Weather News

Dry end to March tipped for much of northern Australia

Ben Domensino, Wednesday March 18, 2020 - 16:14 EDT

Most of northern Australia is expected to have a relatively dry end to March with little sign of the monsoon returning in the next fortnight.

Parts of northern Australia are having a drier-than-usual wet season. In Darwin, there has only been around 1030mm of rain between the beginning of October and 9am on March 17th. During an average wet season, Darwin usually receives 1575mm between the start of October and the end of March.

Image: Clear sky over most of northern Australia on Wednesday.

At this stage, Darwin is unlikely to catch up to its average running wet season total by the end of March.

The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), which is a pulse of increased stormy weather that travels around the globe near the equator, is not likely to move near northern Australia for at least another week. Most models suggest that if it does pass near Australia's longitudes in late March, it's likely to be weak and have little influence on our weather.

In the absence of a decent pulse of the MJO, there are no strong indications of widespread monsoonal rain in northern Australia during the next fortnight. However, there are signs that a low pressure through will bring a burst of rain and storms to Queensland's eastern tropical coast towards the end of this week.

Looking ahead, April is the final month of Australia's northern wet season. While it's too early to know whether we will see an active phase of the monsoon next month, April is statistically one of the driest months of the wet season. Darwin's average monthly rainfall during April is 102mm, well below the averages of January (415mm), February (370mm) and March (315mm).

Darwin's long-term average for the entire wet season is 1678mm. Last season's 1175mm was their 7th lowest wet season total in 78 years of records. Now, this is shaping up to be another drier-than-usual wet season for the city.

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