South Australia in September 2012: A warm and dry start to spring

  • Below average rainfall across most of the State, with record lowest September rainfall at several locations in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
  • Daytime temperatures above average with, with several locations observing record warmest daily September maximum and minimum temperatures.
  • Cool nights across central and eastern districts.

Rainfall

In 2012, across the State as a whole, South Australia received less than a quarter of the long term average September rainfall. Apart from far northern parts of the State where rainfall was average, most locations received below average rainfall throughout the month, with large parts observing very much below average rainfall. The wettest period for much of the State occurred between the 5th and 7th as a deep low pressure system that tracked eastwards across ocean waters produced squally showers and isolated thunderstorms across southern parts of South Australia. The passage of cold frontal system on the 13th brought rainfall totals of between 1 to 5 mm for southern parts of the State. Despite this, most of South Australia remained relatively dry up until the 28th when a large cloud band and trough of low pressure produced showers and isolated thunderstorms across southern and eastern districts.

See a map of rainfall deciles.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall totals over the pastoral districts were mostly below average tending to very much below average across southern parts of the pastorals. Rainfall totals were typically between 1 and 5mm, though Woomera Aerodrome reported no rainfall for the month, making September 2012 the second driest September in 64 years of observations. Several other locations across the Northwest and Far North recording no rainfall for September 2012, though not unusual for this time of year across northern parts of South Australia.

The wettest period for the pastoral districts was on September 28 and 29 as a cloud band and trough of low pressure which produced showers and isolated thunderstorms contracted to the northeast of the State. The wettest overall throughout the pastorals was at Gluepot Reserve in the Northeast district with 8.2 mm for the month.

Agricultural Districts

Below average was observed across the agricultural districts with very much below average rainfall through the western agricultural, the upper north, parts of the Murray Valley and the southeast districts.

Totals were in the range of 20 to 30mm for most locations, but tending to higher totals of between 40 to 60mm across the Mount Lofty Ranges and the southeast districts of the State. Despite this, several locations across the Mount Lofty Ranges observed record lowest September rainfall total. The wettest overall for the month in the agricultural districts was Kuitpo Forest Reserve in the southern parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges with 85.4 mm. 

Some sites had their lowest total September rainfall on record.
Some sites had their lowest total September rainfall for at least 25 years.

Temperature

The mean temperature (the average of the maximum and minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in September 2012 was 1.7 °C above the long-term average, the highest since 2008. By contrast, September 2011 was 1.3 °C above average. Mean temperatures across the State ranged from 10.2°C at Mount Lofty to 19.9°C at Oodnadatta Airport in the Far North.

Maximum

Mean maximum temperatures over South Australia were above average across the entire State this September and the highest since September 2007. Several locations across northern parts of the agricultural districts and into the pastoral districts were in excess of 2.0°C above the long term September average. Southern parts of the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, central districts and the Murray Valley observed daytime temperature average in excess of 1.0 °C above normal, elsewhere maximum temperatures were within 1.0 °C above average.

See a map of maximum temperature anomalies.

The warmest period for much of the state occurred on the 27th in the northerly air stream ahead of the strong cold front. Much of the State observed maximum temperatures well above average with several locations observing a record highest September maximums since observations began. The warmest day for any location was recorded was at Cooper Pedy Airport, reaching 39.4°C on the 27th, the warmest September day at this location since records began in 1996.

Some sites had their highest September temperature on record.

Earlier in the month, on the 7th, a strong cold front brought daytime temperatures to well below average for many locations around the State; Mount Lofty recorded the coldest for any location when its maximum temperature reached just 8.3°C. 

Average daily maximum temperatures ranged from 13.9°C at Mount Lofty to 28.7°C at Moomba Airport in the Northeast district, resulting the warmest September at this site since 2003.

Minimum

Mean minimum temperatures over South Australia were slightly above average across the entire State as a whole this September. The coolest parts of the State, with respect to overnight temperatures, was through the Central and into Pastoral districts where minimum temperatures tended below 1°C cooler than normal. Night time temperatures tended above normal across the western half of the State.

See a map of minimum temperature anomalies.

