Heavy storms to soak drought-affected QLD and NSWBrett Dutschke, Wednesday January 8, 2014 - 17:22 EDT
Heavy thunderstorms are soaking some drought-affect areas of southwest Queensland and northwestern New South Wales, bringing some relief from the long dry.
Widespread falls of 15-to-50mm are likely from about Richmond in Queensland's north to about Bourke in northwestern NSW with potential for 50 to 100mm.
For the Windorah, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Thargomindah and Bourke areas this should be the wettest few days since last winter, potentially the wettest in a year or more.
For example Charleville has not seen 40mm in a three-day spell since March last year and Bourke has not had 40mm since March two years ago. Both towns are a fair chance to receive more than this between now and the weekend.
And in Cunnamulla, the area where three days of storms are most likely, falls of 50-to-100mm would make it the wettest spell in two years.
These storms are a long way from being drought-breaking but will at least be delivering a brief respite from the drought which has lasted more than 12 months in some parts.
It is the sort of weather system which boosts confidence for the rest of summer.
During the past 12 months southwest Queensland and northwestern NSW rainfall was about a half-to-a-third the long-term average, a deficit of about 200mm.
The system generating these storms is a low pressure trough which has been lingering over Queensland for more than a week. It has been there for so long, that it has gained enough moisture to bring significant falls. Easterly winds blowing off the Pacific Ocean have sent in the moisture to the trough which is now scattering storms across western districts.
By the weekend the trough will be too weak and too far west to bring more than just the odd shower and storm. By then the start of a dry heatwave will have begun.
There are signs of further rain in the second half of the month with the prospect of a developing monsoon low bringing rain to the tropics and sending some of it to the interior.
© Weatherzone 2014
More breaking news
Residents are warned to take care outdoors as snow, hail and wind gusts send Tasmania into a big chill.
Following an uncharacteristically warm week for southeastern Australia, a solid line of cold fronts are on the way to bring us back to winter with a bang.
The fact that Terra Australis is a land of extremes is not a new concept.