Northern Territory in March 2018: Tropical cyclone Marcus impacts Darwin

Tropical cyclone Marcus made landfall as a category 2 system at Cape Hotham, northeast of Darwin. Marcus is the strongest cyclone to affect Darwin since tropical cyclone Tracy. Rainfall was mixed for March in the Northern Territory. Areas in the southeast were wetter than usual, while parts of the northwest were drier than usual for March.

Tropical cyclone Marcus

  • Tropical cyclone Marcus made landfall as a category 2 system at Cape Hotham (northeast of Darwin) on the 17th
  • Marcus produced destructive winds in and around Darwin, with a maximum recorded wind gust of 126km/h; this is the strongest wind gust associated with a tropical cyclone around Darwin since tropical cyclone Tracy on 25 December, 1974
  • As a result of Marcus, Darwin also recorded its lowest mean sea level pressure since severe tropical cyclone Tracy
  • When Marcus was off the Western Australian coast, it was the most intense tropical cyclone in the Australian region since severe tropical cyclone Monica in 2006

March rainfall mixed across the Territory 

  • Territory-wide rainfall was more than 22% below average; a wetter March than 2017 but drier than 2016
  • March rainfall was varied across the Northern Territory
  • It was a wetter than usual March in the southern parts of the Northern Territory; very wet in the southeast
  • Thunderstorms and showers produced moderate falls in the southeast between the 7th and 9th, associated with a surface trough along the Queensland and Northern Territory border
  • As a result, Lucy Creek and Numery had their highest March daily rainfall on record
  • Numery also had its wettest March in several decades
  • In contrast, it was drier than average in the northwest despite the passage of tropical cyclone Marcus on the 17th
  • Elizabeth Valley had its lowest total March rainfall in more than two decades

Temperatures above average overall

  • The Northern Territory's mean maximum temperature was 1.14 °C warmer than the long-term average but the lowest since 2014
  • Overall, maximum temperatures were warmer in the west of the Northern Territory, mainly due to the lack of rainfall and cloud during the daytime
  • Mean minimum temperature was 0.29 °C warmer than the long-term average; also the lowest since 2014
  • Minimum temperatures were warmer than usual in the southeast owing to persistent overnight cloud cover in the area
  • Cool nights across the Alice Springs district near the end of the month

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 285.0 mm, which is 90% of the long-term average of 316.6 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 32.7 °C, which is 0.8 °C above the long-term average of 31.9 °C. The warmest day was 34.7 °C on the 22nd, and the coolest day was on the 17th when the temperature reached 27.6 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 25.3 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 24.6 °C. The coldest morning was 22.1 °C on the 25th, and the warmest morning was on the 27th when the minimum temperature was 28.4 °C

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 38.8 mm, which is 126% of the long-term average of 30.8 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 33.1 °C, which is 0.3 °C above the long-term average of 32.8 °C. The warmest day was 39.0 °C on the 3rd, and the coolest day was on the 9th when the temperature reached 22.0 °C 
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 17.2 °C, which is 0.3 °C below the long-term average of 17.5 °C. The coldest morning was 9.8 °C on the 27th, and the warmest morning was on the 4th when the minimum temperature was 22.4 °C

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in March 2018
Hottest day 42.5 °C at Walungurru Airport on the 3rd
Warmest days on average 38.4 °C at Rabbit Flat
Coolest days on average 31.0 °C at Ngayawili
Coldest day 21.2 °C at Arltunga on the 8th
Coldest night 8.9 °C at Arltunga on the 27th
Coolest nights on average 17.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 26.3 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 29.1 °C at Cape Wessel on the 8th
Warmest on average overall 31.7 °C at Walungurru Airport
Coolest on average overall 25.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 481.1 mm at Alcan Minesite
Wettest day 170.0 mm at Maningrida Airport on the 6th
Strongest wind gust 126 km/h at Darwin Airport on the 17th

Maps

Observed Anomaly Decile 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 March daily rainfall

New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Lucy Creek 75.0 on the 9th 67.0 on the 1st in 2001 32
Numery 58.0 on the 9th 50.0 on the 17th in 1975 30



Highest March total rainfall for at least 20 years

Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Numery 120.0 157.3 in 1983* 19.2

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




Lowest March total rainfall for at least 20 years

Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
March
Elizabeth Valley 155.2 104.4 in 1992* 298.2

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




Summary statistics for March 2018

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2018
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2018
Mean for
March
2018
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2018
Total for
March
2018
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2018
Fraction of
March
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 33.7 +0.7 35.8 7th 23.6 +0.1 22.6 6th 123.8 238.3 average 52%
Bradshaw 36.9 +1.2 39.1 26th 24.2 -0.1 20.6 16th 7.6 121.8 low 6%
Central Arnhem Plateau 32.6 +0.5 35.3 27th 22.9 -0.1 21.1 6th 233.0 226.6 average 103%
Channel Point 32.6 +0.7 34.0 27th 25.0 +0.3 21.4 18th 227.8 344.4 average 66%
Charles Point 32.2   34.2 15th 25.3   22.6 28th 354.0


