MEDIA RELEASE - ISSUED 15th MARCH 2000
Statement on Drought for the 11 & 41-month periods ending 29th February 2000
Rainfall deficiencies contract in Queensland, expand in Victoria
The Bureau of Meteorology's Assistant Director (Services), Bruce Neal, said today that areas of serious to severe rainfall deficiencies in parts of southern Victoria have expanded, but the area of serious rainfall deficiency in the central highlands of Queensland has contracted. The existing deficiencies in Tasmania remain.
The serious to severe deficiencies in Victoria west of Melbourne for the eleven months April 1999 to February 2000 (see first map below) have expanded as a result of average to below average February rainfall and now cover most of the coast between Melbourne and the border. The existing deficiencies east of Melbourne show little change. The same can be said for the serious to severe deficiencies in Tasmania's southeast (around Hobart) and northwest (south of Burnie). Average to above average rainfall in February for the central Queensland highlands between Rockhampton and Longreach has caused the area of existing serious rainfall deficiency to contract, although some parts remain affected.
The 41 months from October 1996 to February 2000 have been very dry in an area extending from the southern Eyre Peninsula in South Australia to Sale in eastern Victoria, and also into the north-east of Tasmania (see second map below). In some of these regions the rainfall has been lowest on record for the period.
Rainfall deficiency maps for standard periods (3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months) are updated monthly on the Bureau's web site, at http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/rain_maps.cgi.
Note: The terms used to describe rainfall in these Drought Statements have the following meanings -
Well below average - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals
For more information regarding this rainfall-deficiencies statement, please contact the following climate meteorologists during normal business hours (EDT) Monday to Friday:Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4527
Robert Fawcett on (03) 9669 4603
John Chataway on (03) 9669 4859