Rain falls for NSW, Queensland but no sign of the end of the drought
Photo: Rain at a campsite near Moree, in northern NSW (Facebook: Lynette May Rogers)
It may not have ended the drought that has crippled much of the nation, but some of our farmers felt something they haven't touched for a long time — rain.
A number of spots across NSW, which is 100 per cent in drought, and areas in Queensland, which is almost 70 per cent in drought, felt those glorious drops from the sky as a cold front swept across much of the state.
For some it was the first drops in more than a year — and more is expected into Sunday.
There were showers on the central and northern NSW tablelands, with the biggest fall in Bourke, in NSW's north-west, which recorded 17mm up until 5:00pm on Saturday.
It led to a number of posts on social media about the falls — and even some questionable rain dances — and even hail for some places, including Toronto, near Newcastle.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse said more rain was expected on Saturday night and Sunday.
"This evening we're expecting the thunderstorms in southern Queensland and inland NSW to start to develop more of a rain band, with rain steadily accumulating across the northern inland and spreading east," she said.
"[On Sunday] the showers will start to ease. At this stage it is right on track for what we are expecting."
She said the totals in places east of Bourke and Cobar were expected to be the highest falls.
Ms Woodhouse said another trough was expected to hit NSW later in the week — after yet another week of clear skies — but it would not be "significant".
Confidence is up after rain falls
There were also big falls across parts of northern NSW on Friday night and Saturday, with Coffs Harbour recording 56.2mm.
Woolgoolga banana and blueberry grower Kirpal Husna said the rain had a positive impact on local farmers.
"I went to the local produce store this morning to get some fertiliser, and there was about three or four other guys getting fertiliser too.
"With the bit of rain we did have, the feeling I got at the store was that [the farmers'] confidence is back up a bit, because the store sold about three or four tonnes of fertiliser while I was there."
There is also hope in Tamworth, with rain clouds lingering on all day Saturday and a light shower earlier that morning.
Queensland feels the rain
Queensland has also felt the harsh effects of the drought — but the rain is a welcome relief.
The town of Surrey, west of Goondiwindi in the state's south, recorded the highest rainfall so far with 50mm in the 24 hours to 9:00am on Saturday.
In Queensland's south-east, Springfield Lakes, south of Brisbane, had 42mm of rain, while on the Gold Coast, Coomera Shores had 39mm and Coolangatta 32mm.
It is the highest daily rainfall the state has had in the south-east since about March.
Falls of between 10mm to 30mm are also expected on the western darling downs, which is a drought declared area.
Still looking for rain
In the village of Belatta, about 50km south of Moree in north-central NSW, it is not just farmers anxiously waiting for the drops to fall.
School Principal Vivienne Fouracre knows many of the families in her school well — and she knows they rely on a farm worker's wage to get by.
"The farmers are struggling," she said. "But their workers are also struggling.
"If the farms aren't getting crops in and off, they're not having the money to pay their workers.
"With so much of New South Wales in drought, if the workers are let go, where are they going to go? There's not the work for them."
For Ms Fouracre the sound of rain on the roof would be welcome if it came, but she knew it would not break the drought.
"The rain that's forecast is storm rain," she said. "It's good if you're under the storm, but if you're not, you get nothing."
"Even if we get 50mm this weekend, then no more until November — it's going to make no difference at all."