Drought Statement Archive

For the 11-month period ending 28th February 2010
Issued on 4th March 2010 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficits ease across eastern Australia but worsen in the west



Widespread above average rainfall across eastern Australia during summer 2009-2010, especially in February, has eased short-term deficiencies across most of eastern Australia. In contrast, a drier than normal summer across the western half of WA has increased rainfall deficits in some areas.

For the 11-month period from April 2009 to February 2010, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies are evident over much of the central WA coast reaching inland, covering much of the Pilbara and Gascoyne districts. Serious to severe rainfall deficiencies are also evident over the Southeast Coastal and Great Southern districts, with an area of lowest-on-record for the period located near Esperance.

As mentioned in the introduction, above to very much above average rainfall over much of eastern Australia in February was enough to remove most of the deficiencies that had existed in southeastern Queensland and NSW and eastern Victoria when compared with the 7 and 13-month period ending January 2010 from the previous Drought Statement.

Very long-term rainfall deficiencies outside of the drought periods discussed above persist across parts of southern and eastern Australia. Most notably, rainfall has been below average across much of southwest and southeast Australia since 1997, while the Murray-Darling Basin has experienced below average rainfall since 2002.


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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:

Robyn Duell on (03) 9669 4671
Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4623
Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4527

Archive of previous drought statements


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.