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What's going on in the Top End?

​It's been a frustrating week for Top Enders as they continue to wait for the monsoon trough to form, unfortunately the forecast inland trough last week wasn't strong enough to produce widespread showers and storms. While there have been good falls around many places have missed out. Darwin in particular has endured more above average temps and the 3rd month in a row recording well below average rainfall. 

Darwin has basically been sitting In the doldrums for nearly a week with no winds upstairs to steer showers and storms which either developed just offshore or inland. When steering winds did develop they were light northerly which put Darwin under the Tiwi Island rain shadow, it really has been a hopeless situation unless you have been one of the lucky ones scoring an isolated slow moving storm. 

The good news is today we have seen the first evidence of more favourable steering winds develop from the west or south west which will finally start to push some of those showers and storms offshore onto the coast (early signs of this on Darwin OCC Radar image below). 

​Looking ahead a monsoon trough is forecast to develop near the Top End and across into the Gulf of Carpentaria. For Darwin this is not necessarily a good thing though as the majority of rain and convergence will be pulled across the Top of the NT and into the Gulf. 

Despite this early next week still looks quite wet for Darwin before the focus shifts east which (to be fair) is good news for Arnhem districts which have also endured one of the hottest and driest starts to the year in generations.  BOM Rain chart for the week ahead below shows the rain situation pretty clearly, as you can see the bulk of heavy monsoonal activity remains offshore.

At this stage, a low looks likely to develop in the Gulf later next week but it's longer term movement is still not certain with the prospect of it coming back west across the Top End not out of the equation. Either way it's still looking quite interesting for Northern Australia including QLD and possibly WA over the next 2 weeks so don't go writing it off yet.

Todays OCF forecast and look ahead