Katherine has surpassed its average wet season rainfall as early as February, after several dismally dry years.
The Bureau of Meteorology weather station at RAAF Base Tindal recorded 491.2mm of rain in February, more than double the 235mm average.
The February rains saw the wet season total for 2020/21 hit 1041mm, passing the average of 1025mm with two months still to come.
The rain gauge at Upper Seventeen Mile Creek near Katherine was drenched by 608.6mm in February, the highest total for the month anywhere in the NT according to current data.
According to BoM senior climatologist Simon Grainger, the October to February period this wet season was the wettest since 2016/17.
He said a strong monsoon system early in February was the main climate driver behind the wet weather, and down-played the role of the La Nina system for the Top End.
"There's been an active monsoon, it was at the start of the month and then there's been follow up troughs that have persisted through the rest of February," he said.
"That is the main local driver... we didn't really associate it with La Nina."
The heavy rains saw the Katherine River level rise to almost 16m for the first time since 2008 and a flood warning was issued for areas around the town.
The successful wet season is a welcome relief for Katherine residents, after several dry years including the worst wet season in 58 years in 2019/20.
Dr Grainger said the BoM is forecasting a drop in rain for March before a return to above average rainfall in April.
He said the rain in Katherine also brought a drop in temperatures for the town in February.
"With the rain system you've got that increased cloudiness, the cloud cover and the rain system tends to decrease the day-time temperatures."
The average daily maximum temperature in February was 32.8 degrees, 1.2 degrees below the long term average.
Meanwhile, Katherine's February nights were 0.1 degrees below the long term average at 24 degrees.
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