Statement on Drought for the 12 and
16-month periods ending 31st March 2003
Rainfall deficiencies persist across many parts of the country
March rainfall did little to change the existing rainfall deficiencies across many parts of the country, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology announced today. Across western New South Wales, well below average rainfall for the month caused a slight intensification of the serious to severe deficiencies there.
For the 12-month period from April 2002 to March 2003, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies stretch from far north Queensland across most of NSW, parts of eastern SA and over the eastern two-thirds of Victoria. Also affected are eastern Tasmania, parts of west and south WA, as well as the eastern inland of WA and the adjacent region in the NT.
Localised improvements occurred around Hobart following heavy March falls, around Wagin in southwest WA, and around Grafton and Moree in northeast NSW. There were also some slight improvements in parts of southeast Queensland.
For the longer 16-month period from December 2001 to March 2003, some additional areas between Fraser Island and the mid-north coast of NSW have also experienced serious to severe rainfall deficiencies.
Pacific Ocean indicators continue to point to the decline of the 2002/03 El Niño, and a continuation of this trend would suggest that further follow-up rains are possible over eastern Australia during autumn. For more information on El Niño, see the El Niño Wrap Up page.
maps for standard periods (3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and
36 months) are updated monthly on the Bureau's web site.
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 in the National Climate Centre:Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4603
Robert Fawcett on (03) 9669 4296