Issued on 4 April 2014

Rainfall deficiencies remain in Queensland and New South Wales, easing slightly in the inland east

March rainfall was generally below average over Western Australia, South Australia, the Top End and inland northern Queensland east of Mount Isa. Rainfall was above average for New South Wales and adjacent parts of neighbouring states, extending across southeast Queensland as far north as the Capricornia District. This rainfall has had mixed impacts; rainfall deficiencies have eased in parts of the affected area covering Queensland’s Warrego and Maranoa, extending into the Central Highlands and adjacent parts of northern New South Wales, while increasing farther inland over northern and western Queensland and northeastern South Australia.

Short-term rainfall deficiencies have been exacerbated by below-average March rainfall in southwest Western Australia and western Victoria, although the warm months are typically the drier part of the year in these areas. March rainfall brought some welcome respite for northeastern New South Wales and southeastern Queensland, despite a somewhat limited impact at longer timescales.

18-month rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall deficiencies for the 18-month (October 2012 to March 2014) period have eased in the southeastern quarter of Queensland and eastern New South Wales, with slight easing also seen in Queensland's Channel Country, western New South Wales and northwestern Victoria. Conversely, deficiencies have increased in northeastern South Australia, inland northern Queensland and a small area of the southeast Northern Territory, as well as on the coast of Western Australia near Shark Bay.

Serious to severe deficiencies (lowest 10% to 5% of records) remain in central Queensland and in an area inland of the Great Dividing Range extending from southern Queensland into northern New South Wales as well as in areas around the Queensland–South Australian border (affecting the Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland), in eastern New South Wales, western Victoria and on the coast of Western Australia near Shark Bay.

Looking at rainfall over the period more generally, the vast majority of eastern Australia has received below- to very-much-below-average rainfall for the 18-month period ending March; rainfall has been well below average for a significant period over this area.

Click on the map for larger view

Click on the map for larger view
Black and white | High resolution colour


24-month rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall deficiencies for the 24-month (April 2012 to March 2014) period have eased over New South Wales and southern Queensland, corresponding to areas which received above-average March rainfall. Elsewhere, rainfall deficiencies in affected areas have increased in severity. Serious to severe deficiencies (lowest 10% to 5% of records) persist in an area extending from inland southern Queensland into northern New South Wales, areas of southern New South Wales, northwestern and north-central Victoria, areas in inland northern and western Queensland, the southeast of the Northern Territory, northeast and central South Australia, the Nullarbor Plain and on the west coast of Western Australia, particularly between Carnarvon and Geraldton.

The decile map for the 24-months ending March shows rainfall has been below average for much of eastern Australia at the longer timescale, indicating persistence of below-average rainfall over a protracted period.

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Click on the map for larger view
Black and white | High resolution colour

Soil moisture

Soil moisture maps were unavailable at the time of this release.

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.