola Airport 34.7 34.0 in 2014 22 32.3
Lajamanu Airport 33.2 32.0 in 2002 22 29.4

Highest May mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
May
Gove Airport 31.4 31.5 in 1988 29.9



Record highest May daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Brunette Downs 25.6 on the 2nd 25.0 on the 17th in 1958 52 15.0
Victoria River Downs 26.8 on the 2nd 26.1 on the 11th in 1992 50 15.8
Jervois 22.1 on the 1st 21.1 on the 3rd in 2007 49 10.0
Tennant Creek Airport 25.2 on the 1st 24.5 on the 6th in 1988 47 16.3
Wave Hill 26.0 on the 7th 25.2 on the 19th in 1990 43 15.1
Centre Island 27.9 on the 7th 26.9 on the 3rd in 2010 42 22.5
McArthur River Mine Airport 25.7 on the 9th 25.0 on the 22nd in 2013 39 16.5
Gove Airport 26.6 on the 11th 26.5 on the 3rd in 2003 38 22.6
Elliott 25.2 on the 9th = 25.2 on the 5th in 1990 36 15.8
Black Point 27.8 on the 7th 27.3 on the 17th in 2010 23 23.7
Borroloola Airport 24.4 on the 9th 23.4 on the 3rd in 2010 23 15.7
Lajamanu Airport 25.7 on the 7th 23.2 on the 6th in 1973 23 13.3
Channel Point 26.0 on the 10th 25.5 on the 30th in 2010 22 20.5
Delamere Weapons Range 26.0 on the 1st 24.4 on the 28th in 2010 20 17.8
Rabbit Flat 24.9 on the 2nd 21.7 on the 9th in 2007 20 11.6



Record highest May mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Darwin Airport 24.7 24.3 in 2010 74 22.1
Warruwi Airport 26.1 25.5 in 2010 50 24.0
Victoria River Downs 19.9 = 19.9 in 1992 49 15.8
Jervois 13.2 13.0 in 2007 48 10.0
Tennant Creek Airport 19.2 18.9 in 1988 46 16.3
Centre Island 25.2 24.6 in 2007 41 22.5
Jabiru Airport 24.6 24.5 in 2010 39 21.8
McArthur River Mine Airport 22.1 20.4 in 2010 38 16.5
Elliott 19.7 18.8 in 2007 35 15.8
Pirlangimpi Airport 24.1 23.9 in 2010 32 21.4
Borroloola Airport 20.7 18.9 in 2010 22 15.7
Lajamanu Airport 18.7 17.7 in 1973 22 13.3

Highest May mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
May
Brunette Downs 19.0 19.3 in 1958* 15.0
Wave Hill 19.3 19.5 in 1992 15.1

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




Record highest May mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Darwin Airport 29.1 28.7 in 1978 74 27.1
Brunette Downs 25.8 = 25.8 in 2007 51 22.4
Warruwi Airport 29.4 28.6 in 2010 50 27.4
Victoria River Downs 27.5 27.0 in 1988 49 23.9
Tennant Creek Airport 24.8 24.5 in 1988 46 22.0
Centre Island 28.4 27.9 in 2007 41 26.0
Jabiru Airport 29.8 29.4 in 2010 39 27.7
McArthur River Mine Airport 28.4 27.3 in 2007 38 24.4
Gove Airport 27.7 27.2 in 2013 37 26.2
Pirlangimpi Airport 28.8 28.7 in 2014 32 27.0
Tindal RAAF 27.9 27.2 in 1988 28 24.8
Douglas River 28.2 27.4 in 2007 25 24.9
Black Point 28.9 28.7 in 2007 22 27.5
Borroloola Airport 27.7 26.2 in 2007 22 24.0
Lajamanu Airport 25.9 24.8 in 1973 22 21.3



