Second-warmest year so far

After another warm and dry month, 2018, to the end of October, remains the second-warmest on record. The rainfall total has now moved from third-driest to second-driest.

With just 3.4mm of rain on three days during October, the ten-month total is a massive 174.0mm behind the average 300.6mm on seventy days.

This year’s total of 126.6mm on 54 days is the second-lowest on record to the 119.2mm that fell on 34 days over the same period during 1914.

After a very dry first ten months, 1914 had good rains during November (61.6mm) and December (32.0mm) to finish with a total of 212.8mm.

Port Pirie’s lowest annual rainfall of 140.6mm was set during 1888 and is the only incidence of an annual rainfall total below 150.0mm.

It was also the first and only time that below-average falls occurred in all twelve months of a year.

Worth noting is the fact that the 1888 ten-month total of 135.0mm is higher than the 126.6mm total so far this year.

The final two months of 1888 had miserly falls, with November contributing 3.3mm and December 2.3mm for a record-dry total of 140.6mm.

This year so far has been very similar to those two dry years, so will this year’s total stay low and join 1888, 1899, 1927, 1959 and 1967 as only the sixth year in 142 years of record to have a rainfall total that is less than 200.0mm?

Port Pirie’s lowest annual rainfall of 140.6mm was set during 1888 and is the only incidence of an annual rainfall total below 150.0mm.

October’s 3.4mm rainfall on three days was the lowest since 1.7mm also on three days during 2014.

On October 3, 0.8mm of rain was recorded on an affiliate site of the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) named MetEye.

It was later withdrawn, as was a temperature of 33.6C recorded on October 2.

If the 33.6C had stayed in calculations it would have lifted the October daily average by 0.2C.

The resulting 30-day average day-time temperature for October was 26.6C – 2.0C above average – and 0.4 C above the 2017 average of 27.0C.

One day exceeded the old 100F mark (37.8C) when a high of 38.6C was recorded on the last day of the month, and the first for October since 2014.

The lowest day-time temperature was 18.6C and was one of two days that failed to reach 20C which was average.

Nineteen days exceeded 25C – two more than average - while eight of those went on to top 30C which was right on average.

Night-time temperatures averaged 11.9C which was 1.7C above the norm and the second-warmest at the airport to the record-high of 12.5C in 2015.

Temperatures at night ranged from a high of 21.0C and a low of 2.0C.

Twenty nights exceeded 10C – five more than average.

Eight of those went on to top 15C – three above – and three exceeded 20C – two above average.

Joe McLaughlin compiled the statistics from data supplied by the Port Pirie airport’s automatic weather station and the Bureau of Meteorology in Adelaide.

Since the article was written, heavy rain has fallen.