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Rain brings long-awaited relief to north-west Queensland

Friday March 2, 2018 - 19:25 EDT
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Four-year-old Freddie Griffin is loving the rain at Cloncurry. - ABC licensed

Steady rain is falling and tears of joy are flowing in Cloncurry as the town receives a soaking from the low-pressure system that .

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Friday evening the system was centred over the region between Cloncurry and Mt Isa, where the heaviest falls were occurring.

Cloncurry grazier Keith Douglas said the rain had brought hope to the north-western Queensland town, which has been struggling through years of drought.

"To wake up this morning and to see what was going on out there, we've been nothing but excited all day.

"My wife and I keep running to the door to watch it — I don't know if there are any words to describe it.

"It was just absolutely beautiful, we haven't seen days like this in a long time.

"This has really been a tough time — a lot of people have started to destock, they were looking at a year ahead that was really going to be very disastrous and this has changed their spirits already," he said.

"It's not just the graziers that are affected — it affects everybody … everybody's got a smile on their face."

Mr Douglas said if the rain continued it would "change the whole year" for the community.

"We couldn't be more excited. I have trouble trying not to sit here with a big Cheshire grin on, because I tell you, it's a beautiful day," he said.

East of Cloncurry, the towns of Richmond and Julia Creek have copped the brunt of storms.

More than 75 millimetres of rain has been recorded at Julia Creek since yesterday afternoon, while nearby Punchbowl has recorded 87mm.

The BOM is waiting to see if the system comes under the influence of an upper trough that would take it south south-east.

But forecasters now believe there is only a slim possibility of heavy falls reaching Longreach.

Colin Burnett from Lara Downs station, north of Julia Creek, said the rain was a welcome sight after a hot and dry summer.

"People went through a lot of heat and were wondering when the rain was coming or if it's going to rain this wet season," he said.

"A lot of people will be a lot more relaxed heading into Easter with what cattle they have."

Mr Burnett's family also own Mount Norman Station, north of Richmond, which was one of the hardest hit areas, measuring almost 200mm in the past 36 hours.

"That will be feeding the Flinders River going past here, which is already up quite high as well," he said.

"It's definitely changed some decisions already, like how long we're going to hold sale cattle and few other things where we need to get stuff in and out of the property."


© ABC 2018

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