Drought Statement - Issued 3rd February 2006


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 4 and 12-month periods ending 31st January 2006
ISSUED 3rd February 2006 by the National Climate Centre

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.

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.

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.

Rainfall deficiency maps for longer periods indicate that deficiencies at the three year timescale, which are particularly relevant to water supplies, remain prevalent in parts of eastern Australia, especially in Queensland.


Note: The terms used to describe rainfall in these Drought Statements have the following meanings -

Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals
Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin

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


For more information regarding this rainfall deficiencies statement, please contact the following climate meteorologists in the National Climate Centre:

Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4527
David Jones on (03) 9669 4085
Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4603

External Sites Relating to Drought

The Bureau of Meteorology does not make formal drought declarations as these are done by either the relevant State Governments or by the Australian Government. The Australian Government Program is called Exceptional Circumstances and it is administered by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). General information about Australian Government drought assistance is available at http://www.daff.gov.au/droughtassist.



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