Australia's Bureau of Meteorology reported Monday that while much of the country received average rainfall, which is much more than the last two years of drought, southeastern Australia continued to see the dry conditions. In fact autumn in southern Australia was the second driest on record according to the bureau's annual climate report.
In addition to insufficient rainfall in 2008 to break the dry spell in the southeast, the report also showed that for several of the adjacent areas of New South Wales and Victoria, rainfall has been below average for the past 12 years.
The dry conditions in the southeast hurt Australia's national wheat production, as estimates were cut from nearly 24 million tons in June to about 20 million tons. Harvest is continuing in southern growing areas.
According to the report several years of above average rainfall are needed to remove the long-term moisture deficit in southeastern Australia.