Drought Statement Archive

For the 17-month period ending 31st May 2011
Issued on 6th June 2011 by the National Climate Centre

Dry conditions continue in southwest WA



Rainfall across Australia was below average during May 2011, the first below average month since June 2010, the start of the 2010-2011 La Niņa event. The largest areas of below average rainfall were in the north of the country. Much of Tasmania, northern and western parts of Victoria and southwest WA were also dryer than usual.

For the 17-month period from January 2010 to May 2011, rainfall deficiencies remained in place through much of southwestern WA. Despite some rain at the end of the month, below average total rainfall during May 2011 over much of the southwest region reinforced deficiencies. Areas of rainfall deficiency are very similar to those reported in the previous drought statement, with a large area of lowest on record rainfall covering much of the southwest corner, and severe deficiencies over most areas southwest of a Geraldton-Esperance line, except near the south coast from Albany eastwards. 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.