From dancing cows to the overdue shaving of a two year old beard, Australians across drought-stricken and fire-hit parts of New South Wales and Victoria have celebrated the arrival of much-needed rain.
Up to 100mm of rain has fallen in parts of NSW over Thursday and Friday, in what was, for some areas, the most significant rainfall in months.
In Buladelah and Boonanghi on the mid-north coast, 112mm and 126mm of rain fell in the 24 hours from 9am Thursday to 9am Friday.
Bilpin in the Blue Mountains – which has been hit by the more than 500,000 hectare Gospers Mountain megafire – saw 30mm of rain in the same period. Nowra, just north of the multiple fires burning down the south coast, received 12mm.
In the upper Hunter at Scone, six-month-old calves jumped through paddocks at the first experience of rain in their life, in the middle of a record-breaking drought.
In nearby Muswellbrook, the humans couldn’t hide their excitement either.
Near Broken Hill in the state’s west, farmer Nick Andrews had made a promise not to shave his beard until he saw an inch of rain fall.
After nearly two years, on Thursday, it came off.
Nick Andrews from Farmcote Station, 30km southeast of #BrokenHill shaves after 21 months of #beard growth. Nick pledged to grow his beard until an inch of #rain fell, 36mm fell yesterday afternoon, which is more than the last three years combined #farwestnsw #beardnomore pic.twitter.com/evuKs7WE4O— Sarah McConnell (@SarahJMcConnell) January 15, 2020
Bundarra in the northern tablelands received 105mm, its best rainfall in more than nine years.
Top rain to 9am in NSW Boonanghi 126mm and Bulahdelah 112mm (best since March 2017). Honourable mention Bundarra PO 105mm (best since Nov 2011). Find out where the rain fell here: https://t.co/R2cMl9WF6J pic.twitter.com/gAm0tnz9K9— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 16, 2020
The NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed that some rain had fallen over “most firegrounds” but it was not enough to put out fires – though it would help containment.
As of Friday, 30 fires were still uncontained in NSW, and 82 were burning.
In Victoria, the Country Fire Authority said the rain has had “minimal impact in suppressing fire activity” across east and northeast. As of Friday morning, 17 fires were still burning.
Residents near Mount Buffalo were warned to evacuate on Friday afternoon ahead of forecast erratic southerly winds, which was predicted to cause a significant increase in fire activity.
The fire, which is part of the Abbeyard complex, formed a smoke column on Thursday afternoon and the department of environment, land, water and planning, which is managing the fire, warned that if another column forms in strong winds on Friday afternoon it could send spotfires into the Buffalo Valley and communities of Nug Nug, Merriang, and Buffalo river.
Rain has fallen across most firegrounds over the last 24 hours which is great news! Our fingers are crossed that this continues over the coming days.— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 16, 2020
This morning 82 fires are still burning across New South Wales, with over 30 still yet to be contained.#NSWRFS #NSWFires pic.twitter.com/Zn6Id3TX85
And more is scheduled to come, with up to 15mm forecast for parts of the NSW south coast, 5mm for the Snowy Valley and the same for East Gippsland in Victoria on Friday.
On Friday, Sydney is expected to receive up to 25mm, while other parts of the state could see 50mm.
Even more is expected over the weekend, including up to 50mm in Victoria.
Showers and thunderstorms are expected from late Sunday into Monday, particularly in central and NE districts. Widespread totals of 10-25mm, with isolated heavy falls 50+mm possible in storms. Check your forecast here: https://t.co/fGdNKCBXJs #VicWeather pic.twitter.com/7gAhfXzg8l— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) January 16, 2020
Across both states, people rejoiced to see the downpour after months of dry, devastating weather.
Australia, your rain playlist for today.— Eliza Barr (@ElizaJBarr) January 16, 2020
Hasn’t It Rained - Paul Kelly
From St Kilda To Kings Cross - Paul Kelly
Petrichor - Paul Kelly
When I First Met Your Ma - Paul Kelly
Midnight Rain - Paul Kelly
Smells Like Rain - Paul Kelly
Surprise, it’s just Paul Kelly songs about rain.
Thor is bringing the hammer down and I dont give a damn that kid lets didnt put their bikes away! pic.twitter.com/qWokFRu5fy— Oscar (@Oscarthefarmer) January 16, 2020