South Australia in February 2012: A cool and wet end to summer

  • Cooler than average temperatures for most of South Australia this February.
  • Rainfall was above average across most of the State, with high totals in the North and Northeast, though drier than average in the Southeast.
  • Record highest February total and daily rainfall total for February at some locations in the pastoral districts.

Rainfall

Rainfall during February 2012 was generally slightly above average across South Australia as a whole with several locations in central South Australia receiving monthly totals significantly above average. The southeast and the southwest tended to be drier than average this month. See a map of rainfall deciles.

The wettest periods during February were between the 5th and 11th and later between the 26th and 29th. Many locations reported most of February's rainfall in the earlier period as a high pressure system directed an unstable southwest airstream across the State in the wake of the passage of a low pressure trough. A low pressure surface trough combined with an upper level trough over the northeast of the State in the latter period resulting in heavy rainfall being reported across eastern districts. Arkaroola reported the highest overall rainfall total for February; 184.6 mm was observed for the month, 106.6mm of which was recorded to 9 am on the 29th making it the wettest day in February 2012 for any location in the State.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall for February 2012 was highly variable across areas of the Pastorals, with totals between 20 and 50 mm being reported across the Northwest and Northeast, while in the far North several locations recorded totals of more than 100 mm. Leigh Creek Airport, Kalamurina and Beltana all reported record highest February daily rainfall total. At Leigh Creek, 57.4mm was observed on the 29th resulting in a record highest February rainfall total of 119.6mm for this location across a 26 year record.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals for February 2012 over the Yorke Peninsula, Flinders and Mount Lofty Ranges and Murray Valley districts was average tending to below average in the far west and lower Southeast of the State. Rainfall totals generally ranged between 10 to 30mm, though several locations recorded totals in excess of 60 mm. Rainfall totals in the Southeast of the State ranged between 5 to 10mm.

Some sites had their highest total February rainfall on record.
Some sites had their highest total February rainfall for at least 25 years.
Some sites had their highest February daily rainfall on record.

Temperature

The average temperature (the average of the daily maximum and daily minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in February 2012 was 0.65 C below the long-term February average. In comparison, February 2011 was 0.1C warmer than average, and Feb 2010 0.8C warmer than average. All parts of the State, apart from the southeast and a small area in the far southwest, saw below average temperatures in February 2012 owing mainly to an extended period of cool conditions throughout the first two weeks of February.

Maximum Temperature

The area-averaged mean maximum temperature was 0.3C below the long-term February average for South Australia as a whole. February 2007 was the warmest February on record with a mean maximum temperature of 37.4C.

Maximum temperatures for the month were close to 2C below average across most of the Eyre Peninsula, and 1C below average through central and eastern parts of the State. The Lower Southeast and western parts saw slightly above average maximum temperatures. See a map of maximum temperature anomalies. Average maximum temperatures for the month ranged from 21.9 C at Cape Willoughby on Kangaroo Island to 36.4C at Moomba Airport Far Northeast of the State.

The hottest day of the month for any location was recorded at Marree Comparison on the 19th where the maximum temperature reached 45.2 C. Mount Lofty had the coldest day on the 5th with a maximum of 13.9C.

Minimum Temperature

Minimum temperatures for the month were generally 2C cooler than average across most of South Australia, tending to 3C below average across northern parts of the State, although slightly above average in the lower Southeast districts. Values across the State ranged from 11.9C at Keith (Munkora) to 21.2 C at Moomba Airport. See a map of minimum temperature anomalies.

The coldest nights of the month for many locations was between the 6th and 10th as a high pressure system directed a southwesterly airstream across the State. Keith (Munkora) had the coldest night during this period, recorded on the 8th with a minimum temperature of only 3.3 C.

The warmest nights for many locations was between the 24th and 27th as a warm to hot north to northwesterly winds were being directed over much of the State ahead of a low pressure surface trough. Noarlunga recorded the warmest night of the month during this period, on the 26th with a minimum of 29.6C.

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Extremes in February 2012
Hottest day 45.2 °C at Marree Comparison on the 19th
Warmest days on average 36.4 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 21.9 °C at Cape Willoughby
Coldest day 12.8 °C at Mount Lofty on the 29th
Coldest night 3.3 °C at Keith (Munkora) on the 8th
Coolest nights on average 11.9 °C at Keith (Munkora)
Warmest nights on average 21.2 °C at Moomba Airport
Warmest night 29.6 °C at Noarlunga on the 26th
Warmest on average overall 28.6 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest on average overall 17.7 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 184.6 mm at Arkaroola
Wettest day 106.6 mm at Arkaroola on the 29th
Highest wind gust 87 km/h at Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) on the 5th