Croker Island Airport 31.5   32.9 11th 25.7   23.0 27th 353.2


Darwin Airport 32.7 +0.8 34.7 22nd 25.3 +0.7 22.1 25th 285.0 316.6 average 90%
Delamere Weapons Range 35.3 +0.9 37.8 26th 22.9 -0.4 19.6 15th 57.2 152.4 low 38%
Douglas River Research Farm 35.0 +1.1 37.3 31st 23.2 0.0 20.5 16th 66.4 226.0 v low 29%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.8 +1.0 34.6 15th 25.5 +0.2 22.1 28th 148.8 301.9 v low 49%
Jabiru Airport 34.8 +1.1 37.1 7th 24.5 +0.1 20.7 28th 383.2 313.1 high 122%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 34.6   36.7 31st 24.1   22.3 21st 238.6


McCluer Island 31.6 +0.6 33.6 6th 26.3 +0.3 23.2 24th 273.0 217.7 average 125%
Middle Point 34.4 +0.7 36.8 25th 24.2 +0.2 22.0 25th 198.2 248.9 average 80%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 34.1   36.5 27th 24.0   22.2 6th 131.4


Mount Bundey South (Defence) 34.9   37.5 27th 23.7   22.2 25th 166.2


Murganella Airstrip 33.5   35.8 11th 23.8   22.6 18th 70.0


Noonamah Airstrip 34.4   36.5 31st 24.2   22.3 25th 219.6


Oenpelli Airport 33.9   35.8 7th 24.7   22.4 11th 245.2


Pirlangimpi Airport 32.7 +0.6 34.5 7th 24.5 +0.4 20.7 28th 264.6 355.7 low 74%
Point Fawcett 32.2 +0.4 33.2 11th 25.1 +0.1 22.7 21st 287.4 245.0 average 117%
Point Stuart 32.5   34.5 7th 25.4   23.3 21st 216.4 227.9 average 95%
Port Keats Airport 33.9 +0.5 36.6 27th 24.3 +0.1 20.8 16th 146.2 206.5 average 71%
Tindal RAAF 35.5 +1.2 37.8 26th 23.1 0.0 18.5 15th 32.2 162.3 low 20%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.2   34.0 9th 25.9   23.7 16th 453.8 217.9 v high 208%
Gove Airport 31.7 +0.4 35.2 7th 24.4 +0.4 23.0 31st 444.0 278.8 high 159%
Groote Eylandt Airport 33.1 +0.5 35.2 3rd 24.6 +0.7 22.3 15th 264.4 294.8 average 90%
Maningrida Airport 32.4 +0.3 36.9 7th 24.4 -0.2 22.1 9th 471.8 306.8 high 154%
Milingimbi Airport 32.8 +0.5 36.9 7th 25.0 +0.1 23.0 28th 378.4 276.2 high 137%
Ngayawili 31.0 -0.6 33.2 7th 25.5 +0.5 23.5 9th 311.2 269.1 average 116%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 35.2 +1.3 38.0 31st 23.5 +0.1 20.2 15th 50.6 157.6 average 32%
Bulman 34.4 -0.1 36.7 9th 23.5 +0.2 21.6 25th 140.8 242.5 average 58%
Daly Waters Airstrip 35.5 +0.8 37.5 31st 22.1 -0.4 18.2 15th 143.0 112.1 average 128%
McArthur River Mine Airport 35.7 +0.6 39.5 31st 24.4 +0.9 20.8 15th 37.6 144.9 low 26%
Ngukurr Airport 35.5   38.0 31st 24.0   21.0 15th 111.0


Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw (Angallari Valley) (Defence) 37.0   39.5 27th 24.2   20.5 15th 49.4


Lajamanu Airport 38.1 +3.1 40.8 3rd 22.9 +0.7 17.9 16th 8.6 80.1 low 11%
Victoria River Downs 37.0 +1.8 39.2 26th 22.8 -0.4 18.8 28th 18.6 109.3 low 17%
Wave Hill 37.0 +1.6 39.8 31st 22.5 +0.3 18.4 14th 13.9 119.5 low 12%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 37.5 +2.3 41.0 1st 21.8 -0.6 18.0 4th 49.2 56.3 average 87%
Elliott 36.4 +0.7 39.9 26th 23.0 +0.6 18.7 15th 15.3 82.3 low 19%
Tennant Creek Airport 35.4 +0.9 40.5 3rd 24.0 +0.7 20.9 13th 75.0 53.6 high 140%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 33.3 +0.5 39.0 3rd 17.2 -0.3 9.8 27th 38.8 30.9 high 126%
Arltunga 31.8 -0.4 37.7 3rd 19.1 +0.4 8.9 27th 62.0 38.6 high 161%
Curtin Springs 35.4 +1.5 40.2 17th 19.0 +0.4 14.2 27th 13.0 27.9 average 47%
Jervois 34.8 +0.1 41.5 1st 21.4 +2.0 15.5 15th 97.4 32.9 high 296%
Rabbit Flat 38.4 +2.0 41.8 3rd 22.0 +0.3 15.3 28th 35.2 66.7 average 53%
Territory Grape Farm 35.5 +0.9 40.6 1st 19.5 -0.1 13.8 16th 16.4 21.3 average 77%
Walungurru Airport 38.2 +1.7 42.5 3rd 25.1 +0.9 20.7 10th 14.0 44.4 average 32%
Yulara Airport 35.8 +1.3 40.4 17th 18.8 -0.5 13.1 16th 1.4 32.6 average 4%

Notes

The Monthly 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 9 am on Tuesday 3 April 2018. 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