Northern Territory in May to September 2019: Warmer than average dry season; little rainfall in the south

Daytime and nighttime temperatures were above average during the dry season of 2019, although overall the departures from average were less than one degree celsius. Rainfall was about half of the long-term average for the Northern Territory during the 5-month period. While the Top End had above average rainfall, it was mostly well below average across southern parts of the NT.

Days and nights a bit warmer than average

  • Most of the Northern Territory had warmer than usual daytime temperatures, apart from parts of the Top End, a small region in the central NT and an area in the far southeast. Territory-wide, the mean daily maximum temperature was 0.77 °C above the long-term average
  • Most of the Top End and the southern third of the NT had below average nighttime temperatures; in between there was a region which had overnight temperatures generally between 1 and 1.5 °C above average
  • Overall, the mean daily minimum temperature was 0.21 °C above the long-term average. The mean (combined maximum and minimum) temperature was 0.49 °C above average
  • No temperature records were set in the NT for the 2019 dry season

Below average rainfall south of the Top End

  • Apart from a few isolated regions, rainfall was generally 10 to 50 mm below average south of the Top End
  • Significant rain in the south was confined to 2 rainfall events: one around the middle of May and another in the last week of September. There was virtually no rainfall anywhere in the NT between June and August 2019
  • The Top End saw most of its rainfall in early May due to an out-of-season tropical trough which formed off the north coast. As a result, Borroloola Airport had its highest May to September daily rainfall on record
  • For the May to September period, total rainfall across the Northern Territory was 46% below the long-term average

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 31.4 mm, which is 71% of the long-term average of 44.2 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 31.9 °C, which is 0.4 °C above the long-term average of 31.5 °C. The warmest day was 36.3 °C on 9 Sep, and the coolest day was on 4 Jun when the temperature reached 26.2 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 20.2 °C, which is 0.7 °C below the long-term average of 20.9 °C. The coldest morning was 12.7 °C on 25 Jun, and the warmest morning was on 5 May when the minimum temperature was 25.6 °C
  • Darwin Airport had 71 nights where the temperature fell below 20 °C; well above the average of 51 (records commenced in 1941). This is the highest number since 2014 when there were 75 such nights

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 49.2 mm, which is 77% of the long-term average of 63.6 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 23.4 °C, which is 0.8 °C above the long-term average of 22.6 °C. The warmest day was 35.4 °C on the 30 Sep, and the coolest day was on 24 Sep when the temperature reached 13.6 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 5.8 °C, which is 0.9 °C below the long-term average of 6.7 °C. The coldest morning was -3.2 °C on the 22 Jun, and the warmest morning was on 20 Sep when the minimum temperature was 22.0 °C
  • Alice Springs Airport had 8 days when the temperature fell below 0 °C: the long-term average for the 5-month period is 13

Tropical cyclone Lili

  • A late season tropical trough, which developed north of the Top End in early May, led to the development of tropical cyclone Lili which briefly entered Australia's northern region, to the northwest of Darwin, as a category 1 storm. The tropical cyclone did not pass over any point on the Northern Territory coast

Further information

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Extremes in May to September 2019
Hottest day 40.2 °C at Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) on 30 Sep
Warmest days on average 33.9 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 22.5 °C at Arltunga
Coldest day 13.0 °C at Territory Grape Farm on 24 Sep
Coldest night -3.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport on 22 Jun
Coolest nights on average 4.6 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 23.8 °C at Cape Wessel
Warmest night 27.0 °C at Cape Wessel on 4 May
Warmest on average overall 27.0 °C at Cape Wessel
Coolest on average overall 14.6 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 204.4 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day 69.8 mm at Larrimah on 4 May
Strongest wind gust 83 km/h at Alice Springs Airport on 20 Sep

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 May to September daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Borroloola Airport 42.0 on 4 May 26.2 on 10 May 2016 25



