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Widespread winter rain soaks Central Australian properties

Katrina Beavan, Monday July 10, 2017 - 16:01 EST
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Tarlton Downs Station received 69 millimetres of rain overnight. - ABC

A wet weekend in Central Australia has seen several properties throughout the region soaked, with rain falling in areas that had not seen any for six months.

Many properties north-east of Alice Springs were hit with the deluge, with some gauges measuring more than 70 millimetres.

Lucy Creek Station received 78mm and Tarlton Downs 69mm, while next door at Jervois Station 52mm fell overnight.

Michael Broad from Jervois said they even had thunderstorms during the night, which came as a complete surprise.

"[We] didn't expect it at all, it totally threw us. It was good rain though," he said.

"We had good rain back in January. Our season wasn't too bad prior to this rain, we were ticking over.

"That sort of rain is excellent. We'll get some green coming out of the grass and it'll be a continuing good season for us."

Mr Broad said it would take a while for the effects of the rain to show.

"In July the grass doesn't grow that quickly here. It'll take the weather to warm up a bit."

He said the rain would not interrupt the workflow at the station too much.

"We'd almost finished our cattle mustering, but we were a couple of bores short so it caught us there," Mr Broad said.

"There'll be no cattle work for a while, so we'll go back to doing other work that's been neglected for a period.

"The cattle will continue to improve, so we'll lose nothing at all through it."

Rain may disrupt cattle sale

Further north at Elkedra station 70 millimetres fell, but Amber Driver said it could stop the station bringing cattle to Alice Springs for the upcoming sale next week.



"We'll see when this weather clears. We'll get out and about and see how far this rain has reached and what we will do next week," she said.

"This amount of rain, and it's quite well spread around the Sandover Highway, will put out those big cattle trucks, so we'll just have to make a few decisions about that in the next few days."

But Ms Driver said disruption or not, the rain was always welcome.

"I don't think you can ever say no to the rain. We're just lucky it's that good soaking rain and it hasn't done any damage to any of the fence line or roads," she said.

"[It will] hopefully put a bit of moisture back into the soil."

Not all rain welcome

Further east, both Avon and Austral Downs received about 16mm each, and there was also rain around the Ti Tree area, as well as further north in the west.

But as for the 16mm at Anningie Station, about 250 kilometres north of Alice Springs, Steven Fogarty said it was not entirely welcome.

"I don't think it's enough to do us much good. I suspect it may blacken a bit of old grass," he said.

"It might liven a bit of spinifex up or a bit of buffel grass, but I think it'd be more negative than positive as far as how much reaction we get out of feed.

"Because we had the rain so long ago and all the feed had dried right off, there's nothing really with any greenness in it, and the rain we've had, it hasn't been substantial enough to grow anything off on its own."

Mr Fogarty said in terms of roads, the rain would do some good to help settle the dust.

Further north at Wave Hill station, 600 kilometres south of Darwin, Netta McInnerney said the rain fell in exactly the right spot.

"There would have been about 10mm across the Lajamanu road and the country down there," she said.

"Across that country it's good because that's your spinifex and red country, so there will be a response from that for the cows."

However, Ms McInnerney said the rain would not have been welcomed on the northern part of the country on the plains.

To keep up to date with road closures in Central Australia and the Barkly, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics recommends the .


- ABC

© ABC 2017

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