Northern Territory in March 2017: Hot days in the south, warm nights throughout

Maximum temperatures were much higher than normal in the southern half of the Northern Territory. Most of the Territory, apart from the central parts, had much warmer than usual minimum temperatures. Rainfall was close to average over most of the Territory, apart from the far south, and patches in the north and central NT, which received below average March rainfall.

Highest mean temeperature for the NT since 1992

Average rainfall in the north, very dry in the south

  • Terrirory-wide, March rainfall was 35% below average.
  • The northern half received regular rainfall during the month due to a series of active monsoon troughs over the Arafura Sea; south of about Tennant Creek rainfall was very sparse.

Tropical cyclone Blanche

  • The most significant of the monsoonal bursts occurred in early March associated with tropical cyclone Blanche - the second TC to affect the Northern Region during the 2016-17 cyclone season.
  • Blanche developed over the Arafura Sea in the first week of March, passed over the Tiwi Islands and then made landfall on the northern Kimberley coast as a category 2 storm on 6 March.
  • As Blanche moved over the Tiwi Islands, Point Fawcett had its highest March daily rainfall on record on the 5th.

Darwin's wet season stays wet

  • With more than 450 mm of rain in March, Darwin has recorded above average monthly rainfall during every month of the 2016-17 wet season so far.
  • The wet season rainfall total to the end of March at Darwin Airport was 2299.6 mm, the 6th-highest wet season total at the site since records began in 1941. The official wet season continues until the end of April.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
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Extremes in March 2017
Hottest day 42.0 °C at Curtin Springs on the 26th
42.0 °C at Kulgera on the 27th
Warmest days on average 38.3 °C at Jervois
Coolest days on average 31.3 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 25.0 °C at Arltunga on the 30th
Coldest night 10.9 °C at Jervois on the 31st
Coolest nights on average 19.3 °C at Alice Springs Airport
19.3 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 27.9 °C at Centre Island
Warmest night 30.0 °C at Centre Island on the 30th
Warmest on average overall 31.8 °C at Walungurru Airport
Coolest on average overall 27.6 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 665.8 mm at Point Fawcett
Wettest day 384.0 mm at Point Fawcett on the 5th
Strongest wind gust 91 km/h at Darwin Airport on the 3rd
91 km/h at Point Fawcett on the 5th

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
Point Fawcett 384.0 on the 5th 180.2 on the 16th in 2004 20



Record highest March total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Point Fawcett 665.8 398.6 in 2004 20 242.9



Lowest March total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
March
Gove Airport 71.2 33.2 in 1993 274.8



Record highest March temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Centre Island 39.3 on the 29th 38.8 on the 17th in 2015 43 32.9



Record lowest March daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Channel Point 26.1 on the 5th 27.5 on the 31st in 2011 23 31.9



Record highest March mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Alice Springs Airport 36.9 36.2 in 1986 75 32.7
Curtin Springs 37.5 37.3 in 1986 52 33.8
Jervois 38.3 37.6 in 1986 48 34.6
Tennant Creek Airport 37.9 37.7 in 1992 47 34.4

Highest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Yulara Airport 37.4 38.4 in 1986* 34.4

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




Record highest March mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Centre Island 27.9 27.8 in 1990 42 26.3
Gove Airport 25.3 = 25.3 in 2016 38 24.0
Borroloola Airport 24.6 24.5 in 2016 22 23.3



Highest March mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Tennant Creek Airport 31.0 31.5 in 1992 28.8



