South Australia in December 2011: Warmer temperatures and above average rainfall

  • Maximum temperatures were up to 2°C above average at several locations across southern parts of South Australia.
  • Rainfall was mostly above average across the State with several locations having their wettest December on record.

Rainfall

Rainfall across much of South Australia during December was well above average, with many locations receiving highest on record daily and monthly totals. See a map of rainfall deciles.

The wettest periods for much of the State were between the 9th and 11th and between the 17th and 19th. Many locations recorded most of December’s rainfall in the latter period, as a low pressure system and trough that had developed over the western border of South Australia moved over the State.

The highest December total rainfall in the State was observed at Cowell (Winter Springs) where 111.4 mm was recorded. The highest December daily rainfall total was recorded at Gluepot Reserve where 102 mm of rain was recorded on the 18th.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall for December 2011 was mostly average across areas of the Pastorals, though tending to above average in the Northeast and the Northwest districts. Rainfall totals of 15 to 35mm were reported across the Northwest and Far North, while in the Northeast some locations recorded totals of more than 50 mm.   

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals over the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, Flinders and Mount Lofty Ranges and Murray Valley districts were above average for December 2011, generally ranging between 30 to 50mm, where several locations recording their wettest December on record with totals in excess of 60mm. Rainfall was generally near average across the Adelaide Plains and parts of the Southeast of the State where totals ranged between 15 to 30mm.

Some sites had their highest total December rainfall on record.

Some sites had their highest total December rainfall for at least 25 years.

Some sites had their highest December daily rainfall on record.

Temperature

The mean temperature (the average of the daily maximum and daily minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in December 2011 was 0.3 °C above than the long-term December average. In comparison, December 2010 was 0.5 °C cooler than average. Mean temperatures for December 2011 ranged from 17.1°C at Mount Lofty to 28.6°C at Oodnadatta Airport.

Maximum Temperature

The area-averaged mean maximum temperature for South Australia as a whole was 0.4°C above the long-term December average maximum temperature.

Average December maximum temperatures were close to 2°C below average across most of the northern parts of the State, while coastal, central and southeast districts were 1 to 2°C warmer than average. Average maximum temperatures for the month ranged from 19.9 °C at Cape Willoughby to 36.1°C at Oodnadatta Airport in the Northeast.

The warmest period for many locations occurred in the last week of December, from the 24th through to 26th of December and again on the 31st. The hottest day of the month for any location was recorded at Oodnadatta Airport on the 25th where the maximum temperature reached 44.9 °C. Mount Lofty had the coldest day on the 18th with a maximum of 14.8°C.

See a map of maximum temperature anomalies

Minimum Temperature

The area-averaged mean minimum temperature for South Australia as a whole was 0.3°C above the long-term December average.

Mean minimum temperatures were generally up to 1°C cooler than average across most of the Northern parts of the State, while elsewhere, minimum temperatures were near 1°C warmer than average. Average minimum temperatures across the State ranged from 9.9°C at Naracoorte Aerodrome in the State’s southeast to 21.1 °C at Oodnadatta Airport in the Northeast Pastoral district. 

The coldest nights for many locations was between the 1st and 6th as a high pressure system moved across the south of the State. Naracoorte Aerodrome had the coldest night on December 5th with a minimum temperature of 2.4 °C. Another cold period, under the influence of another high pressure system in the Great Australian Bight, brought minimum temperatures down across several locations in the southeast districts on the 14th.

The warmest nights for many locations was around the 16th and 17th and again during the last week of December; both of these periods were associated with warm northerly winds being directed over much of the State ahead of low pressure trough. Andamooka recorded the warmest night of the month on the 25th with 29.3°C.

See a map of minimum temperature anomalies.

Further information

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Extremes in December 2011
Hottest day 44.9 °C at Oodnadatta Airport on the 25th
Warmest days on average 36.1 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest days on average 19.9 °C at Cape Willoughby
Coldest day 14.8 °C at Mount Lofty on the 18th
Coldest night 2.4 °C at Naracoorte Aerodrome on the 5th
Coolest nights on average 9.9 °C at Naracoorte Aerodrome
Warmest nights on average 21.1 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Warmest night 29.3 °C at Andamooka on the 25th
Warmest on average overall 28.6 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest on average overall 17.1 °C at Mount Lofty
17.1 °C at Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS)
Wettest overall 111.4 mm at Cowell (Winter Springs)
Highest wind gust 85 km/h at Coulta (Coles Point) on the 28th

