'It's a tough road ahead': 100mm of rain only a 'band-aid'
RETIRED Australian Agricultural Company worker Bob Young was beginning to wonder whether it would ever rain again at his home in Winton.
With so many promised rainfall forecasts and so little downfalls coming to fruition, he had started to lose hope that the "four to five year" drought would ever come to an end.
However, when the winds began to blow and "the trees swayed and rustled in the dark", the heavens opened and poured down on his Central West Queensland home all night long.
"We didn't get home from the coast until Saturday afternoon and it had showered from Jericho along the Capricorn and Landsborough highway on and off to Winton," Mr Young, 72, said.
"It started to rain that afternoon and there were showers and storms on Sunday through the day and late into the afternoon... it rained all night and it hasn't stopped raining.
"There's been 18 hours of non-stop rain with heavier falls in town. Some people have gotten 100-110mm in 24 hours."
After three months of "furnace weather of 40 degrees plus", Mr Young said many Central Western properties had suffered through the scarce rain and the amount of feed that had been burnt off.
However, despite much elation surrounding the current predictions of rain for the west, Mr Young is assuring others that the activity could be more of a "band-aid" rather than a long-term fix.
"It's a great relief but it's not going to be the end of the drought unless we get a follow up run in the next week or two and early storms into the end of the year," he said.
"It's a long, tough road ahead. We're not going to be flush with heaps of feed and fat cattle because it's been tough for so many years."
Mr Young saw for himself the devastation caused by western droughts, with cattle graziers offloading "more and more cattle" as the years got drier.
"Some people are feeding their cattle and that costs a lot of money and others have them out on route where they leave their family at home and go out and move their cattle along to stock routes, along the highway and on the edge of the highway," he said.
"They're desperate for feed and it's pretty hard for them being away from home all the time.
"They're battling because they don't know when it's going to rain or not... it's a gamble.
"But this rain is giving people a different slant on life and many of them are going to have a whiskey and a beer to celebrate."