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Deluge continues across south-east Queensland as drought-stricken farmers hope for more

By Donna Field, Monday October 15, 2018 - 21:13 EDT
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The rain is expected to ease in the south-east from late on Tuesday. - ABC

The sodden weekend across south-east Queensland has delivered some remarkable rainfall totals, with Noosa Heads on the state's Sunshine Coast recording almost half a metre of rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) joked on Twitter that the seven-day rainfall totals for parts of the state's south-east were "starting to resemble cricket scores".

BOM senior forecaster Gabriel Branescu said while the rain was widespread, Noosa Heads was the champion — recording 498 millimetres in the past week.

"That's amazing — [it will] definitely will smash the October rainfall expected in just a few days," Mr Branescu said.

"Brisbane itself in the metro area recorded up to 80mm — even larger amounts in the northern suburbs like Caboolture pushing to 180mm — and also some higher amounts to the south towards Gold Coast pushing towards 200mm rainfall."

A few places on the Gold Coast also recorded over 100 millimetres of rain in the past 24 hours alone.

"[There was] 165mm in Upper Springbrook, 87mm at Binna Burra, Upper Tallebudgera 83mm, but otherwise widespread rainfall between 30mm and 60mm," Mr Branescu said.

While rainfall will ease in the south-east from late on Tuesday, showers are expected to continue, along with hazardous surf from Fraser Island to the Gold Coast.

"We are looking now at a surface trough and upper trough again, the next system already moving to the south-western parts and pushing towards to the east," Mr Branescu said.

Storm victims count cost

Much of the rainfall was delivered in the and primary producers warned there would be price rises as the extent of crop losses became clear.

Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association spokesman Allan Mahoney said many farmers had recorded devastating losses, with rain and hail destroying a wide variety of crops.

Mr Mahoney said "it was hard to cop" and "devastating for all types of commodities" like avocadoes, lychees, pineapples and snow peas.

"Small crops get belted, they get shredded — it's pretty cruel," Mr Mahoney said.

Kalfresh agricultural director Robert Hinrichsen, based in Kalbar in Queensland's Scenic Rim, grows onions, carrots, green beans and pumpkins.

Mr Hinrichsen said he had wet onions in the ground he had not been able to harvest because of the continuous rain.

"It's just one of those farming things I guess," Mr Hinrichsen said.

"We couldn't get a continuous inch of rain on these onions since we planted them, and the week we started harvesting, it started raining and it hasn't stopped.

"It's been playing a bit of havoc with onions in south-east Queensland, that's for sure."

But Mr Hinrichsen said he would not complain about the rain when so many farmers around the state needed it so badly.

"There's enough people out there that are desperate for the rain, so I'm not going to wish it to stop raining or I'll get into trouble," Mr Hinrichsen said.

"For sure, a lot of people have had a few handy good inches … it all depends on what happens next."

Rain provides hope for drought-affected farmers

But other farmers said the rain provided a glimmer of hope.

In central Queensland, weekend storms delivered the first decent rain since February for an area that was recently drought-declared.

Middlemount grazier John Baker recorded 20 millimetres of rain at his property.

"We just sat inside and listened to it and enjoyed it," Mr Baker said.

The hope now is for good follow-up falls.

"That on its own won't make much of a difference, but if we can get more in a few days' time and that's what the forecasts are, we'll have something in it," Mr Baker said.

"Anything at all we can get on top of this now, that'll start to make the grass respond."


© ABC 2018

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