South Australia in December 2016: heavy rainfall and warmer than average temperatures

It was a wet finish to an overall wet year for South Australia with particularly heavy rainfall recorded between 27th and 29th. Both day and night temperatures started off generally near average at the beginning of the month, but heatwave conditions at the end of the month saw temperatures well above average during the Christmas period.

Heavy rainfall results in record wet December

  • The passage of a deep low pressure system brought record high daily rainfall for many locations across the State between the 27th and 29th
  • With much of the State reporting more than double the monthly average, many sites had their wettest December on record and the wettest December in several decades for many other locations
  • For the State as whole, it was the wettest December on record, surpassing the previous wettest December set in 1988

Warmer than average days across much of the State; mild nights in the south

  • Daytime temperatures were more than one degree above average across southern districts, extending into the northeast of the State, with the far northwest experiencing cooler than average maximum temperatures
  • Minimum temperatures were generally mild and tending near average across south-central districts and in the southeast
  • The northeast pastoral reported minimum temperatures up to three degrees above average
  • Overall, the statewide December mean minimum temperature is sixth-warmest on record

Heatwave conditions, damaging winds, high humidity and flash flooding

  • On the 7th, a wind gust of 141 km/h was observed at Moonta (Warburto Point) as thunderstorms crossed the State, this is the highest wind speed to be recorded in the State since 31 December 2009
  • A high pressure system centred over the Tasman Sea and a low pressure system to the west of South Australia directed a very hot northerly airstream over the State, bringing temperatures in excess of 8 °C above average during the Christmas period
  • As the low pressure system tracked eastwards record high humidity, heavy rainfall and destructive winds were brought to many parts of the State on the 27th and 28th
  • Mount Crawford recorded the strongest winds and a gust of 120 km/h in the early hours of the 28th

Further information

Media
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Extremes in December 2016
Hottest day 45.9 °C at Oodnadatta Airport on the 1st
Warmest days on average 37.3 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest days on average 21.0 °C at Neptune Island
Coldest day 13.4 °C at Mount Lofty on the 8th
Coldest night 1.1 °C at Keith (Munkora) on the 18th
Coolest nights on average 9.8 °C at Keith (Munkora)
Warmest nights on average 24.3 °C at Moomba Airport
Warmest night 31.8 °C at Moomba Airport on the 27th
Warmest on average overall 30.8 °C at Moomba Airport
Coolest on average overall 16.8 °C at Mount Lofty
Wettest overall 217.0 mm at Ernabella (Pukatja)
Wettest day 117.2 mm at Ernabella (Pukatja) on the 27th
Strongest wind gust 141 km/h at Moonta (Warburto Point) on the 7th

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest December daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Moonta 60.4 on the 28th 48.8 on the 25th in 1946 134
Mount Barker 76.0 on the 28th 63.0 on the 7th in 1986 133
Two Wells 71.4 on the 28th 59.4 on the 31st in 1995 133
Cowell 60.2 on the 28th 44.0 on the 6th in 1990 131
Hahndorf 77.4 on the 28th 49.4 on the 22nd in 2007 131
Bridgewater 105.0 on the 28th 84.6 on the 8th in 1986 130
Port Clinton (Yararoo) 69.6 on the 28th 59.9 on the 27th in 1929 130
Uraidla 110.0 on the 28th 77.2 on the 26th in 1959 126
Happy Valley Reservoir 58.0 on the 28th 56.4 on the 4th in 1966 125
Cudlee Creek (Millbrook Reservoir) 92.0 on the 28th 65.5 on the 28th in 1929 103
Finniss 56.0 on the 28th 45.7 on the 26th in 1946 103
Parafield Airport 61.2 on the 28th 51.2 on the 8th in 2010 69
Mount Bold Reservoir 66.2 on the 28th 48.6 on the 14th in 1993 66
Prospect Hill 62.6 on the 28th 45.8 on the 8th in 2010 50
Aldgate 100.6 on the 28th 61.2 on the 8th in 2010 48
Upper Hermitage 68.0 on the 28th 45.0 on the 8th in 2010 47
Port Parham 86.2 on the 28th 39.0 on the 18th in 1997 46
Edinburgh RAAF 70.0 on the 28th 58.8 on the 8th in 2010 45
Adelaide (Hope Valley Reservoir) 66.4 on the 28th 49.2 on the 8th in 2010 38
Blackwood (Wittunga) 55.4 on the 28th 54.0 on the 8th in 2010 38
Mintabie 83.0 on the 27th 59.0 on the 24th in 2009 25
Coober Pedy Airport 33.6 on the 27th 31.0 on the 30th in 2003 23
Strathalbyn Racecourse 53.6 on the 28th 26.0 on the 8th in 2010 21
Roseworthy AWS 36.2 on the 28th 26.6 on the 13th in 2008 20



