South Australia in May 2013: Record heat and variable rainfall

  • Warmest May nights, and fourth warmest May days on record.
  • Temperatures 1 to 3 °C warmer across the State.
  • Average to above average rainfall across SA, with new records at some locations.

Rainfall

Rainfall throughout May 2013 was patchy. Bursts of tropical activity produced rain across northern districts mid-month with coastal areas receiving persistent showers. Another rainfall event in the third week of May brought welcome rainfall to most of the state, while another widespread rainfall event started right at months end.

Much of the pastoral areas in the north of the state, and the Riverland ended up with above average rainfall for the month. The eastern and central agricultural districts generally ended up with near average rainfall, though tending slightly drier than average in the Mount Lofty Ranges, the Mallee and the south-eastern districts.

Pastoral Districts

Rainfall totals across the Pastoral districts were generally above average, though patchy, ranging between 20 and 40 mm for most locations. Marla in the Northwest district recorded 54.6 mm, a May record rainfall at that site and the highest total this month in the pastoral districts. Mintabie also had record May rainfall with a total of 54.0 mm.

Agricultural Districts

Rainfall totals across agricultural districts were generally 30 to 50 mm, with higher totals of 60 to 90mm at some locations in the Flinders and Mount Lofty Ranges and the Lower South East. Angaston (Trig Point Hill) in the Barossa recorded the highest rainfall total for the month in the state of 101.0 mm.

Some sites had their highest total May rainfall on record.
Some sites had their highest total May rainfall for at least 20 years.
Some sites had their lowest total May rainfall for at least 20 years. See a map of rainfall deciles.

Temperature

The first 10 days of May 2013 were warmer than average, with temperatures 8 to 12 C higher than the long-term mean across wide areas of the State, peaking on the 8th. Conditions throughout the remainder of the month were closer to the long-term mean.

The average temperature (combining daily maximum and daily minimum temperatures) for South Australia as a whole in May 2013 was 2.5 C above the long-term May average, the highest May average temperature since observations began in 1910. By way of contrast, May 2012 saw temperatures cooler than average by 0.5 C. The previous hottest had been in May 1921 when the month was 2.1 C warmer than average.

Maximum Temperature

Maximum temperatures for the month were widely 1 to 2 C above average, with several locations more than 2 C warmer across the northern half of the state.

Maximum temperatures averaged across the month ranged from 14.8 C at Mount Lofty to 26.0 C at Moomba in the North-east pastoral district of the State.

The hottest day of the month for any location was recorded at Tarcoola on the 4th where the maximum temperature reached 34.2 C, a record hottest May temperature at that site. Several other sites including Adelaide, Leigh Creek, Elliston and Maitland also had record hottest May temperatures this month. Mount Lofty had the coldest day on the 22nd with a maximum of 9.4 C.

Some sites had their highest May temperature on record.
Some sites had their highest May mean daily maximum temperature on record.
Some sites had their highest May mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years.
See a map of maximum temperature anomalies.

Minimum Temperature

Overnight minimum temperatures for the month were warmer than average by 2 to 3 C across most of the state. Several locations around South Australia had record warmest May nights, including Adelaide, Marla, Kyancutta, and Maitland.

For the month as a whole, night time minimum temperatures across the State ranged from 7.0 C at Yongala in the Upper North district to 15.2 C at Neptune Island off Eyre Peninsula. Noarlunga observed the warmest night of the month with a minimum of 22.5C on the 10th.

The coldest nights of the month for many locations in South Australia were near months end under a strong high pressure system centred over Victoria. The coldest night this month was observed on the 5th at Naracoorte where the temperature dropped to -1.5 C.

Some sites had their warmest May night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record.
Some sites had their highest May mean daily minimum temperature on record.
Some sites had their highest May mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years.
See a map of minimum temperature anomalies.

Further information

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Extremes in May 2013
Hottest day 34.2 °C at Tarcoola Aero on the 4th
Warmest days on average 26.0 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 14.8 °C at Mount Lofty
Coldest day 9.4 °C at Mount Lofty on the 22nd
Coldest night -1.5 °C at Naracoorte Aerodrome on the 5th
Coolest nights on average 7.0 °C at Yongala
Warmest nights on average 15.2 °C at Neptune Island
Warmest night 22.5 °C at Noarlunga on the 10th
Warmest on average overall 19.3 °C at Oodnadatta Airport
Coolest on average overall 11.9 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 94.2 mm at Crafers (Mt Lofty)
Driest overall 0.4 mm at Monarto Zoological Park
Wettest day 67.8 mm at Cherryville (Dewnr) on the 31st
Highest wind gust 100 km/h at Cape Willoughby on the 3rd

