Weekly Rainfall Update

For the week to 19 January 2021, rainfall was recorded in Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley in Western Australia, the Top End and Gulf Country in the Northern Territory, northern and central to south-east Queensland, north-eastern New South Wales, southern and far eastern Victoria, and most of Tasmania.

At the start of the week, a trough extended from the Cape York Peninsula down to the southern Coral Sea, with an embedded weak low pressure system off the north-east Queensland coast. Another trough extended from the western Top End through northern and central Western Australia. An active band of thunderstorms produced moderate falls over the Top End and the Cape York Peninsula, and on the north tropical coast of Queensland. A trough and associated cloudband moved across central New South Wales, eastern Victoria and Tasmania, and produced showers and mainly light falls in south-east New South Wales and across most of Tasmania.

In the middle of the week, a cold front tracked over Tasmania, and produced moderate falls in southern Victoria, and western and southern Tasmania. Snow was reported at Mount Buller in Victoria. A trough extending from southern inland Queensland to the central coast of New South Wales triggered showers and thunderstorms in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales. Surface troughs and low pressure systems extended down the north-west coast of Western Australia; also across the Top End and the Cape York Peninsula, generating moderate to heavy falls in the northern tropics.

The monsoon trough with embedded weak lows was located to the north of Australia, through the northern Gulf of Carpentaria to the Coral Sea, with enhanced convection and moderate to heavy falls recorded in Arnhem Land and the far tip of the Cape York Peninsula. Thunderstorms developed in the Gascoyne and Kimberley in Western Australia, the Top End and the north tropical coast of Queensland; also through the southern interior of that state.

In the last part of the week, the weak low east of Cairns intensified, and developed into tropical cyclone Kimi on the afternoon of 17 January 2021. The system generated moderate falls from Cooktown to Townsville, with heavier falls around Tully when tracking southward parallel to the north tropical coast. The system weakened from a category 1 system to a tropical low on the 19th.

Rainfall totals in excess of 200 mm were recorded in the north tropical coast of Queensland and the Darwin–Daly District and Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The highest weekly total was 369 mm at Babinda in north-east Queensland.

Rainfall totals in excess of 100 mm were recorded in some coastal parts of the Top End in the Northern Territory, areas of the Cape York Peninsula, and the north tropical coast of Queensland.

Rainfall totals between 10 mm and 50 mm were recorded in the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley in Western Australia, the Tope End and Gulf Country in the Northern Territory, the Cape York Peninsula, the north tropical Queensland coast and adjacent inland districts, from central to south-east Queensland, and north-east New South Wales. Similar totals were recorded in southern and far eastern Victoria, and most of Tasmania except the far north-east.

Impact of recent rainfall on deficits

Rainfall deficits over Australia for the 9-month (April 2020–January 2021) period is discussed in the Drought Statement, which was issued on 8 January 2021. 

Rainfall deficit maps are 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 starting April 2020 and extended to the week ending 12 January 2021.

Rainfall for the period 1 April 2020 to 12 January 2021

Serious or severe rainfall deficiencies for the period starting 1 April 2020 are in place in Western Australia across large parts of the southern half of the State, excluding the western Gascoyne and southern parts of the South West Land Division (SWLD). Serious rainfall deficiencies are also affecting greater south-east Queensland.

Some inland areas of Western Australia have generally received less than 20% their average for the period, while areas in the northern SWLD have generally received less than 70% of their average for the period. Remaining areas in Western Australia have and areas in south-east Queensland and have generally received less than 60% of their average for the period.

Map of rainfall totals for this week

Product code: IDCKGRWAR0

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