The warmest nights for many locations occurred between the 26th and 28th in the warm north-westerly air-stream ahead of an approaching cold frontal system. Arkaroola reported the warmest night for any location on the 27th with a minimum of 24.6°C, while Hawker observed a record warmest September overnight minimum with 23.5 °C. In 39 years of observations, the previous warmest September night at Hawker occurred on September 12, 2009 when 22.9 °C was observed.

The warmest nights on average were observed at Neptune Island with 11.7°C. The coolest nights on average were observed at Yongala with 3.6°C.

The coldest night for any location around the State was observed at Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) where the temperature fell to -1.9°C on the 25th.

Some sites had their warmest September night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record.

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Extremes in September 2012
Hottest day 39.4 °C at Coober Pedy Airport on the 27th
Warmest days on average 28.7 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 13.9 °C at Mount Lofty
Coldest day 8.3 °C at Mount Lofty on the 7th
Coldest night -1.9 °C at Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) on the 25th
Coolest nights on average 3.6 °C at Yongala
Warmest nights on average 11.7 °C at Neptune Island
Warmest night 24.6 °C at Arkaroola on the 27th
Warmest on average overall 19.9 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest on average overall 10.2 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 85.4 mm at Kuitpo Forest Reserve
Driest overall 0 mm at Leigh Creek (North Moolooloo)
0 mm at Moomba Airport
0 mm at Tarcoola Aero
0 mm at Woomera Aerodrome
Wettest day 32.0 mm at Piccadilly (Woodhouse) on the 7th
Highest wind gust 119 km/h at Cape Borda on the 5th

Record lowest total September rainfall
Total rainfall
for September 2012 (mm)
Previous driest
for September
Years of
record
Average for
September
Balaklava 5.4 = 5.4 in 1918 132 40.1
Adelaide (Tea Tree Gully Council) 4.9 14.7 in 1951 127 68.0
Woomera Aerodrome 0.0 = 0.0 in 2006 64 14.7
Loxton Research Centre 3.8 5.8 in 2008 29 26.0
Heathfield Works Depot 41.4 42.4 in 2008 28 111.0

Lowest total September rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for September 2012 (mm)
Most recent September
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
September
Millicent 17.8 15.6 in 1914 98 74.1
Owen 10.8 6.1 in 1936* 75 46.2
Tailem Bend 7.9 5.1 in 1944 68 38.0
Mannum Council Depot 5.2 3.8 in 1951* 59 29.7
Paskeville 6.8 5.1 in 1948* 58 40.5
Ardrossan 11.4 10.1 in 1962* 49 36.4
Caliph 4.8 3.6 in 1980 32 28.5
Langhorne Creek 15.4 10.4 in 1981 31 39.3
Nildottie 6.4 4.8 in 1981 31 26.8
Mindarie 6.6 4.0 in 1982 30 32.1
Port Vincent 10.6 9.0 in 1981* 28 39.3
Paruna 5.0 3.2 in 1982* 26 28.4
Adelaide (Hope Valley Reservoir) 24.2 23.2 in 1987 25 63.7
Adelaide (Pooraka) 12.8 12.4 in 1987 25 48.1
Blackwood (Wittunga) 29.6 27.6 in 1987 25 74.1
Mount Gambier Aero 51.0 27.4 in 1987 25 72.6

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




Record highest September temperature
Highest temperature
in September 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for September
Years of
record
Average for
September
Woomera Aerodrome 38.6 on the 27th 37.9 on the 30th in 1998 64 22.6
Andamooka 39.0 on the 27th 38.4 on the 30th in 1998 43 24.6
Hawker 36.3 on the 27th 34.5 on the 24th in 1990 39 21.6
Leigh Creek Airport 37.7 on the 27th 37.1 on the 22nd in 2003 29 23.2



Record highest September daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in September 2012 (°C)
Previous warmest
for September
Years of
record
Average for
September
Hawker 23.5 on the 27th 22.9 on the 12th in 2009 39 6.8
Nullarbor 19.3 on the 22nd 19.0 on the 29th in 2001 25 7.9



