Drought Statement - Issued 2nd August 2006


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 5 and 7-month periods ending 31st July 2006
ISSUED 2nd August 2006 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies spread in western WA; ease in central and eastern Australia

Rainfall deficiencies expanded along the west coast of WA following yet another month with very much below average rainfall in July, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. However, above average July totals largely removed rainfall deficits that were evident in central Australia at the end of June, and near-average July rainfall was sufficient to ease the deficits in central and southeast New South Wales.

For the 5-month period from March to July, a large part of western WA from Albany to north of Carnarvon is affected by severe rainfall deficiencies, with a broad coastal zone from Cape Leeuwin to north of Geraldton experiencing record low rainfall. July rainfall was in the driest one-tenth of the historical record (decile 1) over much of western WA from Perth northwards, with record low totals close to Carnarvon. This is the third consecutive month with very much below average rainfall (decile 1) across a significant part of western WA.

A band of rainfall deficiencies, generally in the severe category, runs from central Victoria northeast to the central-west of NSW, where average July falls eased the deficits evident at the end of June. The other areas affected for this period are western Victoria and the adjacent parts of southeast SA, some of northern and southeast Tasmania, and southeast Queensland.

For the 7-month period from January to July, similar areas are affected, though generally to a lesser extent. Tasmania is the notable exception: rainfall deficiencies dating from the start of the year affect much of the north and east of the State, with a small area of driest on record on the north coast. The deficits in south Queensland are also more extensive than for the five-month period.

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
Mike Coughlan on (03) 9669 4086

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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