Darwin's Missing Monsoon
Darwin is experiencing one of its hottest and driest February’s on record, but how did it miss out on all of Queensland's rain?
In the 24 hours to 9am Sunday, Darwin had recorded 84mm of rain in the gauge. While this may seem a respectable total, it is 291mm shy of its February average rainfall, with data back to 1941. This could puts it in contention to beat the previous driest February in 1959, which only saw 103mm.
Thanks to this lack of rain and cloud, Darwin is also likely to see its hottest February on record for minimums and overall when combined with the maximum temperatures. This month, nights have been averaging a sultry 26.4 degrees with days reaching tops of 33.0 degrees.
The final days of this month will be a reflection of what has already occured in February, with nights expected to stay around 25-26 degrees and days reaching 33-34 degrees. However, storms are possible each day, possibly bringing around 5mm per day before becoming more likely during the start of March.
This unusually hot and dry month in the middle of Darwin’s wet season has occured due to the lack of a monsoon trough affecting the Top End. At the start of the month, the monsoon was affecting Australia, but all of the moisture was focussed over Queensland, producing the widespread and devastating flooding over the north. Since that event, the monsoon has retreated north and Australia has moved into a drier phase of summer.
This dry phase will likely continue during this week, meaning the only good chance of rainfall is from thunderstorms, making rainfall more sparse and more likely further inland where storms usually form. More frequent storms and showers should return next week over the Top End as Australia moves into a more neutral phase of rainfall.