Summary statistics for May 2016
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2016
Mean for
May
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2016
Total for
May
2016
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2016
Fraction of
May
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.1 +1.3 36.6 1st 22.4 +3.5 19.2 21st 123.8 27.2 v high 455%
Black Point 32.6 +1.4 34.4 20th 25.2 +1.5 23.4 27th 34.7 35.9 high 97%
Bradshaw 36.5 +2.9 40.2 1st 23.1 +4.7 19.5 21st 1.4 15.6 high 9%
Central Arnhem Plateau 32.2 +1.8 33.2 6th 21.9 +2.7 19.2 12th 2.8 12.4 average 23%
Croker Island Airport 32.4   33.9 8th 24.9   22.9 2nd 0
Darwin Airport 33.5 +1.5 35.2 18th 24.7 +2.6 21.8 12th 63.8 21.6 v high 295%
Delamere Weapons Range 34.4 +3.0 37.6 1st     17.5 12th 0 4.8 lowest 0%
Douglas River 35.5 +2.3 38.4 1st 20.8 +4.2 16.8 12th 20.0 10.4 high 192%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 33.5 +1.4 34.9 16th 24.7 +2.8 21.0 21st 94.4 24.0 v high 393%
Jabiru Airport 34.9 +1.4 36.6 23rd 24.6 +2.8 23.0 19th 44.4 16.8 high 264%
Katherine Country Club 34.9   36.6 6th 21.4   17.6 15th 44.6
McCluer Island 31.0 +1.7 32.7 10th 26.8 +1.8 23.2 2nd 56.6 52.2 average 108%
Middle Point 34.6 +1.3 36.1 25th 22.3 +3.2 19.0 12th 103.6 24.3 v high 426%
Noonamah Airstrip 34.7   36.1 23rd 23.5   20.7 21st 54.0
Oenpelli Airport 35.9   37.6 1st 24.7   22.7 19th 8.4
Pirlangimpi Airport 33.6 +1.1 34.9 18th 24.1 +2.7 22.1 21st 58.4 22.1 v high 264%
Point Fawcett 33.1 +1.6 34.8 2nd 23.3 +2.1 20.4 21st 88.2 38.3 high 230%
Point Stuart 32.9   34.5 14th 24.3   20.4 12th 83.6 19.1 v high 438%
Port Keats Airport 34.0 +1.1 35.9 1st 22.5 +3.3 20.1 16th 53.4 22.1 high 242%
Tindal RAAF 35.0 +2.9 37.0 1st 20.9 +3.5 17.4 15th 11.4 2.2 v high 518%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.0   33.4 10th 26.4   23.9 16th 330.0 97.1 v high 340%
Gove Airport 31.4 +1.5 33.2 10th 24.0 +1.4 21.5 27th 162.8 88.4 high 184%
Groote Eylandt Airport 32.0 +1.0 33.9 10th 22.8 +3.9 19.7 20th 201.6 35.2 v high 573%
Maningrida Airport 33.2 +1.3 34.8 26th 24.0 +2.2 22.4 19th 26.4 25.7 average 103%
Milingimbi Airport 33.2 +1.5 34.0 24th 24.7 +2.4 22.9 12th 27.8 30.1 average 92%
Ngayawili 32.1 +1.0 33.5 4th 24.4 +2.2 21.4 27th 59.6 29.5 high 202%
Warruwi Airport 32.6 +1.9 33.9 28th 26.1 +2.1 24.7 3rd 32.2 16.1 high 200%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 34.7 +2.4 37.1 6th 20.7 +5.0 15.9 14th 50.0 7.2 highest 694%
Bulman 34.8 +2.4 36.7 2nd 22.3 +4.2 19.0 20th 28.6 21.1 average 136%
Centre Island 31.5 +2.0 34.9 3rd 25.2 +2.7 22.1 12th 17.0 11.8 high 144%
Daly Waters Airstrip 34.8 +3.6 38.0 1st 18.5 +2.5 11.6 15th 1.0 6.8 average 15%
McArthur River Mine Airport 34.8 +2.5 37.0 5th 22.1 +5.6 15.9 14th 17.8 7.5 v high 237%
Ngukurr Airport 34.9   37.4 7th 22.9   19.6 12th 82.4
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 33.2 +3.8 38.8 1st 18.7 +5.4 9.5 15th 3.4 8.5 average 40%
Victoria River Downs 35.1 +3.2 37.4 27th 19.9 +4.1 12.1 15th 6.2 5.9 high 105%
Wave Hill     37.0 27th 19.3 +4.2 13.0 15th 26.0 8.6 high 302%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 32.6 +2.7 38.5 1st 19.0 +4.0 13.3 15th 31.7 8.1 v high 391%
Elliott 33.2 +2.0 37.2 2nd 19.7 +3.9 15.1 12th 0 6.9 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 30.4 +2.8 36.8 1st 19.2 +2.9 13.2 12th 27.2 8.5 high 320%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 25.4 +2.3 32.0 26th 11.1 +2.9 3.9 14th 54.4 18.9 high 288%
Arltunga 25.1 +2.0 31.7 26th 10.9 +2.8 2.6 14th 53.4 20.0 high 267%
Curtin Springs 25.3 +1.5 30.4 26th 11.8 +3.1 6.0 28th 70.6 18.2 v high 388%
Jervois 27.2 +1.8 33.9 26th 13.2 +3.2 6.4 14th 14.0 17.7 average 79%
Rabbit Flat 31.2 +2.7 38.8 1st 15.7 +4.1 6.8 15th 24.4 13.6 high 179%
Territory Grape Farm 27.2 +1.7 34.9 1st 12.8 +3.3 6.5 12th 44.8 23.2 high 193%
Walungurru Airport 27.7 +0.4 33.2 1st 17.0 +1.6 9.7 9th 92.0 20.6 high 447%
Yulara Airport 25.0 +0.8 30.8 26th 11.9 +2.6 7.0 28th 74.6 15.4 v high 484%

Notes

The Monthly climate summary 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. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 11 am on Wednesday 1 June 2016. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries