South Australia in May 2011: A cool end to autumn

  • Average rainfall across most of South Australia, with parts of the eastern districts tending below average, and central pastoral areas above average.
  • Second wettest year to date rainfall, following the wettest January to March period on record.
  • Maximum temperatures up to 3°C below average in the west, and up to 2°C of average elsewhere.
  • Minimum temperatures up to 2°C below average over the pastorals, within 1°C of average elsewhere.

Rainfall

South Australia has received close to the May rainfall average for the state as a whole (though slightly below). The centre of the state received above average rainfall whilst some isolated pockets saw below average rainfall. The passage of cold fronts near the start of May, mid-May and in the last week of May delivered most of the month's rainfall when showers were generated over southern coastal areas in the cold, moist southerly flow following the passage of these fronts.

South Australia has had its second wettest first five months of the year (January to May) on record. January to March this year was the wettest first 3 months of the year on record, but with below average rainfall in April, and close to average rainfall in May 2011, the year to date state average has slipped to second place. The wettest first five months of the year was in 1974.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall totals over the pastoral districts were close to average, with the wettest period around the 2nd of May following the passage of a cold front. Coober Pedy had its wettest May day on record with 40.6 mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 2nd of May, see highest May daily rainfall on record. Monthly totals generally ranged from about 10 to 30 mm, with some areas receiving up to 50 mm. The wettest overall was Coober Pedy Airport with 52.2 mm.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals were close to average across most of the agricultural districts, though a few locations received below average rainfall and others received above average rainfall. The Upper Murray Valley received rainfall totals of 10 to 20mm, the Lower Murray Valley and Upper Southeast received 20 to 40 mm, Kangaroo Island, County Light and the Mount Lofty Ranges received rainfall totals of 50 to 90 mm and most other districts received 30 to 70 mm. Some locations in the Mounty Lofty ranges received over 100 mm for the month. The wettest overall was Crafers (Mt Lofty) with 131.0 mm.

See a map of rainfall deciles.

Temperature

The mean temperature (the average of the maximum and minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in May 2011 was 14.2 °C, which is 1.0 °C below the long-term average.

Maximum

The area-averaged mean maximum temperature of 20.0°C was 1.6°C below the long-term May average for South Australia as a whole.

Mean maximum temperatures over South Australia were up to 3°C below average across the pastoral districts and the Western Agricultural District and up to 2°C below the long-term average over the rest of the agricultural districts when averaged across the whole month. The coldest period was in the week from the 22nd to the 29th of May when conditions were cloudy and wet following the passage of a cold front. Mount Lofty recorded the coldest day of the month in these conditions when its maximum temperature only reached 8.2°C on the 25th. The warmest period was from the 18th to the 21st of May in the northerly air stream ahead of this cold front; the warm northerly winds pushing the maximum temperature up to 29.1 °C at Marla on the 21st.

Average daily maximum temperatures over the pastoral districts ranged from 17.3°C at Yunta in the Northeast district to 22.6°C at Moomba Airport in the Far North district. The highest recorded maximum temperature for May was 29.1°C at Marla on the 21st of the month.

Average daily maximum temperatures across the agricultural areas ranged from 12.1°C at Mount Lofty to 20.4°C at Port Augusta Aero in the Western Agricultural District. The lowest recorded maximum temperature for May was 8.2°C at Mount Lofty on the 25th of the month, with the warmest day recorded at Price with 28.0°C on the 4th.

Some sites had their lowest May mean daily maximum temperature for at least 25 years.

Minimum

Mean minimum temperatures were up to 2°C below average in the pastoral districts, and within 1°C of average elsewhere when average across the whole of May. The coldest nights were around the 15th to the 17th, and the 29th to 31st when winds were generally light as a high pressure system moved across southeastern Australia. The minimum temperature at Yunta fell to -4.2°C on the 16th. Marla also had its coldest autumn night on record with -4.0°C on the 30th of May, see lowest May temperature on record. The warmest nights were around the 1st/2nd of May and the 19th to the 22nd of May associated with warmer northerly winds. Moomba recorded the warmest night on the 22nd with 17.7°C.

Over the pastoral districts average minimum temperatures ranged from 5.4°C at Yunta in the Northeast District to 9.9°C at Andamooka in the Northwest District. The lowest overnight minimum temperature in the pastorals for May was -4.2°C at Yunta on the 16th, whilst the highest was 17.7°C recorded at Moomba Airport on the 22nd.

Over the agricultural areas average overnight minimum temperatures ranged from 4.3°C at Yongala to 13.7°C at Neptune Island. The lowest recorded daily minimum temperature for May in the Agricultural districts was -3.0°C at Yongala on the 10th, whilst the highest was 17.1 °C at Port Augusta on the 1st.

