Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Drought eases but ...

This morning's Erik Jensen Sydney Morning Herald story, Lake George almost lives up to its name, includes a photo of the lake with the first water since 2002. The lake is a familiar sight to anybody driving between Sydney and Canberra because the road skirts its edge at one point.

Despite the rains, Jamie made a comment on my post The slowly breaking drought that is worth quoting in full:

James, I think that your map (The Bureau of Meteorology water deficiency map) gives a less than honest view of the current situation with regards to drought, especially in NSW. The position has eased but at present more than 50% of NSW is still drought declared and will probably remain so throughout the winter until winter rainfall patterns are determined. Perhaps publish a Drought Declaration map for NSW.

Over Christmas at Mt Hotham there was a fair bit of discussion on just how bad the drought had become in parts of southern and central NSW. Jamie knows the area very well.drt-area-2010-02

As requested, the map shows the drought position across NSW prior to the most recent rains. You can indeed see Jamie's point about the scale of the country still in drought.

The recent rains may have eased the position further, but the big drought is not yet over.

For the benefit of international readers, the country in the north east that is marginal to satisfactory is affected by both the northern and southern weather systems.

Further south, winter rains dominate, hence Jamie's comment that the area will probably remain in drought until winter rainfall patterns are known. Should the rains fail or even be patchy, severe drought conditions will quickly reappear.         

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