So stark and dry have conditions been in the Tamworth region this year that the 9.8mm of rain on Monday represented our best fall in five months, and the fourth biggest downpour of the year.
The steady rain also boosted the region into triple figures, with only 109mm hitting our gauges over the past seven months, compared to the 431.8mm that fell to this point last year according to Weatherzone.
While the 9.8mm was recorded by the Bureau at the Tamworth Airport, The Leader was getting reports of people receiving 15mm in South, and up to 20mm in East Tamworth.
While no one was thumbing their nose at the rain, the irony of the only decent fall for five months coming down when both the Today and Sunrise shows were broadcasting from the region wasn’t lost on anyone.
Quirindi based agronomist John Hoskings said that the fall will amount to nothing if we don’t get plenty more in the next fortnight, and the forecast for that isn’t promising.
“We need at least 50mm in a week before we should even think about growing a crop, or feeding cattle,” he said.
“On the black soil it takes four inches to wet it 30cm down, and there is an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t sew unless it is wet a metre down.
We need at least 50mm in a week before we should even think about growing a crop, or feeding cattleAgronomist John Hosking
“We need at least 300mm over some time before we can plant another crop with confidence.”
Davidson and Cameron branch manager Daniel McCulloch took a more optimistic approach, although also agreed that without good follow-up, “the 10mm was only really good to settle the dust.”
“I wouldn’t knock any amount of rain at the moment, and I always believe that rain brings on rain, so hopefully it keeps coming,” he said.
“It is nothing to get too excited about but it is a good start.”
Meanwhile Tamworth and Region Weather founder David Farrenden has made a dire prediction that this year will be the driest on record, although hopes he is wrong.
“1994 was our driest ever year with 248.8mm of rain, but I think that record will be broken this year,” he said.
“The outlook is very dry – the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral, and we are heading into an El Nino phase, which means it will be drier than average – it’s not looking good.”
The next rainfall predicted is for another 10mm to fall on Saturday August 18.