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Flooding rain to hit parts of drought-stricken western Queensland

Brett Dutschke, Sunday February 16, 2014 - 14:42 EDT

Drought-affected areas from northwest Queensland to the state's southeast interior can look forward to their biggest rain in two-or-three years, although the widespread 50-to-150mm will bring some flooding.

Areas which can expect their heaviest falls in two years or more are St George, Miles, Roma, Charleville, Blackall, Windorah and Richmond areas.

Blackall in the Central Lowlands is one of the places where it will be most welcome given that the year 2013 only delivered 36 percent of the annual rainfall, 330mm short of the average of 530mm. This took the region into drought after only the year before receiving 200mm more than average.

This was the most rapid drying out the Blackall region has seen in 130 years of records. Typically it would take three-or-more years to dry out this much. The closest it has come to drying out this rapidly was in 1926 and 1915 when it took two years to become this dry after having been so wet.

Just 100km up the road to the north, Barcaldine, which had experienced a similarly fast descent into drought, is already taking a turn for the better with more than 90mm in early February and 100mm in January.

The monsoon had become quite active a few weeks ago, increasing moisture in the northern tropics and drawing it further south. Since then the monsoon has weakened but is about to redevelop and combine with a near-stationary low pressure trough forming over Queensland. The effect will be to generate rain and storms over much of the state each day for at least a week, bringing 50-to-150mm from the Gulf country to the southeast. There is potential for well over 200mm, one-to-two times the monthly average.

Flooding is highly likely. However, nearly all of those in the farming game will cop the flooding in order to replenish dams, get soil moisture to near-normal levels and get their cattle fed without having to rely on dry feed being trucked in.

The areas likely to gain the least are the west of the Channel Country and parts of the Central Coast, Capricoria and Wide Bay areas where some will only receive less than 20mm.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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