South Australia in May 2012: A dry finish to autumn, with cool nights

  • Rainfall was below average across much of the State, though near normal for southern coastal districts.
  • Warmer than average May days, with cold nights in most parts of the State.

Rainfall

South Australia received less than half of the average May rainfall for the State as a whole. Apart from a few coastal locations, most of South Australia reported below average rainfall with large parts across the North of the State reporting very much below average rainfall. See a map of rainfall deciles.

The wettest periods for much of South Australia during May were between the 1st and 2nd and between the 23rd and 26th. A cold frontal system crossed coastal South Australia on the 1st followed by a moist airstream from the south, bringing scattered shower activity for most parts of the State through to the 2nd. In the latter period, a cold frontal system moved over western and central districts of South Australia on the 23rd. The front continued to move northeastwards across remaining parts of the State, producing scattered showers and strong to gale force winds across coastal districts. A weak low pressure trough followed the passage of the front bringing further scattered showers, resulting in average to above average rainfall totals reported across coastal districts. The wettest day in May 2012 for any location, was observed at Parawa (Sharon) when 60.6mm was observed in the 24 hours to 9 am on the 24th.

Pastoral Districts

While some locations across the Pastoral districts received rainfall totals ranging between 10 and 15mm, most areas were well below average rainfall for May 2012, with several locations reporting no rainfall for the month, though this is not unusual for this area at this time of the year. The Pastoral districts remained dry up until the last week of May; a weak low pressure trough produced light scattered rain from the 23rd through to 27th and a trough of low pressure brought tropical moisture into the northeast of the State resulting in isolated shower and thunderstorm activity on the 30th. Yardea, in South Australia's northwest, was the wettest location in the Pastorals, reporting 15.8mm for the month.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals for May 2012 over Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, Kangaroo Island, the Murray Valley and the Southeast districts were mostly average tending to slightly above average for some coastal locations though totals generally ranged between 20 to 60mm. Higher rainfall totals of between 80 to 110mm were recorded across several locations in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Parawa (Sharon), on the southern part of the Mount Lofty Ranges, was the wettest location overall, reporting 146.6 mm for the month.

Some sites had their highest total May rainfall for at least 25 years.
Some sites had their lowest total May rainfall on record.
Some sites had their lowest total May rainfall for at least 25 years.
Some sites had their highest May 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 May 2012 was 0.4 C below the long-term May average.

Maximum Temperature

Despite most coastal districts, including the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, the Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower Southeast of the State experiencing cooler than average maximum temperatures this May, maximum temperatures were 0.7 C above normal averaged across the State as a whole. See a map of maximum temperature anomalies.

Locations in the Far North and in parts of the far Northwest observed average daily maximum temperatures in excess if 1C above normal. Maximum temperatures were slightly above average for most other locations across the State.

The warmest period of the month occurred through the second week of May as a warm northwesterly airstream was directed across the State ahead of the passage of a low pressure surface trough. This saw temperatures up to 6 to 8 C warmer than average on the 8th for many locations across South Australia.

The warmest days on average were observed at Moomba Airport with an average daily maximum of 24.4 C . The hottest day of the month for any location was recorded at Tarcoola Aerodrome on the 8th where the maximum temperature reached 34.0 C. Mount Lofty recorded the coolest days on average with 12.3 C and also observed the coldest day on the 24th with a maximum of just 6.3C. Several other locations had a record lowest May daily maximum on this day; this includes Eudunda, which had its coldest May day in 44 years of only 8°C.

Some sites had their coldest May day (lowest maximum temperature) on record.
Some sites had their highest May temperature on record.

Minimum Temperature

Minimum temperatures for the month were well below normal for most of South Australia, averaging 1.5 C cooler for the State as a whole. While a few locations across the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, the Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower Southeast of the State experienced slightly cooler night-time temperatures, the rest of the State experienced very cold nights with minimums up to 2 to 3 C cooler than the May average. See a map of minimum temperature anomalies. Reduced cloud cover across the State through the latter half of month resulted in these cooler nights and May 2012 being the 4th coolest May for the State as a whole on record. Average minimum temperatures for May 2012 ranged from 2.9C at Yongala in the Upper North to13.7 C at Neptune Island.

