Tamworth missed the big falls, although some neighbours got lucky

Hit and miss: Kevin Tongue and his grandson Blake enjoy a walk in the rain on their Loomberah property, although not everyone was so lucky.  Photo: Gareth Gardner
Hit and miss: Kevin Tongue and his grandson Blake enjoy a walk in the rain on their Loomberah property, although not everyone was so lucky. Photo: Gareth Gardner

While some farmers around the region were dancing in the rain over the weekend, others were left staring at the cloudy skies and cursing their luck.

Areas including Barraba, Inverell, Moree and Narrabri copped between 30 and 60 mm depending on location, while, in a cruel twist of fate, other areas closer to Tamworth recorded less than 5 mm.

Loomberah farmer Kevin Tongue received 15 mm at his place, and while it was more than welcome it was still far from what the Bureau had predicted.

Late last week between 20 and 50 mm was forecast for Tamworth, but on the day only 8 mm was recorded at Moore Creek, 15 mm at Bendemeer and Duri and 12 mm in East Tamworth.

The stark contrast was obvious near Gunnedah where the town received their heaviest downfall since April, 23.6 mm, while just 40km down the road the Keepit Airfield received just 4.9 mm, while areas on the Tablelands had less than 3 mm.

Read more:

“It is quite heartbreaking for some people, a lot had their hopes up” Mr Tongue said.

“The Bureau can predict the weather two months out but can’t get it right 24 hours out.

“I am not sure if we are looking at it more these days, but they seem to have lost some of their accuracy over the past five or ten years.”

Another patchy storm rolls into Tamworth on the weekend. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Another patchy storm rolls into Tamworth on the weekend. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Tamworth and Region Weather founder David Farrenden agreed that it was heartbreaking, and took a swipe at national media for some sensationalist reporting, but did say it was hard to see coming.

“When you talk it up like that, and use incorrect terms like rain bomb it can be really disappointing, and it lets a lot of people down,” he said.

“In the end a lot of the region did get good falls, and I am happy to see it fall anywhere.

“It is disappointing that Tamworth missed out a bit, but that is the way mother nature is.”

The weather watcher confirmed that the Bureau was right in forecasting widespread falls, after “100 per cent of models were conclusive”, but said an event on the coast hindered the potential.

“A surface trough on the coast blocked the moisture from coming inland, and because there was less moisture available there were less storms,” he said.

“Those lows go in bands, so if you are not under one of those bands you miss out, and the winds blew the storms heading to Tamworth south.

“But we did get some rain, and that is all moisture in the ground so I am grateful for those falls.”

Mr Tongue, who is also the NSW Farmers branch chair, agreed.

“Realistically we want 50 mm of steady rain, but the last thing we need is a storm blowing in while there is no ground cover, or we would have a hell of an erosion and silt problem.

“The rain we got two weeks ago and then another 10 or 15 mm this weekend has brought up a little green tinge of ground cover – hopefully we can get some more rain and keep the soil moist with that bit of cover.”

Unfortunately Mr Farrenden can’t see anything on the horizon for the region, and stands by his call earlier this year that 2018 will be the driest on record for the Tamworth region.

“The rain predicted for Friday is already backing down. Could still be 5-10 mm, or just 1-5 mm at this stage,” he said.

“The major climate indicators suggest there is not much rain at all for the rest of the year, and we are also heading into El-Nino conditions at the end of spring, which is typically dry.

“Let’s just hope it falls somewhere.” 

Comments