Northern Territory in October to April 2013-14: high rainfall for central NT

Summary

Most Top End locations ended the season near the long-term average, having seen some very wet and some very dry periods throughout the season. The Roper-Mcarthur, Barkly and Victoria River Downs rainfall districts ended the season with very much above average rainfall totals.

A typical buildup period was followed by one of the earliest monsoon onsets on record at Darwin. The last week of November saw an active monsoon trough over the Top End and included the impact of tropical cyclone Alessia. Early January saw high temperatures and a few January temperature records set across the Top End. Around 13 January another active monsoon period began which lasted nearly five weeks and included ex-tropical cyclone Fletcher and two other tropical lows which moved across the Territory. March was quite dry across the Top End. The wet season ended with a series of small rainfall events that continued until the end of April.

  • Early monsoon onset in November
  • Active monsoon in January and February
  • Low rainfall in March
  • One tropical cyclones make landfall on NT
    • tropical cyclone Alessia
      • 24 November 2013

Seasonal detail

October heralds the beginning of the wet season across northern Australia, however, rain gauges across most of the NT were left empty. Areas across the southern Darwin - Daly, Roper McArthur and Barkly received below average rainfall for the month while Victoria River and eastern Alice Springs Districts were very much below average.

Throughout October, rain fell over Darwin Airport on 10 days, 3 more rain days that the average, yet it only manage to received 14.6 mm of rain which is well below the monthly average of 71.0 mm. In the south, Uluru just managed 0.4 mm of rain (average is 26.7 mm) and Alice Springs 0.6 (average is 21.7 mm). Only the Tiwi Islands, Darwin's northern suburbs, and the far southeastern corner of the Arnhem Land managed to get above average rainfall for the month.

On the 4 and 5 November an outbreak of thunderstorms over the western Top End set a number of November daily rainfall records. Darwin Airport received 104.8 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on the 5th. Palmerston set a new November record with 78.2 mm. The highest falls on the day was 156.8 mm at Darwin Botanic Gardens, also a new November record for this site.

On 20 November a tropical low pressure system formed within a tropical trough over the eastern Indian Ocean south of Java. The low moved east and intensified reaching tropical cyclone strength on the 22nd off the northwest shelf and was named tropical cyclone Alessia. The storm skirted the Kimberley coastline and then made landfall on the western Top End near the mouth of the Daly River at around 18:30 local time on the 24th. After making landfall, Alessia weakened to a tropical low and moved across the Top End producing large rainfall across the region. Ex-tropical cyclone Alessia moved into the Gulf of Carpentaria on the 26th. The warm waters of the Gulf provided energy for Alessia to intensify again to a tropical cyclone near Centre Island on the 27th. Tropical Cyclone Alessia made landfall again about 70 km west of the NT/QLD border, and remained in the region as a tropical low until the end November.

December began with the Top End under monsoon break conditions with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Toward the end of the month the monsoon reformed off the north coast and moved south over the continent on the 25th and the 26th. However, the northwest coast was the only region that saw much rainfall from this monsoon event and rainfall totals were relatively small.

January started with very much above average temperatures at Darwin Airport. On the 6th Darwin set a new January daily maximum temperature record when the mercury rose to 36.0 °C only to break this record again on the next day with 36.1 °C. (The previous hottest January day was 35.6 °C on 4 January 1985). The high temperature on the 7th was measured coincident with nearly 70% relative humidity. A few days later a monsoon trough began to organise to the north of Darwin and the high temperatures were replaced by thick cloud and continual rainfall. On the 14 January, the temperature at Darwin Airport stayed around 25 °C for most of the day (but rose to 28 °C briefly overnight, which was recorded as the maximum temperature for the day), a stark contrast to the record high temperatures experienced only one week earlier.