Renmark Aerodrome reported 7 nights below 2 C through the month, as opposed to a May average of 2 nights below 2C. The coolest nights for many locations were between the 16th and 17th and again between the 21st and 25th of May. The coldest night for any location was recorded in the earlier period at Yongala where a minimum of -3.0 C was recorded on the 16th; owing to the influence of a high pressure system centred to the Southeast of the State which resulted in clear conditions across much of South Australia.

The warmest nights of the month for many locations in South Australia occurred through the first week of the May as a warm airstream was directed from the northwest across the State ahead of an approaching trough of low pressure. Streaky Bay on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula recorded the warmest night of the month with a minimum temperature of 17.7C on May 1st.

Some sites had their lowest May mean daily minimum temperature on record.

Further information

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Extremes in May 2012
Hottest day 34.0 °C at Tarcoola Aero on the 8th
Warmest days on average 24.4 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 12.3 °C at Mount Lofty
Coldest day 6.3 °C at Mount Lofty on the 24th
Coldest night -3.0 °C at Yongala on the 16th
Coolest nights on average 2.9 °C at Yongala
Warmest nights on average 13.7 °C at Neptune Island
Warmest night 17.7 °C at Streaky Bay on the 1st
Warmest on average overall 16.2 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest on average overall 9.6 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 146.6 mm at Parawa (Sharon)
Driest overall 0 mm at Coober Pedy Airport
0 mm at Ernabella (Pukatja)
0 mm at Marla Police Station
0 mm at Marree Comparison
0 mm at Oodnadatta Airport
0 mm at Rowland Flat (Jacobs Creek)
Wettest day 60.6 mm at Parawa (Sharon) on the 24th
Highest wind gust 100 km/h at Cape Willoughby on the 23rd

Record highest May daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in May 2012 (mm)
Previous wettest
for May
Years of
record
Keith 45.0 on the 25th 44.0 on the 20th in 1988 105
Port Kenny (Mount Cooper) 37.0 on the 24th 35.3 on the 24th in 1951 73



Highest total May rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for May 2012 (mm)
Most recent May
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
May
Goolwa Council Depot 125.0 174.5 in 1883* 128 53.4
Callington 85.6 88.3 in 1955 57 38.5
Milang 87.6 95.3 in 1955 57 43.0
Murray Bridge Comparison 90.6 91.1 in 1955 57 35.3
Langhorne Creek 83.6 102.9 in 1960 52 40.0
Cowell 60.1 118.2 in 1974* 37 29.5
Finniss 108.2 115.2 in 1960* 37 53.5
Sandalwood 48.2 89.0 in 1987 25 32.8

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




Record lowest total May rainfall
Total rainfall
for May 2012 (mm)
Previous driest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Marree Comparison 0.0 = 0.0 in 2008 127 13.3
Oodnadatta Airport 0.0 = 0.0 in 2008 65 12.8
Marla Police Station 0.0 = 0.0 in 2008 26 11.8

Lowest total May rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for May 2012 (mm)
Most recent May
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
May
Tintinara 3.0 0.0 in 1934* 76 50.1

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




Record highest May temperature
Highest temperature
in May 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Nonning 30.0 on the 8th = 30.0 on the 2nd in 2002 42 20.0



Record lowest May daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in May 2012 (°C)
Previous coolest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Cleve 9.9 on the 24th 11.4 on the 27th in 2000 55 18.9
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 11.7 on the 24th = 11.7 on the 18th in 1981 54 20.4
Keith 10.2 on the 24th = 10.2 on the 27th in 2000 51 18.3
Eudunda 8.0 on the 24th 8.2 on the 18th in 1968 48 16.9
Kimba 10.5 on the 24th 10.6 on the 22nd in 1969 44 19.4
Hawker 9.0 on the 24th = 9.0 on the 22nd in 1990 39 20.0
Whyalla Aero 11.8 on the 24th 12.1 on the 23rd in 2006 25 20.5



Record lowest May mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for May 2012 (°C)
Previous coolest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Leigh Creek Airport 6.8 6.9 in 2006 29 8.8
Marla Police Station 5.2 6.5 in 2000 25 9.1



