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Storms to tease drought-affected QLD

Brett Dutschke, Tuesday September 24, 2013 - 14:11 EST

Showers and thunderstorms will hit parts of drought-affected Queensland later this week but rainfall will barely be enough to settle the dust.

The northwest of the state has been hardest hit this year with some places only seeing about 10 percent of their annual rainfall so far. Mt Isa and nearby Cloncurry have only had about 50mm, more than 400mm short of their annual average.

It wasn't that long ago when the region was experiencing flooding. In 2012 Mt Isa recorded about 340mm and in 2011 in excess of 1000mm.

A very warm 2013 has increased the rate of evaporation and drying out of the soil, grass and trees. This year-to-date has been the warmest first nine months of a year since 1988.

Warmer-than-normal ocean water off northern Australia have combined with mostly clear skies to allow the heat to build up.

This heat is lingering over the northern and central inland with help from a low pressure trough, allowing the temperature to reach the high thirties and low forties this week.

On Tuesday Mt Isa and Longreach had reached 39 degrees, seven and nine degrees above average respectively, and Charleville 38 degrees, 11 degrees above average. For Charleville this is its warmest September day in 25 years.

Later in the week the heat trough will gain some moisture and intensify a little to trigger showers and storms in the region.

The showers and storms will occur mostly in the afternoons from Thursday through to next week and will also develop over Queensland's central-west and south-west at times.

In general, the showers and storms will only bring less than 10mm at a time but rainfall potential should increase next week as a colder change moves in.

Between now and this time next week, most places can only expect 20mm or less, very welcome but hardly enough to top up dams or even settle the dust.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2013

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