Drought Statement - Issued 1st October 2004


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 6 and 9-month periods ending 30th September 2004
ISSUED 1st October 2004 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies persist along east coast & in parts of inland southeastern Australia

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that, for the period since the start of April, severe rainfall deficiencies remain along the east coast and adjacent ranges following another month with falls generally below the long-term average. In addition, rainfall deficiencies for the year to date persist across some inland areas of southeastern Australia, although the situation eased somewhat in comparison with conditions at the end of August.

For the 6-month period from April to September, severe rainfall deficiencies are evident along the east coast and Great Dividing Range from Proserpine on Queensland’s central coast, to Bega in southern NSW (see map). A small area between Sydney and Newcastle has recorded its driest April to September on record, as has a region on the far northern NSW coast between Yamba and the Queensland border. Above average September falls reduced deficiencies from severe to serious in the Wide Bay and Burnett districts in Queensland, and in parts of the Central Highlands, also in Queensland. Very much below average September rainfall in southern WA, caused a modest expansion of the areas affected by rainfall deficiencies since April.

For the 9-month period from January to September, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies affect parts of Queensland’s central and Capricornia coasts between Mackay and Rockhampton, the ACT and southeast NSW south of Newcastle (overlapping with the 6-month deficits), as well as parts of the Lower Western, Riverina and Southwest Slopes. Record low falls have occurred in a patch just south of the ACT. Above average rainfall in central and northern Victoria during September was sufficient to remove the deficiencies in those areas. Sydney’s year-to-date total is 360 mm below average, while at Canberra Airport the total since the 1st of January stands at 222 mm, which is just 50% of the long-term average and the third driest January to September period on record in the nation’s capital. The record low is 177 mm set in 1944.

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



Click on the map for full resolution.
Click on the map for full resolution.
A black and white version is also available.

Click on the map for full resolution.
Click on the map for full resolution.
A black and white version is also available.