South Australia in January 2013: Hot and dry conditions to start the year

  • Driest January in 24 years (since 1989) with below average rainfall across most of the state.
  • Extensive heatwave conditions see record high temperatures for several locations.
  • Moomba observes the highest temperature in South Australia in 54 years, and the sixth hottest temperature ever officially recorded in Australia.
  • Oodnadatta has a record run of days with maximum temperatures above 45 C.

Rainfall

Rainfall across much of South Australia during January was below average due to weak tropical activity for this time of the year, with many locations receiving less than half of their average January rainfall. Averaged across the state as a whole, January 2013 was the driest January since 1989.

Much of the rainfall during the month was recorded when a band of rain from a middle level cloud band streaming across the state from ex-Tropical Cyclone Narelle, extended across southern South Australia between the13th and 14th. A cold front crossed South Australian coasts at the end of month bringing showers for coastal areas and fresh southerly winds in the wake of the front.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall across pastoral areas was generally well below average, though some locations saw higher totals from isolated thunderstorm activity, particularly in the northeast of the state.

Many locations across the Pastoral districts observed no rainfall through the month, of those that did, totals of 2 to 4 mm were typical. Yunta Airstrip reported the highest January rainfall total with 5.4 mm, all of which was recorded on the 19th from thunderstorm activity.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals over the agricultural districts were generally below average, generally between 10 to 15 mm, with higher totals up to 20 mm in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Hawker reported the highest January rainfall total for the state this month, with 26.6mm, all of which was recorded on the 19th from thunderstorms and resulted in the wettest day for any location in the state this month.

Some sites had their lowest total January rainfall on record.
Some sites had their lowest total January rainfall for at least 25 years.
See a map of rainfall deciles.

Temperature

The month began with extensive heatwave conditions in place across much of South Australia, particularly in the north. Southern areas saw relief from weak cold frontal systems, but the heat persisted for much of the month inland. The month finished with a burst of milder conditions for the summer period extending across the state.

The mean temperature (the average of the daily maximum and daily minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole for January 2012 was 1.9 C above than the long-term January average. This makes January 2013 the hottest since 2011 and the 9th warmest January on record for South Australia as a whole. By comparison, January 2011 was 2.7 C warmer than average.

Maximum Temperature

January maximum temperatures were in excess of 1C above average across all of the state and have resulted in the warmest January since 2006 and the sixth warmest on record. Maximum temperatures averaged through the month ranged from 23.1C at Robe Comparison in the southeast to 41.9C at Moomba Airport in the Far North district.

The warmest period for many locations occurred through the first 2 to 3 weeks of January with particularly long periods of hot days across the northern parts of the state. The hottest days for much of the state occurred between the 4th and 6th with some sites observing their highest January temperature on record.
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The hottest day of the month for any location in South Australia was recorded at Moomba Airport on the 12th where the maximum temperature reached 49.6 C which was the highest temperature recorded in South Australia since 1960 and the sixth hottest temperature ever officially recorded in Australia. Oodnadatta, in the far north of South Australia, observed a record run of 7 consecutive days with maximum temperatures above 45 C. Further details on this event are available in Special Climate Statement 43.

A strong cold frontal system moved across South Australia at the end of month bringing cooler conditions and fresh southerly winds in the wake of the front; with this, Mount Lofty had the coldest day for any location in the State on the 31st with a maximum of 15.5C.

See a map of maximum temperature anomalies.

Minimum Temperature

Overnight minimum temperatures for January 2013 were cooler than average in the southern parts of the State, though widely more than 1 C above average across northern South Australia. Minimum temperatures averaged through the month ranged from 10.6C at Naracoorte Aerodrome in the southeast to 24.7 C at Moomba Airport in the Far North Pastoral district.

The coolest night for any location was observed at Coonawarra in the southeast on the 14th with a minimum of temperature of just 2.7 C, though many locations observed cooler nights through the last week of January in the wake of the vigorous cold frontal system. The warmest nights for many locations was through the first week of the month. Arkaroola recorded the warmest night of the month on the 18th with 32.4 C, the hottest night at that location in 10 years.

See a map of minimum temperature anomalies.

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Extremes in January 2013
Hottest day 49.6 °C at Moomba Airport on the 12th
Warmest days on average 41.9 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 23.1 °C at Robe Comparison
Coldest day 15.5 °C at Mount Lofty on the 31st
Coldest night 2.7 °C at Coonawarra on the 14th
Coolest nights on average 10.6 °C at Naracoorte Aerodrome
Warmest nights on average 24.7 °C at Moomba Airport
Warmest night 32.4 °C at Arkaroola on the 18th
Warmest on average overall 33.3 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest on average overall 18.3 °C at Robe Airfield
Wettest overall 26.6 mm at Hawker
Driest overall 0 mm at Andamooka
0 mm at Coober Pedy Airport
0 mm at Ernabella (Pukatja)
0 mm at Leigh Creek Airport
0 mm at Marla Police Station
0 mm at Minburra
0 mm at Oodnadatta Airport
0 mm at Port Augusta Aero
0 mm at Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome)
0 mm at Yongala
Wettest day 26.6 mm at Hawker on the 19th
Highest wind gust 107 km/h at Neptune Island on the 25th