Record highest February daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in February 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for February
Years of
record
Beltana Roadhouse 45.0 on the 27th 44.2 on the 28th in 1987 27
Kalamurina 56.2 on the 27th 52.3 on the 6th in 1890 27
Leigh Creek Airport 57.4 on the 29th 42.0 on the 12th in 1999 26



Record highest total February rainfall
Total rainfall
for February 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Leigh Creek Airport 119.6 112.0 in 1997 26 28.0

Highest total February rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for February 2012 (mm)
Most recent February
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
February
Arkaroola 184.6 197.6 in 1979 33 39.3



Summary statistics for February 2012
Maximum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Rainfall
for February
(millimetres)
Mean for
February
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
February
2012
Mean for
February
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
February
2012
Total for
February
2012
Average
for
February
Rank of
February
2012
Fraction of
February
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 34.6 -1.0 44.5 19th 20.0 -1.2 13.9 6th 48.4 25.5 high 190%
Coober Pedy Airport 34.5   44.7 19th 19.9   12.8 6th 17.8
Ernabella (Pukatja) 34.2   41.2 17th 18.7   12.6 6th 17.6
Marla Police Station 36.0 0.0 44.2 19th 19.7 -1.7 12.1 12th 28.2 31.9 average 88%
Nonning     39.0 25th 16.3 -0.6 11.6 6th 16.6 16.8 average 99%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 34.1   44.0 19th 18.5   13.0 6th 42.8
Tarcoola Aero 34.1   43.0 18th 16.8   10.1 6th 33.2
Woomera Aerodrome 32.7 -1.0 41.4 19th 18.4 -1.0 12.6 6th 18.6 20.4 average 91%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 32.9 -0.3 41.4 19th 18.6 -0.7 12.6 11th 184.6 39.3 v high 470%
Leigh Creek Airport 33.7 -0.7 43.1 19th 19.2 -1.2 12.7 6th 119.6 28.0 highest 427%
Marree Aero 35.6   44.6 19th 21.0   15.4 6th 79.8
Marree Comparison 36.0 -0.8 45.2 19th 20.3 -0.8 15.2 7th 71.3 21.2 v high 336%
Moomba Airport 36.4   44.2 19th 21.2   15.0 7th 3.2
Oodnadatta Airport 36.0 -0.6 44.4 19th 20.8 -1.5 14.7 6th 44.8 32.7 high 137%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 28.0 -0.2 42.2 25th 14.9 -0.2 9.3 2nd 19.6 13.5 high 145%
Cleve 26.3 -1.4 39.3 25th 16.0 0.0 11.3 6th 33.8 22.3 high 152%
Cleve Aerodrome 26.6   40.0 25th 15.4   11.2 6th 20.4 18.8 high 109%
Coulta (Coles Point) 26.4 -1.1 37.5 24th 14.7 -0.8 10.5 8th 8.8
Cummins Aero 28.0   42.1 25th 14.2   8.3 9th 8.8
Elliston 25.0 -0.6 39.0 24th 15.8 0.0 9.4 8th 24.6 13.6 high 181%
Kimba 28.7 -2.5 38.5 25th 14.8 -1.3 9.5 6th 21.0 20.7 average 101%
Kyancutta 30.9 -1.5 40.9 25th 14.7 +0.3 9.3 9th 37.6 15.7 high 239%
Minnipa Pirsa 29.9   40.0 25th 14.8   9.9 10th 19.8
Neptune Island 22.6 +0.4 33.5 25th 16.8 +0.2 13.8 9th 12.0 13.9 average 86%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 25.9   40.9 25th 16.1   11.6 9th 6.2
Nullarbor 27.4 -0.4 41.6 25th 15.0 -1.1 8.5 8th 0 13.0 lowest 0%
Port Augusta Aero 32.2   41.3 25th 18.2   13.8 8th 14.4
Streaky Bay 28.1 -1.0 40.5 25th 15.9 -0.2 11.6 8th 19.9 14.0 high 142%
Whyalla Aero 28.3 -1.3 39.9 25th 17.3 -0.5 12.1 13th 18.4 25.4 average 72%
Wudinna Aero 30.9   41.1 25th 14.3   7.8 11th 13.2
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 32.5 -0.9 38.7 19th 17.1 -0.9 11.3 8th 16.2 20.9 average 78%
Yongala 29.1 -1.0 36.7 18th 12.8 -0.5 4.6 8th 2.4 20.8 low 12%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 31.2   39.3 26th 14.9   9.1 6th 21.6
Yunta Airstrip 30.7   38.2 18th 14.6   8.5 8th 13.6
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 28.1   37.1 25th 14.0   6.8 8th 18.2
Port Pirie Aerodrome 30.1   39.4 25th 16.4   10.5 8th 17.5
