Drought declarations change. Dave McRae, Qld Climate Change Centre of Excellence, 28/04/09.
As of the 21 April 2009, the Queensland Government Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland has revoked the drought status of the following local government areas upon recommendations from the Local Drought Committees (LDCs): Winton, Gympie, South Burnett, Lockyer Valley, Ipswich, Somerset, North Burnett, Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Balonne, Southern Downs, Central Highlands north of the Capricorn Highway.
Under Queensland Sate Government processes, drought declarations are made following recommendations from the local drought committees to the minister. 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.
Local drought committees are currently reviewing the drought declaration status of all regional councils/shires. Therefore there may be further changes to the Queensland drought declared regions. 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.
In the mean time the SOI continues to fluctuate. As of the 28th April the 30-day average of the SOI has risen to plus 9.7. It will be interesting to see if these positive values are maintained over coming months or drop to near zero SOI values (as seems likely). You can receive a text message with the latest SOI values sent to your mobile phone. To subscribe to this free service, call me on (07) 4688 1459.
If the SOI remains in positive values through to the end of April there would be an expected improvement in the seasonal outlook for May to July.
Autumn is the key time for the establishment of climate patterns such as El Nino and La Nina. Therefore QCCCE climate staff will continue to closely monitor what happens over the next few months. Updates on the development of these climate patterns can be found at www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au or www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso or www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov