Drought Statement - Issued 4th April 2006


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 3,6 and 12-month periods ending 31st March 2006
ISSUED 4th April 2006 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies develop in eastern Australia

A dry start to the year has seen short-term rainfall deficiencies emerge across parts of eastern Australia, especially over inland eastern Queensland, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. Furthermore, the first six months of the northern wet season were very dry and hot in southwest Queensland and northwest NSW, while at the 12-month timescale, rainfall deficiencies are largely confined to southern Victoria.

For the 3-month period from January to March, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies have developed over an area of eastern Queensland near and to the west of the Great Dividing Range, stretching from near Moranbah to around Gympie. There are numerous other patches in Queensland, NSW and Victoria that are also affected for this period, the most significant of which straddles the far eastern Victorian - southeast NSW border region. In addition, a band of three-month deficiencies stretches from northern to southern Tasmania.

For the 6-month period from October to March, serious rainfall deficiencies, with patches of severe deficiencies, affect some small areas near Mackay and other more substantial districts in far southwest Queensland and adjacent far northwest NSW. The dry conditions have been exacerbated by very much above average to record high temperatures.

For the 12-month period from April to March, rainfall deficiencies are mainly confined to several patches in southwest and south-central Victoria.

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
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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A black and white version is also available.