Parts of western Queensland have been hit by heavy thunderstorms, bringing more rain in a few hours than during the last few months, enough to turn dust to mud.
Longreach gained 60mm overnight, more than double the total rainfall received during the previous three months and is also double its monthly average. The last time it had heavier rain was in February 2009, when 79mm fell.
The Central West town was hit by three storms yesterday afternoon and overnight, courtesy of a slow-moving low pressure trough which has been generating storms over several western districts.
Other centres to be hit by storms yesterday afternoon and last night were Roma, Blackall and Clermont. Roma picked up 15mm, Blackall 14mm and Clermont nine millimetres, their heaviest rain since July.
Hail has also been reported in some places, including Tambo, where 53mm was recorded.
These storms are a mixed blessing. They are adding a bit of moisture to the soil, pastures and the bush, which have dried out significantly during the last few months. However, the storms are also sparking new bush and grass fires with lightning.
The low pressure trough will trigger further storms later on Tuesday with potential for damaging winds, brief flash flooding and large hail. Only the odd storm is likely on Wednesday, in eastern parts of the state as the trough weakens. Come Thursday, nearly all of the state will be free of showers and storms with help from a more stable atmosphere.
© Weatherzone 2012
17:25 EST Farmers say Australia urgently needs a new national plan for drought, after Agriculture Department figures reveal less than half the funds allocated for Commonwealth concessional loans schemes .