Issued on 2 May 2013

Rainfall deficiencies continue and worsen in the southeast for shorter timescales

April rainfall was below average for most of Victoria and New South Wales, Tasmania, central Australia and southwestern Western Australia. Above-average April rainfall was recorded along parts of coastal South Australia and in the tropical north.

Most of New South Wales west of the Great Dividing Range recorded little or no rainfall for the month while central Victoria and parts of western Victoria also recorded April totals in the lowest 10% of records, bringing little relief from deficiencies across the southeast at either shorter or longer timescales.

7-month rainfall deficiencies

Southeastern Australia continues to experience severe deficiencies at the 7-month (October 2012 to April 2013) timescale, although the focus of these deficiencies has shifted into Victoria and Tasmania, and now include substantial regions of lowest-on-record rainfall in agricultural regions (see 7-month deciles map).

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9-month rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall deficiencies at the 9-month (August 2012 to April 2013) timescale have worsened across most of Queensland and New South Wales west of the Great Dividing Range, when compared to the previous 8-month period. Rainfall totals for the period were in the lowest 10% of records for 26% of Queensland, with one third of the State drought declared by State Government.

Areas of serious to severe (lowest 10 and 5% of records) affect central, western and Riverina districts of New South Wales and southern Queensland between roughly Bollon and Charleville. Serious and severe deficiencies remain similar in the Gulf Country of Queensland while worsening in the far west of that State (see 9-month deciles map).

Severe rainfall deficiencies for the 9-month period have contracted across coastal South Australia. The area of western Victoria experiencing severe deficiencies (lowest 5% of records) has expanded compared to the 8-month period and now covers most of the western half of the State, as well as the southeastern corner of South Australia. Small areas of lowest-on-record totals for the period persist in the Mallee in northwest Victoria.

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13-month rainfall deficiencies

Longer-term rainfall deficiencies for the 13-month (April 2012 to April 2013) period remain largely unchanged over South Australia and adjacent areas of Western Australia.

Deficiencies extending from southeast South Australia through southern New South Wales have expanded slightly, taking in more of the Riverina and also increasing in Victoria to cover the southwest and central north as well as the northwest.

Scattered areas of serious to severe deficiencies remain over the remainder of inland New South Wales and Queensland and the southern Northern Territory. The small area of severe deficiencies on the southwest of the Cape York Peninsula has expanded compared to the pervious 12-month period.

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Definitions

Lowest on record - lowest in the historical analysis, which runs from 1900.
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals.
Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%.

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.

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