Issued 3 August 2004

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.

4-month rainfall deficiencies

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.

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7-month rainfall deficiencies

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.

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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.

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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