Issued 4 October 2005

Deficiencies persist in parts of eastern and central Australia

September rainfall was generally below the long-term average in the various areas of eastern and central Australia affected by rainfall deficiencies, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. However, there were only minor changes to the overall pattern of rainfall deficits.

7-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 7-month period from March to September, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies extend from the far southeast of South Australia across southwest and south-central Victoria to west Gippsland. There was a slight decrease in the intensity of these deficiencies when compared with the pattern at the end of August. September rainfall was sufficient to remove rainfall deficiencies that were evident in a small coastal strip of northeast Tasmania for the six months from March to August. 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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9-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 9-month period from January to September, the most significant rainfall deficiencies are located in two patches straddling the NSW/QLD border; one between Bourke (NSW) and Charleville (Qld), and the other from southeast Queensland to the Northern Tablelands of NSW. There was a modest expansion of the latter in parts of Queensland’s east Darling Downs and Granite Belt district as a result of below average September rainfall.

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12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period beginning in October 2004, the most significant rainfall deficiencies are evident in the southern and central NT (with some lowest on record falls), and in a large part of northwest South Australia.

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Rainfall deficiency maps for longer periods indicate that deficiencies at the two to three year timescale, which are particularly relevant to water supplies, continue to be widely scattered over eastern Australia.

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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