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Record rainfall in Western Queensland delivers monthly totals in a single night

By Daniel Prosser, Eric Barker and Damien Larkins, Friday August 7, 2020 - 14:20 EST
ABC image
The much-needed rain has broken records across the western Queensland region. - ABC

A month's worth of rain has fallen across western Queensland in a single night courtesy of a dramatic storm that swept through in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Ballera gas fields of Durham, in the south-west, saw the biggest overnight fall of 55.6mm, while Quilpie and Thargomindah received about 40mm.

Longreach local Dennis Griffiths delivered a foal minutes before the thunderstorm hit the town just after 1:00am.

"Fortunately and unfortunately, I got to enjoy the storm," he said.

"I had to stick around to make sure the foal stood up and had its first drink.

"Lightning in the background — a little bit of thunder, it was good."

Quilpie-based livestock agent Sam Bartlett said the rain would provide a big boost to graziers in the area, in what had already been a good season.

"It should get them right through to the end of summer," Mr Bartlett said.

"Our country was starting to look like it needed a little bit of a drink, even though we've been lucky so far this year."

Ride in the lightning

Stuart Ball is leading a group of motorcyclists across the country from east to west for the 10th year of the the Great Australian Ride charity event.

"We were probably 50 kilometres from Windorah," he said.

"There was a a massive lightning show going on in front of us.

"In 10 years I've never really experienced that kind of storm in this part of the world — that was quite intense."

The group pushed through the downpour and enjoyed the light show with a few beers on the verandah of the Windorah pub.

Rainfall records

The Ballera downpour of 55.6mm broke the area's August rainfall record.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Rosa Hoff said the previous record of 26.6mm was set in 2004.

"It's been 16 years since we've seen rainfall even half of what we saw yesterday," Ms Hoff said.

Other towns across the west recorded their entire monthly average rainfall in the one day, including Blackall, Longreach, Julia Creek and Mount Isa.

"We have seen some responses from rivers in the area," Ms Hoff said.

"But none of our gauges have approached any flood levels at this stage."


© ABC 2020

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