Record highest December total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Wallaroo 83.6 71.7 in 1946 151 17.6
Moonta 97.0 78.1 in 1922 145 18.7
Port Clinton (Yararoo) 109.1 105.1 in 1929 144 19.1
Port Wakefield 72.0 70.0 in 1929 143 18.6
Quorn 118.2 114.8 in 1992 135 21.9
Price 98.7 58.8 in 1990 72 19.7
Todmorden 98.6 97.0 in 2001 68 22.6
Port Parham 110.6 56.0 in 1990 45 22.4
Coober Pedy Airport 76.6 67.8 in 2003 23 20.8
McLaren Vale (Pirramimma Winery) 59.4 51.6 in 2010 22 23.3
Strathalbyn Racecourse 67.4 58.4 in 2010 20 22.9

Highest December total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Cudlee Creek (Millbrook Reservoir) 133.2 147.4 in 1922* 38.6
North Adelaide 85.8 97.1 in 1936* 27.8
Coonalpyn 113.8 126.8 in 1937* 26.3
Finniss 77.8 110.5 in 1946* 23.5
Crystal Brook 73.6 78.9 in 1966 23.0
Maitland 70.4 88.2 in 1946* 23.6
Adelaide (Morphett Vale) 64.4 66.9 in 1951* 25.7
Cameron Corner (Lindon) 76.2 89.5 in 1988 17.6
Tarcoola (Mobella) 77.9 93.4 in 1988* 17.0
Andamooka 85.2 90.4 in 1992 19.4
Appila 110.2 118.6 in 1992 26.1
Blinman 58.2 219.2 in 1992 24.1
Booleroo Centre 91.8 =91.8 in 1992 24.5
Darke Peak 70.6 85.1 in 1992 23.2
Hawker 98.4 160.6 in 1992 22.4
Hawker (Wilson) 93.0 144.8 in 1992 22.8
Kimba 59.8 118.1 in 1992 20.1
Koolunga 66.4 79.8 in 1992 23.4
Macclesfield 107.0 235.2 in 1992 34.8
Nairne 118.8 167.4 in 1992 32.3
Neptune Island 39.6 68.2 in 1992 17.3
Orroroo 78.8 130.6 in 1992 23.3
Orroroo (Black Rock) 92.0 110.0 in 1992 22.4
Parachilna (Motpena) 60.0 131.2 in 1992 19.3
Parndana (Turkey Lane) 58.2 68.0 in 1992 25.1
Penneshaw 56.0 84.4 in 1992 22.1
Strathalbyn 76.9 171.2 in 1992 25.6
Tarcoola (Mulgathing) 55.4 69.2 in 1992 18.0
Uraidla 163.0 168.2 in 1992 47.0
Whyalla (Mullaquana) 65.8 73.8 in 1992 17.7
Willunga 59.0 112.4 in 1992 25.4
Wilmington 117.0 124.4 in 1992 25.0
Wirrabara 84.4 102.6 in 1992 25.7
Adelaide Airport 70.6 89.8 in 1993 24.0
Beltana Roadhouse 47.2 50.0 in 1993 23.1
Bruce 63.2 88.6 in 1992* 21.4
Cleve 47.4 48.8 in 1993 26.0
Cleve Aerodrome 40.8 41.6 in 1993 23.6
Cowell 64.5 117.8 in 1992* 18.0
Cowell (Winter Springs) 82.6 108.4 in 1992* 24.2
Happy Valley Reservoir 75.2 91.2 in 1993 29.3
Jamestown 76.6 78.0 in 1993 27.8
Lobethal 143.3 168.4 in 1992* 36.8
Oodla Wirra (McCoys Well) 61.4 101.4 in 1993 23.5
Strathearn 76.0 78.2 in 1993 21.8
Hahndorf 119.5 163.0 in 1992* 37.5
Melrose 116.4 150.4 in 1992* 28.7
Mount Ive 56.2 81.6 in 1993* 16.9
Myponga 63.0 106.2 in 1993* 30.7
Port Elliot Caravan Park 56.9 71.6 in 1993* 24.2
Yongala 71.8 93.1 in 1993* 24.5
Adelaide (Seaton) 77.2 86.6 in 1993* 25.6
Carrieton 76.2 99.0 in 1992* 23.7
Goolwa Barrage 50.6 164.2 in 1992* 27.4

