Issued 3 February 2005

Rainfall deficiencies intensify in the NT and northern WA

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that rainfall deficiencies intensified in the interior and north of WA, as well as the adjacent parts of the western NT, as a result of below to very much below average January rainfall.

7-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 7-month period from July to January, a large area of severe rainfall deficiencies straddles the WA/NT border with a significant fraction having had its driest July to January period on record. There was also an expansion of serious to severe deficiencies along the Pilbara coast in WA. In addition, a large region of deficiencies remains around Alice Springs in the southern NT, although above average falls in the southeast of the NT reduced the size of this area in comparison with the situation at the end of December. Small patches are also evident in northern South Australia, far western Queensland and northeast Tasmania.

Large patches in southern and eastern Australia continue 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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