Issued 1 October 2004

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.

6-month rainfall deficiencies

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.

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9-month rainfall deficiencies

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.

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Black and white | High resolution colour

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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