Issued 7 March 2006

Rainfall deficiencies persist in small areas 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 some well above average falls in parts of WA and the NT, the first five 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 and in southern Victoria.

5-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 5-month period from October to February, serious rainfall deficiencies, with patches of severe deficiencies, are scattered through Queensland, with the most extensive being around Mackay and east and south of Hughenden. Small areas of deficiencies have also developed around Weipa on the Cape York Peninsula. 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 March to February, rainfall deficiencies are evident in southern Victoria from the Latrobe Valley west to the South Australian border, with an area of severe deficiencies around Portland. There are also scattered areas of deficiencies through Queensland, particularly around Mackay and Rockhampton, east and south of Hughenden, and in the southern half of the Cape York Peninsula. A smaller but severe area of deficiency exists in far southwest Queensland, west of Cunnamulla.

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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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