Flooded farmers toast Australia’s whacky weather

January 10th, 2009 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 10 (DPA) More rain fell in north Australia Saturday raising the spirits of drought-depressed farmers, engorging already swollen rivers and putting dusty cattle ranches under water.Queensland’s Cloncurry river has gone from a trickle to seven metres in the past week and the Albert River is racing through Burketown at a height of 6.5 metres.

Mount Isa, the region’s biggest urban centre, is cut off by floodwaters that have severed road links between Brisbane and Darwin.

Rick Britton, mayor of Boulia Shire, said the spike in rainfall had raised the spirits of farmers.

“She’s God’s country,” he told The Australian newspaper. “An inch of rain on this country and here, you get a response. I’ve lived here all my life and it still amazes me what it can do for you.”

Stephen Toms, the chief executive of AAC, Australia’s biggest beef producer, said the drought-breaking rains would reinforce the nation’s position as the world’s second-biggest beef exporter after Brazil.

“All our Barkly properties that suffered from dry conditions last year have probably received in the last couple of weeks the amount of rain they got in all of last year,” Toms said.

Some of the region’s country-sized cattle properties received more rain in a 24-hour period than they did in the previous 18 months.

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