It's been a mix of humid and dry conditions heralding the official start of the dry season at the weekend for the Top End.
Over the past few weeks, conditions have been seesawing between dry spells and late wet season rain, with humidity below 30 percent more recently. This week the afternoon sea breezes mean it won't feel like the Top End has completely dried out, but a low over the country's east coast is helping pull moisture away from the Northern Territory.
From today through until Friday, those inland from the Top End's coast might find they need an extra blanket as overnight temperatures look to cool.
In Katherine, the forecast is for a series of sunny days ahead with a minimum temperature of 17 °C and a maximum of 34 °C today, while tomorrow will drop to an overnight minimum of 16 °C, then an overnight minimum of 15 °C on Friday followed by a chilly overnight minimum of 14 °C on Saturday.
In Central Australia, some warmer temperatures are expected around Alice Springs after a brief cool spell before they drop to May averages by the end of the weekend.
A trough moving across from Western Australia could bring some rain to the southern parts of the NT. There's a possibility of 5 - 10mm around Yulara on Friday and Saturday, and the potential for a few millimetres around Alice Springs on Saturday.
Regardless of the final rainfall totals, clouds are expected through the red centre - a change from the recent weeks of sunny skies.
A drier May to July is likely for northern Australia, although there's the chance of some light falls in Central Australia later this week.
The Northern Territory's north is likely to see above average maximum temperatures for the next three months, although there might not be much evidence of that in March.
Wet Season summary
The Top End has had a bonza wet season this year and a lack of tropical cyclones in the region.
It's the first wet season since 2015-16 that no tropical cyclones passed across Top End waters.
Tropical Cyclone Imogen came close, but didn't reach Category 1 strength until it hit the border with Queensland, meaning there were no cyclones in Northern Territory waters for 2020-21.
Most parts of the Northern Territory recorded above average rainfall from October 2020 to April 2021.
La Nina helped contribute to a wetter than average October, bringing heavier falls through until December, which was the fifth wettest December on record. Monsoonal conditions in the Top End during February contributed to flooding in the region and above average falls.
Rainfall totals for this wet season were 21 percent above the long term average. They were also the highest since the 2016-17 wet season.
Central Australia also impressed with its rainfall totals, with slightly above average rainfall in March.
Even though "wet season" conditions aren't felt as strongly south of Katherine, Territory Grape (north of Alice Springs) had its wettest "wet season" for more than two decades.
Widespread falls across the region also helped break records for lowest maximum temperatures in the region.
2020-21 wet season records
The hottest day for Katherine was 42.4°C on November 2, 2020 while the coldest overnight temperature was 13.9 on April 25. A total of 1294.8 mm of rainfall fell in Katherine from October 2020 to April 2021 which is 25 percent higher than the long term average.
Hottest day: 46°C at Jervois (5 December 2020)
Hottest night: 32.7°C at Walungurru Airport (29 November 2020)
Hottest days on average: 37°C at Elliott
Coldest day: 12.5°C at Arltunga and Watarrka (5 October 2020); Watarrka (6 October 2020)
Coldest night: 3.9°C at Alice Springs Airport (19 April 2021)
Coldest days on average: 31.1°C at McCluer Island
Wettest day: 327.4 mm at King Ash Bay (19 February 2021)
Wettest overall: 2328.4 mm at Labelle Downs
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