Summary statistics for May 2012
Maximum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Rainfall
for May
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2012
Mean for
May
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2012
Total for
May
2012
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2012
Fraction of
May
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 22.2 -0.1 30.5 9th 9.0 -1.0 5.0 16th 1.8 15.5 low 12%
Coober Pedy Airport 22.3   33.0 8th 8.5   3.2 30th 0
Ernabella (Pukatja) 22.2   30.9 9th 6.4   0.8 23rd 0
Marla Police Station 23.5 +0.4 33.1 8th 5.2 -3.9 -1.5 30th 0 11.8 lowest 0%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 22.1   30.4 8th 5.9   -0.4 4th 4.0
Tarcoola Aero 22.0   34.0 8th 5.8   0.6 22nd 2.8
Woomera Aerodrome 21.0 +0.4 30.8 8th 8.4 -1.0 4.6 16th 3.2 18.6 low 17%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 20.1 -0.1 29.5 8th 5.2 -2.0 0.0 4th 8.0 17.3 average 46%
Leigh Creek Airport 21.0 +0.1 29.3 9th 6.8 -2.0 2.3 4th 1.8 15.7 low 11%
Marree Aero 23.1   30.9 10th 6.8   1.3 29th 0.6
Marree Comparison 24.3 +1.2 32.5 10th     2.1 29th 0 13.3 lowest 0%
Moomba Airport 24.4   32.7 10th 8.0   3.7 26th 8.4
Oodnadatta Airport 23.9 +0.7 31.8 9th 7.6 -2.2 2.7 30th 0 12.8 lowest 0%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 20.6 -0.2 28.9 8th 7.1 -1.4 1.4 4th 20.2 32.3 average 63%
Cleve 18.1 -0.8 30.0 8th 9.9 -0.1 5.9 25th 68.2 40.8 high 167%
Cleve Aerodrome 17.9   30.1 8th 9.7   6.2 24th 58.4 37.8 high 154%
Coulta (Coles Point) 18.2 -0.6 24.8 8th 9.5 -0.4 4.9 15th 66.4
Cummins Aero 18.8   28.2 8th 7.6   1.3 15th 35.4
Elliston 18.9 -0.5 25.9 8th 10.0 -0.3 5.9 15th 75.7 52.3 high 145%
Kimba 18.2 -1.2 29.0 8th 7.5 -0.8 3.8 16th 24.8 35.6 average 70%
Kyancutta 20.8 -0.3 30.6 8th 7.0 -0.3 1.4 4th 21.2 32.2 average 66%
Minnipa Pirsa 19.3   30.5 8th 8.9   5.5 28th 25.4
Neptune Island 17.8 +0.1 23.6 8th 13.7 0.0 10.0 24th 43.4 54.5 average 80%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 19.1 -0.3 29.6 8th 10.5 +0.1 4.8 16th 34.6
Nullarbor 21.0 -0.4 29.6 6th 7.3 -1.7 1.7 31st 17.4 29.7 average 59%
Port Augusta Aero 21.2   29.5 8th 7.1   1.7 22nd 14.0
Streaky Bay 20.1 0.0 26.2 8th 10.4 -0.4 5.5 28th 43.1 45.8 average 94%
Whyalla Aero 19.7 -0.8 29.9 8th 8.5 -0.3 2.3 16th 30.4 24.4 average 125%
Wudinna Aero 20.4   31.8 8th 7.4   1.6 4th 21.6
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 20.1 +0.1 29.0 8th 5.4 -1.7 -0.3 13th 3.6 30.6 low 12%
Yongala 17.5 +0.4 27.4 8th 2.9 -1.7 -3.0 16th 13.6 34.9 low 39%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 20.3   30.2 8th 4.2   -2.1 16th 15.5
Yunta Airstrip 19.2   27.6 8th 4.3   -2.4 16th 1.2
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 16.5   26.9 8th 4.6   -0.9 16th 64.0
Port Pirie Aerodrome 19.8   27.3 8th 7.3   2.5 16th 52.3
Port Pirie Nyrstar Comparison 19.9 -0.5 27.0 8th 9.6 -1.1 5.5 21st 46.9 38.2 high 123%
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 18.9   28.2 8th 5.8   0.1 15th 32.6
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 18.4   28.6 8th 10.6   5.0 21st 34.0 43.5 average 78%
Kadina AWS 19.0   27.5 8th 6.8   0.9 16th 42.4
Maitland 17.9 -0.2 27.0 8th 9.5 -0.4 5.5 21st 72.0 62.6 high 115%
Minlaton Aero 17.8   20.5 10th 8.9   5.3 4th 56.8
