Weekly Rainfall Update

Weekly Rainfall Update
for 7 days to 9 am 16 December 2014

The Weekly Rainfall Update provides a detailed analysis of the rainfall recorded across the country during the past week. The page is updated every Tuesday afternoon, for the seven days ending that day. The update includes a rainfall map, a table of the highest falls recorded for the week by state, some commentary and an analysis of the impact of recent rainfall on parts of Australia experiencing rainfall deficits.

Table of highest weekly totals

State Highest 2nd Highest 3rd Highest
WA Curtin Aero
(141 mm)
(West Kimberley)
Bedford Downs Airstrip
(130 mm)
(East Kimberley)
Kimberley Downs
(95 mm)
(West Kimberley)
NT Nutwood Downs
(105 mm)
Flying Fox
(97 mm)
(90 mm)
SA Kingscote
(18 mm)
(Kangaroo Island)
American River
(17 mm)
(Kangaroo Island)
(16 mm)
(Kangaroo Island)
Qld Thangool Airport
(211 mm)
(Port Curtis)
(176 mm)
(Central Highlands)
Peakvale Station
(175 mm)
(Central Highlands)
NSW/ACT Careys Peak
(149 mm)
Forster - Tuncurry Marine
(145 mm)
Yarras (Mount Seaview)
(136 mm)
Vic Edi Upper
(90 mm)
(Upper Northeast)
Mount Wellington
(53 mm)
(West Gippsland)
Reeves Knob
(51 mm)
(West Gippsland)
Tas Westbury (Birralee Road)
(49 mm)
Launceston Airport
(45 mm)
Fern Tree (Grays Road) 
(35 mm)

State weekly rainfall bulletins (updated daily):

Northern WA | Southern WA | NT | Qld. | NSW/ACT | Vic. | SA | Tas.

The table above lists the highest rainfall totals for each State and Territory for the past week. These are based on real-time rainfall reports, and only limited quality control has been performed on the data. Rainfall district names are given in parentheses. Please also note that some station names have been shortened by taking away words such as post office and airport. Map of the Bureau of Meteorology rainfall districts.

In creating the weekly rainfall map, the rainfall recorded at sites across Australia is analysed onto grids and displayed as a map. In data-rich areas, such as southeast Australia, or in regions with strong rainfall gradients, such as across mountain ranges, 'data smoothing' may occur, resulting in gridpoint values differing from the exact rainfall amounts measured at the contributing stations.

Commentary on recent rainfall

For the week to 16 December 2014, rainfall was recorded in the north of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, eastern New South Wales and eastern Victoria, Tasmania and small areas of South Australia.

In the first half of the week, broad areas of low pressure dominated the continent. A surface trough located across northern Australia produced thunderstorms and showers, with moderate rainfall totals recorded across eastern Queensland, the Top End, inland parts of the Northern Territory, and the Kimberley district in Western Australia. A low pressure system and associated trough over central South Australia generated isolated thunderstorms with falls recorded in the northern and central districts of the State.

A complex low pressure system over the southeast mainland, and an associated trough extending into central Australia, resulted in moderate rainfall totals along the east coast of New South Wales and large areas of eastern Queensland early in the week, with lighter falls recorded in eastern Victoria and parts of northern Tasmania.

A moist, north to northwest flow brought showers and thunderstorms with moderate to heavy falls across the north of the Northern Territory and the Kimberley district during the middle of the week. A deepening surface trough extended from southwestern Queensland eastwards along the New South Wales-Queensland border to a developing low pressure system off the central New South Wales coast. Moderate rainfall totals were recorded along the east coast of Victoria and New South Wales, with heavy rain falling in parts of southern and central Queensland. As the surface trough migrated northwards and combined with an upper level disturbance, more heavy rain was recorded along the central Queensland coast, adjacent inland districts, and parts of southern Queensland.

At the end of the week, a broad trough extending across northern Australia from inland of the Pilbara in Western Australia to low pressure systems off the east coast of Queensland produced isolated showers with moderate rainfall totals for parts of the Cape York Peninsula, the Top End and the Kimberley; and in parts of central Queensland.

