Forums > General Discussion   Shooting the breeze...

The drought has broken.

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Created by Mobydisc A week ago, 13 Feb 2020
Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
13 Feb 2020 9:34PM
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The drought of the last five years is over, in the eastern half of Australia at least. The drought, culminating in the fires of the 2019/2020 summer, is broken

The hope is weeds growing now are cut back. If not, it is inevitable when it dries and warms up, bush fires will scourge the land. If a hectare is infested by woody weeds such as blackberry and lantana, this hectare has thousands of tonnes of combustible material. These woody materials will readily burn.

As with most problems, the solution is bottom up and local. However there is no money or power with this so highly paid bureaucrats and experts will continue to tell us how to behave.

Ian K
WA, 3140 posts
13 Feb 2020 9:42PM
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Mobydisc said..
infested by woody weeds such as blackberry and lantana, this hectare has thousands of tonnes of combustible material. These woody materials will readily burn.



Thousands of tonnes per hectare! That's the same as 100s of kg per square metre. I've removed a lot of lantana one square metre at a time. A couple of kilos tops. Long time botanists in the Illawarra have observed Lantana self thinning once the forest that was originally there returns. It slows down in the shade.

Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
14 Feb 2020 5:25AM
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A hectare has ten thousand square meters. If each square meter in a hectare has 100 grams of material that is a tonne. So no there won't be thousands of tonnes of lantana in a hectare. My point is plants will grow like crazy after this rain. Soon there will be a lot of undergrowth on a lot of land. Not much of it will be controlled. For example few forests have undergrowth cut back.

I agree with the observations of botanists how lantana gives way to trees. I've seen paddocks left alone. Scrubby woody weed vegetation then takes over, dominating the land for many years. Then some of the woody weeds emerge as trees to create a forest. The woody weeds left behind decline. However this process takes years and the forest will always have thick undergrowth and be vulnerable to severely damaged by bushfire.

In NSW at least the State used to own a lot of forests through the State Forestry service. These forests were logged by timber cutters operating by licence in the state forests. The forests were managed by professional foresters who operated on the ground. Most of these forests are now national parks.

slammin
QLD, 887 posts
14 Feb 2020 5:36AM
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The drought has broken?

Pretty brave prediction. A rain event doesn't mean there will be follow up rains through the year.

i drove through outback areas from qld to nsw that had rain just before Xmas last year and the year before but there was nothing between so they are still in drought.

Your point with weeds and growth management is correct but let's not assume the drought has broken just yet. It could be a long time between drinks.
That's been the problem, managing that growth when it's tinder dry. How do you reduce the fire load without lighting up the whole bush

holy guacamole
631 posts
14 Feb 2020 4:51AM
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Mobydisc said..
The drought of the last five years is over, in the eastern half of Australia at least. The drought, culminating in the fires of the 2019/2020 summer, is broken

Really? In the eastern half? Does that extend to bone dry western Vic and South Australia?

www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/

Harrow
NSW, 2910 posts
14 Feb 2020 8:28AM
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With such ferocious fires, I thought the weeds might have been destroyed. Isn't that the point of the indigenous flora, that it is the only thing that survives the fires?

Chris 249
NSW, 2279 posts
15 Feb 2020 10:47AM
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The drought is not over, even in NSW. 81% of the state is in intense drought, 19% is in drought, and only the Sydney area is out of drought.
Sure, many areas have had rain - I've just come back from checking out our waterfront fields, which now have 10-15cm of lovely new topsoil over them. I also have a rig buried somewhere under about a foot of litter.

But the local reservoir is still at about 35%. The closest big storages are at 5% and 13%. Others are 32%, 12%, 12%, 6%, 9%, 37%, 2% etc - and that includes big ones like Burrendong (just 2%). When the big dams are at something like 12% capacity on average and the vast majority of the state is in drought, it's still not over.

Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
15 Feb 2020 12:53PM
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It feels like weather patterns have changed. Rain is falling over many areas, especially coastal zones that were very dry till the beginning of the month. It's more humid too.

All we need is a cyclone to hit the coast & travel inland to become a rain depression.

Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
Monday , 17 Feb 2020 8:42PM
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Quite a lot of rain fell across northern NSW, out west to around Narrabri. The wet weather continues. I believe rainfall is more of a winter event down south.

FormulaNova
NSW, 10103 posts
Monday , 17 Feb 2020 11:13PM
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Mobydisc said..
It feels like weather patterns have changed. Rain is falling over many areas, especially coastal zones that were very dry till the beginning of the month. It's more humid too.

All we need is a cyclone to hit the coast & travel inland to become a rain depression.


Yes its very humid because of the moisture hanging around and still having relatively warm days. My lawn has grown heaps, and a neighbour was telling me that the rain was a bit each day followed by heat, which seems to be perfect grass growing weather by the look of it.

Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
Tuesday , 18 Feb 2020 7:38AM
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Chris 249 said..
The drought is not over, even in NSW. 81% of the state is in intense drought, 19% is in drought, and only the Sydney area is out of drought.
Sure, many areas have had rain - I've just come back from checking out our waterfront fields, which now have 10-15cm of lovely new topsoil over them. I also have a rig buried somewhere under about a foot of litter.

But the local reservoir is still at about 35%. The closest big storages are at 5% and 13%. Others are 32%, 12%, 12%, 6%, 9%, 37%, 2% etc - and that includes big ones like Burrendong (just 2%). When the big dams are at something like 12% capacity on average and the vast majority of the state is in drought, it's still not over.


I guess those dam figures come from the NSW water site. I checked out the dam levels listed there & they are in line with those you list.