Record lowest total January rainfall
Total rainfall
for January 2013 (mm)
Previous driest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Yongala 0.0 = 0.0 in 1986 133 22.2
Oodnadatta Airport 0.0 = 0.0 in 2008 65 22.9
Andamooka 0.0 = 0.0 in 2009 48 17.4
Blanchetown Lock 1 0.2 0.3 in 1971 45 20.0
Coonawarra 1.0 2.4 in 2009 28 27.1
Leigh Creek Airport 0.0 = 0.0 in 2009 27 20.2
Marla Police Station 0.0 = 0.0 in 2009 26 14.7

Lowest total January rainfall for at least 25 years
Total rainfall
for January 2013 (mm)
Most recent January
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
January
Kalangadoo 2.2 1.6 in 1957 56 28.5



Record highest January temperature
Highest temperature
in January 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Mount Gambier Aero 43.6 on the 4th = 43.6 on the 29th in 2009 71 25.2
Adelaide Airport 44.1 on the 4th 44.0 on the 28th in 2009 58 28.1
Kimba 46.0 on the 4th 45.6 on the 31st in 1968 46 31.4
Leigh Creek Airport 46.3 on the 6th 46.1 on the 25th in 2011 30 35.4
Whyalla Aero 47.2 on the 4th 47.1 on the 25th in 2003 29 30.1