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 30.0 -1.8 39.5 25th 17.8 -0.1 12.4 10th 9.4 17.8 average 53%
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 30.5   40.2 25th 13.9   8.1 12th 12.6
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 24.4   37.4 25th 17.1   13.5 6th 23.8 17.3 high 138%
Kadina AWS 29.2   39.9 25th 14.1   7.7 9th 8.6
Maitland 27.6 -0.7 39.0 25th 15.8 0.0 11.4 12th 12.0 22.1 average 54%
Minlaton Aero 27.5   39.7 25th 15.4   11.0 12th 1.8
Stenhouse Bay 24.6   40.4 25th 16.9   12.9 6th 11.2
Warooka 26.1 -1.0 37.2 25th 16.3 +0.4 11.8 6th 26.4 17.0 high 155%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 23.8   33.4 25th 14.2   11.0 12th 19.8
Cape Willoughby 21.9 +0.1 36.8 25th 16.6 +0.3 12.7 6th 2.8 18.1 low 15%
Kingscote Aero 25.8   38.1 25th 13.3   6.6 12th 9.4
Parndana Cfs AWS 25.0   39.0 25th 13.4   8.5 6th 13.4
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 28.2 -0.9 40.3 25th 17.2 0.0 12.0 12th 25.0 13.2 high 189%
Adelaide Airport 27.0 -1.1 38.2 25th 16.8 +0.7 12.5 12th 15.2 18.2 average 84%
Edinburgh RAAF 28.8 -1.2 40.4 25th 16.0 -0.6 9.2 12th 26.4 16.6 high 159%
Parafield Airport 29.3 0.0 40.0 25th 16.3 -0.1 10.6 12th 19.4 18.1 average 107%
Roseworthy AWS 29.9   40.9 25th 13.8   6.1 12th 14.8
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 28.3   38.0 25th 14.3   5.1 8th 15.4
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 29.5 -1.0 40.0 25th 14.8 -0.8 7.7 8th 17.0 18.1 average 94%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 25.1   40.4 25th 16.2   12.5 13th 9.0
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 24.6   36.4 25th 14.1   9.6 1st 33.4
Mount Barker 26.1 -0.6 38.2 25th 13.5 +1.7 8.4 9th 23.2 25.4 average 91%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 25.6   36.3 25th 13.5   7.8 1st 25.2
Mount Lofty 22.7   34.0 25th 12.5   6.7 1st 36.4
Noarlunga 26.7   39.0 25th 17.0   12.8 9th 42.4
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 22.6   36.5 25th 14.2   9.5 9th 24.8
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 24.4   39.6 25th 15.2   10.8 9th 16.6
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 30.9 -0.4 38.3 26th 14.8 +0.4 7.2 8th 1.8 17.2 low 10%
Renmark Aero 31.4   39.5 26th 15.4   8.5 6th 9.0
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 28.5 -0.5 37.0 25th 14.1 -0.1 6.9 6th 7.4 22.3 average 33%
Meningie 26.3 -0.1 39.7 25th 15.1 +1.2 9.5 8th 8.8 17.0 average 52%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 28.9   41.0 25th 14.1   7.8 9th 17.4
Murray Bridge Comparison 29.3 0.0 40.7 25th 15.2 +0.6 10.5 9th 22.3 18.2 high 123%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 26.7   40.0 25th 15.0   9.7 1st 9.4
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 29.7   39.6 25th 14.1   8.9 1st 13.7 19.4 average 71%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 29.7 -0.1 39.4 25th 13.9 +0.8 7.0 8th 2.8 20.4 low 14%
Keith (Munkora) 30.5   41.1 25th 11.9   3.3 8th 2.2
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 30.3   39.1 25th 12.8   5.5 6th 0.6
Lameroo Comparison 30.1 -0.4 39.0 24th 14.3 +0.7 7.5 12th 4.2 22.0 low 19%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 24.5 0.0 38.1 25th 14.2 +0.7 10.1 8th 8.8
Coonawarra 27.9 +0.5 38.9 25th 13.0 +1.3 4.4 9th 4.2 18.4 low 23%
Mount Gambier Aero 26.5 +1.4 40.1 25th 12.9 +1.3 5.5 9th 7.4 26.1 low 28%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 29.0   39.6 25th 12.3   4.1 8th 2.6
Padthaway South 28.7   38.9 25th 12.7   3.6 8th 2.0
Robe Airfield 24.5   37.2 25th 13.4   5.8 9th 10.6
Robe Comparison 22.5 -0.1 34.9 25th 14.6 +0.9 10.0 9th 12.4 18.6 average 67%

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 12 pm on Wednesday 29 February 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
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries