Big Dry Washed Away

Courier Mail – Brisbane – Queensland Australia

Michael Wray

www.newsltd.com.au/couriermail

THE drought broke across large tracts of western Queensland at the weekend as a monsoon low delivered rain pastoralists have been waiting nearly seven years to see.

But the rain was moving northeast towards the Gulf of Carpentaria last night leaving southeast Queensland still in a dire drought, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The huge system defied forecasts on Saturday, moving east from central Australia and dropping record rainfall on parts of Queensland’s far west.

All roads to Bedourie were flooded and the town cut off, after 169mm was dumped late Saturday night.

“It’s gone from drought to flood,” said weather bureau senior forecaster Jeff Callaghan.

“Bedourie only had 65mm of rain all last year.”

Another 28mm fell yesterday, according to the bureau.

The bureau issued flood warnings for the Paroo and Bulloo rivers and Georgina and Eyre creeks. Winds up to 90km/h accompanied the rain.

Other west Queensland towns receiving significant rain were Boulia, 77mm, Thargomindah, 68mm, and Birdsville, 39mm, according to the bureau.

The only hope for the parched southeast to receive anything more than a few storms over the next few days was the monsoonal system’s unpredictability, Mr Callaghan said.

“You get this incredible rain all around Queensland except for here, it’s amazing,” he said.

A teenager was winched from the sea at Tweed Heads yesterday and lifesavers rescued more than 30 swimmers as a king tide hit southeast Queensland beaches.

Sunshine Coast lifesavers rescued 13 swimmers and more than 20 were rescued on the Gold Coast.

In South Australia, farmers in the state’s north received a one-in-50-year deluge that left some major roads flooded and towns isolated.

SA Emergency Services spokeswoman Sindy McCourt said the worst-hit towns from the weekend’s deluge were the Flinders Ranges town of Hawker and Whyalla on the Eyre Peninsula.

The SA Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure said a long list of roads, including many around Oodnadatta, Coober Pedy, Marree and Innamincka remained closed.

In the state’s southeast a group of anglers competing in a beach fishing event got more than they bargained for when a king tide buried their vehicles and left them stranded in sand dunes.

At least 20 four-wheel drives were left buried to the roof line in sand, near Kingston, after the tide caught their owners by surprise on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, in NSW, a bushfire is threatening homes and a park has been evacuated in Sydney’s outer northern suburbs. The blaze has scorched through 30ha and is moving towards Bobbin Head.

In Victoria, battle-weary fire crews will today be relieved by 20 of 104 US firefighters flown in to help as the bushfire crisis in the state enters its 53rd day.

Heavy rain since Friday had helped quell the bushfire threat in Gippsland and northeast Victoria, a spokesman said.

Additional reporting AAP

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