Issued on 3 July 2013

Rainfall deficiencies ease in New South Wales and South Australia; continue in Victoria, Tasmania and western Queensland

June rainfall was above average across most of South Australia and New South Wales, bringing some relief for areas experiencing rainfall deficits, while in Victoria the northwest and Gippsland received above-average falls but the southwest recorded near-average monthly totals. Gippsland's rainfall was generally in the highest 10% of records, with most of the rain falling in just two events. Parts of the Top End and the northern half of Western Australia also received above-average totals. Tasmania, Western Australia south of Shark Bay, and the majority of Queensland received below-average rainfall. Northern Tasmania and the part of Western Australia contained by a line drawn from Shark Bay to Laverton to Esperance received June rainfall in the lowest 10% of records with large areas of the Southwest Land Division recording their lowest June total on record. Western and Gulf Country Queensland and Tasmania are generally the areas which have seen worsening of deficiencies this month.

9-month rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall deficits continue for the 9-month (October 2012 to June 2013) period in much of Victoria apart from Gippsland and the northeast, with pockets of lowest on record apparent near the South Australian border and to the northeast of Melbourne. Deficits in northwest Victoria, adjacent areas of South Australia and the area of New South Wales west of the Great Dividing Range have largely been alleviated by June rainfall. Rainfall percentages for the 9-month period show much of this area has received more than 50% of the long-term average rainfall. Serious to severe deficiencies are present across much of western Queensland and the central south, and have worsened compared to the previous 8-month period. In Tasmania deficiencies have expanded and intensified, with most of the State, particularly in the west and south, experiencing severe deficiencies (rainfall in the lowest 5% of records) for the 9-month period with pockets of record low rainfall near and west of Hobart

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15-month rainfall deficiencies

Longer-term rainfall deficiencies for the 15-month (April 2012 to June 2013) period have seen dramatic improvement in central and eastern South Australia and inland New South Wales. Most of this area has been elevated above the 10th percentile for the 15-month period (i.e. April 2013 to June 2013 rainfall has been more than 10% of the average total for that period; the rainfall percentages map shows much of this area has received more than 60% of the long-term average rainfall). Deficiencies have also been improved somewhat across northern and western Victoria and adjacent parts of southeast South Australia, the Riverina and southwest New South Wales. Deficiencies have again worsened in Gulf Country Queensland, although June is typically a dry month for inland Queensland. Parts of northern Tasmania and western Tasmania (extending inland from Strathgordon) and the coast of Western Australia (between Shark Bay and Busselton) have seen rainfall deficiencies emerge for the 15-month period. A significant area of lowest-on-record rainfall for the period has been recorded on the Nullarbor Plain. Deficiencies also remain for scattered areas of central Australia, pastoral South Australia and around Charleville in both Queensland and New South Wales.

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Soil moisture

Weekly soil moisture totals in the upper soil layer continue to be very much below average across the Cape York Peninsula and parts of inland Queensland as well as in a small area of the Great Dividing Range in east-central Victoria. Upper layer soil moisture is approaching lowest on record for this time of the year across most of Tasmania, along the west coast of Western Australia and inland from the Great Australian Bight. The effect of recent rainfall can be seen in elevated soil moisture levels through inland New South Wales, northwestern Victoria, much of South Australia and along the Victorian coast in Gippsland and west of Port Phillip Bay.

For the deeper layer, soil moisture has seen some change, compared to last month, following recent rainfall, but is still very much below average for the majority of Victoria (except in the east), part of southeastern New South Wales, the eastern half of Tasmania, Western Australia between Shark Bay, Perth and Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and parts of the far north. Elevated soil moisture in the northwest is a result of frequent northwest cloudbands bringing good falls to that part of the country in recent months.

Climate

Service notice

Network problems on 8 January disrupted processing of observations, affecting some climate information. Missing data are being retrieved and will be processed into our systems over coming weeks.