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Queensland graziers rejoice as storms bring rain to central west

By Stephanie Zillman, Wednesday January 15, 2020 - 21:24 EDT
ABC licensed image
Station hand manager Daniel Hayman looks at a rain gauge at Milray property in the Blackall-Tambo shire. - ABC licensed

Drought-ravaged communities in western Queensland are celebrating modest rainfall — and there is more on the way.

Gretchen Hayman and her family help run Milray Station, just outside of Blackall.

She said the falls of 23mm they received on Wednesday lifted the community's spirts.

"Out here it just means absolutely everything, mentally and physically," Ms Hayman said.

"Everyone just gets a bounce back in their step and it creates a bit of hope.

"And it's not just people on the land but for people in town as well, everyone just gets excited about even a few millimetres of rain and it just brings everyone's spirits back to life."



Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Shane Kennedy said they had expected even more rain yesterday.

"Yesterday most of the rainfall was due to an upper low, which was just offshore, and so we didn't see quite as much rain as we expected," Mr Kennedy said.

Rain was also reported in Longreach and Winton on Wednesday afternoon, with decent falls also reported further south at Cunnamulla.



Rosemary Champion said the rain gauge at her property outside Longreach recorded 12mm.

With the wind audible in the background, she told the ABC it was raining horizontally and was "just quite terrifying really for a little while".

"It was fairly violent I'd say, we lost a lot of old native trees," she said.

"What's traditional out here is you lose power obviously, first thing you lose is power.



"It's not really terribly inconvenient. I was very surprised at the velocity of it. It was quite cyclonic really. We're not very used to this sort of thing out here," Ms Champion said.

"It's probably an extremely good start, but I think [rainfall is] probably very narrow.

"It will just depend on follow-up as well and it'll depend on if we're getting any more tonight; there's quite a lot of thunder rolling around.

"The forecast for the next few days look fabulous."

'It's a day-to-day battle'

Ms Hayman said the drought had taken a toll, and while the recent rainfall was not drought breaking, its positive effect could not be underestimated.

"It's just a day-to-day battle really, the struggle of having no rain just has a knock-on effect to the whole community," she said.



"I have a part-time job in Blackall at the local newsagency and I see it daily in there — the struggle of what the drought brings to our town.

"As soon as we have a little bit of rain, the mood just uplifts — my crew are pretty crazy, there's lots of singing and dancing and the pressure lifts even if it's just for an afternoon."

Now, the town is hoping for more — something it may just get.



"There were a few rumbles out there before so now we've got our fingers crossed for a bit more," Ms Hayman said.

Mr Kennedy said severe thunderstorms were forecast for inland districts of Queensland today and Thursday.



"We do have some deep tropical moisture throughout that region, and so that high-level thunderstorm activity is expected inland," he said.

"Over the next few days that thunderstorm activity is expected to start tracking east, and should likely start to impact the south-east coast on Friday and Saturday.

"Unfortunately it's going to take quite a bit to actually break the drought, but every bit helps, and it is falling over a wide area."

He said towns between Longreach and Roma were expected to get the most rain.

"At this stage the totals are unlikely to have much of an impact on dam levels unfortunately," Mr Kennedy said.

"The showers today are fairly widespread, but each individual shower is fairly small."


- ABC

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