Storms, early spring rain delight outback residents still recovering from drought

Outback residents may have thought the sound of rain on the roof was a dream overnight, but the soaked paddocks told a different story as the sun rose.

Unseasonal storms and rain across south-west Queensland have led to cautious optimism for graziers, who have been delighted by showers throughout winter and into the start of spring.

The saturated start has followed the wettest winter in Queensland for six years, with some inland communities already receiving their monthly average rainfall for September.

Grazier Will Treloar from Boothulla Station, west of Charleville, said recent rainfall had been a great start to the warmer months.

“We heard that grumbling from the west, and heard that magic sound of rain on the roof,” Mr Treloar said.

“It then led to us having a sleepless night laying awake listening to the magic on the roof.”

The timing could not be better for the cattle producers, who trucked stock off the property just days before the rain started.

“Having this rain will grow some more feed,” Mr Treloar said.

“With feed you’ve got options, we try to keep a bit extra up our sleeves until the next opportunistic thing comes along that we can capitalise on.”

Springing back to life
With rain comes life in outback Queensland, and blooms of colourful wildflowers stretch as far as the eye can see in parts of the region.

“The amount of wildflowers has been amazing,” Mr Treloar said.

“It’s quite nice riding around on the bike and smelling it all in.”

The rain had also been a boon for Brian Luetchford, a beekeeper from Eulo.

“With the wildflowers around at the moment, the [bees] should be doing pretty well, [but] the trees are where the most honey comes from,” Mr Luetchford said.

“The trees take a while to recover [from drought], but the bees can recover pretty quickly.”

Further south at Hungerford, resident Moc Parker said the rain would help the land rejuvenate as spring progressed.

“If we could score another [25mm to 40mm] it’ll help to carry us through the summer,” he said.

Mr Parker said the countryside and wildlife were recovering well from years of drought, but more spring rain would be welcome.

“We never knock back a shower of rain down here in this corner country,” he said.

Unseasonal but appreciated rain
Less than two weeks into September and many south-west Queensland towns are already reaching and surpassing their monthly average rainfall.

For the past few days, wet conditions were caused by a trough over central Australia heading east through the south-west of the state.

And on top of rainfall overnight, on Thursday Eulo received 33mm of rain, Charleville 18mm, and Sommariva 44m, with predicted falls to continue moving east.

The Bureau of Meteorology has put the above-average rainfall down to the negative Indian Ocean Dipole fuelling and feeding more frequent cloud bands.

For areas in the west already saturated, creeks and rivers are climbing quickly, with moderate flood warnings current for the Balonne, Bulloo, and Paroo Rivers in western Queensland.

Minor flood warnings are current for the Barcoo River and Cooper Creek, as well as the Middle Dawson River.