Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for May to August 2005

The bottom line

Rain welcome but drought declarations increase Dave McRae 16th May 2005

The rain recorded last week coinciding with the MJO was welcome and in some regions may provide the opportunity to get winter crop planting underway. However the rainfall was patchy and especially for parts of the gulf, peninsular and far western Queensland no rainfall was recorded at all. So for those looking for more relief rain the next 'climate induced' opportunity should occur with the return of the MJO in late June.

As of the 16th May there were 53 shires and 8 part shires drought declared under State government drought processes. This is approximately 58.3% of the land area (increase of about 8% over the last month) of the State. There are also 90 Individually Droughted Properties (IDPs) in a further 15 shires.

The Queensland Government currently provides assistance to primary producers affected by severe drought. Information regarding drought declarations can be obtained from your local DPI Stock Inspector or the Rural Risk Strategies Unit.

The Rural Risk Strategies Unit is responsible for the payment of drought freight subsides, collating drought situation reports, processing recommendations for Shire/Area drought declarations, developing applications for Exceptional Circumstances assistance from the Federal Government and advising the Minister on seasonal conditions within the State. The unit can be contacted through the DPI&F Call Centre on 132523 or on (07) 3239 3181.

For a full list of drought declared shires and the latest seasonal conditions report go to

The 30-day average of the SOI remains in negative values and as of the 16th May is minus 9.5. If it remains below minus 3 through to the end of the month there will be a corresponding fall in rainfall probabilities across most of the state regardless of whether an El NiƱo develops this year. Daily updates on the SOI are available on (07) 46881439. The latest rainfall probability maps for Queensland, Australia and the world are at

At the end of April, current soil water conditions and the seasonal rainfall outlook indicated a less than 50% chance of getting above median pasture growth for May to July across most of the state. The main exception to this is for coastal strip especially on the gulf and peninsular where there is an above average chance for getting median pasture growth for May to July. It is also worth noting that pasture growth at this time of year, especially in the north, is low.

For more specific information for your location refer to Rainman StreamFlow or call the DPI Call Centre on 13 25 23 or (07) 3404 6999.

Last updated: 15 May 2005