Climate Watch Dave McRae 26th September 06 Following recommendations from the Esk and Kilcoy Local Drought Committee, the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries drought declared Esk and Kilcoy Shires effective as of the 1st August 2006. This takes the number of shires drought declared under State processes to a total of 64 shires and 5 part shires, which is equivalent to 60.5% of the land area of the State. There has also been an increase in the number of Individually Droughted Properties (IDPs) to 233 in a further 16 shires. Drought declarations in Queensland are made following recommendations from the local drought committees to the minister. Individually Droughted Property status is granted when criteria related to rainfall, pasture and stock conditions are met. 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/ or through the DPI Call Centre on 132523. The SOI has continued to remain in negative values. As of the 25th September the 30 day average was minus 4.9. Daily updates on the SOI are available on (07) 46881439. Over the last few months the latitude of the sub-tropical ridge of high pressure has remained further south than normal. This has contributed to shower and rain activity through the increased flow of moist easterly winds. Its effect has been most noticeable across northern and coastal regions of Queensland. Conditions in the Pacific continue to indicate a warming trend of ocean temperatures in the central Pacific in the region running eastward along the equator from the international dateline. As we have stated over the last few months, if this warming trend persists it may have a drying affect on our expected rainfall in spring and early summer. This is regardless of whether it is a 'classic' El Nino or not. Its effect is less noticeable in late summer. For more on conditions in the Pacific go to www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/ Rainfall probability maps are available at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/climate or www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au For more information refer to Rainman StreamFlow or contact 132523 or (07) 3404 6999.