Climate Watch Dave McRae Qld DPI&F 28/08/06 Sixty percent of state drought declared There are currently 62 shires and 5 part shires drought declared under State Government processes, which is equivalent to 60.2% of the land area of the State. There are also a total of 206 Individually Droughted Properties (IDP's) in a further 17 shires. Drought declarations in Queensland are made following recommendations from the local drought committees to the minister. IDP status is granted when criteria related to rainfall, pasture and stock conditions are met. Shire or part-shire declarations are only recommended when the numbers of IDPs become too great to administer effectively. The local drought committees also make the recommendations to the minister for drought declarations to be revoked. This occurs when in their opinion there has been sufficient rainfall to promote enough pasture growth to permit stocking at 'near-normal' carrying capacities for the given time of year. For a full list of drought declared shires and a seasonal conditions report go the Long Paddock internet site www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au Other information on the current drought situation and available financial assistance, drought planning advice, social, and community counselling services can be found at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/drought/ As of the 28th August the 30day average of the SOI was minus 14.4. Based on the SOI remaining in negative values for August the chance of getting above median rainfall for September through to the end of November will be low (20 to 40%) across Queensland. August and September have the lowest average monthly rainfall totals for most locations in Queensland. Therefore it is unlikely that there will be extremely large falls of rain during those two months. The latest information on conditions in the Pacific continues to indicate a warming trend of ocean temperatures in the central Pacific running eastward along the equator from the international dateline. If this pattern persists it most likely will have a drying effect on our expected rainfall in spring and early summer regardless of whether it is a 'classic' El Nino or not. For more on conditions in the Pacific try the Bureau of Meteorology at www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/ The DPI&F has a display in the main pavilion at Ag Show in Toowoomba on the 5th to the 7th September. So if you have any climate related questions or for example want to see the rainfall probabilities for coming months at your place call in and see us. Daily updates on the SOI are available on (07) 46881439. For more information refer to Rainman StreamFlow or contact 132523 or (07) 3404 6999.