Farmers soak up downpour

Gilmore farmer Doug Rand said his upper dam was empty when the fires came through, but recent gentle rains have topped it up.

Heavy rains drenched the region on Wednesday and Thursday, with Tumut recording just over 90mm and Batlow 110mm by Thursday afternoon.

 The State Emergency Service issued a Flood Watch on Tuesday, focusing on the Goobarragandra and Goodradigbee rivers, but no flooding was recorded by Thursday evening.

 “This is tracking very, very well,” said SES Public Information Officer Ian Leckie on Thursday.

 “Conditions are starting to ease and the system is supposed to move to the east today.”

 Mr Leckie was careful to “never say never” when it comes to flooding, but in the absence of a thunderstorm moving over the Tumut region, he didn’t expect any flooding from this event.

 “At this stage, the water seems to be behaving itself quite nicely.”

 Tumut’s Bureau of Meteorology recorder Graham Garnett said Tumut had received the equivalent of last month’s entire monthly rainfall in two days, registering 90.1mm

 In Adelong, a neat 80mm had been measured by 3pm yesterday. Yaven Creek farmers reported 50mm falling from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon, and Batlow had 110mm

 At Dellcrag at Brungle, 70mm had fallen by 2.30pm yesterday.

 The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a 60 per cent chance of rain today and 50 per cent chance both tomorrow and Sunday.

 The news of weakening weather was welcomed by the Tumut Show Society’s President Neil McGruer ahead of this Saturday’s 145th annual Tumut Show.

 “It’ll go on,” said Mr McGruer.

 The Show has been impacted by weather in the past, but rarely has it been cancelled. Mr McGruer said that even during the heavy flooding of 2012, the Show still opened and had displays in the Pavilion.

 “I’d like to think the sun [will be] out shining and not too hot and it’ll be a good day.

 “We live in hope.”

 If there are any changes to the Show’s events or schedule, Mr McGruer said the information would be shared via local radio [Sounds of the Mountains] and on the Show Society’s Facebook page.

 In Gilmore and Yaven Creek, where the land is still blackened and scarred from the bushfire, there was hope in the air.

 Gilmore farmer Doug Rand said his upper dam was empty when the fires went through; Thursday afternoon saw fresh rainwater lapping the dam’s banks as fat drops continued to fall.

 Mr Rand said he was fortunate living near the top of the Gilmore Valley and wasn’t seeing any debris being washed down the hill into his dams.

 The rains brought a freshness to the property, which is still mostly blackened, with hundreds of burned trees both standing and fallen. Mr Rand has new seed on the way and said he was looking forward to the softening effect this rain would have on the ground, making replanting much easier.

 Yaven Creek was similarly enjoying “really effective rain,” falling gently and steadily on Thursday.

 “It’s fantastic,” said landholder Matt Pearce on Thursday afternoon. “We’re very appreciative of getting this fall. It’ll be a big change from a seasonal point of view for us.”

 Yaven Creek has missed out on some of the recent rains, and Mr Pearce said the grass had been slower to regrow over the Ellerslie range than in other areas.

 Mr Pearce said the grass is just starting to reappear, and there was enough groundcover to prevent the rains from washing away the topsoil. He’s optimistic this fall will penetrate the ground well and encourage new growth.

 “I think we were probably a little bit behind in the germination we did have and this will get everything out of the ground,” said Mr Pearce.

 “It’s going to be a great fall.”

 The rain was gentle enough that Mr Pearce said he didn’t have any concerns about soot and debris being washed into his dams, unlike during other recent rains which fell quick and hard.

 “This will be much more beneficial, it’s going to be really effective rain,” he smiled.