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NSW, ACT soaked after weekend downpour -

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NSW, ACT soaked after weekend downpour

Jennifer Macey reported this story on Monday, February 15, 2010 12:42:00

ELEANOR HALL: Drenching rain in New South Wales and the ACT has forced the closure of a school
today and the State Emergency Service has been inundated with calls and has rescued 12 people from
flooded roads but farmers in central New South Wales have welcomed the deluge, as Jennifer Macey

JENNIFER MACEY: Drenched and soaking city dwellers may be happy to see a glimmer of sun this
morning after a weekend of torrential rain but farmers in central western New South Wales say it is
the best rain they've had in 20 years.

KEN KEITH: We've had a 103 millimetres which was absolutely delightful. We haven't had a four inch
rainfall event since 1990 when the Nyngan floods happened.

JENNIFER MACEY: Ken Keith is the Mayor of Parkes Shire and farms sheep and mixed grain on 1000
hectares just outside Parkes.

KEN KEITH: So far this summer we only had an inch during those Christmas rains and so to get this
was delightful because we had cleaned out all the dams and they are now all full.

JENNIFER MACEY: Central Western New South Wales is still officially in a drought declared area.
Counsellor Ken Keith says a lot more rain is needed but he says farmers are now more hopeful about
the year ahead.

KEN KEITH: Certainly lifted the spirits of farmers right around the region and particularly those,
there has been a procession of people carting water out our way. It has just taken that burden off
them and there is hope for a good year coming ahead. You know, we need follow-up rain certainly to
do the sowing with. And we need follow-up rains during the winter and into the spring and have a
good spring for a change.

JENNIFER MACEY: The deluge has caused minor flooding across other parts of the state and there are
still flood warnings on the south coast, the southern highlands, and in some central western
regions. The State Emergency Services took more than 1500 calls for help this weekend.

Twelve people had to be rescued and one woman is still missing after her car was swept away in a
flooded creek near Bathurst.

SES spokesman Steve Delaney says he's urging people not to go into flood waters.

STEVE DELANEY: It is the major cause of death in floods is getting stuck in cars or being washed
away by floodwaters. People cannot assume that the road is there or that the floodwater isn't very
deep. If you can't see the road, the surface of the road, you should not be driving through it.

JENNIFER MACEY: Narooma, close to the Victorian border, almost broke its daily rainfall record
receiving 152 millimetres. The last time it rained this much was almost 40 years ago when the daily
record in Narooma was 157 millimetres.

Steve Delaney says the wet has caused some chaos in town.

STEVE DELANEY: Narooma High School is currently closed. The students there have all got the day off
because it is so wet and the weather bureau have just put out a flood warning for some of the
creeks and that down in that area.

JENNIFER MACEY: Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are expected to continue today in the far south of
the state.

A senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, Julie Evans, says the wet weather is caused by a
welcome deep trough over the state.

JULIE EVANS: We've had a very, very moist air mass lying over New South Wales and this is because
we've had an inflow of very humid tropical air into the state right down from the north because of
a high pressure system that has been sitting off shore and then we had the surface trough which
helps get that moisture rising and forming that cloud and the thunderstorms and the rainfall that
we've seen.

JENNIFER MACEY: And is any of this rain feeding into stressed river systems?

JULIE EVANS: The Darling actually is doing quite well at the moment because we had all that rain
around Christmas. The Lachlan River actually has done quite well out of this system and that is a
river that had been severely stressed.

So around the Condobolin area, there has been some rises along the Lockwood River and also there
has been some inflow into catchments like the Googong Dam which is Canberra's water supply.

JENNIFER MACEY: The eastern seaboard states have been the biggest beneficiaries of the wet weather
with Melbourne and Brisbane also recording good rainfalls this month. But Adelaide, Perth and
Hobart are still well below their monthly averages.

ELEANOR HALL: Jennifer Macey reporting.