Journalist's road trip finds even patchy rain gives hope to drought stricken NSW

At a property on the outskirts of Nyngan the sound of rain on the roof sends everyone outside – it’s light, but it’s consistent and welcome.

Waking up the next morning there was only 5mm in the rain gauge, with a further 1mm recorded that day.

Travelling throughout a dry and dusty western NSW, the talk of the forecasted rain was on everyone’s lips on Thursday and Friday.

But though widespread, the rain over the weekend was “hit and miss” with places like Coffs Harbour receiving 60mm while others west of Bourke received very little.

Two kilometres from where I was staying on the Nyngan/Dandaloo Rd, 18mm was recorded, and further into Nyngan there was 19mm.

But to those who received any rainfall, “it was a start”.

“It will help the grass as the days get longer and it will give the crops another week,” Clare McConochie from Nyngan said.

Video: @sams_farm_miles

“Coming into town everything has greened up, which is a nice sight.”

But she said they need at least 50mm to 60mm to make a difference, along with vital follow-up. The last decent rainfall Mrs McConochie recorded was 41mm in May.

Heading back home on the Nyngan/Dandaloo Road around 7am there were puddles across the gravel and spots on the window screen. But by the Back of Bogan Rd, the rain started to get harder as kangaroos darted long the fence-line.

Around 8am, the welcome sign to Warren had a pool of water in front of it after a decent deluge.

By 11am, Bruce Riley, who lives 8km from Mullaley and 30km from Gunnedah, had 24.5mm but only recorded 12mm at his other block, just 15km away.

“To us it gives people hope that it hasn’t forgotten how to rain,” Mr Riley said.

There were puddles across his front drive when I arrived, but they had all but evaporated by the end of our conversation.

Like those in Nyngan, Mr Riley said they need around 60mm to be able to sow sorghum this year.

“We will be fine, then we hope to get another storm by Christmas or January to make things really fire,” he said.

The rain was patchy from Tamworth to Walcha where a bright rainbow came out.

If only there was a bucket load of rain at the end of it.

Sam Townsend, The Land

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