Record highest total May rainfall
Total rainfall
for May 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Marla Police Station 54.6 45.9 in 1988 27 13.4
Mintabie 54.0 49.8 in 1997 21 11.7

Highest total May rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for May 2013 (mm)
Most recent May
at least this wet
Years since
wetter
Average for
May
Mount Eba 31.2 35.4 in 1989 24 12.7
Bute 58.8 73.2 in 1987* 23 43.7
Hallett 70.2 80.0 in 1988* 23 41.8
Mount Barry Station 26.7 40.0 in 1989* 23 10.1
Owen 66.6 74.2 in 1989* 22 44.1

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




Lowest total May rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for May 2013 (mm)
Most recent May
at least this dry
Years since
drier
Average for
May
Woodside 40.4 29.4 in 1976* 25 92.3

* 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 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Marree Comparison 34.0 on the 4th 33.9 on the 1st in 1942 75 23.1
Woomera Aerodrome 31.4 on the 4th 31.1 on the 24th in 1994 65 20.6
Adelaide Airport 30.4 on the 9th 29.2 on the 4th in 1967 59 18.5
Mount Barker 28.9 on the 8th 27.4 on the 3rd in 2002 57 16.5
Parafield Airport 31.1 on the 8th 30.4 on the 8th in 2002 57 18.9
Elliston 33.0 on the 8th 32.0 on the 8th in 2002 52 19.4
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 31.0 on the 8th 30.5 on the 4th in 2005 51 18.7
Kimba 30.0 on the 8th 29.8 on the 2nd in 2002 45 19.4
Andamooka 33.0 on the 4th 31.8 on the 3rd in 1997 42 22.3
Edinburgh RAAF 31.2 on the 8th 31.0 on the 4th in 2005 41 19.1
Hawker 30.0 on the 4th 29.4 on the 5th in 1978 40 20.0
Adelaide (Kent Town) 31.1 on the 8th 29.2 on the 4th in 2005 37 18.9
Maitland 29.0 on the 8th = 29.0 on the 19th in 1973 33 18.1
Leigh Creek Airport 32.1 on the 4th 30.3 on the 1st in 2002 31 20.9
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 27.2 on the 9th 26.7 on the 4th in 2005 22 16.9
Coulta (Coles Point) 32.2 on the 8th 29.8 on the 8th in 2002 22 18.8
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 32.7 on the 8th 31.6 on the 4th in 2005 22 19.4



Record highest May mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for May 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Adelaide Airport 20.6 20.4 in 2005 58 18.5
Elliston 22.0 21.5 in 2002 51 19.4
Neptune Island 19.2 19.0 in 1980 51 17.7
Maitland 20.5 = 20.5 in 2002 32 18.1
Whyalla Aero 22.4 22.3 in 1988 26 20.5
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 21.7 21.6 in 1994 21 19.4

Highest May mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for May 2013 (°C)
Most recent May
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
May
Streaky Bay 22.2 22.8 in 1972* 40 20.1
Cleve 21.3 21.6 in 1980 33 18.9

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




Record highest May daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in May 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Parafield Airport 20.9 on the 10th 19.7 on the 5th in 1990 57 9.3
Elliston 20.5 on the 10th 19.9 on the 4th in 2005 52 10.3
Neptune Island 19.7 on the 10th 18.0 on the 4th in 2005 52 13.7
Hawker 18.3 on the 10th 18.0 on the 5th in 1988 39 7.1
Maitland 19.0 on the 9th 17.9 on the 7th in 2002 33 9.9
Nullarbor 19.9 on the 9th 19.0 on the 4th in 2005 26 8.9
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 17.6 on the 10th 15.9 on the 8th in 2002 22 9.2



Record highest May mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for May 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for May
Years of
record
Average for
May
Streaky Bay 13.4 = 13.4 in 1958 86 10.8
Kyancutta 10.7 10.0 in 1950 83 7.3
Cleve 12.6 12.0 in 2007 72 10.0
Ceduna AMO 12.2 10.7 in 1990 71 8.5
Oodnadatta Airport 12.9 12.8 in 1973 64 9.7
Woomera Aerodrome 11.9 11.5 in 1988 64 9.4
Elliston 12.8 12.5 in 1975 51 10.3
Neptune Island 15.2 14.6 in 2008 51 13.7
Kimba 10.6 10.0 in 2005 44 8.3
Edinburgh RAAF 11.5 11.2 in 1988 40 9.1
Adelaide (Kent Town) 12.3 12.1 in 2007 36 10.2
Maitland 12.0 11.9 in 2007 32 9.9
Marla Police Station 11.5 11.2 in 1988 26 8.9
Nullarbor 11.8 10.9 in 1990 25 8.9
Coulta (Coles Point) 11.4 = 11.4 in 1994 21 9.8
Edithburgh 12.4 11.9 in 2009 20 10.8

