Weekly Rainfall Update

For the week to 31 March 2020, rainfall was recorded in the northern third of the Northern Territory; far northern, eastern, and southern inland Queensland; most of central to eastern New South Wales; central southern to Northern Country and northeastern Victoria; Tasmania and parts of eastern South Australia. Mainly light falls were recorded in Western Australia along the southwest and Kimberley coasts, but there was little or no rainfall elsewhere.

At the start of the week, several surface troughs were present: extending along the west coast, from Central Australia to southern South Australia, and from the Gulf Country to eastern Victoria. An upper level disturbance interacted with the surface troughs and produced showers along the west coast of Western Australia, and much of eastern South Australia.

The interaction between an upper-level disturbance and the eastern surface trough generated an extensive cloudband over eastern New South Wales and inland southeast Queensland. Widespread light to moderate rainfall totals were recorded over much of the northeastern quarter of New South Wales and light falls were reported over southern inland Queensland. Another trough lingered off the north coast of New South Wales, and generated locally heavier falls.

Onshore flow produced showers along much of the east coast of Queensland and tropical convection developed across northern Australia, fuelled by a trough located over the Arafura Sea and an easterly surge across the Gulf of Carpentaria.

By the middle of the week, a strong southerly surge along the east coast of New South Wales brought moderate to heavy falls to the coastal regions, and a firm ridge extended up the east coast of Queensland and produced showers and onshore flow along the north tropical Queensland coast. Tropical convection persisted across far northern Australia, with onshore showers continuing along the north tropical Queensland coast in the last part of the week.

In the last part of the week, a strong cold front tracked across southeastern Australia, intensifying as it moved eastwards. The system generated a large cloudband with embedded thunderstorms, and produced widespread rainfall across much of Victoria, Tasmania, and central to southern New South Wales. Some areas in northwest Tasmania, southern central to northeastern Victoria, and central to southeastern New South Wales recorded moderate falls.

Rainfall totals in excess of 100 mm were recorded about the north tropical coast of Queensland, including the highest weekly total of 297 mm at Cowley Beach.

Rainfall totals in excess of 50 mm were recorded in parts of the northeast Top End and parts of the Darwin–Daly District in the Northern Territory, the north tropical coast of Queensland, small areas in central New South Wales as well as along the central coast of that State between Grafton and Wollongong.

Rainfall totals between 10 mm and 50 mm were recorded in a small area of the west Kimberley coast in Western Australia; most of the Top End and the Gulf coast in the Northern Territory; far northern, east coast, and southern inland parts of Queensland; most of central to eastern New South Wales; central southern to northeastern Victoria; most of Tasmania except that State's east coast; and an area on the northern Eyre Peninsula in southern South Australia.

Impact of recent rainfall on deficits

Rainfall deficits over Australia for the 7-month (August 2019–February 2020) and 23-month (April 2018–February 2020) periods are discussed in the Drought Statement, issued on 5 March 2020.

Rainfall deficit maps are available for these periods as well as for standard periods. The maps show the percentage of mean rainfall that has been received for the rainfall deficit period for the 7-month and 23-month periods, extended to the week ending 31 March 2020.

Rainfall for the period 1 August 2019 to 31 March 2020

Areas of serious to severe rainfall deficiencies for the period starting 1 August 2019 persist in large areas of New South Wales in central and southern regions inland of the ranges and across the western third of the State; extending into far southwestern Queensland, eastern and northern South Australia, and the southwest of the Northern Territory. Deficiencies also exist along the South Australia–Western Australia border and parts of southern South Australia; pockets of south coast and west coast Western Australia; a large area in the central to notheastern Top End in the Northern Territory; and Tasmania's Central North and Midlands. 

Rainfall in the last week eased deficiencies very slightly in a small area of central New South Wales, but had little impact on deficiencies elsewhere.

Affected areas of southwest Queensland and far northeastern South Australia have now received their average rainfall for this period. Affected areas in far western New South Wales, far northern South Australia and a southern area in the Northern Territory have generally received less than 40%, while remaining areas have received less than 60% of their average rainfall.

Rainfall for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2020

Serious to severe rainfall deficiencies are in place for the 23-month period across much of the Kimberley and South West Land Division in Western Australia, the northeastern Interior District, and parts of the western Pilbara; much of the Northern Territory except areas of the east; much of South Australia; southern and southeastern Queensland, extending across much of the Central Highlands and Capricornia districts; most of New South Wales; across northern Victoria and most of the eastern half of that State except parts of West and South Gippsland; and much of northern and eastern Tasmania.

Areas of record low rainfall for the 23-month period persist in much of western New South Wales and adjacent eastern South Australia, areas along the New South Wales–Queensland border, the southeast of the South West Land Division and parts of the south coastal region in Western Australia, and scattered pockets elsewhere. 

Rainfall in the last week saw a slight easing of deficiencies in small areas of central New South Wales, but had little impact elsewhere in affected areas.

Affected areas through the interior of Australia into western New South Wales, southern inland Queensland, northeastern South Australia and the southern parts of the Northern Territory have generally received less than 40% of average rainfall for this period. Remaining areas have generally received between 80% and 50% of average rainfall.

Map of rainfall totals for this week

Product code: IDCKGRWAR0