Locals thank their stars for recent rain
By MARY MANN
BALLINA man Ronald Parkinson said rain is his friend. And despite the flash flooding warning put out by the Bureau of Meteorology at about 11.30am yesterday, the 76-year-old was out and about on his bicycle with a brollie.
The Northern Star spotted Mr Parkinson riding to Ballina Public School, where he works as a teacher's aid. He was one of dozens of locals getting about in all sorts of wet weather gear, from rainbow umbrellas to bright yellow gumboots.
"Don't be a whinger, a bit of rain never hurt anyone," Mr Parkinson said.
"I ride my bike because I hate pollution. I've been riding to work for the past 10 years, rain or shine.
"The wet weather is good, we need it," he said. And Mr Parkinson is not the only one who appreciates a bout of drizzly weather. Drought has been making it tough for farmers and has forced local shires to implement water restrictions.
But Peter Baum, manager of Casino Rural Lands Protection Board, said a lot more rain was needed to get the area out of drought.
"This is very thirsty country," Mr Baum said. "This will help but we need good follow-up, at least four or five inches to get some good run-off.
"We'll have our fingers crossed that we get a lot more over the next few months."
He said strong northerly winds, common for this time of year, could dry out the ground again unless we received a lot more rain soon.
Senior ranger with the Lismore Rural Lands Protection Board, Tony Heffernan, said the rain over the past couple of days had been very enjoyable, but agreed it was not enough. " We need drought-breaking rain, not showers," he said. "Every drop of rain helps, but all these showers will do is give us a green boost for the start of spring."
More rain is forecast for today but the Bureau predicts the wet weather will clear up by Thursday so get out there and enjoy it while you can.