Barkly and CQ biggest winners from rain

James Nason, 15/12/2014
Rain received across Australia for the seven days to yesterday.

Rain received across Australia for the seven days to yesterday. Click on the map to view in larger format.

A trough has delivered some excellent rain to parts of the Barkly Tableland and Central Queensland, but left many areas with disappointingly lower totals than forecasts had enticingly suggested late last week.

However there is still some prospect of a wet Christmas present for some areas that missed out, with another trough forecast to deepen over western Queensland later this week with the potential to bring 20-50mm.

As the map shows, most of northern Australia received rain in the past week, while falls in the southern half of the continent were mainly restricted to the eastern coast.

Jock McPherson of Territory Rural in Alice Springs said the start of the change a week ago had looked very promising.

However, despite a huge build up over three to four days that brought high humidity and extremely hot temperatures, the resulting falls had been patchy and relatively narrow.

Dry areas east of Alice Springs received little to no rainfall, while Alice Springs recorded two falls of 10mm. Better totals of 30mm-40mm were registered farther north towards Tennant Creek.

“I flew out to a place on Saturday and as you went along you could see where the country was green and had responded in places, then you’d go a bit further along and there was nothing,” Mr McPherson said.

“So it is just storm activity really.

“Around Alice you certainly look for something in December, the worry is sometimes January has been not a good month and what you get it burns off again.

“Hopefully it will be a year that might continue to bring rain.”

Across the border in north western Queensland cattle stations remain in the grip of savage drought.

Ray White’s Kevin Currie, the outgoing president of the Charters Towers Combined Livestock Selling Agents, said some isolated coastal storms had been received around Townsville but the bigger totals had not penetrated far inland.

“To my knowledge the only rain has been right here on the coast and pretty isolated,” Mr Currie said.

“It is absolutely desperate at the moment and even if it rains by the end of December, the growing season is going to be short and cattle won’t have a real lot of time to put weight on to be suitable for the market.

“If the rain continues on through March/April/May well it will be great, but the predictions are that it is going to be a light wet season and it will probably grow enough grass and give us enough water to struggle by for another 12 months.”

Easily the best falls over the past week were recorded in the Central Queensland region.

Gary Bishop from Hourn & Bishop in Moura estimated that up to half of Central Queensland received in the vicinity of 100mm, taking in a footprint including Dingo, Duaringa, Baralaba and Moura.

“A lot of places have had over 100mm, that has been commonplace, some have had up to 150mm and some have had up to 200m, mainly in the Biloela and nearby areas,” Mr Bishop said.

“This is a unique change for us because it was good steady rain.

“By Friday the country had filled up and then the water started to go, and a lot of people got water in dams, it has been a merry Christmas for them.

“A lot of people had been getting very worried so it was a dream come true.”

Southern Queensland saw mainly patchy falls.

Rod Turner from Landmark in Roma reported totals of up to 125mm west of Injune and 75mm-100mm south of Mitchell, and 25-50mm north and south of Roma.

“It was scattered though, not everyone got it,” he said.

“The season is just in a reasonable condition at the moment, the grass has just started to grow and there are probably as many that haven’t got water as have got water now.

“Some filled their dams and by washed but others have had no runoff water yet.”






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