Issued 4 July 2006

Rainfall deficiencies intensify in southwest WA and southeast Australia

As a consequence of low June rainfall, rainfall deficiencies have intensified across areas of central New South Wales and southwest Western Australia, and spread into Victoria, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. Australia-wide, it was the fifth driest June from 107 years of records, whilst it was the driest on record for Western Australia and the third driest for Victoria. This has contributed to a large area of driest on record along the southwest WA coast and in central NSW for the period since the start of autumn.

4-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 4-month period from March to June, a large part of southwest WA from Shark Bay to Albany is affected by severe rainfall deficiencies, with a broad coastal zone from Cape Leeuwin to north of Geraldton experiencing record low rainfall. June rainfall in southwest WA was generally less than 30% of average, causing deficiencies to expand and intensify in comparison with the situation at the end of May. Similarly, below average June rainfall in central NSW contributed to an increase in the region of driest on record to the north of Canberra.

Below average rainfall across southern Australia during June also caused serious to severe rainfall deficiencies in large areas of central and western Victoria, extending into SA. The northeastern tip of Tasmania was also affected.

The southwest of WA needs above to very much above average rainfall for the rest of winter (July-August) to remove the current short-term rainfall deficits.

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6-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 6-month period from January to June, similar areas are affected, though generally to a lesser extent. In Queensland heavy rainfall between Rockhampton and Bundaberg during June, eased the deficits for the period beginning in January. Deficiencies in the northeastern corner of Tasmania, present in the four-month period, extend further to the west in the six-month period. There are also areas in the southeast NT, far northern SA and far southwest Queensland.

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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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