Highest May mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for May 2013 (°C)
Most recent May
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
May
Parafield Airport 11.4 11.6 in 1950* 45 9.3
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 10.5 10.9 in 1988 25 8.2
Andamooka 12.1 12.4 in 1988* 24 9.9
Leigh Creek Airport 10.9 11.4 in 1988* 24 8.7

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




Summary statistics for May 2013
Maximum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for May
(°C)
Rainfall
for May
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
2013
Mean for
May
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
2013
Total for
May
2013
Average
for
May
Rank of
May
2013
Fraction of
May
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 24.1 +1.8 33.0 4th 12.1 +2.2 7.2 26th 13.8 15.5 average 89%
Coober Pedy Airport 24.2   33.0 4th 12.4   7.3 25th 27.8
Ernabella (Pukatja) 22.8   31.0 4th 10.3   2.1 17th 54.0
Marla Police Station 24.7 +1.6 33.2 4th 11.5 +2.6 4.0 27th 54.6 13.4 highest 407%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 24.1   33.0 4th 10.9   4.5 18th 11.4
Tarcoola Aero 24.8   34.2 4th 12.1   5.6 17th 19.0
Woomera Aerodrome 23.1 +2.5 31.4 4th 11.9 +2.5 6.6 14th 17.8 18.5 average 96%
Far North (district 17)
Arkaroola 21.9 +1.7 28.6 4th 7.7 +0.6 1.5 14th 18.2 17.2 high 106%
Leigh Creek Airport 22.8 +1.9 32.1 4th 10.9 +2.2 4.0 14th 26.8 16.1 average 166%
Marree Aero 24.7   32.6 4th 11.4   5.3 25th 14.2
Marree Comparison 25.8 +2.7 34.0 4th     5.9 25th 14.6 13.3 average 110%
Moomba Airport 26.0   34.1 10th 11.7   6.2 14th 6.8
Oodnadatta Airport 25.6 +2.4 33.4 4th 12.9 +3.2 5.0 25th 9.6 12.7 average 76%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 22.8 +2.0 33.4 3rd 12.2 +3.7 5.4 26th 31.8 32.3 average 98%
Cleve 21.3 +2.4 30.0 8th 12.6 +2.6 7.1 13th 46.6 40.8 average 114%
Cleve Aerodrome 21.2   30.6 8th 12.7   7.3 26th 47.2 38.0 high 124%
Coulta (Coles Point) 20.8 +2.0 32.2 8th 11.4 +1.6 6.7 28th 47.6
Cummins Aero 21.6   32.1 8th 10.8   4.5 18th 29.2
Elliston 22.0 +2.6 33.0 8th 12.8 +2.5 6.8 28th 32.4 52.1 low 62%
Kimba 20.7 +1.3 30.0 8th 10.6 +2.3 4.8 28th 31.8 35.5 average 90%
Kyancutta 23.0 +1.9 31.8 8th 10.7 +3.4 2.2 26th 27.3 32.2 average 85%
Minnipa Pirsa 21.7   30.9 8th 11.9   7.1 28th 27.2
Neptune Island 19.2 +1.5 22.7 8th 15.2 +1.5 10.4 13th 47.4 54.3 average 87%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 21.7 +2.3 32.7 8th 11.6 +1.2 6.4 17th 34.2
Nullarbor 22.9 +1.5 33.9 8th 11.8 +2.9 5.1 25th 34.4 29.7 average 116%
Port Augusta Aero 23.5   32.2 8th 10.3   4.5 18th 20.6
Streaky Bay 22.2 +2.1 30.2 7th 13.4 +2.6 8.0 18th 38.9 45.8 average 85%
Whyalla Aero 22.4 +1.9 31.7 8th 10.6 +1.8 3.8 28th 22.8 24.5 average 93%
Wudinna Aero 23.0   32.3 8th 11.1   2.9 26th 22.2
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 21.6 +1.6 30.0 4th 9.5 +2.4 2.4 18th 29.2 30.6 average 95%
Yongala 18.4 +1.3 27.1 8th 7.0 +2.5 1.4 19th 43.2 34.9 average 124%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 21.0   30.0 8th 7.1   0.5 19th 30.9
Yunta Airstrip 20.3   28.6 8th 7.7   0.3 18th 19.2
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 18.6   28.7 8th 8.9   1.7 18th 91.4
Port Pirie Aerodrome 22.3   30.8 8th 11.8   5.2 18th 45.4
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 21.4   30.9 8th 9.8   3.6 28th 55.8
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Edithburgh 19.7 +1.4 26.4 3rd 12.4 +1.6 6.7 19th 61.4 44.4 high 138%
