Issued 2 August 2005

Deficiencies persist in far SE Australia, ease in NW & central Australia

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that severe short-term rainfall deficiencies persist in the far southeast of the country after July delivered only around 40 to 70% of its average rainfall. However, deficiencies in East Gippsland (Vic), the Southwest Slopes and Central and Southern Tablelands (NSW) were removed by heavy rain at the start of the month. In central and northwestern Australia, medium-term deficiencies were also significantly reduced by widespread above average falls in July.

5-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 5-month period from March to July, severe rainfall deficiencies extend from the far southeast of South Australia across western and central Victoria to southwest Gippsland. The area near and to the southeast of Melbourne has recorded its driest March to July period on record. Much of northern Tasmania is also affected by serious deficiencies for this period, with severe deficits in the northeast. This most recent period of deficient rainfall in southeastern Australia comes on top of below average to record low 8-year rainfall totals in the same region.

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7-month rainfall deficiencies

For the periods beginning in January (7-months) and July 2004 (13-months), rainfall deficiencies were either removed or eased across large parts of central and northwestern Australia following very much above average to record July rainfall. Areas that continue to be affected for the 7-month period include an area just west of Brisbane, a large patch between Bourke (NSW) and Charleville (Qld), parts of eastern WA and adjacent western SA, and patches across the NT and northern Queensland.

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13-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 13-month period, the main areas affected continue to be large parts of the southern NT and the neighbouring regions of eastern WA.

Northern Tasmania is also affected over both time-spans, with the area around Launceston having had its driest 13-month July to July period on record.

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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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