Heavy rain pours across drought-hit Australia

Queensland and New South Wales receive much-needed wet weather.

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    Significant rain has fallen across much of eastern Australia over the last few days [EPA]
    Significant rain has fallen across much of eastern Australia over the last few days [EPA]

    Torrential rain has fallen across eastern Australia, precisely where the country needs it most.

    Over 75% of Queensland is currently in the grip of a drought, which means the state is once again on the verge of seeing its most extensive drought on record.

    The rain started on Friday, with some parts of Queensland seeing their first drops of rain in more than 6 months.

    Around the coasts of Queensland and New South Wales, many locations reported between 50 and 100mm of rain. Further inland the amount of rain was typically between 25 to 50mm.

    This amount of rain at this time of year is unusual, and in some cases, record breaking.

    In the southwest of the state, the rainfall in Charleville and Cunnamulla broke August records with more than 50mm falling in the 24 hours up to Saturday morning.

    The rain has certainly come as a relief to many farmers, who were concerned that the drought would become more severe in the coming months. This fear was partly generated by the fact that El Nino was showing signs of emerging in the Pacific.

    El Nino is the slight warming of the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean. This can have significant effects on weather around the globe. During an El Nino event, there is often a dramatic reduction in the amount of rain that falls over eastern Australia.

    However, in the last few weeks, most meteorological agencies have reduced the risk of El Nino appearing this year to approximately 50%, meaning that worsening drought conditions in eastern Australia is now less likely.

    Unfortunately, although the recent rain has been gratefully received, it is not thought to be enough to make a significant impact on the current drought. However, now the risk of El Nino has been postponed, there is a chance that more rain will follow.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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