Summary statistics for May to September 2019
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
to September
2019
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
to September
2019
Mean for
May
to September
2019
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
to September
2019
Total for
May
to September
2019
Average
for
May
to September
Rank of
May
to September
2019
Fraction of
May
to September
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 32.9 -0.3 38.3 30 Sep 17.3 -0.7 8.7 25 Jun 83.4 39.7 high 210%
Black Point 30.5 -0.2 32.9 8 Sep 21.7 -0.4 16.9 30 Aug 42.8 45.1 high 95%
Central Arnhem Plateau 30.2 -0.3 36.9 30 Sep 16.5 -0.8 8.1 26 Jun 11.0 18.8 average 59%
Charles Point 29.7   34.8 22 May 21.1   15.2 25 Jun 45.2
Croker Island Airport 30.3   32.9 15 May 21.6   16.4 24 Jun 39.0
Darwin Airport 31.9 +0.4 36.3 9 Sep 20.2 -0.7 12.7 25 Jun 31.4 44.2 average 71%
Delamere Weapons Range 31.8 +0.2 38.4 30 Sep 17.3 +0.3 10.9 5 Jul 5.2 10.6 average 49%
Douglas River Research Farm 33.7 +0.3 39.4 27 Sep 14.4 -0.8 4.7 25 Jun 9.8 20.9 average 47%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 31.3 +0.1 34.7 21 May 19.1 -1.2 11.1 26 Jun 64.2 45.4 high 141%
Jabiru Airport 33.4 -0.1 39.4 30 Sep 19.9 -0.3 10.3 24 Jun 63.8 35.4 high 180%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 33.7   39.6 30 Sep 18.6   9.1 25 Jun 64.6
McCluer Island 27.7 -0.7 31.6 1 May 23.6 -0.5 20.3 6 Jun 61.4 65.2 average 94%
Middle Point 33.8 -0.1 39.3 29 Sep 15.3 -1.3 4.8 25 Jun 21.0 38.7 average 54%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 33.3   38.7 30 Sep 19.6   13.4 25 Jun 21.4
Mount Bundey South (Defence) 33.6   38.6 30 Sep 17.2   6.1 25 Jun 25.6
Murganella Airstrip 31.2   34.4 15 May 16.7   7.4 30 Aug 39.8
Noonamah Airstrip 33.7   38.8 30 Sep 17.3   6.5 25 Jun 5.8
Oenpelli Airport 33.7   38.1 30 Sep 18.5   9.7 26 Jun 86.2
Pirlangimpi Airport 31.6 -0.6 34.4 19 Sep 19.8 -0.1 12.8 25 Jun 51.0 62.8 average 81%
Point Fawcett 31.1 +0.1 34.7 25 Sep 18.1 -1.5 9.9 25 Jun 54.2 53.8 average 101%
Point Stuart 31.6   35.8 9 Sep 18.3   10.6 26 Jun 29.8 35.6 average 84%
Port Keats Airport 32.0 -0.2 37.3 9 Sep 18.1 -0.2 10.5 15 Aug 17.8 31.5 average 57%
Tindal RAAF 32.7 +0.5 38.6 30 Sep 14.6 -1.4 4.0 26 Jun 1.0 14.7 average 7%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 30.3   33.0 30 Sep 23.8   21.2 13 Jul 204.4 164.6 average 124%
Gove Airport 28.8 -0.3 31.7 29 Sep 20.6 0.0 13.5 30 Aug 164.2 151.3 average 109%
Groote Eylandt Airport 29.5 -0.8 33.6 20 Sep 16.7 -0.3 7.7 30 Aug 35.6 49.6 average 72%
Maningrida Airport 31.0 -0.4 34.9 9 Sep 18.7 -1.0 12.0 25 Jun 61.4 38.1 average 161%
Milingimbi Airport 31.7 +0.5 35.2 9 Sep 19.6 -0.9 12.1 30 Aug 13.8 44.0 low 31%
Ngayawili 30.0 -0.6 33.4 28 Sep 20.1 -0.4 13.3 24 Jun 75.8 43.5 average 174%
Warruwi Airport 29.5 -0.3 33.0 15 May 22.2 -0.4 17.3 31 Aug 61.2 22.5 v high 272%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Centre Island 27.9 -0.3 36.0 29 Sep 20.3 -0.2 15.9 24 Jun 11.6 21.2 average 55%
Daly Waters Airstrip 31.6 +0.5 39.6 30 Sep 13.6 -0.5 5.3 30 Aug 7.4 13.4 average 55%
McArthur River Mine Airport 32.1 +0.1 39.4 29 Sep 14.9 +0.3 6.1 14 Aug 4.0 15.8 average 25%
Ngukurr Airport 32.3   38.7 30 Sep 15.8   5.6 24 Jun 6.0
Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw 33.9 +0.1 39.8 30 Sep 18.0 +0.3 9.4 5 Jul 3.6 19.4 average 19%
Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) 33.6   40.2 30 Sep 19.3   10.3 5 Jul 8.8
Lajamanu Airport 30.4 +0.8 39.1 30 Sep 13.7 +1.7 5.8 5 Jul 4.0 20.6 average 19%
Victoria River Downs 32.3 +0.6 39.6 30 Sep 14.4 +0.4 5.2 24 Jun 3.2 16.4 average 20%
Wave Hill     37.5 21 Sep 14.8 +1.2 4.9 5 Jul 2.7 31.2 average 9%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 30.3 -0.6 39.4 30 Sep 15.1 +1.0 7.3 24 Jun 3.0 21.1 average 14%
Tennant Creek Airport 27.5 +0.2 37.8 30 Sep 15.2 +0.3 8.1 22 Jun 10.8 28.8 average 38%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 23.4 +0.8 35.4 30 Sep 5.8 -0.9 -3.2 22 Jun 49.2 63.6 average 77%
Arltunga 22.5 -0.2 34.8 20 Sep 4.6 -1.6 -3.0 14 Aug 35.2 57.7 average 61%
Curtin Springs 24.2 +1.1 36.6 30 Sep 6.6 0.0 -1.0 21 Jun 30.5 61.5 average 50%
Jervois 24.5 -0.3 37.1 20 Sep 7.3 -0.8 0.4 20 Jul 7.2 58.4 low 12%
Rabbit Flat 29.4 +0.4 39.2 30 Sep 9.7 -0.1 1.1 2 Jun 21.4 30.7 average 70%
Territory Grape Farm 25.3 -0.1 35.7 30 Sep 7.6 -0.4 -1.9 22 Jun 38.6 50.6 average 76%
Walungurru Airport 27.2 +0.7 38.6 29 Sep 13.4 +0.3 6.9 7 Jun 10.0 51.7 average 19%
Yulara Airport 24.8 +1.2 37.2 30 Sep 6.4 -0.8 -1.5 21 Jun 9.6 59.9 low 16%

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists 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. 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 12 pm on Tuesday 1 October 2019. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

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