Record highest December daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in December 2011 (mm)
Previous wettest
for December
Years of
record
Minlaton 29.9 on the 10th 29.2 on the 2nd in 1937 129
Eudunda 63.4 on the 18th 57.0 on the 17th in 1992 128
Georgetown 58.8 on the 18th 54.1 on the 1st in 1966 128
Gladstone 63.8 on the 18th 58.4 on the 1st in 1966 128
Whyte Yarcowie 85.0 on the 18th 76.2 on the 26th in 1946 127
Murray Bridge Comparison 54.0 on the 18th 52.5 on the 12th in 2004 125
Spalding 74.4 on the 17th 53.0 on the 8th in 2010 110
Point Pass 77.4 on the 18th 55.9 on the 25th in 1946 91
Whyalla Aero 55.0 on the 18th 51.0 on the 5th in 1995 31



Record highest total December rainfall
Total rainfall
for December 2011 (mm)
Previous wettest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Minlaton 99.5 83.6 in 1992 133 19.1
Cowell (Winter Springs) 111.4 108.4 in 1992 43 25.9
Whyalla Aero 78.8 69.9 in 1946 34 24.9

Highest total December rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for December 2011 (mm)
Most recent December
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
December
Moonta 72.0 78.1 in 1922 89 18.3
Maitland 62.0 88.2 in 1946 42 24.1



Record highest December mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for December 2011 (°C)
Previous warmest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Nullarbor 15.5 = 15.5 in 1999 25 14.1