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




Record lowest December daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Whyalla Aero 18.7 on the 14th = 18.7 on the 7th in 1983 33 28.3



Highest December mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Andamooka 21.3 21.7 in 1983 19.4
Oodnadatta Airport 23.7 25.5 in 1994 21.3



Summary statistics for December 2016
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2016
Mean for
December
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2016
Total for
December
2016
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2016
Fraction of
December
average
Northwest (district 16)
Andamooka 35.3 +0.8 41.6 25th 21.3 +1.9 13.5 9th 85.2 19.4 v high 439%
Coober Pedy Airport 35.5 +1.1 42.5 1st 20.9 +1.0 13.0 9th 76.6 20.8 highest 368%
Ernabella (Pukatja) 32.2 -1.0 40.0 1st 19.6 +0.4 12.9 10th 217.0 66.7 v high 325%
Mount Ive 32.2   41.4 25th 13.9   8.3 9th 56.2 16.9 v high 333%
Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam Aerodrome) 35.4 +0.9 42.4 25th 20.5 +1.8 12.0 10th 63.6 17.2 v high 370%
Tarcoola Aero 34.3 +0.3 42.5 25th 17.9 +0.5 8.4 9th 35.2 21.0 high 168%
Woomera Aerodrome 33.7 +1.3 42.2 25th 19.0 +1.3 12.0 9th 54.2 14.4 v high 376%
Far North (district 17)
Leigh Creek Airport 34.9 +1.7 42.1 25th 20.1 +1.4 12.6 9th 38.0 23.7 high 160%
Marree Aero 36.9 +1.0 41.8 25th 21.6 +1.4 12.7 10th 68.2 16.7 v high 408%
Moomba Airport 37.3 +0.8 44.9 4th 24.3 +2.1 16.1 10th 42.8 14.9 v high 287%
Oodnadatta Airport 37.0 +0.6 45.9 1st 23.7 +2.4 14.9 10th 38.2 17.4 v high 220%
Western Agricultural (district 18)
Ceduna AMO 29.3 +1.9 43.6 12th 15.3 +1.2 4.7 10th 57.6 20.8 high 277%
Cleve 27.9 +1.1 41.0 25th 14.5 +0.4 10.1 18th 47.4 26.0 high 182%
Cleve Aerodrome 28.3 +0.9 42.0 25th 13.7 -0.2 8.9 10th 40.8 23.6 v high 173%
Coulta (Coles Point) 26.7 +1.0 38.9 25th 14.3 +0.5 7.4 1st 34.8 14.5 v high 240%
Cummins Aero 29.0   40.9 25th 13.0   6.1 18th 27.4 22.8 average 120%
Elliston 26.6 +2.0 39.1 25th 15.2 +0.6 7.9 18th 25.4 16.6 high 153%
Kimba     40.5 26th 14.0 +0.1 9.0 21st 59.8 20.1 v high 298%
Kyancutta 32.2 +1.3 41.7 25th 13.2 +0.3 5.5 9th 46.7 20.8 high 225%
Minnipa Pirsa 30.9 +0.4 41.9 25th 14.5 +0.3 7.9 9th 49.4 20.4 high 242%
Neptune Island 21.0 +0.4 30.3 12th 15.2 +0.3 13.0 18th 39.6 17.3 v high 229%
