Issued on 4 March 2010

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.

11-month rainfall deficiencies

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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