Kadina AWS 21.4   29.4 8th 9.8   3.6 18th 50.6
Maitland 20.5 +2.4 29.0 8th 12.0 +2.1 7.5 18th 68.4 62.7 average 109%
Minlaton Aero 21.4   30.9 8th 11.5   6.7 17th 30.2
Stenhouse Bay 20.5   29.8 8th 13.0   8.7 28th 48.0
Warooka 20.2 +1.7 26.8 8th 11.9 +1.5 6.8 13th 34.4 53.5 average 64%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 18.3   24.6 8th 12.1   8.3 2nd 54.4
Cape Willoughby 18.1 +1.2 25.8 8th 13.3 +0.8 8.5 13th 59.8 61.5 average 97%
Kingscote Aero 19.7   26.9 10th 8.9   2.2 2nd 65.6 46.9 high 140%
Parndana Cfs AWS 18.5   27.1 8th 10.2   5.4 13th 49.2
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 20.6 +1.7 31.1 8th 12.3 +2.1 6.7 24th 54.8 60.0 average 91%
Adelaide Airport 20.6 +2.1 30.4 9th 11.7 +2.2 5.7 24th 57.2 53.9 average 106%
Edinburgh RAAF 20.7 +1.6 31.2 8th 11.5 +2.4 5.0 24th 50.8 44.2 average 115%
Parafield Airport 20.9 +2.0 31.1 8th 11.4 +2.1 4.3 24th 68.0 48.1 high 141%
Roseworthy AWS 21.0   31.9 8th 10.9   5.2 24th 50.8
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Viticultural 18.6   28.3 8th 8.9   2.6 24th 46.4
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 20.1 +1.4 31.0 8th 10.5 +2.3 3.0 24th 55.3 53.2 average 104%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 20.0   30.4 8th 11.1   6.8 29th 33.2
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 17.8   27.9 9th 10.2   5.8 13th 73.8
Mount Barker 17.9 +1.4 28.9 8th 8.9 +2.2 3.8 18th 48.0 87.4 low 55%
Mount Crawford (Mt Crawford AWS) 16.5   26.8 8th 9.8   5.2 13th 71.2
Mount Lofty 14.8   24.5 8th 9.0   4.2 13th 87.4
Noarlunga 20.0   29.2 8th 13.0   8.6 18th 52.4
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 16.7   25.7 9th 10.7   6.4 13th 59.2
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 20.2   29.9 9th 9.0   3.4 28th 52.2
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 20.1 +0.6 28.6 8th 7.2 +0.9 2.3 19th 33.2 23.2 high 143%
Renmark Aero 20.6   29.4 8th 7.6   2.0 28th 40.6
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 18.4 +1.5 27.6 8th 9.0 +1.4 4.2 28th 47.4 45.1 average 105%
Meningie 19.7 +1.5 28.3 8th 9.8 +1.0 4.4 2nd 76.9 54.7 high 141%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 20.7   30.7 8th 8.6   3.6 5th 23.6
Murray Bridge Comparison 21.1 +1.5 30.8 8th 9.3 +1.3 5.0 18th 32.6 35.3 average 92%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 20.3   30.5 8th 10.1   4.4 5th 27.2
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 20.0   29.5 8th 8.4   2.5 2nd 29.3 35.3 average 83%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 19.4 +1.1 28.8 9th 8.5 +0.8 2.0 2nd 54.1 52.3 average 103%
Keith (Munkora) 20.0   29.3 9th 7.6   -0.3 2nd 53.6
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 19.3   28.4 8th 7.6   2.3 2nd 24.0
Lameroo Comparison 19.4 +0.8 28.4 8th 8.4 +1.4 3.8 2nd 33.6 39.5 average 85%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 18.3 +1.4 27.2 9th 9.8 +0.6 3.8 5th 66.2
Coonawarra 18.3 +1.1 28.4 9th 7.2 +0.4 -1.3 2nd 43.2 51.3 average 84%
Mount Gambier Aero 17.3 +1.2 27.8 9th 7.7 +0.4 0.7 21st 65.6 70.1 average 94%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 18.5   28.2 9th 7.5   -1.5 5th 39.8
Padthaway South 18.7   28.4 9th 7.8   -0.1 2nd 58.8
Robe Airfield 18.9   29.1 9th 8.6   -1.1 5th 82.4
Robe Comparison 16.9 +0.5 22.3 10th 10.8 +0.6 4.8 5th 74.5 73.0 average 102%

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 Monday 3 June 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

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries