Issued 5 January 2006

Rainfall deficiencies persist in parts of eastern Australia

With generally below average rainfall across eastern Australia in December, there was a persistence, or in some cases a modest expansion, of areas experiencing rainfall deficiencies, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today.

10-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 10-month period from March to December, serious rainfall deficiencies, with patches of severe deficiencies, affect much of southern Victoria between the SA border and southwest Gippsland. December rainfall was below the long-term mean in southwest Victoria resulting in a slight intensification of the deficits in comparison with the situation at the end of November. However, above average falls to the southeast of Melbourne resulted in a slight decrease in the coverage of rainfall deficits. This most recent period of deficient rainfall in southern Victoria is included within a period of below average to record low 9-year rainfall totals in the same area.

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12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period from January to December, the most significant rainfall deficiencies are located between Bourke (NSW) and Charleville (Qld)), and over the southern and central parts of Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland. Both these areas increased in intensity and spatial extent after December rainfall was less than half of the long-term average.

There are several other relatively small patches scattered about the country, which experienced rainfall deficiencies in the 2005 calendar year.

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Climate

Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.