Issued 3 September 2003

August rain brings further relief to southern Australia

The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology announced today that August rainfall was above average across most of the country, and was heavy enough to remove the remaining short-term deficiencies that had developed in the southern half of the continent since March 2003. However, there are still large areas of eastern Australia that are deficient in their twelve-month rainfall totals.

6-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 6-month period from March to August 2003, the only areas of serious deficiencies that remained were situated in the southern Northern Territory, generally to the north and west of Alice Springs. August rainfall was sufficient to have removed deficiencies near Bairnsdale in Victoria, as well as through parts of central and western SA.

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12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period from September 2002 to August 2003, longer-term serious to severe rainfall deficiencies continued over some large areas of eastern Australia, thereby re-emphasizing the severity of the dry conditions last year. However, the regions covered were not as extensive as those for the 12 months ending July. The largest regions were in central and northeast Queensland, and across southern and eastern Victoria together with the ACT and the western slopes in NSW. There were also patches in the southern NT as well as around Giles in eastern WA, and Carnarvon on the west coast of WA. Parts of East Gippsland near Bairnsdale have had their driest September to August period on record.

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Definitions

Lowest on record - lowest in the historical analysis, which runs from 1900.
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.

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