Drought Statement Archive

Issued on 7 May 2014 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies remain in Queensland and northeastern New South Wales

A slow-moving trough linking to copious tropical moisture meant that April rainfall was above average over a broad band from northern Western Australia down through South Australia into western New South Wales and Victoria. Above-average rainfall largely missed areas of rainfall deficiencies in Queensland and northeastern New South Wales. Large parts of central and southern Queensland received average rainfall with small areas of below average rainfall, mostly recorded around southeast Queensland and northeastern New South Wales. Rainfall received in April has had little impact on the areas of rainfall deficiencies reported in the April Drought Statement.

Rainfall for the northern wet season (October to April) was mostly above average to very much above average over the western half of the country, except for southwest Western Australia where rainfall was very much below average. For the eastern half of Australia rainfall was average to below average. Short-term rainfall deficiencies for the period show up in a large area in southwest Western Australia, although the warmer months are typically a drier time of the year in southern Australia. Below-average rainfall was also recorded for parts of northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland and small scattered areas through Queensland during this period.

Rainfall deficiencies for the 19-month (October 2012 to April 2014) period have eased in parts of Western Australia, western New South Wales and Victoria that received above-average rainfall in April. Elsewhere deficiencies remain largely unchanged.

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). Isolated pockets of deficiencies remain in Victoria with a larger area of deficiencies persisting on the coast of Western Australia near Shark Bay.

More generally, the vast majority of eastern Australia has received below- to very-much-below-average rainfall for the 19-month period ending April 2014.

Long-term deficiencies remain for periods greater than two years starting from the end of the 2010–2012 La Niña event (Australia’s wettest 24-month period on record was during this event – April 2010 to March 2012). For example, rainfall for the 25-month period ending April 2014 shows below-average rainfall across large parts of eastern Australia and the southwestern coast of Western Australia. Large areas of very-much-below-average rainfall remain in Queensland and extend into bordering states.

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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.