This active and prolonged monsoonal period set in around the 10th of January at Darwin and across the rest of the Top End shortly afterward. On 10 January a low pressure system formed within the monsoon trough off the northeast coast of the Top End and moved west causing monsoonal showers and squally storms along the north coast. The centre of the low moved over land near the Coburg Peninsula on the 14th and then moved across the western Top End on the 14th and 15th. The low continued inland along the NT/WA boarder producing heavy rainfall over the Victoria River District and northern Alice Springs District. The monsoon produced continual, and at times heavy, rainfall over the Top End for most of January and February. Over the course of almost five weeks three tropical low pressure systems moved across the Territory include ex-tropical cyclone Fletcher which moved over the Barkly region. The monsoon activity waned toward the end of February.

In contrast to the the previous two months, March 2014 was among the driest on record. Many locations in the Alice Springs District did not measure any rainfall in March. Several sites, including Adelaide River, Palmerston (Yarrawonga) and Yulara had their lowest total March rainfall on record. Darwin Airport, with only 92.2 mm for the month, had its driest March in 36 years and the second driest March on record.

There were two noteworthy rainfall events in the Northern Territory in April. The first occurred from 7 to 10 April when a northwest cloudband event pulled moist tropical air across the southwest edge of the Territory. Generally across the western Alice Springs District and southern Victoria River District, April was the wettest in 14 years. Another noteworthy rainfall event occurred over the Gulf of Carpentaria and eastern Arnhem land from 23 to 25 April when a small tropical trough developed over the region. Most of the convection stayed over the ocean, but several locations along the Top End's east coast set new April rainfall records from the event.

Most Top End locations ended the season near the long-term average, having seen some very wet and some very dry periods throughout the season.

The Roper-Mcarthur, Barkly and Victoria River Downs rainfall districts ended the season with very much above average rainfall totals, most of which came from the transit of three low pressure systems during the season. However no new total rainfall records were set for the season.

The western Alice Springs district, including the Tanami Desert region, experienced above average rainfall while the eastern Alice Springs district saw less rainfall than usual for the period.

Further information

Media
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Enquiries

Extremes in October to April 2013-14
Hottest day 46.4 °C at Jervois on 2 Jan 2014
Warmest days on average 37.1 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 31.4 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 16.9 °C at Alice Springs Airport on 30 Apr 2014
Coldest night 4.7 °C at Arltunga on 5 Oct 2013
Coolest nights on average 18.1 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 26.7 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 32.4 °C at Jervois on 3 Jan 2014
Warmest on average overall 30.9 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest on average overall 25.5 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 2350.9 mm at Thorak Cemetery
Driest overall 78.4 mm at Jervois
Wettest day 262.0 mm at Walker Creek on 18 Feb 2014
Highest wind gust 109 km/h at Centre Island on 27 Nov 2013

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Rainfall Anomaly Map of Rainfall Decile

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

Month by month
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank
October 2012: A dry start to the wet
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
November 2013: Early monsoon onset
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
December 2013: A return to normal temperatures
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
January 2014: A hot start to an overall cool, wet month
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
February 2014: Cool with above-average rainfall
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
March 2014: A taste of the dry season in the north
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
April 2014: Rainfall in the Alice
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank

Record highest October to April daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in October to April 2013-14 (mm)
Previous wettest
for October to April
Years of
record
McArthur River Mine Airport 200.4 on 28 Nov 2013 197.6 on 15 Feb 1974 46
Douglas River 212.0 on 1 Feb 2014 206.4 on 5 Feb 1980 45
Walker Creek 262.0 on 18 Feb 2014 197.4 on 4 Mar 2013 22




Record highest October to April temperature
Highest temperature
in October to April 2013-14 (°C)
Previous warmest
for October to April
Years of
record
Average for
October to April
Brunette Downs 45.6 on 2 Jan 2014 45.5 on 2 Dec 2007 52 36.4
Tennant Creek Airport 45.6 on 3 Jan 2014 45.4 on 2 Dec 2007 45 35.2
Mango Farm 41.5 on 9 Oct 2013 = 41.5 on 4 Oct 2003 34 34.8
Pirlangimpi Airport 37.7 on 10 Oct 2013 = 37.7 on 22 Oct 2008 34 32.5
Ali Curung 46.1 on 2 Jan 2014 46.0 on 2 Dec 2007 24 36.0


