Saturday 29 MAY 2004

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2004

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Widespread cold sets records in NT, northern WA
Late season depression brings heavy rain to WA Kimberley

Minimum temperature departures from normal today (above). Only the far north of the continent is above average, with the coldest temperatures relative to normal in SE QLD and central SA.
Actual minimum temperatures (below). Frost level temperatures (below about 3° and shaded grey or pink) stretch across 6 states, an unusually broad area to receive frost on the one morning. BoM
The maximum temperature departure from normal map (below) is even more remarkable, with only the tip of Cape York Peninsula and the far south of WA recording temperatures just above normal. A huge area of northern WA and the NT experienced daytime temperatures 10 to 16° below average. BoM

Widespread cold sets records in NT, northern WA

Over 90% of the continent experienced below average minimum and maximum temperatures today. In an area from Broome and the Kimberley in WA southeast to around Alice Springs, the day was the coldest, or one of the coldest, May days on record (see map ).

Residents of Broome, accustomed to tropical warmth, reached for doonas and ugg boots as thick cloud, wind and rain accompanied the coldest May day in 64 years of observations at the Airport. The previous record was 19.8 on 10 May 1997. Wyndham only just reached record territory with a top of 21.0, 0.1 below the previous record in 34 years of observation.

In the Territory, in an area extending through the Tanami Desert to Alice Springs, maximum temperatures struggled to reach double figures. Rabbit Flat Roadhouse registered 13.0°, 2.5 below the previous May record in 34 years. At Yuendumu, 260km NW of Alice Springs, the mercury only reached 9.2°, 15.9 below normal and well below the settlement's previous lowest May maximum of 12.2 in 35 years of record. Alice Springs recorded a top of 11.1 at the airport, just 0.6 above their coldest May day in 62 years of record. The maxima at Alice Springs for the five days May 26 to 30 were 14.5, 14.7, 13.0, 11.1 and 12.7 compared to the May average of 23.0.

Unfortunately, many weather stations in this relatively uninhabited part of Australia are fairly new, with computerised data only going back up to 15 or 20 years. For most of these, the record was well below the previous lowest May maximum. For example, Kununurra Airport has 18 years of record; the maximum today was 21.4 while the previous record was 25.1.

The reasons for the rare pre-winter cold are complex. Firstly, colder southern air has gradually been invading the continent from the south, swinging to the northwest across western tropical Australia. More importantly, much of The Centre has experienced heavy cloud cover for most of the past 10 days, an unusually long time to block solar radiation surface heating. Widespread rain in this area dragged colder air from aloft to the surface and also formed a vast field of low-level cloud which became visible on infrared satellite images yesterday as the upper cloud deck moved away to the east. This low-level cloud, with its captive colder air beneath, drifted northwest into the Kimberley yesterday and today. The arrival of the cold surface air over the North Kimberley late yesterday resulted in the formation of a tropical depression over warm waters off the Kimberley coast early this morning, sending bands of thick middle and high level cloud streaming across the Kimberley today, further reducing solar radiation and helpiing to keep the low level cloudmass intact. Heavy rain from the low would also have dragged down further cooler air from aloft -- Faraway Bay in the North Kimberley recorded 88mm in the 24 hours to 9 this morning, while Kalumburu Mission, 70km SW, recorded 43mm between 9am and 3pm.

In subtropical parts of the country, cold dry conditions settled in following the cold front that moved through the southeast yesterday. The unusually elongated high, covering southern WA, all of SA, and ridging to southern QLD, produced another night of unusually widespread frost in WA, SA, TAS, VIC, NSW and SE QLD (see map ). These were particularly severe on the NSW Northern Tablelands where Glen Innes Airport recorded a low of -7.3. The greatest minimum temperature departures from normal were in SE QLD, where Coolangatta Airport, which is just behind the beach, recorded a low of 4.1, 10.5 below average. North of Brisbane, Gympie set a new May minimum record of 0.6 in 38 years of computerised observations. Kingaroy (-1.9) and Warwick (-1.5) recorded the lowest air temperatures, but many stations in the Granite Belt, Darling Downs and Central Highlands recorded sub-zero grass minima. The lowest were -3.5 at Monto, -3.2 at Tambo, -2.8 at Taroom, -2.7 at Mitchell and -2.5 at Dalby.

