THE first monsoonal trough of the wet season has formed off the North Queensland coast with widespread showers expected across the region.
Bureau of Meteorology Townsville meteorologist Doug Fraser said the monsoon trough would develop this week and bring showers and thunderstorms to areas north of Townsville.
“We will see a gradual build up of shower and thunderstorm activity, initially to the north and it will gradually slip south bringing rain over inland pars as well,” Mr Fraser said.
He said areas north of the Flinders Highway would see showers and localised thunderstorms, with rain also forecast north of Mount Isa and through the Gulf Country.
The heaviest rain was likely to fall around the Tropical North Coast, north of Ingham.
”South of there for the Townsville areas and Central Coast region we’re looking at some showers and thunderstorm activity without the intense monsoon rainfall expected for the Cassowary Coast area,” Mr Fraser said.
“This is the first time we’re looking at monsoon activity. At least for the next week there is no sign of any cyclone developing or even a significant tropical low.
“Of course, we are getting to the peak of the cyclone season, but there’s nothing at this stage.”
The forecast comes after Charters Towers copped a welcome drenching on Monday, January 15, with the town recording 82mm of rain and hail in some areas.
Mark and Kellie Lalor received 71mm in just two hours at their property Kings Gully Park, on the outskirts of Charters Towers.
It also hailed, a sight the couple said they had never seen in their ten years on the property.
“It was the best rain we’ve had for a very long time,” Mr Lalor said.
“But we need a lot more where that came from. If we get another week of sunshine to grow the grass then there’s not any more rain, it’s just going to burn off.”
Mrs Lalor said the couple had been forced to destock about two years ago as there was not the feed to sustain their 14 head of cattle.
“When I came here for the first two years, the grass was over the car bonnet,” she said
“We haven’t had a real wet season for the last eight years.
“We had to get rid of the cows off here, we just couldn’t keep them.”
The once lush property was prime cattle country, with the couple turning out fat cattle that attracted the top price in several categories at the Dalrymple Salesyard.
In 2010, the property recorded 1009.5mm of rain. Last year, they received just 614mm with the driest year 2015, when only 462mm of rain fell.
Mrs Lalor said they would love to run cattle again, and were selling up to move to what they hope are literally greener pastures on the Tablelands.
Mr Fraser said the hail reported in Charters Towers was unusual, as it generally melts before it hits the ground.
He said there was a 30-40 per cent chance Charters Towers would receive some follow up showers this weekend, and temperatures would be 32C to 33C.