Drought Statement Archive

For the 13-month period ending 31st January 2011
Issued on 7th February 2011 by the National Climate Centre

A wet January for southwest WA but deficiencies remain



All states and territories recorded above median rainfall in January 2011. Much of the southwest corner of WA recorded very much above average rainfall, resulting in its sixth wettest January on record. Rainfall in December 2010 and January 2011 ended a sequence of 8 months with below average rainfall, with 2010 being the driest year on record for the region.

For the 13-month period from January 2010 to January 2011, average to above average falls over the southwestern corner of WA during January 2011 were not enough to clear areas of rainfall deficiency as described in the previous drought statement. Above average rainfall recorded in the southwest during January was able to reduce the extent of severe and lowest on record deficiencies. However, the size of the deficiencies and the fact that the southwest is now in the climatological dry season means it is very unlikely that deficiencies will be removed in coming months. To relieve most areas of rainfall deficiency in southwest WA, i.e. to just get above the tenth percentile, rainfall for the next three months will have to be in the top 10% wettest such periods on record. For the southwest corner adjacent to the coast, rainfall would have to exceed the highest on record.

For more information on dry periods over Australia and extreme rain events see the Special Climate Statements issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.


Click on the map for full resolution.

Click on the map for full resolution.
Black and white version

Click on the map for full resolution.

Click on the map for full resolution.
Black and white version

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:

Lynette Bettio on (03) 9669 4527
Glenn Cook (WA) on (08) 9263 2237
Karl Braganza on (03) 9669 4344

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.