Issued 2 October 2003

Rainfall deficiencies persist in northern and eastern Australia

The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology announced today that following widespread below average falls in September, there are still large areas of eastern Australia that are deficient in their twelve-month rainfall totals. Some shorter-term rainfall deficiencies remain evident in some parts of central and northern Australia.

7-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 7-month period from March to September 2003, serious rainfall deficiencies were evident in the southern Northern Territory, generally to the north and west of Alice Springs, and in some small patches in central and far northwest Queensland. In addition, rainfall deficiencies re-emerged in a small area near Bairnsdale in Victoria.

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12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period from October 2002 to September 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. There was little change in the regions affected compared with the 12 months ending August. 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 October to September 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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