Issued on 4 June 2014

Rainfall deficiencies remain in Queensland, emerge in northeastern New South Wales and the southeast

May rainfall was generally below average over the eastern seaboard, northern New South Wales and southern and western Queensland. A long-lived blocking high pressure pattern over the Tasman Sea caused rain-bearing cold fronts to slip south of the mainland southeast. Parts of Western Australia and South Australia received above-average rain, bringing relief to the area which had been experiencing rainfall deficiencies near Shark Bay.

6-month rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall deficiencies for the 6 months from December 2013 to May 2014 have developed in parts of eastern and southern Australia. Rainfall over coastal and northeastern New South Wales, greater southeastern and inland northern Queensland continued to be below average over this period. Serious to severe deficiencies (lowest 10% to 5% of records) are present in east coast Tasmania, areas of central southern Victoria, the central Top End, a large area of northeastern New South Wales and areas of eastern Queensland.

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20-month rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall deficiencies for the 20-month (October 2012 to May 2014) period have decreased in Western Australia, increased in central western Victoria and remained largely unchanged in Queensland and adjacent areas.

Serious to severe deficiencies (lowest 10% to 5% of records) remain in an area spanning western and central Queensland, with smaller areas in adjacent parts of the Northern Territory and South Australia, and in an area inland of the Great Dividing Range extending from southern Queensland into northern New South Wales. Small pockets of deficiencies remains on the coast of Western Australia near Shark Bay, although these are significantly reduced compared to the previous Drought Statement. In Victoria areas of deficiencies in the central region and inland west have increased in extent since last month.

More generally, rainfall for the 20-month period ending May 2014 has continued to be below average over the eastern mainland and parts of Tasmania. Long-term deficiencies also 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 26-month period ending April 2014 have been below-average rainfall across most of eastern Australia and the west coast of Western Australia.

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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.