Stenhouse Bay 18.3   25.8 8th 12.1   7.5 16th 28.6
Warooka 18.3 -0.2 23.4 8th 10.6 +0.2 6.4 25th 26.0 53.7 low 48%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 16.5   21.3 8th 10.7   7.2 24th 68.2
Cape Willoughby 16.8 -0.1 22.7 8th 12.6 +0.1 9.0 24th 52.0 61.5 average 85%
Kingscote Aero 18.1   24.5 8th 8.2   1.7 31st 37.4
Parndana Cfs AWS 16.3   22.3 8th 8.7   4.1 25th 58.6
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 18.2 -0.8 27.4 8th 9.3 -0.9 4.6 16th 62.8 60.0 average 105%
Adelaide Airport 18.0 -0.5 26.2 8th 8.7 -0.8 3.8 16th 49.8 53.8 average 93%
Edinburgh RAAF 18.6 -0.5 29.3 8th 8.0 -1.1 2.7 16th 58.2 44.1 high 132%
Parafield Airport 18.7 -0.2 28.7 8th 7.7 -1.7 2.6 16th 63.6 47.8 high 133%
Roseworthy AWS 18.9   29.7 8th 6.7   0.7 20th 47.0
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 17.2   28.0 8th 4.7   -1.8 16th 25.6
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 18.8 +0.2 30.0 8th 6.4 -1.8 0.0 20th 44.0 53.2 average 83%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 17.8   26.9 8th 10.8   5.3 16th 99.0
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 14.8   23.8 8th 8.5   4.8 16th 94.8
Mount Barker 15.4 -1.1 24.8 8th 7.0 +0.3 0.0 16th 106.4 87.7 average 121%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 14.4   24.6 8th 7.8   4.1 25th 78.0
Mount Lofty 12.3   22.2 8th 6.8   3.0 24th 116.8
Noarlunga 17.5   23.9 8th 10.5   7.1 3rd 51.4
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 14.4   20.9 8th 9.4   5.4 24th 125.0
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 17.9   25.9 8th 9.1   1.9 16th 82.6
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 19.5 0.0 28.7 8th 5.0 -1.4 -1.4 16th 7.2 22.8 low 32%
Renmark Aero 19.9   29.9 8th 4.8   -1.9 16th 7.0
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 16.8 -0.1 27.8 8th 7.0 -0.6 1.7 16th 35.6 45.1 average 79%
Meningie 17.9 -0.3 26.6 8th 8.9 +0.1 2.1 16th 76.1 54.6 high 139%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 18.5   30.1 8th 7.0   -1.3 16th 70.0
Murray Bridge Comparison 19.2 -0.4 30.2 8th 7.9 -0.1 1.0 16th 90.6 35.3 v high 257%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 17.5   27.8 8th 9.0   3.3 16th 80.6
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 18.7   28.8 8th 6.4   -0.7 16th 45.8 35.4 high 129%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 18.1 -0.2 27.5 8th 7.3 -0.4 0.0 20th 69.9 52.2 high 134%
Keith (Munkora) 18.4   27.9 8th 6.4   -1.8 20th 61.2
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 18.5   28.1 8th 6.0   1.2 20th 31.4
Lameroo Comparison 18.7 +0.1 28.0 8th 6.8 -0.2 2.9 21st 28.2 39.5 average 71%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 16.5 -0.4 22.4 8th 10.1 +0.9 4.3 17th 47.8
Coonawarra 16.9 -0.3 25.0 8th 7.0 +0.2 1.0 17th 31.8 51.3 low 62%
Mount Gambier Aero 16.0 -0.1 22.7 8th 7.9 +0.6 2.1 17th 77.4 70.1 average 110%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 17.3   25.4 8th 7.1   0.8 16th 34.8
Padthaway South 17.5   25.8 8th 6.7   -0.8 16th 45.0
Robe Airfield 17.1   24.9 8th 9.2   2.2 16th 77.4
Robe Comparison 16.2 -0.2 20.4 8th 11.2 +1.0 6.6 16th 83.2 73.0 average 114%

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 9 am on Friday 1 June 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