Excitement rains for the west

Relief rain falls in parts of western Queensland


Weather
Two-year-old Grace Francis watches the rain come down at Tocal, west of Longreach, dressed ready for action in her rain coat. Photo - Sophie Francis.

Two-year-old Grace Francis watches the rain come down at Tocal, west of Longreach, dressed ready for action in her rain coat. Photo - Sophie Francis.

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Among those breathing a big sigh of relief after Wednesday's rain event south of Longreach was Paula Dean from Notus Downs who emptied her rain gauge in disbelief three times.

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While falls have been scattered across western Queensland, Wednesday’s rain influence brought some isolated heavy falls for producers to Longreach’s south west.

Among those breathing a big sigh of relief was Paula Dean from Notus Downs who emptied her rain gauge in disbelief three times yesterday morning and finished up with 94mm of both water-running and grass-growing rain.

It started with a clap of thunder at 4.45am, when storm after storm was interspersed with drizzle, clearing by about 1pm.

Paula described it as an early Christmas present.

“I was thinking I wouldn’t get any rain probably until March,” she said. “This should give us feed through to then instead.”

Related: Rain delivers breathing space

She also had the good feeling of being able to ring neighbours with confidence, knowing all would have received some rain.

Her three neighbours to the north – Roseneath, Wynn Downs and Yuruga – all had 90mm, while Somerset and Janet Downs to the east had 70mm or so, and Ban Ban and Elwood in the south recorded 65mm and Tarcombe had 50mm.

“The influence came out of the north west and travelled to the south east, just like the good old days,” Paula said.

“I’d optimistically joined my rams as usual on November 1 – I’ve been feeding the ewes cottonseed and faba beans – so it should be all systems go now.

“We know though that for a lot of people, there hasn’t been enough rain out of this.”

Steady rain

Blackall Elders manager, Des Cuffe, said the main benefit to the falls seemed to be that it was steady rain that the ground was drinking up.

“In my radius, the best fall I’ve heard has been Wakefield west of Isisford with 85mm, while down the Adavale Road, falls seem to have ranged from an inch to an inch and a half,” he said.

“Avondale on the Avington Road west of Blackall had around two inches, but they’re not sure what they’ve had across the property, like a lot of people.

“It was quite a bit lighter towards Jericho, and around Tambo, people there seem to have had the inch to inch and a half.

“It was definitely patchy, and follow-up will be important.”

Ray and Helen Aspinall recorded 42mm at their prime lamb operation situated near the township of Blackall.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast map for the next four days.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast map for the next four days.

West of Longreach, Rob and Sophie Francis were the beneficiaries of 85mm at Tocal, which started early in the morning and fell most of the day.

Having just erected an exclusion fence and purchased sheep and goats, the rain has given their venture an extra element of security.

They purchased Tocal in 2012, just as the drought started, and have seen their country at its worst.

Now, watching the rain soak in, they’re hoping to see what it can do under better conditions.

South of Ilfracombe, John and Sheila Back at Navarre were on the edge of the cell to their south, receiving 39mm, but said falls were lighter as they went north.

“It was acceptable, meaningful rain, not drought-breaking by any means,” John said. “But we were getting that way you feel it will never rain again so at least that spell has been broken.”

Related: Plenty of dusty rain gauges

Yaraka’s Susan Glasson said they’d tipped out 25mm at Greenlaw, which was more than predicted for once.

“I think it was heavier across the (Barcoo) River and towards Isisford and Emmet,” she said. “It will be a start in the places where water lies.”

They had 15mm a month ago and Susan said surprisingly there was a still a spark in the grass butts from that, that would benefit greatly from this rain.

Keeping it in perspective, she said they’d trucked cattle out on Sunday, moved out sheep on Monday and brought in a load of cottonseed on Tuesday.

“It took all of that to make it rain,” she laughed. “We’ll certainly still use the feed and the calves had to go, but this is a great morale booster.”

Darling Downs smiles

Producers across the Darling Downs and Western Downs and to the south west are starting to smile again as teasing rain continues to deliver in scattered areas. 

With rain still falling on the Darling Downs, the garden city of Toowoomba, has so far has received 22mm in just 15 minutes.

Other pleasing reports include more that 25mm in the Cecil Plains district, while The Summit south of Stanthorpe has received 34mm, and in the Millmerran district reports of up to 60mm have been made. 

In the Texas district beef producer Andrew Gray, Orana, recorded 44mm of rain overnight, giving him his best fall for the year. 

There have been reports of 35mm in the Moonie district, while Cindy Grimes, Cadilla, Hannaford, has measured 81mm.

Mel Bailey, Windamere, Talwood has received 61mm.  

Kylie Savidge,  Southampton, St George, has received varied falls from 45mm to 60mm and reports some dams are full, while others are more than three quarters full.

In the Wyandra district, Jenny and Tangles Webster, Goolburra have measured 19mm so far with rain continuing to fall.

Welcome falls in the north west

Ares in the north west also received some much welcome rain yesterday.

Sharon Jonsson, at Charley Creek Station about 25km south of Prairie, received her best rain in almost two years.

Ms Jonsson said 65mm fell in total yesterday afternoon, with light showers continuing in the night. It was the best rain she had seen since December 2016, when 80mm fell in one isolated shower.

"There was a bigger storm to the north in Prairie, it was a pretty wild storm we were watching that, then about 5.30pm it was like a tap turned on. At first it was spitting then boom, it started pouring for about 1.5 to two hours.

"It just seemed to follow the creek down in a narrow band, I heard of others south of us who got 44mm."

"It was the biggest single fall in the last two years."

Ms Jonsson said they had received an inch or so a month ago and the follow-up was welcomed.

"We always need the follow-up as the last two to three years we have been very deficient, with a third or less of annual rainfall.

"Any little bit of rain certainly gives everybody spirit.

"A month ago we did get about an inch or so, so this on top of that will certainly give us a boost. Hopefully we don't get the really hot days to burn it all off, but it's a good start."

There was also welcome rain at Delbessie Station, 35km north of Hughenden.

Cecilia McNamara said they had received about 63mm yesterday afternoon.

"It was absolutely beautiful rain, it would be the best in 12 months I'd say and it rained for about an hour and a half.

"It was absolutely an answer to our prayers. We need a lot more but it's a really good start."

Queensland's current drought situation, where 58 per cent of the state remains in drought.

Queensland's current drought situation, where 58 per cent of the state remains in drought.

The story Excitement rains for the west first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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