Monday, 2 April 2012 - Monthly Climate Summary for Western Australia - Product code IDCKGC21R0
Western Australia in March 2012: wet and cool in the north, warm and dry in the southwest
- Rainfall: Above average for WA, 5th driest March for southwest WA
- Maximum temperature: below average for WA, 6th warmest March for southwest WA
- Minimum temperature: below average for WA, near average for southwest WA.
Rainfall during March 2012 was above to very much above average in the Kimberley and adjacent parts of the Pilbara and Interior, mostly due to a monsoonal burst during the middle of the month. Above average rainfall was also observed in parts of the Gascoyne, Goldfields, Southeast Coastal, and western Eucla mostly as a result of ex-Tropical Cyclone Lua moving through central WA. In contrast, below average rainfall was observed in western and southern parts of the Southwest Land Division (SWLD) and the adjacent southwest Gascoyne, as well as in the eastern Interior and inland Eucla with little or no rainfall recorded during the month. When averaged across the state, March 2012 rainfall was above average, however the Lower Southwest (southwest a line from Jurien Bay to Bremer Bay) as a whole experienced its 5th driest March since comparable records commenced in 1900, though rainfall during March is typically low.
A trough extending across the Kimberley and northeast Interior resulted in scattered showers and thunderstorms in these regions in the first few days of March, with some heavy falls and daily totals up to 100 mm observed in the north and east Kimberley. An active monsoon across northern Australia continued to produce showers and thunderstorms in the Kimberley into the second week of the month and caused flooding in some communities. A tropical low off the Pilbara coast developed into Tropical Cyclone Lua in the afternoon of the 13th before eventually crossing the Pilbara coast near Pardoo Roadhouse on the 17th and tracking southwards through central WA in subsequent days. Edjudina in the Goldfields registered 75.0 mm on the 19th when ex-TC Lua passed through the region, the wettest March day in its 104 years of daily rainfall record. Troughton Island in the north Kmberley recorded a daily total of 260.6 mm on the 14th, which is its third wettest day in 27 years of record and more than double the previous March highest daily rainfall of 104.6 mm on 25 March 1964. This was also the highest daily rainfall recorded in WA in March 2012.
Dampier Downs in the west Kimberley recorded 341.6 mm in March, exceeding its previous wettest March of 340.3 mm in 2007, whilst Home Valley in the north Kimberley received 1194.0 mm, the wettest spot in WA during March 2012. From the 10th to the 15th, Home Valley experienced the brunt of a monsoonal burst with four days with over 100 mm, including a daily fall of 244.0 mm on the 13th.
A number of sites in western parts of the SWLD recorded very low or no measurable rainfall during March 2012, with several sites, particularly in the Southwest district, observing their driest March on record, the result of a lack of frontal or thunderstorm activity for much of the month. Cape Leeuwin recorded its driest March in 116 years of record.
Much of WA saw below to very much below average maximum temperatures in March, with areas up to 4 °C cooler than normal in the east Pilbara and far east Gascoyne. Above to very much above average maximum temperatures were confined to the west Gascoyne, western parts of SWLD, and the southeast Eucla, with up to 4 °C warmer than normal maxima in coastal parts of the southwest Gascoyne, and 3 °C warmer than normal maxima in the southwest Lower West and Southwest districts. When averaged across the state, the mean maximum temperature for WA during March 2012 was below average, however, daytime temperatures over the Lower Southwest were the 6th warmest for March on record. Comparable records commenced in 1950.
Widespread rainfall and overcast conditions brought a number of cooler than normal days to the east Pilbara during the passage of TC Lua. Several sites in the region experienced their coolest March day on record on the 17th, with Port Hedland Airport recording a daily maximum temperature of 24.1 °C, which is 12.7 °C below normal and 1.7 °C below the previous coolest March day on recordat the airport. Port Hedland Airport also experienced its coolest March in 63 years of record. Cool days were experienced through central WA over subsequent days as ex-TC Lua moved through the state bringing heavy rainfall and cloudy conditions, while a ridge to the south of the state and a deck of cloud over central parts saw very cool days persist in the Goldfields and southern coastal areas through to the 21st with daily maxima in the mid-to-high teens. In contrast to the cool weather over central parts of the state after the middle of the month, the first half of March 2012 saw very hot conditions at times in western parts of the Gascoyne and SWLD, with numerous locations observing multiple days of over 40 °C. Kalbarri in the Central West recorded a mean daily maximum temperature of 35.6 °C, exceeding the previous March record of 35.3 °C set last year.
