Hope grows after rain delivers relief
NEARING the end of her tether, Lainie Morris admits she was starting to fall to bits when the heavens opened on Kandimulla on Tuesday evening.
Her 9712ha property, about 60km southwest of Mitchell, has been her home since 1980 and hadn't seen good rainfall since 2016 - until 65.4mm was recorded on Wednesday.
"It's been a fair while since we've seen this much rain," Ms Morris told the Western Star.
"This means we can stop feeding and get some grass growing.
"It also means I should be able to sell out and get out."
Ms Morris has had her property on the market for some time but said nobody would look at it while it was in its pre-rain condition.
"I run sheep. I've got about 700 at the moment, a big downsize from the 2000-3000 I would have if we didn't have drought," she said.
"The last big rainfall I recorded here was in January 2016 when we got 80.6mm in one go.
"This has been the worst drought I've ever seen - it has just been so constant.
"I have always managed to stay positive, but I'll admit I was starting to fall to bits.
"Even yesterday I was just feeling so glum and then the heavens opened.
"It is so beautiful. I can't wait to see the grass."
The weather system, which was caused by an upper low pressure system, drove falls throughout the southwest on Tuesday and Wednesday before it cleared up in time for Anzac Day services.
It forced part of the Warrego Highway to close between Mitchell and Mungallala after floodwater cut off traffic.
At Preston, south of Mungallala, Hannah Bryant's 16,187ha sheep block, currently running at half capacity, received 42mm.
The rain had her children and dog rushing outside to enjoy the deluge.
"It's our highest single rainfall since June 2016," she said.
"Hopefully this will take the pressure off winter feeding and give a much-needed boost to the lambing ewes and put some new leaf on the mulga for the wethers."
Lucy Warby couldn't keep her three sons out of the puddles after they had almost forgotten what it felt like to squelch their feet in mud.
Kilmoney, 70km north of Mitchell, had received 70mm at the family home by Wednesday afternoon, which Mrs Warby dubbed a "happy surprise".
"It's the biggest single system we've had since September," she said.
"We're running about 800 breeders at the moment. We've had to destock heavily due to the drought and what we do next will depend on this rain.
"I would love to see some grass grow, that would really change our position.
"But it is possible it's just a little too late in the season getting this much rain at this time. I'm not sure yet what it will do.
"But everything helps, we will just wait and see. "The boys have been out in the rain and loving it. It's been a long time since they were able to jump in the puddles."