No Drought Statement issued for February
January rainfall was above to very much above average for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia. Monthly rainfall was also above average for western Queensland and areas in a band across the south of the Cape York Peninsula, and for western Victoria and an adjacent area of southwestern New South Wales.
January rainfall was below average along and east of the Great Dividing Range in southeastern Australia, extending from areas north of Melbourne and across Gippsland in Victoria, through eastern New South Wales to the Hunter and Central Tablelands, and also below average for scattered areas of southeast Queensland and locations in the far southwest of Western Australia.
Rainfall has been below average in areas east of the Great Divide in recent months, accompanied by very much above average temperatures. As a result areas of serious to locally severe deficiency have emerged at three- to four-month timescales in southeast Queensland, and pockets of coastal New South Wales and east coastal Victoria. These areas of rainfall deficiencies will continue to be monitored for further developments. The latest Climate Outlook suggests that rainfall is likely to be below average in the next three months.
Soil moisture in the lower layer (from 10 cm to 100 cm deep) has increased across northern and eastern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, and much of northern Queensland following very much above average rainfall during January. Lower layer soil moisture remains above average for most of Tasmania.
Soil moisture for the month was below average for southeastern Queensland, most of coastal New South Wales, and isolated pockets of Victoria's eastern coast.
- January rainfall was very much above average for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia
- January rainfall was below average along east of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria and southeastern New South Wales, as well as other patches of New South Wales and southeastern Queensland
- Areas of rainfall deficiencies persist at three-month and four-month timescales in southeast Queensland and pockets of coastal New South Wales.
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 28 February 2017, rainfall was recorded in the northwest and along the south coast of Western Australia, the northern half of the Northern Territory, northern and eastern Queensland and eastern New South Wales.
At the start of the week, ex-tropical cyclone Alfred was embedded on a low pressure surface trough that extended across northern Australia. The remnants of Alfred produced moderate to heavy falls in northern Queensland from the Gulf Country and Cape York Peninsula to the north tropical coast. In the west, a weak cold front brushed the southern coast of Western Australia, producing mostly light falls along the coastline.
From the middle of the week, thunderstorms and showers formed over northern Australia, with moderate falls recorded along the Northern Territory–Queensland border, adn the Cape York Peninsula and north tropical coast around Innisfail. Showers and thunderstorms also formed in the vicinity of a surface trough extending across the Top End and northwest Australia. Moderate to heavy rainfall totals recorded in areas of the Kimberley and Pilbara in Western Australia, the Top End in the Northern Territory and northern Queensland.
In the latter part of the week, widespread showers and thunderstorms developed over northeastern and eastern New South Wales, and Queensland’s southern interior and parts of the southeast. The convective activity resulted in moderate falls recorded along the east coast of New South Wales, and across large areas of the inland southern Queensland.
Rainfall totals in excess of 200 mm were recorded in the north tropical coast in Queensland , including the highest weekly total of 262 mm at Mt Sophia.
Rainfall totals between 100 mm and 200 mm were recorded in parts of the Gulf Country, western Cape York Peninsula and northern tropics in Queensland.
Rainfall totals between 50 mm and 100 mm were recorded in the Kimberley and Pilbara; in the northwest Top End in the Northern Territory; parts of the Gulf Country and much of Cape York Peninsula, the northern interior of Queensland and pockets along the east coast of New South Wales.
Rainfall totals between 10 mm and 50 mm were recorded in much of the Kimberley, Pilbara and western Gascoyne districts, and south coast in Western Australia; large areas of the Top End and eastern parts of the Northern Territory; northern and parts of eastern Queensland, and northeastern and east coast New South Wales.
Little or no rainfall was recorded in the southern half of Western Australia away from the south coast; South Australia; Victoria; Tasmania; western and central New South Wales; southwestern Queensland and the southern half of the Northern Territory.
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