March 2012 saw below average mean minimum temperatures in the Eucla, Goldfields, east Gascoyne, much of the Interior, east Pilbara, and parts of the Kimberley, with areas up to 3 °C cooler than normal in the northern Goldfields, eastern Gascoyne, and central Interior. Above average overnight temperatures were observed along the SWLD south coast, as well as in the Central West, west Gascoyne, and west Pilbara. When averaged across the state, the mean minimum temperature for WA was below average, whilst the Lower Southwest recorded near average overnight temperatures.
Tropical Cyclone Lua formed to the northwest of Karratha, well off the west Pilbara coast, on the afternoon of 13 March 2012. Lua moved northwestward and intensified to category two on the 15th before taking a u-turn and moving southeastward towards the WA coast. Lua intensified further to category 3 on the 16th and took a south-southeast track on the 17th as it intensified to category four and approached the east Pilbara coast. Lua crossed the coast near Pardoo Roadhouse on the afternoon of the 17th as a category four system. After landfall, Lua tracked southwards through the inland Pilbara and steadily weakened to below tropical cyclone strength on the morning of the 18th in the northeast Gascoyne. Significant damage was reported from Pardoo Roadhouse and the Yarrie mine site with uprooted trees and damage to buildings. TC Lua caused moderate to major flooding of the De Grey river system in the east Pilbara, particularly in the vicinity of Tumbinna Pool and Nullagine. Ex-TC Lua moved through the Goldfields, Southeast Coastal, and Eucla between the 19th and 20th, bringing some significant rainfall.
|Extremes in March 2012|
|Hottest day||44.6 °C at Kalbarri on the 9th|
|Warmest days on average||37.0 °C at Emu Creek Station|
|Coolest days on average||23.9 °C at Albany|
|Coldest day||17.4 °C at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport on the 21st|
|Coldest night||2.7 °C at Salmon Gums Res.Stn. on the 16th|
|Coolest nights on average||10.3 °C at Collie East|
|Warmest nights on average|| 26.7 °C at Varanus
25.1 °C at Onslow (mainland)
|Warmest night|| 29.0 °C at Varanus
Island on the 9th
29.0 °C at Onslow on the 10th
|Wettest overall||1194.0 mm at Home Valley|
|Wettest day|| 260.6 mm at Troughton
Island on the 14th
244.0 mm at Home Valley (mainland) on the 13th
|Highest wind gust|| 109 km/h at Varanus Island
on the 15th
96 km/h at Broome Airport on the 17th
Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window
|Record highest March daily rainfall|
Highest daily rainfall
in March 2012 (mm)
|Edjudina||75.0||on the 19th||66.8||on the 19th in 1927||104|
|Record highest total March rainfall|
for March 2012 (mm)
|Dampier Downs||341.6||340.3||in 2007||38||92.9|
|Record lowest total March rainfall|
| Total rainfall
for March 2012 (mm)
| Previous driest
|Cape Leeuwin||1.2||1.6||in 1983||116||28.0|
|Cape Naturaliste||0.2||0.6||in 1974||108||22.5|
|Munglinup Melaleuca||0.0||5.4||in 1977||36||27.2|
|Record lowest March daily maximum temperature|
Lowest daily maximum
in March 2012 (°C)
|Port Hedland Airport||24.1||on the 17th||25.8||on the 21st in 1965||64||36.8|
|Wittenoom||22.2||on the 17th||22.6||on the 29th in 1988||59||36.7|
|Roebourne||25.4||on the 17th||25.6||on the 2nd in 1961||54||37.6|
|Record highest March mean daily maximum temperature|
Mean daily maximum
for March 2012 (°C)
|Record lowest March mean daily maximum temperature|
| Mean daily maximum
for March 2012 (°C)
| Previous coolest
|Port Hedland Airport||32.9||33.4||in 2000||63||36.8|
|Summary statistics for March 2012|
|North Kimberley (district 01)|
|Troughton Island||31.3||-0.7||32.7||28th||26.1||-0.3||22.5||29th||518.2||145.3||v high||357%|
|East Kimberley (district 02)|
|Halls Creek Airport||32.6||-2.8||35.5||31st||22.4||-0.4||17.3||26th||137.4||81.5||high||169%|
