Bureau of Meteorology predicts soggy months for NT after two parched wet seasons

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The 2020 dry season – which runs from May to September – saw warmer-than-average days and nights in “virtually all of the Northern Territory,” according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The BOM’s seasonal climate summary for the Northern Territory, released Thursday, also showed that all months of the dry season except September had below-average precipitation totals.

Despite the grim figures in the report, BOM climatologist Greg Browning said this rainy season would be wetter and cooler than the previous two – with an increased risk of rain, floods, cyclones and depressions. tropical.

“This is great news, really,” he said.

What happened in the Dry?

Most of the Northern Territory was between 0.5 ° C and 2 ° C warmer than average during the dry season months, Mr Browning said.

But it was September that turned out to be really unusual, Mr Browning said, with days and nights over 3 ° C above average.

“September has been ridiculously hot,” he said.

“Most of the Northwest Territories recorded daytime and nighttime temperatures in the highest 10 percent of their long-term record.”

All months of the dry season except September experienced below average rainfall for the NT.(Provided: Craig Dawson)

And the dry season was not only hotter than usual, it was also drier than average, the climatologist said.

Mr Browning said rainfall was 49% below the long-term average in the Northern Territory – but, again, September was a little different from other months in the dry season.

Total precipitation for Darwin Airport in September was 86.8 millimeters, or 526% of the long-term average of 16.5 mm.

“Each month was below average [rainfall] except in September, “he said.

“For the first of September since 2016, precipitation in the NT was above average in 2020… Across the territory, precipitation was 16% above the long-term average. “

Darwin’s water reserves “very much in decline”

Mr Browning said after two drier-than-average wet seasons in the Northern Territory, the Northern Territory’s water supplies were low.

A storm can be seen at the Stokes Hill wharf in Darwin.
Precipitation across the NT was very close to the long-term average for the month.(Provided: Instagram / @ aglassofmerlot)

The Darwin River dam, which contains the main source for the town of Darwin, is currently at 54.8%, Mr Browning said.

“At the same time two years ago, in early October 2018, it was at 81%,” he said.

“We normally get up to 100% and the dams overflow towards the end of the rainy season.”

A wetter rainy season ahead: BOM

This week, the BOM said a La Niña was officially underway, signaling that the NT could be in a wet and soggy season.

“Everything related to precipitation increases a bit with La Niña,” Browning explained.

“What we generally see where La Niña thrives is a good chance of above average precipitation… we generally see more cyclones in La Niña years than in non-La Niña years.”

The climatologist said that this year, the BOM expected the first cyclone and the Top End monsoon to arrive a few weeks before its usual arrival.

Lightning cracks over the ocean.  There are boats at sea and red rocks in the foreground.
The last two wet seasons in the Top End have been drier than average, and many Territorians are hoping for a wetter wet season in 2020.(Provided: Instagram/@james.cobain)

“The first cyclone often occurs in early January, the first monsoon is usually around Christmas and New Years,” Browning said.

This year, BOM expects the first cyclone to arrive around Christmas and the first monsoon in mid-December.

And the additional rain and cloud cover will mean this wet season will be cooler than the previous two, Mr Browning added.

“It looks like daytime temperatures will be average at least… the last two wet seasons with these dry conditions have been well above average [temperatures]. “

Mr Browning urged territorials to stockpile their cyclone kits – something that is especially important for people who live in communities that could be isolated in the event of heavy rains.

“Wet seasons can be very wet and you can be cut for days or weeks at a time,” he said.

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