Summary statistics for December 2011
Maximum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Rainfall
for December
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2011
Mean for
December
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2011
Total for
December
2011
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2011
Fraction of
December
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 34.4 0.0 44.0 25th 19.7 +0.4 13.0 7th 15.4 18.8 average 82%
Coober Pedy Airport 34.7   42.8 24th 20.1   14.0 1st 16.2
Ernabella (Pukatja) 32.9   40.5 25th 18.2   11.8 6th 38.2
Nonning 31.6 +0.4 41.9 24th     10.0 26th 20.6 18.5 average 111%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 34.3   43.6 25th 18.7   12.8 6th 17.0
Tarcoola Aero 34.1   44.7 24th 18.2   9.1 1st 21.6
Woomera Aerodrome 33.2 +0.9 43.6 24th 18.5 +0.9 12.6 1st 14.2 14.3 average 99%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 32.0 -0.6 40.3 25th 17.1 -0.6 12.4 1st 35.2 24.9 high 141%
Leigh Creek Airport 33.2 +0.3 41.8 25th 18.6 +0.1 13.1 1st 34.0 24.6 high 138%
Marree Aero 35.5   44.1 25th 19.5   13.5 1st 13.2
Marree Comparison 36.0 0.0 44.0 25th 19.3 -0.2 13.5 1st 16.4 16.6 average 99%
Moomba Airport 35.8   43.2 25th 21.0   15.8 7th 7.8
Oodnadatta Airport 36.1 -0.2 44.9 25th 21.1 -0.1 14.0 1st 6.8 17.4 average 39%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 29.0 +1.7 42.9 31st 15.0 +1.0 7.7 1st 21.6 21.0 average 103%
Cleve 26.9 +0.2 40.6 24th 15.0 +1.0 8.8 1st 46.0 26.1 high 176%
Cleve Aerodrome 27.4   40.8 24th 14.2   8.3 1st 39.2 24.1 v high 163%
Coulta (Coles Point) 27.1 +1.8 38.7 31st 14.9 +1.2 7.3 1st 38.0
Cummins Aero 28.3   40.7 31st 14.3   4.7 1st 29.4
Elliston 26.1 +1.6 39.5 31st 15.5 +1.0 7.2 1st 21.4 16.7 high 128%
Kimba 29.9 +0.7 39.5 31st 14.6 +0.7 8.4 12th 18.8 20.1 average 94%
Kyancutta 31.8 +1.0 42.9 24th 13.8 +0.9 4.7 1st 12.4 21.0 average 59%
Minnipa Pirsa 30.9   42.5 24th 14.4   7.2 1st 18.2
Neptune Island 21.9 +1.4 28.4 31st 15.8 +1.0 13.3 4th 30.4 17.3 v high 176%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 24.3   31.8 24th 14.9   10.1 7th 34.0
Nullarbor 26.3 -0.3 42.9 31st 15.5 +1.4 10.1 12th 81.4 15.4 v high 529%
Port Augusta Aero 31.8   43.7 24th 17.4   11.9 3rd 49.0
Streaky Bay 29.2 +1.9 41.6 31st 16.1 +1.2 9.0 1st 20.2 14.6 high 138%
Whyalla Aero 28.2 +0.1 38.5 31st 16.4 +0.6 11.8 6th 78.8 24.9 highest 316%
Wudinna Aero 32.0   43.7 24th 13.4   4.2 1st 13.0
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 31.4 -0.4 40.0 25th 15.8 0.0 10.5 1st 52.4 22.0 v high 238%
Yongala 28.4 -0.2 37.3 24th 12.1 +0.6 3.0 1st 45.8 24.4 high 188%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 30.0   39.4 24th 13.3   6.5 1st 108.6
Yunta Airstrip 30.1   39.0 24th 13.7   9.3 1st 24.6
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 26.7   36.4 24th 13.4   5.8 1st 67.4
Port Pirie Aerodrome 30.3   40.9 24th 16.3   7.7 1st 59.6
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 30.2 +0.2 41.0 24th 17.6 +1.3 10.5 1st 50.0 23.0 high 217%
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 30.1   40.3 24th 12.7   7.7 1st 36.6
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 23.5   33.0 31st 15.7   11.9 19th 38.8
Kadina AWS 29.3   41.3 24th 13.8   5.9 1st 50.2
Maitland 27.5 +1.2 38.5 24th 15.0 +1.3 9.1 1st 62.0 24.1 v high 257%
Minlaton Aero 27.6   39.9 24th 14.0   5.6 1st 60.2
Stenhouse Bay 22.9   28.8 31st 15.7   13.1 1st 44.6
Warooka 25.5 +0.1 37.8 31st 14.7 +1.0 9.4 1st 61.2 17.9 v high 342%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 23.3   35.0 31st 13.0   8.6 4th 27.8
Cape Willoughby 19.9 -0.7 26.1 24th 15.3 +0.9 12.4 12th 33.2 23.0 high 144%
Kingscote Aero 24.6   35.8 31st 12.5   7.2 1st 51.6
Parndana Cfs AWS 24.4   37.0 31st 11.6   6.1 1st 55.0
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 27.9 +0.9 39.0 24th 16.3 +0.7 9.5 1st 18.2 29.8 average 61%
Adelaide Airport 26.9 +1.2 37.9 24th 15.3 +0.8 8.4 1st 24.8 24.3 average 102%
Edinburgh RAAF 28.3 +0.5 39.7 24th 15.2 +0.4 7.5 1st 25.0 25.1 average 100%
Parafield Airport 29.0 +1.4 39.5 24th 15.5 +0.7 6.7 1st 22.2 25.1 average 88%
Roseworthy AWS 29.2   41.2 24th 12.5   4.2 1st 27.8
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 26.6   37.2 24th 12.8   4.5 1st 42.2
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 28.3 +0.2 39.5 24th 13.8 +0.3 5.0 1st 40.8 24.6 high 166%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 23.2   36.0 31st 14.5   8.1 5th 32.4
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 23.9   35.3 24th 12.8   7.3 5th 29.4
Mount Barker 25.7 +0.7 36.4 31st 11.2 +0.8 6.2 2nd 34.8 35.0 average 99%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 24.7   35.6 24th 12.3   6.0 2nd 41.2
Mount Lofty 22.6   32.3 31st 11.4   4.7 5th 49.4
Noarlunga 26.6   37.5 24th 15.7   9.0 1st 19.8
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 21.9   33.7 24th 12.3   7.4 5th 47.2
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 22.2   33.9 24th 13.1   6.6 6th 33.0
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 29.4 -0.1 38.2 31st 13.4 +0.4 7.6 1st 48.0 25.7 high 187%
Renmark Aero 30.3   38.2 31st 14.0   8.0 6th 58.8
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 26.9 0.0 37.0 31st 13.1 +0.9 6.3 1st 73.8 26.5 v high 278%
Meningie 25.2 +0.8 37.2 24th 13.0 +0.1 7.2 5th 15.0 23.7 average 63%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 28.1   39.1 31st 12.4   5.4 1st 43.4
Murray Bridge Comparison 28.4 +0.9 40.2 31st 13.7 +0.5 8.2 1st 59.2 23.9 v high 248%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 25.6   37.9 31st 13.2   6.0 2nd 31.4
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 28.7   38.6 31st 12.4   5.6 1st 48.2 25.0 high 193%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 28.5 +0.9 38.4 31st 11.5 -0.4 0.0 27th 19.0 27.1 average 70%
Keith (Munkora) 29.5   38.9 31st 10.1   3.6 2nd 17.2
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 29.5   38.6 24th 11.7   4.9 14th 21.4
Lameroo Comparison 28.8 -0.1 38.0 24th 12.8 +0.7 6.8 1st 19.0 25.0 average 76%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 22.7 -0.1 30.8 31st 12.6 +0.4 7.3 14th 15.6
Coonawarra 26.4 +1.7 35.5 31st 10.9 +0.8 2.6 14th 34.2 39.3 average 87%
Mount Gambier Aero 24.4 +1.5 33.9 31st 10.7 +0.8 6.3 5th 29.2 38.9 average 75%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 27.8   37.4 31st 9.9   2.4 5th 42.0
Padthaway South 27.6   37.3 31st 10.5   3.5 2nd 22.6
Robe Airfield 22.7   30.9 24th 11.9   6.3 2nd 9.2
Robe Comparison 21.4 +0.2 29.0 31st 13.3 +0.6 8.7 14th 10.2 28.4 low 36%

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 8 am on Tuesday 3 January 2012. 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
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