Drought Statement Archive

Issued on 4 April 2013 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies decline in the centre and inland east

March saw above-average rainfall across much of central Australia, the southwest, far north, and in northern New South Wales and parts of adjacent southern Queensland. This brought some relief from shorter-term rainfall deficiencies in the Top End, Red Centre, and inland southeast although the southern coast missed out on much needed rainfall. March rainfall was below average for western Victoria and adjacent southeastern South Australia, and for parts of the Gulf Country and central Queensland.

Severe rainfall deficiencies for the 8-month (August 2012 to March 2013) period have contracted significantly in the Northern Territory, remaining in only a few isolated coastal areas, and in New South Wales where serious deficiencies remain in some parts of the centre and west of the State. Queensland also saw some improvement with deficiencies in the south contracting around St George, while serious and severe deficiencies remain similar in the Gulf Country. Northern South Australia and adjacent southwest Queensland have largely seen 8-month deficiencies removed. Remaining areas of South Australia and western Victoria continue to experience deficiencies, with much of this area having received rainfall below the fifth percentile during this period (severe deficiencies). Small areas have recorded their lowest on record rainfall for the eight months, especially in the Mallee in northwest Victoria.

Six-month rainfall (October to March) continues to see severe deficiencies in southeastern South Australia, western and central southern Victoria, much of Gulf Country, and parts of western Tasmania. August was the last month to record above-average rainfall across southwestern Victoria and the adjacent southeast corner of South Australia.

Soil moisture in the upper layer is below average for western Victoria and southeastern South Australia and very much below average for parts of the far north and southwestern Tasmania. Deeper soil moisture remains very much below average across the Top End, southwest Western Australia, southeast South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

The longer term rainfall deficiencies for the 12-month (April 2012 to March 2013) period continue over much of the pastoral areas of South Australia and adjacent areas in eastern Western Australia, although they have improved in central Australia and northern South Australia. Averaged over the State as a whole, South Australia's 12-month rainfall was the third lowest on record. Deficiencies also remain in northwestern Victoria and adjacent areas of southern New South Wales, while contracting in central New South Wales. Deficiencies in northern New South Wales and the Top End have largely disappeared although a small area of severe deficiencies remains on the southwest of the Cape York Peninsula.

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For more information regarding this rainfall deficiencies statement, please contact the following climatologists:

Darren Ray (SA) (08) 8366 2664
Aaron Coutts-Smith (NSW) (02) 9296 1525
Karl Braganza (National) (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.