Drought Statement - Issued 4th August 2003


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Statement on Drought for the 5 and 12-month periods ending 31st July 2003
ISSUED 4th AUGUST 2003

July rain brings further relief to SE Australia

The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology announced today that July rainfall was average to above average across most of southeastern Australia, and was heavy enough to remove many of the short-term rainfall deficiencies that had developed since March 2003. This was particularly the case in the Southwest Slopes in NSW together with the Central Western Slopes and Riverina. However, for the past 12 month period, there are still large areas of eastern Australia that are deficient in rainfall.

For the 5-month period from March to July 2003, serious deficiencies were confined to a small part of East Gippsland near Bairnsdale. Other parts of the country were also affected, although the regions were generally small and patchy. These included parts of western and central South Australia, the Queensland coast between Rockhampton and Bundaberg, parts of the southern NT, patches of western Queensland near Mount Isa, and a small area near Carnarvon in WA.

For the 12-month period from August 2002 to July 2003, longer-term serious to severe rainfall deficiencies continued over some large areas of eastern Australia, thereby emphasizing the severity of the dry conditions last year. The largest region covers eastern and southern Victoria and extends across the Western Slopes and eastern Riverina in NSW towards Dubbo in central NSW. Other affected areas include patches through central and mid-coastal Queensland, far western Western Australia, southern South Australia and around Giles near the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Parts of East Gippsland and the NSW Southwest Slopes have had their driest August to July period on record.


Rainfall deficiency 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 -

Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals
Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin

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 more information regarding this rainfall deficiencies statement, please contact the following climate meteorologists in the National Climate Centre:

Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4527
Felicity Gamble on (03) 9669 4256



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