Issued 5 November 2003

Rainfall deficiencies persist in northern and eastern Australia

The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology announced today that there are still significant 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.

8-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 8-month period from March to October 2003, serious rainfall deficiencies are 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 as well as the far north of WA. Above average October rainfall removed the deficiencies in a small area near Bairnsdale in Victoria.

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12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period from November 2002 to October 2003, longer-term serious to severe rainfall deficiencies continued over some significant areas of eastern Australia, thereby re-emphasizing the severity of the dry conditions late last year and early 2003. The regions affected were less extensive compared with the 12 months ending September, due to average or above average rainfall during October. This was particularly the case in the far southeast of the mainland. The largest regions with 12-month deficiencies were in central and northeast Queensland, most notably between Cooktown and Mackay. There were also patches in the southern NT as well as north of Giles in eastern WA, and around Carnarvon on the west coast of WA.

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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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