Drought Statement - Issued 4th July 2006


Statement on Drought for the 4 and 6-month periods ending 30th June 2006
ISSUED 4th July 2006 by the National Climate Centre

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.

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.

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.

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

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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