Late season depression brings heavy rain to WA Kimberley

A tropical depression that formed about 250km north of Derby this morning gave some heavy late-season falls along the north Kimberley coast around Kalumburu. In the 24 hours to 9am, Faraway Bay, 72km NE of Kalumburu, recorded 88.0mm while Truscott, 36km NW of Kalumburu, recorded 59.0mm. Mean monthly rainfall for May along this section of the coast is between 25 and 50mm, and falls this large so late in the month are rare. Troughton Island, 80km NW of Kalumburu, recorded 60mm of steady moderate rain from around 9pm yesterday to 3pm today. Wind at the island's 9am and noon observations averaged 52km/h. Of Truscotts 24 hour total of 59mm, 32mm fell between 6 and 9am and there was a further 16mm between 9am and midday. Kalumburu Mission recorded 43mm between 9am and 3pm.

National weather extremes for today

Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology

Records set this day (previous record and years of computerised record shown in brackets):
Lowest daily minimum temperature for May
Queensland
040093 GYMPIE 0.6 (1.0, 38)

Quality control note: Data is final. It includes late-received rainfall data and has been subject to BoM quality control checks.
Data is as received at 22:17EST, 27/10/2004.

Weather observations for today
Noteworthy  Weather         Capital  Cities         Regional  Cities       Alpine  Stations
Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Bulletins and Weather Notes

Hottest
Highest maximum temperature>Greatest variation above normal maximum Highest minimum temperatureGreatest variation above normal minimum

32.2 WEIPA AERO N Peninsula QLD
32.1 JABIRU AIRPORT N Rivers NT
31.7 KOWANYAMA AIRPORT Gulf Country QLD
31.4 MILINGIMBI AWS N Rivers NT
30.8 OENPELLI N Rivers NT

+2.4   28.5 ROLLESTON METEOR ST Central Highlands QLD
+2.0   20.0 PEMBERTON Lower West WA
+1.7   20.0 DWELLINGUP Lower West WA
+1.6   21.5 DONNYBROOK Lower West WA
+1.6   19.0 MANJIMUP Lower West WA

25.8 MCCLUER ISLAND N Rivers NT
25.5 COCONUT ISLAND N Peninsula QLD
25.3 COCOS ISLAND AIRPORT Islands ISL
25.0 WARRUWI N Rivers NT
25.0 HOLMES REEF Islands ISL

+4.4   19.9 WOLLOGORANG N Rivers NT
+4.2   20.7 MCARTHUR RIVER MINE N Rivers NT
+3.0   20.0 BURKETOWN POST OFFICE Gulf Country QLD
+2.9   5.8 FINGAL (LEGGE STREET) E Coast TAS
+2.7   16.4 CAPE LEEUWIN Lower West WA

Coldest
Lowest maximum temperatureGreatest variation below normal maximum Lowest minimum temperatureGreatest variation below normal minimum

-1.6 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
-1.0 MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC
1.2 THREDBO AWS Snowy Mtns NSW
1.2 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC
2.0 CABRAMURRA SMHEA AWS SW Slopes S NSW

-15.9   9.2 YUENDUMU N Plateau NT
-15.0   14.9 HALLS CREEK AIRPORT E Kimberley WA
-14.3   15.0 BALGO HILLS Interior WA
-13.6   18.5 WARMUN E Kimberley WA
-13.6   19.1 DERBY AERO W Kimberley WA

-7.3 GLEN INNES AIRPORT AWS N Tablelands W NSW
-5.8 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
-5.5 COOMA VISITORS CENTRE Goulburn/Monaro NSW
-5.3 THREDBO AWS Snowy Mtns NSW
-5.0 MURRURUNDI POST OFFICE Hunter Valley NSW

-10.5   4.1 COOLANGATTA AIRPORT Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
-10.4   -0.2 AMBERLEY AMO Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
-10.3   -5.0 MURRURUNDI POST OFFICE Hunter Valley NSW
-10.2   0.6 GYMPIE Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
-9.8   2.2 BRIAN PASTURES Brisbane/SE Coast QLD

Wettest Major City Extremes
Todays highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am. It includes the top 5 totals nationally followed by all reported falls of 50mm or more.

