Weekly Rainfall Update

For the week to 28 March 2017 rainfall was recorded in northern, central and southern Western Australia, the northern half of the Northern Territory, northern and eastern Queensland, eastern and southern New South Wales, most of Victoria, and most of Tasmania.

At the beginning of the week an active monsoon trough extended across the far north of Australia, linking to a tropical low in the north Coral Sea. Meanwhile a tropical low off the northwest coast moved towards the Pilbara coast.

Troughs and broad areas of low pressure dominated much of the continent during the first part of the week. A coastal trough located off southeast Queensland produced moderate falls along the east coast and central interior of Queensland, with heavy falls reported about the Capricornia coast. A surface trough and a low pressure centre deepened and tracked eastwards over southeastern Australia, producing moderate falls in Victoria, southern and eastern New South Wales, and parts of Tasmania.

In the west a cloudband, associated with the tropical low, extended from the northwest to a low pressure centre near the south coast. Moderate to heavy falls were recorded in the Pilbara, the eastern Gascoyne, the Goldfields, and the South West Land Division. Moderate to locally heavy falls continued for several days from the Pilbara, through central Western Australia to the Eucla coast as the remnants of the tropical low progressed southward.

Another tropical low in the northern Coral Sea moved slowly west towards northern Queensland coast, intensifying to tropical cyclone strength by mid-week. Debbie was upgraded to severe tropical cyclone (category 4) before making landfall near Proserpine around midday on 28 March. Debbie brought heavy rainfall to a large area of central Queensland coastal areas during the day leading up to landfall.

During the week, an active monsoon trough across northern Australia also produced moderate falls in the Kimberley, parts of the Top End and the Cape York Peninsula.

The highest weekly total was 630 mm at Plane Creek Sugar Mill in the central coast of Queensland. Rainfall totals in excess of 200 mm were recorded along the east Queensland coast between Bowen and Gladstone, and around Port Hedland on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia.

Rainfall totals between 100 mm and 200 mm were recorded in the Pilbara and Goldfields districts in Western Australia, the Cape York Peninsula, between Ayr and to about Bundaberg on the east coast of Queensland, and some locations in central New South Wales.

Rainfall totals between 50 mm and 100 mm were recorded in parts of the Kimberley, in a broad area across the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Goldfields districts in Western Australia, and in isolated pockets of the southwest; parts of the Top End; across the Cape York Peninsula and along much of the east coast of Queensland; in northeastern and central New South Wales, and isolated pockets of Victoria

Rainfall totals between 10 mm and 50 mm were recorded in northern, central and southern Western Australia; the Top End and an area of the southern interior of the Northern Territory; northern and eastern Queensland; the eastern half and southern parts of New South Wales; southern, eastern and northern Victoria, and larges parts of Tasmania.

Little or no rainfall was recorded in remaining parts of Western Australia, all of South Australia, the southern half of the Northern Territory, western Queensland, and western and inland northern New South Wales.

Impact of recent rainfall on deficits

The Drought Statement, issued on 6 March 2017, discusses rainfall deficits over Australia for the 4-month period (November 2016–February 2017). The rainfall deficit map is available for this period as well as for standard periods.

The map below shows the percentage of mean rainfall that has been received for the rainfall deficit period for the 4-month period ending 28 March 2017.

Rainfall for the period 1 November 2016 to 28 March 2017

Rainfall deficiencies for the 4-month period (November 2016–February 2017) emerged in southeastern Queensland, extending into Capricornia and the Central Highlands and Maranoa regions; parts of New South Wales in the central north and an area around Kempsey on the northern coast; and a small area of Gippsland in eastern Victoria.

Rainfall across most of the affected areas for the period to 28 March has been 60% to 80% of average.

Rainfall recorded in the past week eased deficiencies in affected areas of southern Queensland and New South Wales.


Map of rainfall totals for this week

Product code: IDCKGRWAR0