Issued 5 January 2004

Long-term rainfall deficiencies remain in parts of northern and eastern Australia

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that there remain large areas in eastern and northern Australia that have long-term (eighteen-month) rainfall deficiencies. This is despite the fact that over the past twelve months, rainfall deficiencies have been confined to isolated pockets in the east and far west of the country. Therefore, the rainfall deficiencies have mostly resulted from the combination of below average rainfall in 2003 and extremely dry conditions in the second half of 2002.

18-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 18-month period from July 2002 to December 2003, rainfall deficiencies are evident in central and southwest Queensland, as well as along the northeast coast and southern Gulf region of that state. Also affected are northern and southeastern areas of NSW, the latter deficiency area extending across Gippsland and south-central Victoria. In WA, long-term rainfall deficiencies are apparent along the west coast between Shark Bay and Onslow, while a few patches in the southern NT have also been deficient in rainfall over this time period.

Lowest on record totals for the eighteen-month period from July to December occurred in a few patches west of Tambo and south of Charleville in Queensland, near Bairnsdale in East Gippsland and near Exmouth in northwest WA.

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Climate

Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.