Summary statistics for September 2012
Maximum temperatures
for September
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for September
(°C)
Rainfall
for September
(millimetres)
Mean for
September
2012
Diff
from
average
Highest for
September
2012
Mean for
September
2012
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
September
2012
Total for
September
2012
Average
for
September
Rank of
September
2012
Fraction of
September
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 26.3 +1.7 39.0 27th 10.4 0.0 4.6 1st 0.2 12.9 v low 2%
Coober Pedy Airport 27.1   39.4 27th 10.9   4.2 1st 0.2
Ernabella (Pukatja) 27.2   36.2 27th 10.5   2.3 10th 5.4
Marla Police Station 28.3 +1.5 38.0 27th 9.4 -1.3 2.5 9th 0.8 10.5 low 8%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 26.2   38.5 27th 7.6   -1.1 1st 0.4
Tarcoola Aero 26.8   37.6 27th 8.5   1.8 1st 0
Woomera Aerodrome 25.0 +2.4 38.6 27th 9.6 +0.2 4.4 8th 0 14.7 lowest 0%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 24.3 +1.0 36.2 27th 7.2 -0.9 0.5 8th 2.8 15.3 average 18%
Leigh Creek Airport 25.2 +2.0 37.7 27th 9.0 -0.3 3.2 10th 0.4 18.3 v low 2%
Marree Aero 27.0   39.0 27th 9.6   2.9 1st 1.2
Marree Comparison 28.0 +2.4 38.7 27th 10.4 +0.6 4.6 1st 2.0 10.6 average 19%
Moomba Airport 28.7   38.8 27th 10.7   5.1 1st 0
Oodnadatta Airport 28.4 +1.8 38.6 27th 11.3 -0.1 4.2 1st 1.0 9.9 low 10%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 23.7 +2.3 34.3 4th 7.8 0.0 0.1 9th 10.2 27.7 low 37%
Cleve 21.6 +2.2 30.9 27th 9.0 +0.5 3.4 18th 16.6 42.4 low 39%
Cleve Aerodrome 21.4   30.9 27th 8.2   3.1 18th 14.2 36.6 low 39%
Coulta (Coles Point) 19.0 +0.7 27.7 22nd 8.8 0.0 3.8 10th 26.8
Cummins Aero 20.2   29.2 27th 5.4   0.0 18th 31.4
Elliston 20.5 +1.3 29.3 22nd 9.7 +0.2 3.0 10th 24.0 39.7 low 60%
Kimba 22.4 +2.2 31.8 27th 7.2 +0.2 2.2 24th 13.8 37.2 low 37%
Kyancutta 23.9 +2.1 32.8 19th 5.8 -0.5 -0.5 18th 13.3 31.6 low 42%
Minnipa Pirsa 22.9   31.7 19th 8.4   3.3 30th 16.0
Neptune Island 16.7 +0.5 21.2 26th 11.7 +0.1 7.5 29th 25.2 45.9 low 55%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 19.2 +0.6 27.8 26th 7.4 -0.6 3.5 10th 32.8
Nullarbor 23.7 +1.3 34.4 11th 7.9 0.0 1.9 24th 2.2 17.8 v low 12%
Port Augusta Aero 25.3   36.8 27th 7.3   0.0 1st 5.0
Streaky Bay 21.8 +1.6 29.1 27th 10.2 +0.3 4.5 18th 20.1 35.4 low 57%
Whyalla Aero 23.3 +1.8 34.9 27th 7.6 -0.5 0.5 1st 5.0 27.1 low 18%
Wudinna Aero 23.8   33.0 19th 6.1   -0.9 18th 15.0
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 24.2 +2.6 36.3 27th 6.8 0.0 0.5 9th 1.4 27.7 v low 5%
Yongala 20.1 +2.2 32.1 27th 3.6 -0.4 -1.4 2nd 10.2 38.2 v low 27%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 23.9   35.1 27th 6.0   -1.7 10th 8.2
Yunta Airstrip 23.0   35.5 27th 5.8   -0.8 30th 2.4
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 18.2   26.8 27th 5.2   0.3 1st 25.8
Port Pirie Aerodrome 22.7   32.2 27th 6.3   -0.6 1st 12.6
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 21.6   30.6 27th 4.7   -1.8 1st 18.8
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 18.2   29.6 26th 7.9   1.8 10th 20.6 42.2 low 49%
Kadina AWS 21.1   29.2 27th 5.4   -1.1 1st 13.8
Maitland 19.5 +1.5 28.1 26th 9.2 +0.8 4.6 1st 28.8 49.6 low 58%
Minlaton Aero 19.7   29.1 26th 7.3   1.5 10th 18.6