Rainfall totals in excess of 100 mm were recorded across small parts of the Kimberley in Western Australia, the Top End, Cape York Peninsula and across large areas of central eastern Queensland. Isolated totals exceeding 100 mm were recorded on the Capricornia coast and Central Highlands in Queensland. The highest weekly total was 211 mm at Thangool in Queensland.

Rainfall totals between 50 mm and 100 mm were recorded in parts of the Kimberley district in Western Australia; in the parts of the Top End; in Queensland's far north, the area from Bowen to south of Bundaberg, extending far inland, areas of southeastern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales; and the central and south coasts of New South Wales.

Rainfall totals between 10 mm and 50 mm were recorded in northern Western Australia; most of the northern half of the Northern Territory and isolated areas west of Alice Springs; large parts of Queensland except in the far west and southwest, and parts of the north tropical coast; eastern New South Wales; parts of far eastern Victoria; north and southeast Tasmania and very isolated parts of South Australia including Kangaroo Island.

Nearly all of Western Australia except the far north, most of South Australia, the western half of Victoria, western New South Wales, southwest Queensland and southeastern parts of the Northern Territory east of Alice Springs recorded little or no rainfall for the week.

Impact of recent rainfall on deficits

The Drought Statement issued, issued on 3 December, discusses rainfall deficits over Australia for the 5-month (July 2014 to November 2014), 12-month (December 2013 to November 2014) and 26-month (October 2012 to November 2014) periods. The rainfall deficit maps will be available for these periods as well as for standard periods.

The maps below show the percentage of mean rainfall that has been received for the rainfall deficit period for the 5-month, 12-month and 26-months ending 16 December 2014. Only the areas that experienced serious or severe rainfall deficiencies for the corresponding period ending 1 November 2014 are analysed, the rest of the map is masked in grey shading.

Rainfall to date for 5-month period
Drought Period 1- click on map for larger image

Rainfall to date for 12-month period
Drought Period 2- click on map for larger image

Rainfall to date for 26-month period
Drought Period 3 - click on map for larger image

Rainfall for the period 1 July 2014 to 16 December 2014

Serious to severe deficiencies (lowest 10% to 5% of records) are in place across the central and southern Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, much of the Top End in the Northern Territory, scattered areas between central Australia and northern Queensland, and also in northwestern Tasmania and on the Pilbara coast in Western Australia.
Serious to severe deficiencies are also in place across most of the agricultural districts of South Australia, western Victoria and southern New South Wales, extending along the western margin of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales and southeastern Queensland.
Compared to last week, rainfall deficiencies eased slightly in northern Queensland and the eastern Top End but remained similar elsewhere.

Rainfall for the period 1 December 2013 to 16 December 2014

Serious to severe deficiencies (lowest 10% to 5% of records) are in place across a large area of northeast New South Wales, southeast Queensland, the Wimmera district in western Victoria, parts of the Murray Valley in South Australia and parts of northwestern and eastern Tasmania. Much of these areas have recorded less than 70% of their average rainfall for the period.
As a result of rainfall in the last week, areas of deficiencies eased slightly over southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales, and northwest Tasmania.

Rainfall for the period 1 October 2012 to 16 December 2014

Serious to severe deficiencies (lowest 10% to 5% of records) remain over a large area of inland Queensland away from the eastern coast and in smaller areas in adjacent parts of the Northern Territory, South Australia and northern New South Wales inland of the Great Dividing Range. Deficiencies also persist over most of the Wimmera and Mallee districts in western Victoria, adjacent parts of the Murray Valley in South Australia, and in an area of the southern coastal Gascoyne around Shark Bay in Western Australia.
Rainfall deficiencies eased slightly in central Queensland, compared to last week.

Please Note: The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is not responsible for drought declarations. Drought declarations are the responsibility of the State Governments, and take account of other factors in addition to recent rainfall patterns. Some links to state government departmental web sites are given in the right hand column.

Product Code: IDCKGRWAR0