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Drought-hit Gulf landholders hope ex-cyclone delivers soaking

By Chrissy Arthur, Thursday November 28, 2013 - 13:46 EDT
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Drought-affected cattle near Karumba in north-west Qld in November 2013. - ABC

Graziers in parts of Queensland's drought-stricken Gulf region are hoping for a decent drenching from an ex-tropical cyclone.

The weather bureau says Tropical Cyclone Alessia crossed the Northern Territory coast in the early hours of this morning and is now a tropical low.

A severe weather warning is in place for heavy rain and damaging winds for parts of Queensland's Gulf country, for areas west of Burketown.

Weather bureau forecaster Rick Threlfall says it means rain for Queensland's far north-west but conditions should ease later today.

"The rainfall will be very much confined to the coastal strip west of about Burketown, so that rainfall is not spreading too far inland," he said.

"But places in the far northern Gulf - they could see over 100 millimetres over the next six to 12 hours or so, and possibly some damaging wind gusts getting up to around 90 kilometres an hour.

"It is still producing some fairly active bands of weather up in the far north-west of Queensland, so we do have a severe weather warning out for that very top north-western part of the state, west of about Burketown."

Gary Gould from Westmoreland Station near the NT border says steady rain has been falling and it will add to storm rain they have received over recent weeks.

"No definitely not drought-breaking - most of the waterholes are still empty," he said.

"We need some good, steady rain and some heavy rain to fill up some holes."

He says drought conditions are among the worst he has seen in 30 years so graziers are hoping for a decent drenching.

"It started drizzling early this morning and now it is steady - and I wouldn't say it is heavy - but it is good, steady rain," he said.

"We have had probably 100 millimetres for the month, scattered showers, but good steady now would come up really nice.

"It would be nice to see it move down south somewhere."

Mornington Island has received 60mm and Burketown 33mm.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services area director Elliott Dunn says local councils have been on high alert since the system reformed.

"Certainly the local governments in the Gulf were watching it quite closely, as it was fairly erratic yesterday, but overnight it has reduced to a low and moved inland," he said.

"There is still some good rainfall at Mornington Island, Burketown and west to the Northern Territory border.

"They are just keeping an eye on the normal things in the river catchments and any road closures in the area."


© ABC 2013

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