News

Turn the drought around but wear a scarf

LUCKY IS LOOMING: Heavy rain is predicted this weekend.
LUCKY IS LOOMING: Heavy rain is predicted this weekend. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

BREAK out the raincoats and scarves, this weekend is going to be cold and wet.

After the second driest 12 months on record, widespread rainfall is expected across the state.

A low pressure trough which began its life over central Australia is extending through Queensland and north-western parts of NSW, and over the next 24 hours will deepen and move east, bringing substantial rain through the entire state.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, our region has a 95% chance of getting between five to 25mm today along with a chilly maximum of 17 degrees.

On Sunday morning there's an 80% chance of between 10 and 40mm with isolated thunderstorms, clearing in the afternoon.

The rain is expected to eclipse the sum total of all rain in August so far, and possibly all of winter.

The last time Lismore had more than 15mm was back in May.

Bexhill dairy farmer Ken Bryant is one of many local farmers crossing their fingers for rain.

"I've been telling everyone it's going to rain, so if it doesn't, there'll be a few people after my head I think," Mr Bryant laughed.

"There will be a lot of disappointment if we don't get it."

"We need more than 25mm. If we can get 50mm it has the potential to turn the season."

"Everything's crossed."

Mr Bryant said farmers didn't usually expect rain towards the end of August, so to get a good fall was a bonus.

Especially since the El Nino pattern expected to descend over eastern Australia spelt disaster for the availability of irrigation water.

"The creeks are already so low," he said.

"Really what we're looking for is for decent rainfall to fill up the creeks. Our greatest concern is whether we can irrigate in September and October." BOM meteorologist Tim Constable said it "wasn't hugely uncommon" to have a major weather system hit the region in August, even in the last half of the month.

"Some of the more significant East Coast Lows we've had have happened in August," he said. They generally happen through the winter months."

Unfortunately the rain is unlikely to hang about, with sunny weather predicted for Monday. "Once it moves off the coast it will track east fairly quick and another high pressure system will ridge in," Mr Constable said.

More rainfall is also more likely west of the Great Dividing Range, he noted.



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