Flash flood/dust storm – all in a day at Tullamore and Coonamble

Tullamore flash flood and Coonamble dust storm: Photos


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Last night a massive dumping of rain damaged many kilometres of fencing in the Tullamore area, while today, Coonamble disappeared beneath a monster dust storm.

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THE end of 2018 has come with a bang for Tullamore graziers, Hailee Fidock and her husband Ewan.

In two storms last night they copped 90 millimeters of rain and have lost at least 20 kilometres of boundary and internal fencing.

Mrs Fidock said they got 29mm in the first storm that hit about 6pm, then the rest in a deluge that fell from 11pm to 12am, dumping an extra 60mm.

However, it was on the neighbours’ farms where up to 140mm in total was recorded that really caused the damage.

“Just on assessing what we can get to so far, we’ve lost 20km of fencing, and our neighbours are similar,” Mrs Fidock said.

“We try not to have fences in water courses, but when you get a big downpour like this, it’s hard to avoid.

“And this afternoon we’ve got dust in the air, so it’s a bit of a contrast – strange weather.”

She said the forecast for her area was a possibility of more showers or storms and the weather was still overcast and windy.

“We’re hoping that it’s not torrential like that, but I think the damage is already done,” she said.

The couple run a 4856 hectare operation across three farms with her husband’s parents, Don and Sandra.

The business, Fidock Partnership, runs mainly Merinos and Dorpers, with a small area of cropping.

Hailee said the damage was across all three farms, Wilga Plains, Lesdel and Braaghy.

“We’re finishing 2018 with a bang,” she said.

Further north around Coonamble, farmers are bitterly disappointed with the forecasts of up to 50mm, this afternoon having received just 5mm of rain and severely damaging winds.

James Nalder, who runs Cudgewa, said “it’s just another fizzer”. Except he now also has a big mess to clean up after the wind snapped off trees and the dust storm that arrived with the storm has filled houses in the area with dust.

“It’s just a real dead zone out round Coonamble/Walgett – it just seems to build either side of us,” he said.

When the dust storm hit, he said “it was like a blackout – when it came through you couldn’t see more than a few metres in front of you. It was like a switch was flicked.”

He had heard reports that the wind in Coonamble itself had reached 110km/hr.

Mr Nalder had also recently sent his remaining cattle away on agistment.

“I’m glad we weren’t relying on this rain to feed things.”

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