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A good drink but region needs much more to break drought

Ian Bushnell 4 November 2019 1
Canberra rain

There were general falls of about 10 mm across the region with some heavier localised dumps. Photo: File.

The region can thank a feed of tropical moisture from Queensland for a handy drop of rain, but it was far from drought-breaking and will hardly make an impact on Canberra’s dam levels.

Weather bureau meteorologist Jordan Notara said the line of storms that swept through the South West Slopes into the western parts of the ACT on Sunday and early Monday delivered a range of rainfall totals that lessened towards the coast.

Most areas received above 10 mm, with more than 25 mm in isolated parts of the ACT and in the Alps, where Thredbo recorded 38 mm.

“There were generally higher totals in the South West Slopes region, as we moved towards the coast, especially the Batemans Bay area, they were much lighter,” Mr Notara said.

To 9:00 am Monday, Canberra Airport received 12.4 mm while Tuggeranong in the south enjoyed 22.6 mm.

In the catchment area, Mt Ginini only received 27.6 mm, which Icon Water says will have only quenched the thirst of a parched landscape.

“Most of what we had over the weekend will have soaked into the ground – which is really important for the environment and the region,” a spokesperson said.

But the ACT will need decent follow-up rain for dam levels to rise. They currently sit at 53 per cent.

Around the region, the north missed out on the main showers, with Goulburn only getting 8.4 mm. Kowen Forest did better at 18.4 mm, while Braidwood could only manage 7.2 mm.

In the drought-stricken Monaro, falls were around the 10 mm mark, with Cooma Airport recording 11.6 mm

Down on the coast, Nowra had to settle for 5 mm but Narooma celebrated with 25 mm.

Mr Notaras said the region would need longer and more sustained rain over some weeks to be anywhere near drought-breaking.

“This is seemingly one where we’ve had significant rainfall for areas in isolated parts but not really a broad sense of rainfall that would do any major good to the drought-affected areas,” he said.

It was that in-feed of tropical moist air from the north interacting with the cooler front from the west that produced those storms.

But there was no sign of any more northern influences in the short-term outlook, during which another front will arrive at the end of the week, Mr Notaras said.

We should not expect much out of that system, which would only affect the south of the country.

The long-term outlook remains grim, hot and dry, with less than average rainfall.

The message from Icon remains the same: “Despite the welcome rain there is still a need for everyone to think before they turn on the tap, and to conserve water where they can,” the spokesperson said.


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One Response to A good drink but region needs much more to break drought
Karen Nicholson Karen Nicholson 5:03 pm 04 Nov 19

It was fabulous, but I checked the soil out front today (turned over in early autumn and mulched lightly) and it's only damp down to about 10cm. Will still need to water (sigh)!

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