Summary statistics for March 2017
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2017
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2017
Mean for
March
2017
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2017
Total for
March
2017
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2017
Fraction of
March
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 32.5 -0.6 35.9 3rd 24.0 +0.5 22.0 30th 239.6 243.3 average 98%
Bradshaw 36.8 +1.2 39.6 29th 25.6 +1.4 23.8 31st 4.0 121.6 low 3%
Channel Point 31.6 -0.3 34.3 2nd 25.1 +0.4 23.4 25th 511.1 348.8 high 147%
Charles Point 31.7   33.3 3rd 25.2   23.1 12th 236.0
Croker Island Airport 31.9   33.7 28th 25.7   23.7 14th 342.6
Darwin Airport 32.1 +0.2 34.7 3rd 24.8 +0.2 20.9 4th 460.6 317.1 high 145%
Delamere Weapons Range 35.4 +1.0 38.7 29th 24.3 +1.0 22.2 6th 95.8 157.4 low 61%
Douglas River 34.7 +0.8 37.5 3rd 24.0 +0.8 21.6 2nd 265.6 229.6 average 116%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 31.7 -0.1 33.6 1st 25.2 -0.1 22.2 17th 329.6 310.9 average 106%
Jabiru Airport 34.2 +0.5 36.4 3rd 25.0 +0.6 22.1 30th 241.0 311.4 average 77%
Katherine Country Club 35.4   37.5 3rd 24.5   22.5 1st 318.8
McCluer Island 31.3 +0.3 32.7 13th 26.4 +0.4 24.2 17th 107.0 215.2 low 50%
Middle Point 33.5 -0.2 37.5 3rd 24.4 +0.5 22.9 18th 310.6 252.1 average 123%
Murganella Airstrip 32.9   35.6 14th 24.6   22.9 1st 167.2
Noonamah Airstrip 33.4   36.5 3rd 24.4   22.5 30th 472.0
Oenpelli Airport 33.5   35.7 3rd 24.9   21.8 31st 436.2
Pirlangimpi Airport 32.1 0.0 35.7 2nd 24.5 +0.4 22.6 31st 458.8 357.6 high 128%
Point Fawcett 31.8 0.0 33.8 2nd 25.1 +0.1 21.9 17th 665.8 242.9 highest 274%
Point Stuart 32.5   34.1 3rd 25.2   22.7 31st 430.6 228.6 high 188%
Port Keats Airport 32.9 -0.6 35.9 3rd 24.8 +0.6 22.2 25th 348.4 210.0 high 166%
Tindal RAAF 35.2 +0.9 37.2 29th 24.3 +1.2 22.4 1st 215.4 166.0 average 130%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.1   33.7 25th 25.8   23.6 13th 249.6 208.5 average 120%
Gove Airport 32.2 +0.9 34.1 28th 25.3 +1.3 23.8 3rd 71.2 274.8 v low 26%
Groote Eylandt Airport 33.5 +0.9 36.7 29th 25.0 +1.2 23.3 1st 140.0 296.5 low 47%
Maningrida Airport 32.4 +0.3 34.8 28th 24.9 +0.4 23.3 30th 212.4 294.1 average 72%
Milingimbi Airport 32.6 +0.3 36.1 28th 25.4 +0.6 22.3 30th 240.8 268.9 average 90%
Ngayawili 31.9 +0.3 33.0 28th 25.6 +0.7 22.8 29th 235.8 266.8 average 88%
Warruwi Airport 32.0 +0.5 34.1 28th 25.8 +0.6 22.9 30th 177.8 235.1 average 76%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 35.3 +1.5 39.8 29th 24.6 +1.3 21.3 6th 78.2 162.2 average 48%
Bulman 35.1 +0.7 37.4 29th 24.0 +0.7 22.0 3rd 210.6 249.8 average 84%
Centre Island 34.8 +1.9 39.3 29th 27.9 +1.6 24.1 6th 54.8 257.1 low 21%
Daly Waters Airstrip 36.4 +1.7 39.6 29th 23.3 +0.8 21.6 6th 59.2 111.5 average 53%
McArthur River Mine Airport 36.3 +1.2 40.9 29th 25.3 +1.8 21.8 6th 185.8 147.1 average 126%
Ngukurr Airport 35.6   38.7 29th 25.1   23.6 6th 129.8
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 37.1 +2.2 40.6 29th 23.5 +1.4 21.3 7th 71.6 81.4 average 88%
Victoria River Downs 35.8 +0.6 38.6 29th 25.0 +1.8 22.5 31st 97.6 109.6 average 89%
Wave Hill 36.1 +0.7 39.5 29th 24.0 +1.8 21.5 31st 123.8 121.9 average 102%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 36.3 +0.6 39.4 29th 24.4 +2.1 22.0 31st 53.2 83.5 average 64%
Tennant Creek Airport 37.9 +3.5 41.0 29th 24.2 +0.9 20.0 31st 6.6 53.2 low 12%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 36.9 +4.2 40.4 27th 19.3 +1.8 11.3 31st 0 30.8 lowest 0%
Arltunga 36.0 +4.0 40.0 27th 19.3 +0.6 12.9 1st 0 38.3 lowest 0%
Curtin Springs 37.5 +3.7 42.0 26th 20.4 +1.8 14.0 31st 0 28.1 lowest 0%
Jervois 38.3 +3.7 41.8 27th 21.0 +1.6 10.9 31st 0 31.7 lowest 0%
Rabbit Flat 38.2 +1.9 41.4 16th 22.0 +0.3 16.0 2nd 41.0 68.2 average 60%
Territory Grape Farm 37.2 +2.8 40.1 29th 19.5 -0.1 13.2 31st
Walungurru Airport 38.1 +1.8 41.6 25th 25.4 +1.3 20.0 31st 1.8 46.4 low 4%
Yulara Airport 37.4 +3.0 41.9 15th 21.0 +1.7 15.9 31st 0 33.8 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 9 am on Monday 3 April 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