Drought Statement Archive

For the 18-month period ending 30th June 2011
Issued on 5th July 2011 by the National Climate Centre

Long-term dry conditions continue in southwest WA



Rainfall across much of southern Australia continued below average during June 2011. The largest areas of below average rainfall were in the southeast of the mainland, and in the southwest. Much of Tasmania, central and southern parts of the NT, southeastern WA and northeastern NSW experienced above average rainfall.

For the 18-month period from January 2010 to June 2011, rainfall deficiencies remain in place through much of southwestern WA. Despite some rain at the end of the month, below average total rainfall during June 2011, over much of the southwest region, has extended and added to 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 serious deficiencies in most areas in southwest WA, i.e. just to get out of the "serious deficiency" (lowest 10%) category, rainfall for the next three months will have to be in the "above average" to "very much above average" category.

After the very wet March, rainfall in southeastern Australia has been below average, and especially so in June. This continues a trend in recent decades of unusually dry mid-autumn to early-winter conditions to recur in most years (for example Victoria has experienced below average April-June rainfall in 10 of the last 11 years). This is a topic of active research, and climate scientists will be closely monitoring rainfall in this region.

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
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.