Issued 3 February 2006

Rainfall deficiencies persist in patches of eastern Australia

In the short to medium term, patches of rainfall deficiencies persist in eastern Australia, mainly Queensland, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. Despite abundant monsoon rains in the NT, northern WA and parts of far north Queensland, the first four months of the northern wet season were very dry and hot in central Queensland. In addition, rainfall deficiencies for the past twelve months are evident in parts of eastern and northern Queensland, as well as around the western border regions of Queensland and NSW.

4-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 4-month period from October to January, serious rainfall deficiencies, with patches of severe deficiencies, have developed around Longreach and Barcaldine in central Queensland. In addition, there are also smaller patches of deficits west of Bourke in NSW, close to the Queensland border. To make matters worse, temperatures have been very high (highest on record in many cases) during this period over the areas with rainfall deficits.

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12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period from February to January, rainfall deficiencies are evident between Bourke (NSW) and Charleville (Qld), around Mackay on the central Queensland coast, and in smaller patches over far northern Queensland (mainly Cape York Peninsula). A small area in far southwest Victoria is also affected by deficiencies over this period.

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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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