Summary statistics for January 2013
Maximum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Rainfall
for January
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2013
Mean for
January
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2013
Total for
January
2013
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2013
Fraction of
January
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 38.4 +1.9 47.2 6th 22.2 +0.9 15.5 29th 0 17.4 lowest 0%
Coober Pedy Airport 38.5   46.3 7th 22.0   13.8 29th 0
Ernabella (Pukatja) 38.2   43.8 11th 21.9   15.3 29th 0
Marla Police Station 39.4 +2.2 45.7 11th 21.8 -0.2 12.3 30th 0 14.7 lowest 0%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 38.4   47.3 6th 20.3   14.3 10th 0
Tarcoola Aero 38.3   47.4 4th 19.2   10.2 29th 2.2
Woomera Aerodrome 36.9 +2.4 46.1 4th 19.6 +0.1 13.8 30th 4.4 14.9 average 30%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 36.9 +2.7 44.8 5th 20.4 +0.3 13.5 29th 1.7 33.3 low 5%
Leigh Creek Airport 38.5 +3.1 46.3 6th 21.3 +0.6 13.4 29th 0 20.2 lowest 0%
Marree Aero 40.8   48.3 5th 22.6   14.6 30th 1.0
Marree Comparison 41.4 +3.5 48.4 8th 21.6 +0.2 12.0 29th 1.2 17.2 average 7%
Moomba Airport 41.9   49.6 12th 24.7   17.4 31st 3.4
Oodnadatta Airport 40.9 +3.1 48.2 8th 23.9 +0.9 15.4 30th 0 22.9 lowest 0%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 29.6 +1.0 46.2 17th 15.5 +0.3 8.6 30th 1.8 11.5 low 16%
Cleve 28.6 +0.3 45.0 4th 16.3 +0.7 10.8 30th 10.0 15.4 average 65%
Cleve Aerodrome 29.4   46.1 4th 15.1   9.9 30th 8.8 15.0 average 59%
Coulta (Coles Point) 28.4 +1.2 39.7 4th 14.6 -0.3 9.3 30th 12.0
Cummins Aero 30.0   43.9 17th 13.9   6.3 26th 7.6
Elliston 27.3 +1.5 41.4 17th 15.6 -0.1 11.5 23rd 8.0 10.2 average 78%
Kimba 33.2 +1.8 46.0 4th     8.2 30th 2.6 16.8 low 15%
Kyancutta 34.7 +1.7 48.0 4th 14.1 -0.3 6.9 30th 3.4 13.7 average 25%
Minnipa Pirsa 33.4   46.9 4th 15.3   9.3 29th 4.6
Neptune Island 23.2 +1.2 32.7 17th 17.2 +1.1 15.3 28th 5.6 12.5 average 45%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 27.6 +1.7 45.6 17th 15.7 0.0 11.1 1st 6.8
Nullarbor 29.2 +1.4 46.8 3rd 16.4 +0.7 8.3 30th 3.4 11.1 average 31%
Port Augusta Aero 35.0   47.7 4th 18.6   12.0 30th 0
Streaky Bay 30.8 +1.5 43.3 17th 16.4 +0.3 12.0 14th 3.8 10.6 average 36%
Whyalla Aero 30.6 +0.5 47.2 4th 17.7 +0.1 12.7 15th 0.6 14.5 low 4%
Wudinna Aero 34.1   48.2 4th 13.5   7.3 30th 2.2
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 36.2 +2.0 45.0 7th 18.0 0.0 11.5 29th 26.6 19.9 high 134%
Yongala 32.7 +1.9 42.6 7th 13.3 -0.1 5.2 30th 0 22.2 lowest 0%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 34.4   45.7 4th 14.1   6.0 15th 1.7
Yunta Airstrip 34.8   44.8 7th 14.9   6.9 15th 5.4
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 30.7   42.4 4th 13.8   6.4 30th 4.4
Port Pirie Aerodrome 33.2   45.5 4th 16.1   9.0 29th 0.6
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 32.4   45.4 4th 13.7   7.7 30th 4.0
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 26.2 +1.1 44.8 4th 16.5 -0.1 9.6 30th 8.2 11.7 average 70%
Kadina AWS 31.7   46.1 4th 13.5   6.9 30th 4.8
Maitland 30.0 +0.8 44.5 4th 16.0 +0.3 11.5 30th 15.8 17.1 average 92%
Minlaton Aero 30.0   44.8 4th 14.3   8.9 10th 8.4
Stenhouse Bay 26.1   41.1 4th 16.9   12.6 10th 13.4
Warooka 28.1 +0.9 41.8 4th 15.9 +0.5 12.2 30th 9.0 14.3 average 63%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 25.2   36.5 4th 14.0   10.0 14th 7.2
Cape Willoughby 23.3 +1.7 39.7 4th 16.8 +1.0 14.3 29th 5.2 18.3 low 28%
Kingscote Aero 27.7   42.8 4th 12.0   5.8 15th 7.6 13.8 average 55%
Parndana Cfs AWS 26.7   41.6 17th 12.4   7.5 10th 8.4
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 30.4 +1.1 45.0 4th 16.7 -0.4 12.3 14th 11.6 19.3 average 62%
Adelaide Airport 28.8 +0.7 44.1 4th 15.7 -0.3 11.2 15th 11.4 17.4 average 66%
Edinburgh RAAF 30.4 +0.5 45.2 4th 15.8 -0.6 10.6 15th 13.2 20.6 average 64%
Parafield Airport 30.6 +1.0 44.7 4th 15.7 -0.6 11.1 15th 13.4 20.8 average 64%
Roseworthy AWS 31.7   46.0 4th 12.5   5.3 29th 8.0
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 30.6   43.4 4th 13.3   5.9 29th 4.8
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 31.8 +1.3 45.6 4th 13.9 -1.3 6.6 29th 7.9 18.3 average 43%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 25.8   43.6 4th 15.7   10.6 14th 12.4
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 26.3   41.0 4th 13.6   9.7 10th 12.2
Mount Barker 28.3 +1.1 42.7 4th 12.4 +0.6 7.4 30th 15.6 25.7 average 61%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 27.9   41.8 4th 13.3   7.8 14th 12.0
Mount Lofty 25.1   38.5 4th 12.3   6.9 14th 17.4
Noarlunga 28.5   43.4 4th 16.2   11.1 29th 8.6
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 24.3   39.6 4th 13.6   9.9 10th 17.4
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 25.8   43.8 4th 13.9   8.7 15th 14.4
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 33.0 +1.2 45.0 4th 14.1 -0.5 6.9 15th 1.4 18.7 v low 7%
Renmark Aero 34.1   46.0 4th 15.1   7.1 15th 0.8
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 31.2 +2.0 43.0 4th 13.9 0.0 8.0 14th 4.0 21.6 low 19%
Meningie 26.9 +0.9 43.0 4th 14.1 +0.1 7.8 14th 3.8 18.2 low 21%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 30.0   45.7 4th 13.5   8.1 14th 11.6
Murray Bridge Comparison 30.8 +1.7 45.6 4th 14.6 0.0 8.5 14th 12.8 16.3 average 79%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 27.7   43.6 4th 14.0   9.7 14th 15.0
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 31.3   45.6 4th 12.9   8.8 10th 13.2 17.3 average 76%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 30.7 +0.8 44.8 4th 12.5 -0.6 5.8 15th 2.8 18.7 low 15%
Keith (Munkora) 31.1   46.1 4th 10.7   3.8 14th 2.6
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 31.9   45.0 4th 12.5   7.4 10th 13.4
Lameroo Comparison 32.2 +1.3 44.0 4th 13.9 +0.5 8.5 29th 12.8 19.6 average 65%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 24.9 +0.3 38.2 4th 13.5 -0.1 8.5 10th 3.4
Coonawarra 28.4 +1.3 42.9 4th 10.8 -0.7 2.7 14th 1.0 27.1 lowest 4%
Mount Gambier Aero 26.8 +1.6 43.6 4th 11.1 0.0 4.5 14th 6.4 27.0 low 24%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 29.6   44.6 4th 10.6   3.5 14th 0.6
Padthaway South 29.5   43.9 4th 11.1   4.0 14th 1.2
Robe Airfield 24.8   38.7 4th 11.8   5.2 14th 4.2
Robe Comparison 23.1 +0.6 31.0 4th 14.4 +0.8 10.2 27th 3.6 20.1 low 18%

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 10 am on Friday 1 February 2013. 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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is being used for temperature area averages from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

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