Precious little moisture from a whole lot of hope

ALMOST halfway through the month and with rain yet to fall, the Tamworth area is on track for one of its driest Februarys on record.

However, the first falls could arrive this weekend, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting between 5mm and 15mm across the region, perhaps as much as 30mm in a few spots.

“It’s certainly not drought-breaking rain, but it could be a start,” the bureau’s Michael Glasson said yesterday. 

Some areas benefited from thunderstorms that swept across the region late on Tuesday, Coonabarabran and Mullaley faring the best with 10mm each.

Woolbrook recorded 8mm, Glen Innes 6, Manilla 3, Emmaville 3 and Guyra 1mm.

Mr Glasson said a tropical low over central Western Australia was expected to move east later in the week, with showers expected in the North West and Northern Tablelands on Sunday and Monday.

The showers would start developing on Saturday, he said, with perhaps up to 5mm in parts, before becoming more widespread on Sunday.

Spring Ridge sorghum grower Don Hubbard said the 5mm they received on Tuesday wouldn’t be of any real assistance, and his crop had started to struggle. 

“We need 50mm within the next week to finish well,” he said. 

The highest rainfall the sorghum’s had to date was between 8mm and 10mm, with little rain in December and nothing in January.

“The crop has hung on surprisingly well but it has started to hit the wall because of the consistently high temperatures,” Mr Hubbard said.

Tambar Springs farmer David Quince said he had just 2mm on his place – the damage done by the storm winds hardly made it worth it.

There are 28 dams on the property and only two or three have any water left.

“It’s diabolical,” Mr Quince said.

“I’ve been through four major droughts in my 40 years here ... but people who’ve been around a lot longer say this is the worst they’ve seen.”

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