Northern Territory in May 2017: Very warm days and mostly dry

May is officially the first month of the Northern Territory dry season and it was characterised by well above average daytime temperatures and little to no rainfall in most locations.

Warm daytime temperatures

  • The mean daily maximum temperature during May, Territory-wide, was the 6th-highest on record at 1.96 °C above average. Some sites in the central NT had their highest May mean daily maximum temperature on record
  • No location in the NT had a daily maximum temperature below 20 °C until the 30th when Arltunga recorded a maximum of 19.8 °C. The only time since 1957 that no location in the Territory recorded a maximum temperature below 20 °C for the entire month of May was in 1975.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature was below average for the month, at 0.33 °C below the long-term average

Dry start to the dry season

  • Rainfall across the NT was 93% below average for the month; a similar rainfall total occurs in May approximately every 1 in 5 years.
  • Apart from the far northeast of the Territory, all locations recorded less than 15 mm during the month.
  • Virtually all the rain in the far northeast fell between the 21st and 23rd of the month due to a deep trough in the region.

Further information

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Extremes in May 2017
Hottest day 36.5 °C at Bradshaw on the 23rd
36.5 °C at Douglas River on the 23rd
Warmest days on average 34.9 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 25.0 °C at Kulgera
Coldest day 18.2 °C at Arltunga on the 31st
Coldest night -2.0 °C at Arltunga on the 11th
Coolest nights on average 6.9 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 26.3 °C at Cape Wessel
Warmest night 27.2 °C at McCluer Island on the 2nd
Warmest on average overall 28.9 °C at Cape Wessel
Coolest on average overall 16.5 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 39.5 mm at Nhulunbuy
Wettest day 39.5 mm at Nhulunbuy on the 21st
Strongest wind gust 69 km/h at Centre Island on the 29th

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 mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May
Territory Grape Farm 28.1 = 28.1 in 1999 23 25.6
Rabbit Flat 31.5 = 31.5 in 1999 20 28.6