88.0 FARAWAY BAY N Kimberley WA
59.0 TRUSCOTT N Kimberley WA
40.3 TIDAL RIVER W Gippsland VIC
40.0 GOVERNMENT HUTS Derwent Valley TAS
39.0 TROUGHTON ISLAND N Kimberley WA

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    N Kimberley
88.0 FARAWAY BAY
59.0 TRUSCOTT
39.0 TROUGHTON ISLAND

VICTORIA
    W Gippsland
40.3 TIDAL RIVER

TASMANIA
    Derwent Valley
40.0 GOVERNMENT HUTS

  Max+/- norm Min+/- normRain to 9am
BROOME AIRPORT 18.8 -12.7 16.7 -1.5 0.0
PERTH AIRPORT 22.0 +0.4 4.5 -5.9 0.0
ALBANY AIRPORT 19.7 +0.8 8.8 -1.0 0.4
KALGOORLIE-BOULDER AIRPORT 18.8 -1.8 2.2 -6.4 0.0
DARWIN AIRPORT 28.5 -3.5 21.9 -0.2 8.8
ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT 11.1 -11.9 7.2 -1.1 0.0
ADELAIDE (KENT TOWN) 16.1 -2.8 4.9 -5.3 4.4
MOUNT GAMBIER AERO 13.2 -2.9 2.5 -4.8 0.0
CAIRNS AERO 26.6 -1.0 21.6 +1.8 0.0
TOWNSVILLE AERO 26.7 -0.9 17.3 -0.3 0.0
ROCKHAMPTON AERO 22.2 -3.7 8.9 -5.3 0.0
AMBERLEY AMO 22.2 -1.7 -0.2 -10.4 0.0
BRISBANE AERO 21.5 4.9 0.0
ARMIDALE AIRPORT AWS 12.1 -0.5 0.2
COFFS HARBOUR MO 18.7 -2.6 5.6 -6.2 0.0
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS 19.6 -0.3 9.8 -2.1 0.0
SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL) 18.7 -0.6 8.9 -2.6 0.0
PROSPECT DAM 18.3 -1.8 4.0 -6.2 0.0
WOLLONGONG UNIVERSITY 19.0 -1.0 10.1 -1.8 0.0
CANBERRA AIRPORT 13.7 -1.7 2.8 -0.4 0.0
WAGGA WAGGA AMO 12.9 -4.3 4.2 -1.8 0.0
MILDURA AIRPORT 15.7 -3.2 1.4 -6.1 0.0
EAST SALE AIRPORT 13.5 -3.3 5.4 -0.9 0.2
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE 15.1 -1.5 7.1 -1.5 0.6
LAVERTON RAAF 14.4 -2.3 3.5 -4.2 0.4
BALLARAT AERODROME 10.4 -3.2 0.7 -5.1 2.4
LAUNCESTON AIRPORT 12.8 -1.2 1.5 -3.1 0.0
HOBART (ELLERSLIE ROAD) 13.9 -0.5 5.6 -1.3 1.4

Downpours Gales & Gusts
High rainfall for periods of 6 hours or less. Highest wind gusts above 89km/h (storm force) or mean wind above 62km/h (gale force). Wind direction and mean windspeed shown in brackets.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    N Kimberley
TROUGHTON ISLAND
17.0mm in 3 hr to 12:00 5.7mm/h
11.8mm in 1 hr 1 min to 12:01 11.6mm/h
KALUMBURU
16.0mm in 3 hr to 12:00 5.3mm/h
TRUSCOTT
19.4mm in 1 hr to 07:00 19.4mm/h
32.0mm in 3 hr to 09:00 10.7mm/h
16.0mm in 3 hr to 12:00 5.3mm/h
KALUMBURU MISSION
43.0mm in 6 hr to 15:00 7.2mm/h
NORTHERN TERRITORY
    N Rivers
MCCLUER ISLAND
8.2mm in 17 min to 22:20 28.9mm/h

QUEENSLAND
    N Coast--Barron
GREEN ISLAND : 72(160/ 65 ) at 16:30
NEW SOUTH WALES
    South Coast
GREEN CAPE AWS : 100(240/ 70 ) at 13:00
VICTORIA
    W Gippsland
WILSONS PROMONTORY LIGHTHOUSE : 108(250/ 91 ) at 00:40
KINGFISH B SHIP LOG 272 : 93(247/ 70 ) at 11:50
TASMANIA
    N Coast
CAPE GRIM BAPS : 93(240/ 76 ) at 05:00
    Southeast
MAATSUYKER ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE : 91(310/ 72 ) at 23:34
MOUNT WELLINGTON : 104(250/ 82 ) at 18:43
TASMAN ISLAND : 126(210/ 82 ) at 03:41
HARTZ MOUNTAIN (KEOGHS PIMPLE) : 80(230/ 63 ) at 09:00
CAPE BRUNY (CAPE BRUNY) : 100(240/ 56 ) at 02:03
ISLANDS
    Islands
HOGAN ISLAND : 102(250/ 80 ) at 12:30
LORD HOWE ISLAND AERO : 85(230/ 63 ) at 17:11