Drought Statement Archive

For the 15-month period ending 31st March 2011
Issued on 6th April 2011 by the National Climate Centre

Wettest March on record but still dry in the southwest



All states and territories recorded above median rainfall in March 2011. Australia as a whole recorded its wettest March on record, as did Queensland and the NT, with many areas receiving highest on record rainfall for the month. Eastern parts of WA also recorded above average rainfall with a large area in the inland east Kimberley receiving highest on record totals for the month. However, the southwest of the state was again below average in March, the tenth driest March on record for the region.

For the 15-month period from January 2010 to March 2011, average to below average falls over the southwestern corner of WA during March 2011 resulted in areas of rainfall deficiency remaining broadly similar to those reported in the previous drought statement. The amount of rainfall needed, means it is unlikely that deficiencies will be completely removed in coming months. To relieve most areas in southwest WA, i.e. just to get out of the "serious deficiency" (or lowest 10%) category, rainfall for the next three months will have to be in the "above average" category. For parts of the Lower West, Southwest, southern Central Wheat Belt and northern Great Southern, the coming three months rainfall would have to be in the "very much above average" category, i.e. the highest 10% of such periods 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.


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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:

Glenn Cook (WA) on (08) 9263 2237
Lynette Bettio on (03) 9669 4527
Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4623

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.