North Shields (Port Lincoln AWS) 26.2 +1.5 38.5 23rd 13.4 -0.6 8.1 16th 31.6 18.8 high 168%
Nullarbor 28.8 +1.9 41.3 12th 14.7 +0.4 7.6 16th 55.0 15.4 v high 357%
Port Augusta Aero 33.2 +1.0 43.8 25th 18.0 +0.8 12.1 1st 72.6 25.7 v high 282%
Streaky Bay 28.4 +1.0 38.9 12th 15.7 +0.7 9.1 18th 30.2 14.5 v high 208%
Whyalla Aero 29.3 +1.0 40.3 23rd 16.0 +0.1 10.8 1st 65.4 24.4 high 268%
Wudinna Aero 32.0 +0.8 43.3 25th 13.1 -0.4 3.9 9th 29.6 18.2 high 163%
Upper North (district 19)
Hawker 33.1 +1.1 41.5 25th 16.9 +1.1 7.5 9th 98.4 22.4 v high 439%
Yongala 29.5 +0.9 39.0 25th 13.1 +1.5 4.0 1st 71.8 24.5 v high 293%
Northeast (district 20)
Gluepot Reserve (Gluepot) 31.3 -0.1 41.4 25th 13.8 +0.1 4.5 18th 101.2 36.5 high 277%
Yunta Airstrip 31.8 +0.5 41.5 25th 15.4 +1.1 8.1 1st 32.4 17.2 high 188%
Lower North (district 21)
Clare High School 27.9 +0.4 40.0 25th 12.7 +0.1 6.0 16th 81.8 36.9 high 222%
Port Pirie Aerodrome AWS 31.3   42.8 25th 14.9   7.4 9th 60.8
Snowtown (Rayville Park) 30.7 +0.3 42.2 25th 11.9 -0.5 3.3 18th 121.2 29.0 v high 418%
Yorke Peninsula (district 22A)
Kadina AWS 29.0 -0.4 41.6 25th 13.2 -0.1 6.2 18th 88.4 31.5 v high 281%
Minlaton Aero 28.3 +0.7 41.3 25th 12.7 -0.8 5.9 18th 26.4 18.6 average 142%
Stenhouse Bay 24.3 +1.1 38.0 12th 15.0 -0.1 12.9 7th 20.6 16.9 average 122%
Warooka 26.5 +1.0 38.4 25th 14.6 +0.9 11.2 6th 28.8 17.7 high 163%
Kangaroo Island (district 22B)
Cape Borda 22.7 0.0 34.6 25th 12.6 -0.4 6.4 18th 60.4 26.1 v high 231%
Kingscote Aero 25.6 +0.6 36.3 23rd 10.6 -0.3 3.0 3rd 48.8 20.1 v high 243%
Parndana Cfs AWS 25.4   38.6 25th 10.7   4.6 10th 42.6
Adelaide Plains (district 23A)
Adelaide (Kent Town) 28.7 +1.5 41.3 25th 15.4 -0.2 9.6 18th 86.8 29.1 v high 298%
Adelaide Airport 26.6 +0.8 38.9 25th 14.9 +0.3 8.5 10th 70.6 24.0 v high 294%
Edinburgh RAAF 28.4 +0.5 41.0 25th 14.5 -0.3 7.5 16th 90.0 25.6 v high 352%
Parafield Airport 28.9 +1.1 41.3 25th 14.6 -0.3 7.3 18th 78.0 25.1 v high 311%
Roseworthy AWS 29.3 -0.2 41.7 25th 13.0 +0.4 3.7 18th 58.2 26.4 v high 220%
County Light (district 23B)
Nuriootpa Pirsa 27.8 +0.5 40.1 25th 12.3 -0.1 3.6 16th 67.6 35.4 high 191%
Rosedale (Turretfield Research Centre) 29.0 +0.7 41.5 25th 12.7 -0.8 4.8 16th 31.8 24.2 high 131%
Mount Lofty Ranges (district 23C)
Hindmarsh Island AWS 25.2 +0.5 37.1 23rd 14.3 -0.3 8.8 3rd 56.0 26.2 v high 214%
