No Drought Statement issued for December
November rainfall was below average for large parts the south of Western Australia and most of South Australia away from the eastern and northern border, northern New South Wales and southern Queensland away from their western borders. Rainfall was also below average for the Cape York Peninsula, east coast New South Wales, and much of southwestern and central southern Victoria.
Rainfall was above average for most of Tasmania, large areas of the Northern Territory (mostly in the west and Top End), and across large parts of Western Australia north of Shark Bay. Rainfall was also above average for pockets of southwestern New South Wales and northeastern South Australia.
Soil moisture in the lower layer (from 10 cm to 100 cm deep) remains above average for most of southeastern Australia and areas of the north. Compared to October, soil moisture has declined markedly and is now close to average across large areas of Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the northern half of Western Australia.
Soil moisture for the month was below average for Western Australia south of Shark Bay, and in areas along the east coast of Australia in southeast Queensland, the Cape York Peninsula and New South Wales.
- November rainfall was below average for much of the southern and eastern mainland, and above average for much of Tasmania, areas of the Northern Territory, and central to northern Western Australia.
- Dry, warm and windy conditions in the past month mean soil moisture has undergone a rapid change in many areas. Vigorous vegetation growth has also drawn moisture from soils.
- Lower layer soil moisture for November was above average for most of southeastern Australia and parts of the north, but below average for the south of Western Australia and pockets of the east coast, particularly southeastern Queensland.
Product code: IDCKGD0AR0
Soil moisture details are reported when there are periods of significant rainfall deficits.
Soil moisture data is from the Bureau's Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape (AWRA-L) model, developed through the Water Information Research and Development Alliance between the Bureau and CSIRO.
See: Australian Landscape Water Balance.
What is drought?
Drought is a prolonged, abnormally dry period when the amount of available water is insufficient to meet our normal use. Drought is not simply low rainfall; if it was, much of inland Australia would be in almost perpetual drought. Because people use water in so many different ways, there is no universal definition of drought. Meteorologists monitor the extent and severity of drought in terms of rainfall deficiencies. Agriculturalists rate the impact on primary industries, hydrologists compare ground water levels, and sociologists define it by social expectations and perceptions.
It is generally difficult to compare one drought to another, since each drought differs in the seasonality, location, spatial extent and duration of the associated rainfall deficiencies. Additionally, each drought is accompanied by varying temperatures and soil moisture deficits.
Rainfall averages, variability and trends
- Average rainfall: How much rain do you expect?
- Rainfall variability: How consistent is rainfall in your area?
- Rainfall history: Check tables, graphs and data from your local weather station.
- Rainfall trends: Has your rainfall changed?
Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin.
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.
For the week to 6 December 2016, rainfall was recorded in the north and southeast of Western Australia; in the south and the Top End of the Northern Territory; northern, central and southeastern Queensland; in western, northeastern and southeastern New South Wales; northeastern Victoria, northern and central districts of South Australia and Tasmania.
At the beginning of the week, a broad area of low pressure covered much of the continent with associated low pressure troughs extended through the interior. Showers and thunderstorms developed over the Kimberley and Pilbara in Western Australia, northwestern Top End, and in northern, central and southeastern Queensland. Thunderstorms, producing moderate falls also formed over eastern parts of New South Wales.
Moderate to heavy falls continued in the Kimberley, the northwest and central Top End, about the Alice Springs region in the Northern Territory and across the northern interior and southeastern districts of Queensland. As a cloudband and a weak cold front tracked across southern Australia in the middle of the week, light to moderate falls were recorded along the Eucla coast in Western Australia, while widespread, light rainfall was recorded across most of Victoria, with moderate falls recorded in western Tasmania.
In the last part of the week, a broad low pressure trough extended across the Northern Territory, through western Queensland into New South Wales. Showers and thunderstorms produced moderate falls in Central Australia, southeastern Queensland, and along the east coast of New South Wales.
Rainfall totals between 50 mm and 100 mm were recorded in parts of Central Australia, the Kimberley region; pockets of the Top End, Gulf Country and Cape York Peninsula; and small areas of southeastern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales. The highest weekly total was 143 mm at Murganella Airstrip in the Northern Territory.
Rainfall totals between 25 mm and 50 mm were recorded parts of western Tasmania; areas along the northeastern and southeastern New South Wales coast; parts of northern and southeastern Queensland; pockets of the Top End; an area in Central Australia; and in the Kimberley district in Western Australia.
Rainfall totals in excess of 10 mm were recorded in the western half and northeastern Tasmania; parts of northeastern Victoria; in southeastern and northeastern New South Wales; southeastern, central and northern parts of Queensland. Similar totals were also recorded in northern and southern parts of the Northern Territory; parts of the Southern Interior, Eucla and Pilbara districts in Western Australia; and small areas in southwest, northwest and along the southern coast of and northern districts of South Australia.
Little or no rainfall was recorded in remaining parts of Western Australia; most of South Australia; central and eastern parts of the Northern Territory; most of Victoria; most of the eastern half of Tasmania; western and central New South Wales, and in the southwest, central coast and adjacent districts of Queensland.
Impact of recent rainfall on deficits
Due to above average rainfall in recent months over areas which had experienced deficiencies since mid-2015, no large-scale deficiencies are currently present. Rainfall analyses are available for standard periods out to 48 months.
Product code: IDCKGRWAR0