Drought Statement - Issued 7th March 2006


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 5 and 12-month periods ending 28th February 2006
ISSUED 7th March 2006 by the National Climate Centre

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.

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.

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.

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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