Record highest October to April daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in October to April 2013-14 (°C)
Previous warmest
for October to April
Years of
record
Average for
October to April
Brunette Downs 31.5 on 4 Jan 2014 31.2 on 3 Dec 2007 52 22.7



Summary statistics for October to April 2013-14
Maximum temperatures
for October
to April
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for October
to April
(°C)
Rainfall
for October
to April
(millimetres)
Mean for
October
to April
2013-14
Diff
from
average
Highest for
October
to April
2013-14
Mean for
October
to April
2013-14
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
October
to April
2013-14
Total for
October
to April
2013-14
Average
for
October
to April
Rank of
October
to April
2013-14
Fraction of
October
to April
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 33.9 -0.2 39.1 1 Nov 2013 23.4 0.0 15.5 28 Mar 2014 1581.6 1557.1 average 102%
Bradshaw 37.1 +0.7 42.5 9 Oct 2013 24.6 +0.1 17.2 28 Mar 2014 1313.2 962.6 high 136%
Cape Don 33.4   37.7 12 Dec 2013 26.5   22.9 6 Nov 2013 1369.0 1235.3 average 111%
Central Arnhem Plateau 33.7   39.4 26 Oct 2013 22.8   16.8 27 Mar 2014 345.6
Croker Island Airport 32.5   36.4 5 Oct 2013 25.6   21.5 21 Feb 2014 1003.0
Darwin Airport 32.6 +0.2 36.6 10 Oct 2013 24.8 0.0 20.5 26 Oct 2013 1877.0 1685.4 high 111%
Darwin NTC AWS 32.0   35.5 6 Jan 2014 25.9   19.9 2 Nov 2013
Douglas River 35.5 +0.5 41.2 9 Oct 2013 23.3 +0.3 12.9 28 Mar 2014 1375.6 1274.0 average 108%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.2 0.0 35.1 16 Oct 2013 25.4 -0.1 20.0 28 Mar 2014 1950.2 1745.2 average 112%
Gunn Point 32.5   37.0 10 Oct 2013 23.9   16.9 28 Mar 2014 1982.6
Jabiru Airport 35.4 +0.5 41.2 1 Nov 2013 24.7 +0.3 19.5 27 Mar 2014 1790.4 1530.9 high 117%
Katherine Country Club 36.3   41.5 9 Oct 2013 23.9   14.9 28 Mar 2014 1069.8
Mango Farm 35.3 +0.5 41.5 9 Oct 2013 23.0 -0.2 14.5 28 Mar 2014 1788.5 1388.2 v high 129%
McCluer Island 31.4   33.5 3 Jan 2014 26.7   22.8 8 Mar 2014 996.0 1122.0 low 89%
Middle Point 34.7 +0.1 40.5 1 Nov 2013 23.5 0.0 16.4 28 Mar 2014 1306.0 1374.0 average 95%
Murganella Airstrip 33.3   37.8 9 Oct 2013 23.7   18.1 5 Oct 2013 1331.2
Noonamah Airstrip 34.2   38.9 7 Jan 2014 24.1   18.0 28 Mar 2014 2116.0
Oenpelli Airport 34.9   40.4 1 Nov 2013 24.4   19.8 1 Oct 2013 1370.0
Pirlangimpi Airport 33.3 +0.8 37.7 10 Oct 2013 24.2 +0.3 21.4 21 Feb 2014 2265.6 1946.2 high 116%
Point Fawcett 32.4 +0.2 36.3 26 Oct 2013 24.8 -0.1 20.4 2 Oct 2013
Point Stuart 33.1   36.2 10 Oct 2013 24.9   20.7 27 Mar 2014 1259.0
Port Keats Airport 33.4 -0.2 38.9 8 Jan 2014 24.3 -0.1 18.2 28 Mar 2014 2123.4 1184.9 highest 179%
