8 year old Cleo Rix and 5 year old Ella Scanlon have fun in the mud at Mary Kathleen Park after much needed heavy rain soaked the North West causing localised flooding and road closures. Photo Lachie Millard
8 year old Cleo Rix and 5 year old Ella Scanlon have fun in the mud at Mary Kathleen Park after much needed heavy rain soaked the North West causing localised flooding and road closures. Photo Lachie Millard

Downpour brings relief to farmers out west

HEAVY rainfall across northwest Queensland has saved farmers from "dire straits" but it won't be enough to break the drought conditions.

A spokesman from the Bureau of Meteorology said isolated falls of up to 300mm were recorded in the region over the weekend.

More than 100mm of rain fell at Cloncurry on Saturday, and graziers in the Winton region received up to 90mm yesterday.

Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch said rainfall totals "not seen since 2004" prompted the closure of causeways throughout the region and caused damage to parklands and the Moondarra cycle path.

"After such a prolonged drought, this weather event is very welcome and has already filled Lake Julius and substantially boosted water levels at Lake Moondarra," Cr McCulloch said.

"However the sheer volume of water coming through the local catchments has forced the closure of all causeways and a number of roads."

Cr McCulloch said council crews would move in to clear debris and assess damage to parks, paths and other infrastructure "as soon as it it's safe to do so".

"We are aware of damage to George McCoy Park and Moondarra cycle path.

"For safety reasons, we ask the public, especially motorists, to be considerate of all emergency workers and to obey road closure signage and other directions," she said.

Traeger MP Robbie Katter said the rain was a welcome reprieve for graziers but the heavy falls would not ensure long-term water security.

"It's been good falls, one cattle station's had over 10 inches (255mm) of rain that I've heard of. It's been very welcome," he said.

"It's probably enough to just get people out of trouble ... the rain didn't get around the whole region, but it's saved the industry from being in dire straits."

Mr Katter said the water had topped up dams and put much-needed moisture back into the ground.

"Everything's hard when you don't have rain, everyone was gearing up for a really bad outcome but fortunately we might have just dodged a bullet with this weather event," he said.

The rain was the result of a complex low pressure system that dumped more than 250mm of rain on Townsville last week. A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said the low was expected to weaken tonight into a trough.

He said a "monsoonal surge" was expected to develop and extend into the Coral Sea this week, which could increase the possibility of a tropical cyclone developing.

Townsville's Ross River Dam level reached 85.1 per cent yesterday.


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