Kuitpo Forest Reserve 24.3 +0.5 36.6 25th 12.4 -0.2 8.1 15th 85.2 35.5 v high 240%
Mount Barker 26.5 +1.4 38.4 25th 11.5 +1.0 6.2 3rd 108.8 35.0 v high 311%
Mount Crawford AWS 25.3 +0.3 37.5 25th 11.6 -0.5 5.9 18th 106.6 34.8 v high 306%
Mount Lofty 22.7 +3.3 35.4 25th 10.9 +0.4 5.2 18th 133.6
Noarlunga 26.6 +0.2 38.9 25th 15.2 -0.2 8.5 18th 48.0 21.0 v high 229%
Parawa (Second Valley Forest AWS) 22.6 +0.9 36.0 25th 12.2 +0.2 7.7 10th 37.6 33.9 average 111%
Victor Harbor (Encounter Bay) 24.9 +0.9 36.5 23rd 12.3 -0.4 5.9 7th 52.6 27.2 v high 193%
Upper Murray Valley (district 24A)
Loxton Research Centre 30.5 +0.7 40.6 25th 13.7 +0.6 7.0 18th 26.0 24.2 average 107%
Renmark Aero 31.1 -0.1 41.0 25th 14.5 +0.3 8.3 9th 29.0 22.0 high 132%
Lower Murray Valley (district 24B)
Eudunda 27.6 +0.6 39.0 25th 12.7 +0.4 5.8 18th 70.4 26.5 v high 266%
Meningie 25.4 +0.8 38.9 25th 13.0 0.0 6.4 3rd 60.6 23.8 v high 255%
Murray Bridge (Pallamana Aerodrome) 28.9 0.0 42.2 25th 11.2 -1.2 2.6 18th 70.2 29.3 high 240%
Strathalbyn Racecourse 26.9 +0.8 39.2 25th 12.4 -0.5 6.2 3rd 67.4 22.9 highest 294%
Murray Mallee (district 25A)
Karoonda 29.3 -0.2 40.8 25th 12.2 -0.5 4.3 18th 83.8 25.1 v high 334%
Upper Southeast (district 25B)
Keith 28.5 +0.8 40.0 25th 11.7 -0.2 4.6 18th 52.4 26.7 v high 196%
Keith (Munkora) 29.4 +0.8 40.7 25th 9.8 -0.3 1.1 18th 51.0 32.9 high 155%
Lameroo (Austin Plains) 29.7 +0.2 40.6 25th 11.5 -0.7 4.5 18th 32.0 28.8 high 111%
Lower Southeast (district 26)
Cape Jaffa (The Limestone) 22.6 -0.3 34.9 23rd 12.2 -0.1 6.4 7th 44.0 24.2 high 182%
Coonawarra 25.5 +0.5 36.7 25th 10.0 -0.1 2.2 18th 47.6 37.5 high 127%
Mount Gambier Aero 24.5 +1.5 36.2 25th 10.0 0.0 2.5 3rd 55.8 38.3 high 146%
Naracoorte Aerodrome 27.2 -0.2 38.8 25th 10.1 +0.1 2.6 3rd 43.8 37.8 high 116%
Padthaway South 27.3 +0.5 38.5 25th 10.1 -0.6 2.8 3rd 60.2 32.8 high 184%
Robe Airfield 22.3 -0.8 33.3 23rd 11.5 -0.3 3.4 3rd 49.8 33.1 high 150%

Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists 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. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 8 am on Tuesday 3 January 2017. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages for individual sites 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 10 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries