Weather News

Hottest and driest in decades for parts of tropical NT and WA

Jess Miskelly, Sunday February 16, 2020 - 14:09 AEDT

In the northern capital of Darwin, it’s averaging a whopping (for the ever warm tropics) 2-3 degrees above average this February and rainfall to date this wet season is amongst the lowest on record with records back to 1941.  

Elsewhere over the Top End most places have been well above average so far for February.   Centre Island just experienced an overnight temperature of 31.6 degrees to 9am Saturday, it’s highest February minimum on record (records back to 1949) and the preceding day of 39 degrees is the hottest February day since 2002.  Groote Eylandt, well to the east, has also seen extreme temperatures over the last few days, staying above 29 degrees at night and 39 degrees during the day with humidity as high as 80%. 

Further inland, the mercury is topping out over 40 degrees.  Alice Springs has had a run of four days over 40 degrees (today could make it five), bringing the total number of greater than 40 degree days for the summer to 39, second only to last summer, which had 43.    

Territorians are used to heat and humidity but even a small increase above average on an already hot background can be hard to take and the cooling interludes of monsoon storms have been more absent than normal this summer.  

The monsoon finally broke over the NT and WA in the last month but it’s still lagging behind previous years.      

Since October 1, 2019, around 613 mm has been recorded at Darwin Airport, compared to 843 mm to the same time last year and 1760 the year before that in the 2017/2018 wet season.

 The rainfall deficits are widespread with the food bowl of Kununurra over in WA recording 431 mm so far this wet season, just over half the long term average, while Nhulunbuy has clocked up only 185 mm,  less than 20% of the long term average of over 1 metre.

There’s still around two months of the Wet to go and increased showers and storms are forecast for the Top End this coming week to help bump the rain totals up and the temperatures down. 

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2020

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