NOVEMBER rainfall was above average across most of the Northern Territory, South Australia, the southern half of Western Australia (away from the west coast and southwest), western Queensland, north eastern Tasmania, and large areas of New South Wales.
This has eased short- to medium-term rainfall deficiencies across large areas, but at the longer 20-month timescale deficiencies remain largely unchanged.
The Bureau of Meteorology says drought is rarely broken in a single event or month; typically, regular rainfall over a period of several months is required to remove the large rainfall deficiencies currently in place.
Rainfall for November was below average across eastern Queensland, extending into north eastern NSW, and other smaller areas in northern and west coast WA. Correspondingly, rainfall deficiencies have increased in northern Queensland.
The year to date has been exceptionally dry for NSW, Victoria, eastern SA, and the southern half of Queensland.
Significant rainfall deficiencies continue to affect large areas of eastern Australia at timescales out to around two years’ duration.
This has been the seventh-lowest January to November rainfall since 1900 for the Murray-Darling Basin, eighth-lowest for NSW, and ninth-lowest for Victoria.
Second warmest year
The year so far has also been very warm, which has added to the impact of low rainfall.
Australian maximum temperatures for 2018 to date have been the second-warmest on record with an anomaly of +1.33 °C (behind 2013 with an anomaly of +1.51 °C for January to November).
NSW (+2.07 °C) has experienced its warmest January–November period on record, while Victoria (+1.41 °C) has tied for equal-second-warmest (with 2007, both behind 2014).
Record warm temperatures in late November in Queensland contributed to large and severe fires in a number of areas in the east of the state.