 

Further information

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Extremes in May 2011
Hottest day 29.1 °C at Marla Police Station on the 21st
Warmest days on average 22.6 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 12.1 °C at Mount Lofty
Coldest day 8.2 °C at Mount Lofty on the 25th
Coldest night -4.2 °C at Yunta Airstrip on the 16th
Coolest nights on average 4.3 °C at Yongala
Warmest nights on average 13.7 °C at Neptune Island
Warmest night 17.7 °C at Moomba Airport on the 22nd
Warmest on average overall 15.6 °C at Moomba Airport
15.6 °C at Neptune Island
Coolest on average overall 9.7 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall131.0 mm at Crafers (Mt Lofty)
Highest wind gust 113 km/h at Neptune Island on the 22nd

Record highest May daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in May 2011 (mm)
Previous wettest
for May
Years of
record
Coober Pedy 40.6 on the 2nd 40.4 on the 26th in 1979 81



Lowest total May rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for May 2011 (mm)
Most recent May
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
May
Kingscote 17.4 14.8 in 1967 34 58.0



Lowest May mean daily maximum temperature for at least 25 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for May 2011 (°C)
Most recent May
at least this cool
Years since
cooler
Average for
May
Kimba 17.3 16.3 in 1968 42 19.4
Mount Barker 15.1 15.0 in 1970 41 16.6
Hawker 18.0 15.9 in 1968 36 20.0
Arkaroola 17.9 16.8 in 1979 32 20.2
Kyancutta 19.1 =19.1 in 1979 32 21.1
Andamooka 20.2 19.0 in 1979 31 22.4



