Wednesday brought many areas in the region desperately needed rain; today blew it away.
The BOM’s understated Tweet warning of “some interesting weather” certainly bore out today when parts of NSW were covered in dust – while Victoria had thunderstorms, rain and even snow.
The dust over the New England North West didn’t look too apocalyptic, but the wind with it was an unwelcome follow-up to some of the best rain in a year.
Tamworth livestock agent Nathan McConnell said: “It’s drying the country back out.”
“Yes, we got 60-odd mils of rain, which has been great, but the wind’s the main issue,” he said.
“Sixty millimetres might become 30-40mm after all the wind goes through.”
Calala cattle producer Jenny Flissinger said the rain had been very worthwhile to the crops she and husband Frank had in the ground for future cattle feed.
“Isn’t it wonderful? … and now we’re going to have all this lovely wind to dry it out again,” she said.
However, the 50mm at their place did start refilling their dams, after they’d been empty since the start of last year.
“It takes the pressure off the bore, at least,” Mr Flissinger said.
“We’ve been nursing the bore all the way through.
“A lot of people seem to think that you cop some rain and [the drought’s] all over, but it’s far from that.
“It’s just a bit of a reprieve.”
Parts of the region scored more than 60mm or even 70mm overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday, one of the big winners being Gunnedah with 71.2mm.
Armidale airport recorded 32mm this week, Inverell 60mm, Moree 49mm and Glen Innes 67mm, according to BOM records.
Then, the bureau predicted a “dramatic shift in weather” for south-eastern Australia – and in it rolled.
NSW Health warned people to beware of the health risks of dust storms, and urged especially children, older people, and those with conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease to limit their time outside.
At least one school in the area contacted parents to encourage them to collect their children if they had any concerns about their health.
“In areas where advice has been issued by NSW Health, staff will keep students indoors and not engage in vigorous exercise to minimise exposure to dust particles in the air,” a Department of Education spokesperson said.
Due to strong winds, Sydney airport whittled down to “single runway operations”, leading to Virgin Austalia cancelled its afternoon flight from Tamworth to Sydney.
Qantas did the same with its 3.10pm flight and its 4.55pm flight had been delayed to 5.41pm.
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