Drought Statement - Issued 3rd August 2004


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 4 and 7-month periods ending 31st July 2004
ISSUED 3rd August 2004 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies develop along east coast; persist in southeast inland

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that severe rainfall deficiencies have developed along the east coast and adjacent ranges since April, the start of the southern growing season. In addition, rainfall deficiencies for the year-to-date persist across inland areas of southeastern Australia following another month with falls generally below the long-term average. The recent low falls in the southeast of the country, continue the pattern of below normal rainfall experienced in this region for most of the past eight years.

For the 4-month period from April to July, severe rainfall deficiencies have developed along the east coast and Great Dividing Range from Mackay on Queensland’s central coast, to Bega in southern NSW. In addition, serious to severe deficits extend over much of the central highlands in Queensland, encompassing locations such as Clermont and Emerald. There are also scattered patches in the Lower West, Great Southern and Southern Coastal districts of WA that have been deficient in rainfall during the past four months.

For the 7-month period from January to July, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies extend over much of the southern half of NSW, the ACT and northern Victoria to the far east of SA. A small region on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is also affected. Compared with the situation at the end of June, there were only minor changes to the areas affected, although deficiencies are no longer analysed along the Victoria/SA border. Sydney’s July rainfall was less than half of the long-term mean, and the total for the year-to-date is now about 425 mm below average! At Canberra Airport, the total since January is a paltry 106 mm, being just 31% of the long-term average.

Much of southern and eastern Australia continues to experience deficiencies for periods of two years and longer, and only a prolonged period of above average rainfall will remove them.


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
David Jones on (03) 9669 4085
Mike Coughlan on (03) 9669 4086



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A black and white version is also available.