Summary statistics for May 2011
Maximum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Rainfall
for May
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2011
Mean for
May
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2011
Total for
May
2011
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2011
Fraction of
May
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 20.2 -2.2 27.1 20th 9.9 -0.1 3.7 16th 15.2 15.9 average 96%
Coober Pedy Airport 19.3   26.9 20th 9.3   3.7 31st 52.2
Ernabella (Pukatja) 19.4   26.7 21st 7.1   -1.5 27th 12.8
Marla Police Station 20.5 -2.7 29.1 21st 7.3 -1.9 -0.4 30th 7.4 12.3 average 60%
Nonning 18.6 -1.5 24.8 21st 7.9 +0.9 -0.5 17th 22.5 24.0 average 94%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 20.1   26.9 20th 8.8   1.0 30th 20.2
Tarcoola Aero 20.0   27.4 21st 8.5   1.7 30th 33.4
Woomera Aerodrome 18.7 -1.9 26.0 20th 9.2 -0.2 4.5 16th 26.0 18.8 high 138%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 17.9 -2.3 24.5 21st 5.7 -1.5 -0.7 17th 16.7 17.4 average 96%
Leigh Creek Airport 18.9 -2.1 25.4 21st 8.1 -0.7 1.4 27th 29.8 16.2 average 184%
Marree Aero 21.1   27.6 21st 8.4   1.5 26th 2.8
Marree Comparison 21.6 -1.5 28.2 20th 9.1 +0.1 3.0 26th 1.1 13.4 average 8%
Moomba Airport 22.6   28.9 1st 8.5   1.7 26th 1.0
Oodnadatta Airport 21.3 -1.9 28.3 20th 9.2 -0.6 1.5 27th 10.8 13.0 average 83%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 19.5 -1.4 27.5 21st 8.8 +0.3 2.5 29th 39.4 32.5 high 121%
Cleve 17.8 -1.1 25.2 21st 10.2 +0.2 6.5 16th 54.4 40.5 high 134%
Cleve Aerodrome 17.7   25.4 21st 9.9   5.8 16th 40.0 37.4 average 107%
Coulta (Coles Point) 18.4   27.0 21st 9.4   4.3 16th 33.6
Cummins Aero 18.8   26.7 21st 8.7   2.8 16th 57.0
Elliston 18.7 -0.8 26.2 21st 10.0 -0.3 3.0 29th 43.0 52.1 average 83%
Kimba 17.3 -2.1 23.8 21st 8.3 0.0 2.5 17th 42.0 35.7 average 118%
Kyancutta 19.1 -2.0 26.7 21st 7.2 -0.1 0.6 15th 43.2 32.4 high 133%
Minnipa Pirsa 18.4   26.4 21st 8.7   4.8 17th 29.2
Neptune Island 17.4 -0.3 21.1 21st 13.7 0.0 11.3 25th 68.2 54.7 high 125%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 18.6   26.5 21st 10.3   5.8 16th 61.6
Nullarbor 19.5 -2.0 26.3 18th 8.6 -0.4 2.1 30th 19.2 29.8 average 64%
Port Augusta Aero 20.4   27.3 20th 8.2   -0.6 17th 9.0
Streaky Bay 19.4 -0.7 23.3 21st 10.8 0.0 6.6 15th 52.9 45.8 average 116%
Whyalla Aero 19.0 -1.6 26.4 20th 9.0 +0.2 0.3 17th 12.6 23.1 low 55%
Wudinna Aero 19.4   27.4 21st 7.5   0.5 16th 25.2
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 18.0 -2.0 25.0 20th 6.3 -0.9 -1.2 10th 31.8 30.8 average 103%
Yongala 15.8 -1.3 22.1 20th 4.3 -0.3 -3.0 10th 36.3 35.0 average 104%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 18.7   26.7 21st 6.5   -2.8 16th 13.7
Yunta Airstrip 17.3   23.8 21st 5.4   -4.2 16th 10.0
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 15.9   22.7 20th 6.2   -1.0 10th 48.6
Port Pirie Aerodrome 19.0   25.7 20th 8.4   2.4 17th 55.9
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 19.1 -1.3 25.3 20th 10.5 -0.2 4.9 16th 58.6 38.4 high 153%
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 18.6   25.6 21st 7.3   -0.3 16th 36.4
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 17.7   26.0 21st 11.1   5.9 31st 30.2
Kadina AWS 18.4   24.1 20th 8.0   1.6 17th 53.4
Maitland 17.7 -0.4 23.5 21st 10.1 +0.2 6.1 28th 65.6 60.3 average 109%
Minlaton Aero 18.3   25.5 21st 9.8   5.8 16th 22.2
Stenhouse Bay 17.9   24.0 21st 11.7   6.2 17th 53.0
Warooka 18.0 -0.5 21.4 21st 10.5 +0.1 7.2 17th 29.8 54.0 low 55%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 16.2   19.3 21st 10.6   6.9 17th 75.4
Cape Willoughby 16.1 -0.8 21.7 21st 12.4 -0.1 8.9 24th 55.8 61.5 average 91%
Kingscote Aero 17.8   23.0 21st 7.4   0.4 17th 49.6
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 18.0 -1.0 24.9 19th 10.0 -0.2 5.2 16th 61.8 59.9 average 103%
Adelaide Airport 17.9 -0.6 24.7 21st 9.8 +0.3 4.0 16th 36.4 53.9 low 68%
Edinburgh RAAF 18.3 -0.9 25.4 19th 9.1 0.0 3.2 16th 52.8 43.7 average 121%
Parafield Airport 18.4 -0.5 25.6 19th 8.5 -0.9 2.8 16th 46.0 47.5 average 97%
Roseworthy AWS 18.4   25.7 21st 8.5   1.5 10th 37.2
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 16.2   22.9 21st 7.0   -0.7 10th 67.6
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 17.7 -1.0 25.0 19th 7.7 -0.5 -0.7 10th 76.0 53.0 high 143%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 17.4   25.0 21st 10.6   5.5 17th 51.6
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 14.6   22.5 21st 8.7   3.7 31st 99.6
Mount Barker 15.1 -1.5 21.9 21st 7.4 +0.7 1.6 31st 68.8 87.6 average 79%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 13.6   20.2 19th 7.8   4.2 17th 68.4
Mount Lofty 12.1   19.0 19th 7.2   4.1 9th 115.4
Noarlunga 17.7   24.9 21st 10.7   7.0 31st 45.4
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 14.1   19.9 21st 8.8   4.3 17th 81.0
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 17.3   24.9 21st 9.2   2.3 31st 89.6
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 18.3 -1.2 24.8 21st 6.7 +0.3 -1.0 17th 17.0 23.3 average 73%
Renmark Aero 18.7   25.4 21st 6.6   -2.6 17th 13.6
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 16.0 -0.9 23.8 21st 7.2 -0.4 1.5 16th 41.8 45.1 average 93%
Meningie 17.5 -0.8 23.0 21st 8.8 0.0 3.2 31st 47.6 54.4 average 88%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 18.0   25.3 21st 7.1   -0.8 17th 20.2
Murray Bridge Comparison 18.4 -1.2 25.2 20th 8.3 +0.3 1.3 17th 25.9 34.9 average 74%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 17.2   25.1 21st 9.1   3.9 17th 44.6
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 17.5   24.9 21st 7.1   0.8 17th 33.8 35.3 average 96%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 17.1 -1.2 23.9 20th 7.1 -0.6 1.2 31st 30.3 52.1 low 58%
Keith (Munkora) 17.4   24.6 20th 6.5   -0.5 10th 29.8
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 17.4   24.3 21st 6.4   1.3 17th 27.2
Lameroo Comparison 17.7 -0.9 24.5 20th 7.4 +0.4 2.5 31st
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 16.2   21.0 21st 9.7   6.3 7th 53.8
Coonawarra 15.7 -1.5 23.5 21st 7.1 +0.3 -1.1 31st 38.8 51.1 average 76%
Mount Gambier Aero 15.2 -0.9 22.2 21st 7.8 +0.5 -0.4 31st 78.6 70.9 average 111%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 16.3   23.8 21st 6.9   -0.2 31st 36.8
Padthaway South 16.5   23.7 21st 6.4   -0.7 10th 32.8
Robe Airfield 16.7   22.8 21st 8.7   -0.7 31st 68.0
Robe Comparison 15.9 -0.5 19.1 21st 10.4 +0.2 4.5 31st 63.2 72.9 average 87%

Notes

A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in South Australia 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, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 1 pm on Wednesday 1 June 2011. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages 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 20 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.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries