First rains fall for parched NSW

Source: The Northern Daily Leader

AFTER an agonising wait for rain, some areas have finally reported their first falls in two months – with better chances that more is on the way in the next two days.

While some places, like Tamworth, waited around for rain nearly three days after optimistic forecasts late last week, Sunday night finally delivered the best fall since Christmas Eve.

It was patchy but hopes for some better widespread falls of up to 30mm could be an even better bet tomorrow.

At least 5-10mm was expected today and there was even the chance of isolated showers of up to 50mm, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Chris Webb said.

“There is an increasing trend in the next couple of days,” Mr Webb said.

He said that today the North West Slopes and Plains could expectscattered showers and thunderstorms coming down from Queensland to bring between 5-10mm.

On Wednesday, it would be a morewidespread system delivering between 20-30mm and would contract to Queensland again – but it would float back over the ranges again on Thursday.

Sunday’s rain had brought some relief to the drought-stricken North West and Northern Tablelands.

At Loomberah Kevin Tongue recorded 21mm all up – and like many others, watched clouds go round and below them for so long.

But when it arrived, mostly about 6pm Sunday, it was more than welcome, it was also long overdue.

“It will settle the dust, but it’s a start,” Mr Tongue said yesterday.

“We certainly need follow up rain to get us through winter. We need runoff water into our dams so if those forecasts of Wednesday and Thursday bringing up to 50mm are correct, that would be ideal. We need more now. You can’t sow oats because it’s so dry underneath but it will start freshening things up. It’s cooler and the sun’s not burning, so that’s another plus.”

South of Tamworth, it was a similar story – some got it, some didn’t but optimism is renewed.

Tambar Springs recorded 38mm – but less than 5km away one farmer registered 21.5mm in the gauge.

David Quince, a grazier who owns Tambar Vale about 4km south-east of the village, said: “I actually measured 21.5mm – I think it’s a bit patchy”.

It was a story repeated elsewhere – Narrabri received 12mm but nearby it was a different scenario.

Phillip Kirkby, who lives 30km south-east of Narrabri, said his 809-hectare Santa Gertrudis stud, Wave Hill, had received hardly anything.

“Just a bit of a sprinkle,” Mr Kirkby said.

Where it fell on Sunday:

Armidale 13mm; Barraba 14mm; Ben Lomond 6mm; Blackville 39mm; Boggabri 11mm; Bundella 22mm; Duri 15mm; Glen Innes 1.2mm; Gunnedah 17mm; Gwabegar 14mm; Inverell 3mm;Moree 5mm; Mt Kaputar 29mm; Mt Lindsay 21mm; Mulla Crossing (Cockburn River) 18mm; Narrabri 12mm; Nundle 18mm; Nowendoc 16mm; Pine Ridge 24mm; Quirindi 18mm; Tambar Springs 38mm; Tamworth 19mm; and Yarrowitch 13mm.

Ben Lomond also received a further 7mm between 9am-3pm yesterday and Nowendoc another 2mm.