Issued 2 June 2006

Rainfall deficiencies intensify and spread in eastern Australia

rainfall deficiencies have spread and intensified across areas of New South Wales and southern Queensland as a result of rather poor to record low autumn rainfall, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. This is the sixth successive year that significant parts of southeastern Australia have recorded a dry autumn, with the most commonly affected area being the southern half of NSW. The southwest of Western Australia has also experienced below to very much below average rainfall this autumn, with record low totals near the coast.

3-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 3-month period from March to May, severe rainfall deficiencies, with patches of lowest on record, spread inland from the central NSW coast to near Nymagee in the centre of that State. The ACT and areas near Albury are included in this swathe. A smaller region on the coast north of Newcastle is also affected, as are districts to the west and northwest of Brisbane in southeast Queensland.

In WA, a broad coastal strip from north of Geraldton to Cape Leeuwin had serious to severe deficiencies for autumn, with a region of driest on record immediately south of Perth.

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5-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 5-month period from January to May, similar areas are affected, although with some important differences. In eastern Queensland, the deficits extend a little further north to near Rockhampton, while patches in far southwest Queensland and far northwest NSW are also affected. In the southeast of the country, deficiencies are evident somewhat further west into the Riverina, and also further south into northeast Victoria. The far northeast corner of Tasmania is also experiencing deficits for this period.

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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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