Issued 6 March 2007

Drought persists in western WA, southern SA & from Tas to SE Qld

Heavy rain during February eased drought conditions in parts of southern coastal NSW and far East Gippsland, but for the past twelve months rainfall deficiencies remain evident in western WA, southern South Australia and from Tasmania to southeast Queensland.

12-month rainfall deficiencies

For the 12-month period from March 2006 to February 2007, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies affected southern and eastern Australia in a broad arc extending across southern SA, most of Victoria, much of NSW west of the Great Divide (apart from far western areas), and a large part of southeast Queensland centred on about Dalby. Northern and eastern Tasmania was also affected as was WA west of a line from Exmouth to Bremer Bay. Record low falls occurred in a strip from Melbourne to central NSW, between Dalby and Goondiwindi in southern Queensland, along Tasmania’s north coast and much of WA’s west coast.

The worst of the deficiencies are likely to remain for some time. For example, for them to be removed by the end of May, falls over the next three months would need to be in the highest 10% of the historical record in many areas, or at record high levels in some instances.

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Click on the map for larger view
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In comparison with the situation for the twelve months to January, deficits were eased or removed along parts of the southern NSW coast and in far East Gippsland.

The deficiencies discussed above have occurred against a backdrop of multi-year rainfall deficits that have severely stressed water supplies in the east and southwest of the country.

Climate

Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.