Issued 7 January 2005

Rainfall deficiencies develop in the NT and northern WA

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that above to very much above average December rains in eastern and southeastern Australia, removed most of the rainfall deficiencies for the period since the start of January 2004. However, the final six months of the year, which includes the first three months (Oct-Dec) of the northern wet season, saw rainfall deficiencies develop across parts of the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.

6-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 6-month period from July to December, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies have developed across a large area surrounding Alice Springs in the southern NT, as well as in a region extending from the Victoria district in the NT to the east of the Interior district in WA. Also affected in WA are smaller patches to the west of Halls Creek, around Port Hedland and near Cape Leveque.

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12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period from January to December, serious rainfall deficiencies have been largely removed from southern NSW and the ACT following above to very much above average falls during December. Rainfall deficits for this period are also evident in the far southwest corner of WA and in small patches near Mackay and Rockhampton in Queensland. No further statements will be issued for the period beginning in January 2004.

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

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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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