|Kununurra Aero||33.8||-1.7||36.5||31st||24.0||-0.2||18.9||26th||455.6||157.4||v high||289%|
|West Kimberley (district 03)|
|Curtin Aero||33.6||-2.5||37.9||28th||23.4||-0.8||21.5||27th||497.0||174.3||v high||285%|
|Cygnet Bay||31.8||-1.9||34.8||31st||23.6||-0.9||19.9||23rd||430.4||175.0||v high||246%|
|Derby Aero||33.0||-2.2||36.4||28th||24.3||-0.7||22.7||4th||316.6||135.8||v high||233%|
|Fitzroy Crossing Aero||34.5||-2.0||37.6||31st||23.3||-0.7||20.8||27th||271.6||128.7||high||211%|
|De Grey (district 04)|
|Port Hedland Airport||32.9||-3.9||38.5||29th||23.5||-1.0||18.5||4th||172.2||50.1||v high||344%|
|Fortescue (district 05)|
|Barrow Island Airport||31.8||-1.4||35.5||30th||25.8||-0.7||22.9||17th||30.4||60.4||average||50%|
|West Gascoyne (district 06)|
|Carnarvon Airport||34.3||+2.8||41.5||6th||22.1||0.0||17.9||5th||59.6||16.5||v high||361%|
|Emu Creek Station||37.0||-1.4||41.2||7th||24.0||+0.2||21.1||18th||59.8||40.2||high||149%|
|Shark Bay Airport||35.9||+1.8||41.9||6th||21.7||+0.6||18.4||3rd||8.2||14.6||high||56%|
|East Gascoyne (district 07)|
|Murchison (district 07A)|
|Mount Magnet Aero||31.9||-1.1||39.7||13th||18.7||-1.4||13.3||21st||42.2||35.4||average||119%|
|North Coast (district 08)|
|Geraldton Airport Comparison||33.5||+2.5||42.8||9th||18.4||+0.5||13.8||22nd||0||15.6||lowest||0%|
|Central Coast (district 09)|
|Badgingarra Research Stn||32.3||+0.3||40.1||9th||17.1||+0.7||10.7||31st||0.8||15.8||low||5%|
|Garden Island HSF||28.5||+1.1||37.7||11th||17.6||-0.7||13.5||31st||0.2||12.3||low||2%|
|Gingin Aero||32.0||+1.2||41.2||12th||15.2||0.0||5.9||31st||0||13.8||v low||0%|
|Jandakot Aero||31.3||+1.6||40.2||11th||15.0||-0.4||7.0||31st||0.2||14.9||v low||1%|
|Medina Research Centre||31.1||+1.8||41.1||11th||15.8||-0.1||7.8||31st||0||18.3||v low||0%|
|Pearce RAAF||32.0||+1.5||41.8||12th||15.9||-0.1||6.0||31st||0.6||14.3||v low||4%|
|South Coast (district 09A)|
|Albany Airport Comparison||25.8||+1.7||38.0||5th||13.5||+0.1||6.8||16th||9.6||32.6||v low||29%|
|Busselton Aero||29.0||+1.0||37.1||10th||12.3||-1.1||7.5||26th||0.2||14.8||v low||1%|
|Collie East||29.2||38.4||11th||10.3||4.2||31st||0||12.3||v low||0%|
|Rocky Gully||26.7||+1.4||37.1||5th||12.0||-0.5||5.3||16th||3.4||34.8||v low||10%|
|Windy Harbour||25.3||+1.9||39.4||6th||13.5||0.0||8.6||24th||5.3||30.2||v low||17%|
|North Central (district 10)|
|South Central (district 10A)|
|Katanning Comparison||28.2||+1.3||39.2||10th||12.4||-0.2||7.1||31st||0.8||22.1||v low||4%|
|Lake Grace Comparison||28.4||+0.3||39.2||10th||14.1||0.0||8.8||31st||9.2||22.1||average||42%|
|Newdegate Research Station||28.6||+0.5||39.3||12th||11.7||-1.0||3.8||31st||8.2||20.3||average||40%|
|Eucla (district 11)|
|Red Rocks Point||24.9||38.9||19th||16.6||10.4||4th||17.8|
|South East (district 12)|
|Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport||27.4||-2.1||38.3||12th||15.6||-0.5||9.8||2nd||70.0||24.8||v high||282%|
|Salmon Gums Res.Stn.||27.4||+0.1||39.2||7th||12.2||-0.4||2.7||16th||61.4||24.8||v high||248%|
|Southern Cross Airfield||29.4||-1.3||39.7||12th||14.9||-0.1||9.0||31st||23.2||35.5||average||65%|
|North East (district 13)|
|Giles Meteorological Office||31.5||-2.2||37.4||31st||18.1||-2.4||11.9||3rd||2.4||36.1||low||7%|
|Offshore Islands (district 200)|
|Christmas Island Aero||26.7||-1.5||28.1||1st||22.6||-0.4||21.5||25th||690.0||301.1||v high||229%|
|Cocos Island Airport||30.2||+0.2||31.2||6th||25.2||0.0||23.9||3rd||207.2||230.4||average||90%|
A Monthly Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Western 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 Monday 2 April 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 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
(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.
Records in this summary are based on sites with at least 30 years of data.