Stenhouse Bay 18.5   26.6 26th 9.9   4.9 1st 24.4
Warooka 18.6 +0.8 26.4 27th 8.6 0.0 4.0 29th 23.2 46.0 low 50%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 15.9   21.3 4th 8.9   5.7 25th 43.0
Cape Willoughby 16.5 +0.6 22.3 27th 10.4 +0.1 6.9 29th 31.8 56.2 low 57%
Kingscote Aero 18.2   24.9 26th 5.9   0.4 25th 38.4 45.3 average 85%
Parndana Cfs AWS 16.3   22.7 26th 6.8   2.8 29th 46.0
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 19.9 +0.9 28.2 27th 9.8 +0.1 5.3 1st 21.8 60.3 v low 36%
Adelaide Airport 19.2 +1.1 27.9 26th 9.0 +0.1 3.8 25th 18.2 45.6 low 40%
Edinburgh RAAF 20.4 +1.5 29.0 26th 8.3 +0.2 1.9 18th 21.8 47.8 low 46%
Parafield Airport 20.2 +1.3 28.7 26th 8.2 0.0 1.8 18th 28.6 44.1 low 65%
Roseworthy AWS 20.8   30.5 27th 5.4   -0.6 18th 30.0
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 18.6   27.8 27th 6.1   0.5 18th 36.4
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 19.9 +1.6 29.5 27th 6.5 -0.1 -0.5 1st 37.3 53.4 average 70%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 16.5   24.6 27th 7.8   3.1 29th 85.4
Mount Barker 17.5 +1.0 25.7 27th 6.8 +1.0 2.2 25th 66.4 85.5 average 78%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 15.7   24.5 27th 7.3   3.0 29th 43.2
Mount Lofty 13.9   22.9 27th 6.4   1.8 29th 49.4
Noarlunga 18.9   26.7 27th 10.1   6.0 18th 36.4
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 15.0   22.2 27th 7.9   3.5 29th 47.4
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 18.6   26.8 4th 6.7   1.9 25th 58.2
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 22.6 +1.9 32.1 27th 6.7 +0.4 0.6 10th 3.8 26.0 lowest 15%
Renmark Aero 23.4   33.3 27th 6.2   -0.7 10th 6.4
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 19.0 +2.0 28.6 27th 6.4 0.0 2.2 24th 25.0 48.6 low 51%
Meningie 18.8 +0.7 26.0 26th 8.1 -0.2 2.0 25th 27.0 48.1 low 56%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 20.5   29.6 26th 5.0   -1.9 25th 11.6
Murray Bridge Comparison 21.3 +1.5 30.4 27th 6.9 -0.3 1.0 25th 18.4 36.6 low 50%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 18.9   27.7 26th 7.5   2.4 25th 32.2
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 20.8   30.2 27th 6.4   0.0 25th 13.2 35.2 low 38%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 19.3 +0.7 26.5 27th 7.0 0.0 0.5 25th 29.2 50.7 low 58%
Keith (Munkora) 18.7   25.7 26th 5.1   -1.3 25th 27.8
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 20.0   29.3 27th 5.1   -0.8 25th 17.4
Lameroo Comparison 20.7 +1.3 30.5 28th 6.6 +0.6 2.5 25th 15.2 41.7 low 36%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 15.9 -0.2 21.6 26th 7.6 -0.9 2.9 25th 37.4
Coonawarra 17.2 +0.4 24.2 26th 5.7 -0.7 0.6 25th 42.6 62.3 low 68%
Mount Gambier Aero 16.7 +0.9 23.2 4th 6.4 +0.1 0.4 19th 51.0 72.6 low 70%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 17.3   24.4 4th 6.2   0.6 25th 33.0
Padthaway South 18.0   25.2 4th 6.6   0.1 25th 29.6
Robe Airfield 16.9   24.5 26th 7.0   1.0 11th 39.0
Robe Comparison 16.3 +0.6 21.2 26th 9.2 0.0 4.8 19th 37.2 59.0 low 63%

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 5 pm on Sunday 30 September 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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Enquiries