Tindal RAAF 36.1 +1.0 41.1 26 Oct 2013 23.7 0.0 14.5 27 Mar 2014 803.4 1053.4 low 76%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.3   35.5 4 Jan 2014 25.8   22.4 9 Mar 2014 1486.8 1040.1 high 143%
Gove Airport 31.9 0.0 35.6 4 Jan 2014 23.5 -0.2 17.5 5 Oct 2013 1490.8 1306.5 high 114%
Maningrida Airport 32.7   36.5 6 Jan 2014 24.4   20.6 5 Oct 2013 1191.6
Milingimbi Airport 32.8 0.0 36.8 4 Jan 2014 24.7 -0.2 19.9 5 Oct 2013 1416.4 1022.2 high 139%
Ngayawili 32.1 0.0 36.0 7 Dec 2013 24.5 -0.1 18.7 5 Oct 2013 1195.8 1463.6 average 82%
North East Island 32.6   35.9 14 Dec 2013 26.1   21.6 27 Oct 2013 1122.0 828.6 high 135%
Warruwi Airport 32.5 +0.2 36.0 9 Oct 2013 25.8 +0.2 22.9 1 Feb 2014 1135.4 1128.6 average 101%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 35.4 +0.4 42.3 3 Jan 2014 23.2 -0.2 15.6 5 Oct 2013 896.0 936.5 average 96%
Centre Island 33.6 +0.2 38.3 6 Jan 2014 26.2 -0.1 23.0 27 Nov 2013 1770.8 1064.2 v high 166%
Daly Waters Airstrip 36.2 +0.3 41.6 17 Nov 2013 22.5 -0.2 11.4 27 Mar 2014 881.6 654.5 high 135%
McArthur River Mine Airport 36.4 -0.1 43.0 2 Jan 2014 24.2 +0.8 15.9 5 Oct 2013 1031.0 759.7 high 136%
Ngukurr Airport 36.5   42.9 2 Jan 2014 24.3   15.6 27 Mar 2014 942.8
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 36.4 0.0 44.5 3 Jan 2014 22.3 +0.1 12.1 5 Oct 2013 778.2 490.1 high 159%
Timber Creek 36.8 +0.3 42.5 9 Oct 2013 23.8 -0.3 14.6 6 Oct 2013 1419.9 970.0 v high 146%
Victoria River Downs 36.6 +0.2 42.4 22 Oct 2013 23.5 0.0 13.7 28 Mar 2014 743.0 641.8 high 116%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs     45.6 2 Jan 2014 23.4 +0.7 15.1 8 Oct 2013 577.8 394.2 high 147%
Tennant Creek Airport 35.4 +0.2 45.6 3 Jan 2014 23.5 +0.2 15.6 22 Apr 2014 464.2 442.1 average 105%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 33.7 +0.5 44.9 2 Jan 2014 18.1 +0.2 6.0 4 Oct 2013 200.6 218.0 average 92%
Arltunga 32.9 0.0 43.6 2 Jan 2014 18.2 -0.2 4.7 5 Oct 2013 160.2 238.4 average 67%
Curtin Springs 34.7 +0.5 43.2 1 Jan 2014 19.0 +0.6 9.0 15 Oct 2013 143.9 171.3 average 84%
Kulgera 33.2 +0.2 44.1 30 Jan 2014 19.1 +0.7 9.1 4 Oct 2013 127.2 193.2 average 66%
Rabbit Flat 36.5 -0.7 44.9 3 Jan 2014 21.1 -0.4 8.6 5 Oct 2013 688.4 454.4 high 151%
Territory Grape Farm 34.9 +0.3 43.7 2 Jan 2014 19.5 +0.4 8.2 4 Oct 2013 331.6 243.9 high 136%
Walungurru Airport 36.1 -0.9 43.1 29 Dec 2013 22.9 -0.7 14.9 9 Apr 2014 479.6 235.9 highest 203%
Yulara Airport 34.9 +0.3 44.4 1 Jan 2014     9.1 5 Oct 2013 238.8 221.5 average 108%

Notes

A Seasonal Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Northern Territory 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 11 am on Thursday 1 May 2014. 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 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