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NSW farmers breathe easy after hail falls 'softly' on best crops in years

By staff writers, Monday July 13, 2020 - 13:40 EST
ABC licensed image
Hail fell around Tullamore and Dubbo on Sunday afternoon - ABC licensed

Farmers in western NSW are breathing a sigh of relief after a massive hail storm blanketed winter crops but caused no serious damage.

The storm hit late Sunday afternoon and affected a number of properties near Dubbo in Tullamore, Peak Hill and Albert.

"It was just unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it," Tullamore resident Belinda Mulcahy said. 

"When you felt it was crumbly and very soft.

"Where it hit us it was a gravel hill, so there wasn't any crops in amongst the worst of it."

Terry Fitzgerald farms at a property called Weona, 7 kilometres west of Tullamore, which was right in the storm's path.

"When it first started hailing we were very nervous, but it fell softly for about 45 minutes straight," Mr Fitzgerald said.

"It was as white as snow and covered the paddocks in a layer about 10 centimetres thick in parts."

Precious crops protected

There has been little rain in Tullamore over the past three years.

But recent rainfall has given Mr Fitzgerald cause for cautious optimism that the end of the drought may just be in sight.

He was thankful his wheat and oats crops — the best he's had since 2016 — escaped hail damage.

"Our crops are looking really good after being so dry for so long," he said.

"We've had such nice rain recently so we are feeling really lucky indeed as the hail could have flattened everything."

From dust storms to hail storms

As well as the hail, there was another 19 millimetres of rain over the weekend.

Lynne Edwards can't believe the season's turnaround.

"Everything was dry and barren, our dams were empty. Now they're absolutely chock-a-block full," Ms Edwards said.

The weekend's wild weather was cause for celebration.

"It was the first time our grandchildren had come out since December because of coronavirus," she said.

"When they were here last year it was dry, desolate and barren. They're all just amazed at the change of how wonderful it looks, it's just amazing how different it is."


© ABC 2020

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