Forecast downpour has desperate Tasmanian east coast farmers’ hopes up



December 13, 2018 05:20:15

Tasmania’s dry east coast, where barren pastures and a lack of feed has driven some farmers to seek drought assistance, could receive up to 200 millimetres of rain this week as a low-pressure system passes over the state.

Key points:

  • Flooding possible for parts of Tasmania, with the heaviest rains forecast on Saturday
  • Farmers who’ve seen little rain along the north-east coast are hoping for a drenching
  • Despite risks involved, it is hoped the rains will fill dams and “build up groundwater”

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned of heavy rainfall across parts of northern and north-eastern Tasmania from Friday to Sunday, with the wet weather to begin in the north on Thursday.

Forecasters were expecting 50-100mm to fall over the coastal areas of the state’s north-west over the three days from Friday, 50-80mm across the Bass Strait Islands, and 100-200mm in the north-east.

The heaviest falls are expected on Saturday.

The BoM warned minor to moderate flooding was possible in several catchments, with the highest risk in the north of the state.

The chances of rain over the east coast on Thursday is rated at 95 per cent, with Friday at 90 per cent and Saturday at 100 per cent, according to the BoM.

Mayor of Break O’Day Council in the state’s north-east, Mick Tucker, said a drenching would be more of a help than a hindrance.

“We definitely need the rain, it will be very welcome, it will really help put water into the dams and hopefully get some of the creeks flowing and build up our groundwater,” Cr Tucker said.

“Our ground is still very dry and we haven’t had any run-off [from recent rainfall] so it will absorb an awful lot before it creates a problem.”

He said the rain would be unlikely to cause problems if it was spread out relatively evenly.

“The benefits from this outweighs the negatives.”

At the start of December, farmer David Amos said the rainfall records at his property at Cranbrook, near Bicheno on Tasmania’s east coast, showed a devastating trend.

The data for annual rain began being documented in 1901, he said.

“Just adding up the figures, in the last 32 years we’ve actually had 22 years below average, so it speaks for itself,” he told the ABC earlier this month.










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