Patchy rain delivers relief for some

Unstable atmosphere brings rain for some in central, southern Qld

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Beau Agar-Brennan getting his first taste of mud at Barbara Plains, Wyandra. Picture - Tricia Agar.

Beau Agar-Brennan getting his first taste of mud at Barbara Plains, Wyandra. Picture - Tricia Agar.

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The rain band that developed across a wide area of Queensland in the past 24 hours has brought patchy relief to the drought-stricken central and southern parts of the state.

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The rain band that developed across a wide area of Queensland in the past 24 hours has brought patchy relief to the drought-stricken central and southern parts of the state.

One of the best falls in central parts on Thursday was 100mm recorded by the Bettridge family at Mt Wilga east of Alpha, which was followed up by 25mm on Friday morning.

"It wasn't before time - we were getting to that crisis point again," Keith Bettridge said. "I'd say it's got us six months down the track."

He was thankful to report that near neighbours had recorded similar amounts, which had filled dams and got plenty of water running.

Some of the run-off from the 100mm received at Mt Wilga, east of Alpha. Picture - Angie Bettridge.

Some of the run-off from the 100mm received at Mt Wilga, east of Alpha. Picture - Angie Bettridge.

The Belyando River closed the Capricorn Highway for a few hours on Friday morning, while travellers north and south of Longreach were also held up, at roadworks between Longreach and Winton, and at creek crossings between Longreach and Stonehenge, and Stonehenge and Jundah.

By Friday afternoon the shire road report was showing the Jundah to Windorah Road as the only state-controlled road in the shire to be closed.

Longreach residents and those nearby at the Sandalwood Estate were rejoicing in up to 55mm in local gauges on Friday morning, but the official Bureau of Meteorology report was 15.2mm.

According to the BoM, Barcaldine to the east had 15.4mm overnight, Blackall recorded 6mm, and Tambo had 6.6mm.

Rain gauges are finally seeing some action again in parts of the state. Picture - Jenny Gordon.

Rain gauges are finally seeing some action again in parts of the state. Picture - Jenny Gordon.

One of those overjoyed with a 71mm fall of rain in the early hours of Friday morning was Trumby Quinn, based at Hicklemont Station 150km south west of Longreach.

"There was big lightning all night and then down she came," he said.

"We'd desilted dams in November and now one, that had 98mm, is bywashing, and another nearby, where 103mm fell, is full as well.

"It's a really good surprise - summer wasn't looking too good before that.

While 2019 was one of his better years since buying the property in September 2011, thanks to Cyclone Trevor and beneficial flooding, Mr Quinn said 45 degree days and 35 knot winds over summer had dried everything to a crisp.

Nearby in the Stonehenge district, the Emmott family at Noonbah had 47mm overnight, bringing their total for the month to 62mm.

West of Longreach, Keith and Jenny Gordon have managed to rack up 33mm for January, showing the patchy nature of the systems so far.

The Gordon family watched clouds gather and begin to open on Thursday afternoon, wondering whether it might put off their fencing plans. Picture - Jenny Gordon.

The Gordon family watched clouds gather and begin to open on Thursday afternoon, wondering whether it might put off their fencing plans. Picture - Jenny Gordon.

It wasn't enough to interrupt their exclusion fencing program, much as they hoped for a good reason to take a break.

North of Longreach, the unstable atmosphere brought some good falls to Queensland's centre around Muttaburra and Aramac, where Sue Wyton reported 35mm at Muttaburra and Kate Urquhart a very welcome 62mm at Adelong, Aramac.

Rob Atkinson at Inverness, north of Muttaburra, was able to report 46mm and the system was continuing to develop in the area on Friday afternoon.

Weather experts were warning that severe microstorms containing heavy rain and damaging winds could be contained within the influence covering a wide part of the state, from the north west, central west, central highlands, northern goldfields, north tropical coast and Tablelands, Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett, through to the northern Warrego and eastern Maranoa districts.

Megan Deshon, Nee Nee, situated 44 kilometres south of Dirranbandi was delighted to read 30mm had fallen in the rain gauge overnight. Picture - Helen Walker.

Megan Deshon, Nee Nee, situated 44 kilometres south of Dirranbandi was delighted to read 30mm had fallen in the rain gauge overnight. Picture - Helen Walker.

After a massive dust storm in parts of the south west around Thallon and Weengallon on Thursday afternoon, the Deshon family at Dirranbandi was relieved to record 30mm of rain overnight.

Their property, Nee Nee, had only 73mm for the whole of 2019 and has had no summer rain of note since 2012.

Parts of the Thallon district had 31mm overnight.

Another place with an extreme rain deficit that had some relief on Thursday night was Barbara Plains at Wyandra, between Charleville and Cunnamulla, when 36mm fell in the middle of the night, accompanied by thunder and lightning.

According to Zara Agar, it comes on top of 20mm last week and things were looking a little more hopeful.

"The rain will kick everything along now," she said, but was aware that some neighbours had only had 3mm of rain and no-one had had anything approaching drought-breaking falls.

Lynne King, Runnymede, Bollon, said they'd had 18mm, which was "a start".

Further development of the system was expected on Friday afternoon and evening and could include the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, the south east coast, the central coast and Whitsundays, and the Herbert and Lower Burdekin districts.

The far south west of the state has so far not been under the latest rain. Glenn McCamley at South Galway, Windorah reported 12.5mm, the station's first rain since October 2019.

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