Would it not take time for dam levels to start rising after it rains. It takes time for water to flow down creeks and rivers into dams. If we leave it for a while and especially if the rain continues, hopefully those big dams will start filling up.

holy guacamole
631 posts
Tuesday , 18 Feb 2020 10:54AM
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I hope you're right. ^^

It's been raining in NSW for two weeks. How long do you think it takes for water to flow into a dam?

I guess it depends on each catchment, but I would have thought a week or two and we'd see something of significance.

Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
Tuesday , 18 Feb 2020 2:30PM
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holy guacamole said..
I hope you're right. ^^

It's been raining in NSW for two weeks. How long do you think it takes for water to flow into a dam?

I guess it depends on each catchment, but I would have thought a week or two and we'd see something of significance.



The first rainfall won't have much runoff as the soil soaks up the rain. This is why the continued rain is going to make a difference and it will take time. It would be good to plot the percentages for some dams to see how they track. Yesterday there was widespread rainfall across the catchment zone for a number of rivers flowing westwards from northern NSW. The New England area has been getting a fair bit of rain.

A weather station a bit west of Armidale has recorded well over 300mm of rainfall over January and February this year. One close to Inverell has recorded over 500mm of rainfall this year. So there will have to be some run off from this rain. All the waterholes and paddock dams will fill first and then the water will start flowing.

If this is the last of the rain then yes the drought will return but I'm pretty hopeful there will be more rain soon.

holy guacamole
631 posts
Tuesday , 18 Feb 2020 11:41AM
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Mobydisc said..If this is the last of the rain then yes the drought will return but I'm pretty hopeful there will be more rain soon.


Let's hope so too. So in other words, unless it rains more, you're agreeing in effect that the drought isn't really broken yet?

Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
Tuesday , 18 Feb 2020 11:03PM
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In certain places like where my farm is, the drought is definitely broken. It does look like the pattern of low rainfall is over in northern NSW and Queensland. I'd say the drought is broken inland too across northern NSW. Water levels in big dams are a trailing indicator of increased rainfall. Water gauges in weather stations are a leading indicator.

holy guacamole
631 posts
Wednesday , 19 Feb 2020 5:32AM
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I'll take that as an acknowledgement that maybe your topic title was a bit premature.....great to hear your land is getting a drink.

Mr Milk
NSW, 1802 posts
Wednesday , 19 Feb 2020 9:07AM
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Looks like the experts don't agree with you, Moby

www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/drought-remains-diabolical-for-most-of-nsw-20200218-p541yo.html

Mobydisc
NSW, 8793 posts
Wednesday , 19 Feb 2020 10:57AM
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Mr Milk said..
Looks like the experts don't agree with you, Moby

www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/drought-remains-diabolical-for-most-of-nsw-20200218-p541yo.html


Interesting article where the experts say its all about industry recovery like cropping and livestock before we can say the drought is broken. This seems to be more about people asking for a handout than actually the drought being broken or not.

I have not been up to the New England area recently. The last time I was there was in May 2018. Back then it was very dry. Everything was brown. I heard it got worse after that and the place looked more like a desert with bare earth and trees dying. What does it look like now with the rainfall received over the last couple of months?

We do need more rain that is for sure and again I'm pretty confident the dry spell of the last few years is finished.

Chris 249
NSW, 2279 posts
Wednesday , 19 Feb 2020 9:12PM
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Mobydisc said..

holy guacamole said..
I hope you're right. ^^

It's been raining in NSW for two weeks. How long do you think it takes for water to flow into a dam?

I guess it depends on each catchment, but I would have thought a week or two and we'd see something of significance.




The first rainfall won't have much runoff as the soil soaks up the rain. This is why the continued rain is going to make a difference and it will take time. It would be good to plot the percentages for some dams to see how they track. Yesterday there was widespread rainfall across the catchment zone for a number of rivers flowing westwards from northern NSW. The New England area has been getting a fair bit of rain.

A weather station a bit west of Armidale has recorded well over 300mm of rainfall over January and February this year. One close to Inverell has recorded over 500mm of rainfall this year. So there will have to be some run off from this rain. All the waterholes and paddock dams will fill first and then the water will start flowing.

If this is the last of the rain then yes the drought will return but I'm pretty hopeful there will be more rain soon.


Well, I'm east of Armidale and our river has been in flood for weeks - it was about 1.5m above normal level this evening and still rising again. It was about 3.5m above norm at its peak a few days ago. The first real rainfall here actually caused heaps of run-off because the ground was so hard the rain just ran clear and clean over the top of the earth and into the creeks.

And yet bizarrely, today I was trying to pick up boat stuff from the flood mud under a cloud full of sky-borne dust that has blown in from out west. The fact is that the vast majority of NSW, to name one state, is still in drought, which is not just a matter of rainfall but also ground moisture and plant growth. That's why there was a warning for blown dust today, and that's why we got it.

The change in the last five weeks has been incredible - we kept almost all our trees alive during the worst drought on record but now lost a bunch to a flood. So our dam is close to full, our river is flooded, and it's so green around here I need to wear my sunglasses to stop the grass from burning my eyes out....... mind you since the slasher is broken and the queue at the repairers is literally out the door and down the alley the grass stems will be knocking my eyes out soon. But the rain has been a bit patchy, many places down south are dry, and many towns still only have a few months drinking water left.

Ironically, some in the RFS feel that the rains we've had around here are going to lead to a bad grassfire season next spring, because most stock has been sold, no one can afford to re-stock, and so there's nothing to keep the grass down.



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Forums > General Discussion   Shooting the breeze...


"The drought has broken." started by Mobydisc