No Drought Statement issued for February
January rainfall was above to very much above average for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia. Monthly rainfall was also above average for western Queensland and areas in a band across the south of the Cape York Peninsula, and for western Victoria and an adjacent area of southwestern New South Wales.
January rainfall was below average along and east of the Great Dividing Range in southeastern Australia, extending from areas north of Melbourne and across Gippsland in Victoria, through eastern New South Wales to the Hunter and Central Tablelands, and also below average for scattered areas of southeast Queensland and locations in the far southwest of Western Australia.
Rainfall has been below average in areas east of the Great Divide in recent months, accompanied by very much above average temperatures. As a result areas of serious to locally severe deficiency have emerged at three- to four-month timescales in southeast Queensland, and pockets of coastal New South Wales and east coastal Victoria. These areas of rainfall deficiencies will continue to be monitored for further developments. The latest Climate Outlook suggests that rainfall is likely to be below average in the next three months.
Soil moisture in the lower layer (from 10 cm to 100 cm deep) has increased across northern and eastern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, and much of northern Queensland following very much above average rainfall during January. Lower layer soil moisture remains above average for most of Tasmania.
Soil moisture for the month was below average for southeastern Queensland, most of coastal New South Wales, and isolated pockets of Victoria's eastern coast.
- January rainfall was very much above average for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia
- January rainfall was below average along east of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria and southeastern New South Wales, as well as other patches of New South Wales and southeastern Queensland
- Areas of rainfall deficiencies persist at three-month and four-month timescales in southeast Queensland and pockets of coastal New South Wales.
Product code: IDCKGD0AR0
Soil moisture details are reported when there are periods of significant rainfall deficits.
Soil moisture data is from the Bureau's Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape (AWRA-L) model, developed through the Water Information Research and Development Alliance between the Bureau and CSIRO.
See: Australian Landscape Water Balance.
What is drought?
Drought is a prolonged, abnormally dry period when the amount of available water is insufficient to meet our normal use. Drought is not simply low rainfall; if it was, much of inland Australia would be in almost perpetual drought. Because people use water in so many different ways, there is no universal definition of drought. Meteorologists monitor the extent and severity of drought in terms of rainfall deficiencies. Agriculturalists rate the impact on primary industries, hydrologists compare ground water levels, and sociologists define it by social expectations and perceptions.
It is generally difficult to compare one drought to another, since each drought differs in the seasonality, location, spatial extent and duration of the associated rainfall deficiencies. Additionally, each drought is accompanied by varying temperatures and soil moisture deficits.
Rainfall averages, variability and trends
- Average rainfall: How much rain do you expect?
- Rainfall variability: How consistent is rainfall in your area?
- Rainfall history: Check tables, graphs and data from your local weather station.
- Rainfall trends: Has your rainfall changed?
Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin.
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals.
Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%.
Very much below average - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals.
Below average - rainfalls in the lowest 30% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 10%.
Average - rainfalls in the middle 40% of historical totals.
Above average - rainfalls in the highest 30% of historical totals, but not in the highest 10%.
Very much above average - rainfalls in the highest 10% of historical totals.
For the week to 14 February 2017, rainfall was recorded in Western Australia, the northern half of the Northern Territory, northern and east coast Queensland, eastern New South Wales; southern, central and eastern Victoria and western Tasmania.
The monsoon trough extended across northern Australia, with associated cloud and rainfall. Showers and thunderstorms affected northern Australia throughout the week. Heavy falls were reported on the north tropical coast of Queensland, the Gulf Country, the Northern Territory Top End and the Kimberley in Western Australia.
At the start of the week, a tropical low embedded on the monsoon trough, located west of Broome in Western Australia, produced moderate to locally heavy falls from the Pilbara, across the Gascoyne and Goldfields districts, to the south coast of Western Australia. As the tropical low tracked slowly southwest, and deepened, heavy falls occurred about the Pilbara coast, with further moderate falls across much of southern Western Australia.
The tropical low, located on the Gascoyne coast by the middle of the week, continued its southwesterly track. Middle level cloud streamed from the tropical low, with thunderstorms and showers producing moderate falls along the west coast and in the southwest of Western Australia. Locally heavy falls were reported around Perth, with daily falls in excess of 100 mm.
In the east, a low pressure trough extended from central Australia into central eastern New South Wales, and directed an east to southeasterly onshore airstream onto the southeast coast. Flash flooding occurred in and around the Sydney area.
In the last part of the week, the tropical low tracked off the Gascoyne coast, and the associated trough extended into the central and northern interior of Western Australia. Further heavy falls occurred in parts of the southwest and southern coasts, Gascoyne and central interior of Western Australia. Flooding occurred in several river catchments, including the Avon and Swan.
At the end of the week, a cold, southwesterly air stream produced moderate falls in western Tasmania, while light falls were recorded in central southern and eastern Victoria.
Rainfall totals between 100 mm and 200 mm were recorded in the Illawarra coast in New South Wales; parts of the Cape York Peninsula and north tropical coast of Queensland; Gulf Country; Top End of the Northern Territory, and the Kimberley, Pilbara coast, and southern parts of the South West Land Division in Western Australia. Totals in excess of 200 mm were recorded in parts of South Central, Pilbara and Kimberley coasts in Western Australia, the Darwin–Daly district and areas of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The highest weekly rainfall total was 325 mm at Dum In Mirrie Airstrip in the Northern Territory.
Rainfall totals between 50 mm and 100 mm were recorded in remaining parts of the Kimberley, areas of the western Pilbara, Gascoyne, Goldfields and South West Land Division in Western Australia; much of the northern half of the Northern Territory; the Cape York Peninsula extending south to the north tropical coast and northern interior of Queensland; parts of the Illawarra and south coast of New South Wales, and in parts of western Tasmania.
Rainfall totals between 10 mm and 50 mm were recorded in most of the western half and central interior of Western Australia; across the central parts of the Northern Territory; remaining parts of the Cape York Peninsula, northern interior, and pockets of east coast Queensland. Similar totals were recorded along much of the east coast of New South Wales; central southern and far eastern Victoria, and the western half of Tasmania.
Little or no rainfall was recorded in southeastern and the northern interior of Western Australia, the southern half of the Northern Territory, much of southern Queensland away from the east coast, central and western New South Wales, central and western Victoria, eastern Tasmania and South Australia.
Impact of recent rainfall on deficits
Due to above average rainfall in recent months over areas which had experienced deficiencies since mid-2015, no large-scale deficiencies are currently present. Rainfall analyses are available for standard periods out to 48 months.
Product code: IDCKGRWAR0