Summary statistics for May 2017
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2017
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2017
Mean for
May
2017
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2017
Total for
May
2017
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2017
Fraction of
May
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 33.3 +0.4 35.1 23rd 19.2 +0.2 15.4 15th 1.0 26.1 average 4%
Black Point 31.5 +0.2 32.4 17th 24.4 +0.6 22.9 12th 0 35.2 lowest 0%
Bradshaw 34.9 +1.1 36.5 23rd 18.7 0.0 13.8 11th 0 14.7 v low 0%
Central Arnhem Plateau 31.2 +0.7 33.2 19th 19.6 +0.1 15.4 11th 0 11.5 v low 0%
Charles Point 32.8   34.5 5th 22.9   19.4 31st 0.2
Croker Island Airport 31.5   33.7 19th 23.8   21.4 15th 1.2
Darwin Airport 32.9 +0.9 34.7 19th 22.6 +0.5 20.4 11th 0.4 21.3 average 2%
Delamere Weapons Range 32.8 +1.2 35.3 6th 17.9 -0.2 13.1 15th 0 4.6 lowest 0%
Douglas River 34.1 +0.8 36.5 23rd 16.7 0.0 12.6 15th 0 10.2 lowest 0%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.9 +0.7 34.7 23rd 21.7 -0.3 17.8 15th 0 22.9 lowest 0%
Jabiru Airport 34.4 +0.9 36.3 20th 22.8 +0.9 20.0 10th 0 16.4 lowest 0%
Katherine Country Club 33.3   35.0 18th 17.2   12.4 15th 0
McCluer Island 29.9 +0.5 31.5 19th 26.0 +0.9 25.0 6th 1.2 49.9 low 2%
Middle Point 33.8 +0.4 35.5 23rd 19.4 +0.1 14.9 11th 0 22.8 v low 0%
Murganella Airstrip 32.5   35.5 18th 21.3   16.6 31st 1.4
Noonamah Airstrip 34.1   36.1 23rd 19.7   15.6 11th 0
Oenpelli Airport 34.6   36.3 18th 22.6   19.0 11th 0
Pirlangimpi Airport 33.1 +0.5 34.9 23rd 21.8 +0.3 18.1 11th 4.8 21.7 low 22%
Point Fawcett 32.2 +0.6 34.0 21st 20.4 -0.9 17.3 15th 4.2 36.6 average 11%
Point Stuart 31.9   33.6 23rd     17.9 11th 1.6 18.0 average 9%
Port Keats Airport 33.8 +0.8 35.8 23rd 19.4 -0.1 15.3 15th 0 20.7 v low 0%
Tindal RAAF 33.1 +0.9 34.7 18th 16.9 -0.6 12.5 10th 0 2.2 lowest 0%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.5   33.0 20th 26.3   24.5 21st 27.0 94.5 average 29%
Gove Airport 30.7 +0.8 31.9 18th 23.7 +1.1 21.0 1st 18.6 86.9 low 21%
Groote Eylandt Airport 31.6 +0.6 32.7 23rd 20.0 +0.9 15.9 11th 22.6 34.6 average 65%
Maningrida Airport 32.6 +0.6 34.5 19th 22.2 +0.3 19.2 10th 8.0 24.4 low 33%
Milingimbi Airport 32.4 +0.6 34.9 19th 23.1 +0.6 20.9 11th 12.4 28.8 low 43%
Ngayawili 31.5 +0.4 33.9 19th 22.9 +0.6 21.1 31st 9.6 28.4 average 34%
Warruwi Airport 31.2 +0.4 32.9 19th 24.9 +0.8 23.4 31st 4.0 15.9 average 25%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 33.4 +1.0 35.1 18th 16.2 +0.3 10.8 10th 0 6.9 lowest 0%
Bulman 32.9 +0.3 34.7 18th 18.6 +0.1 13.1 11th 2.6 19.6 low 13%
Centre Island 30.5 +1.0 33.0 16th 23.3 +0.7 20.9 31st 9.6 11.7 high 82%
Daly Waters Airstrip 33.2 +2.0 35.8 6th 13.9 -2.1 8.8 14th 0 6.6 lowest 0%
McArthur River Mine Airport 33.9 +1.5 35.6 22nd 17.5 +0.8 12.8 11th 0 7.3 lowest 0%
Ngukurr Airport 33.6   35.7 18th 18.2   11.6 10th 0.6
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 31.8 +2.3 34.5 22nd 12.9 -0.6 7.3 11th 0 8.4 lowest 0%
Victoria River Downs 33.3 +1.3 35.8 23rd 14.6 -1.3 10.2 12th 0 5.8 lowest 0%
Wave Hill 32.1 +0.9 35.0 6th 14.8 -0.4 9.5 15th 0 8.4 lowest 0%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 31.9 +0.6 34.4 6th 16.6 +0.7 12.4 30th 0 6.8 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 30.2 +2.5 33.2 23rd 17.6 +1.2 13.3 31st 0 8.4 lowest 0%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 26.0 +2.9 31.9 22nd 6.9 -1.4 1.2 11th 0 18.7 lowest 0%
Jervois 27.8 +2.4 33.1 23rd 10.2 +0.2 5.8 11th 0.2 17.4 average 1%
Kulgera 25.0 +2.3 30.5 23rd 8.0 -1.1 2.0 31st 0 12.3 lowest 0%
Rabbit Flat 31.5 +2.9 34.6 23rd 9.8 -2.1 4.9 12th 0 12.9 lowest 0%
Territory Grape Farm 28.1 +2.5 31.9 23rd 8.8 -0.8 3.6 11th
Walungurru Airport 28.3 +0.9 31.8 24th 15.1 -0.4 11.1 15th 0.4 19.3 average 2%
Yulara Airport 25.5 +1.2 30.0 22nd 8.0 -1.4 4.1 11th 0.4 14.8 average 3%

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 12 pm on Thursday 1 June 2017. 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