Drought Statement - Issued 5th May 2006


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Statement on Drought for the 4 and 7-month periods ending 30th April 2006
ISSUED 5th May 2006 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies continue in NSW and southern Queensland

A dry start to the year has seen short-term rainfall deficiencies emerge across parts of eastern Australia, especially over inland eastern Queensland and parts of New South Wales, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. Furthermore, the northern wet season was very dry and hot in southwest Queensland and northwest NSW.

For the 4-month period from January to April, 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. Serious to severe rainfall deficiencies have also developed along the NSW coast south of Sydney, over an area of inland south-central NSW centred on Grenfell, and some small areas in far southwest Queensland and adjacent northwest NSW.

Above-normal April rainfall has eliminated short-term rainfall deficiencies in northern and central Tasmania, except for a small area in the far northeast. April rains have also removed small areas of rainfall deficiencies that had existed in northern South Australia and the southern Northern Territory.

For the 7-month period from October to April, serious rainfall deficiencies, with patches of severe deficiencies, affect substantial areas in far southwest Queensland and adjacent far northwest NSW. The dry conditions have been exacerbated by very much above average to record high temperatures, particularly during the summer. Deficiencies in the Mackay area have been eliminated by April rainfall.

Above-normal rainfall in April has eliminated nearly all longer-term rainfall deficiencies that had existed in southern Victoria for the period commencing in April 2005. This period is no longer being monitored.

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:

Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4603
Andrew Watkins on (03) 9669 4360

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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