Dust descends on NSW drought-hit farmers


Drought-hit western NSW farmers have now had to contend with a horrendous dust storm rolling across the region.

The walls of dust descended on Tuesday ahead of thunderstorms which brought between five and 15mm of rain, providing some relief for graziers but well short of drought-breaking falls.

Louise Turner, who runs a sheep property near White Cliffs, east of Broken Hill, said the storm also brought winds up to 140km/h, causing damage to sheds and shearing quarters on nearby stations.

Her own property received about 10mm of rain and while that was welcome to soak the dry ground it was not enough to fill dams or start water flowing.

There was some suggestion of further falls next week which could grow desperately-needed feed for their remaining 2000 head of stock.

Ms Turner said their own situation remained quite “dire” but another 10 to 20mm of rain could allow them to stop hand feeding.

“It will sort itself out. I just don’t know if it will be the outcome we want,” she said.

“Everyone has a different story to tell.

“You just take comfort in the fact that there are other people going through the same thing.”

Forecasting website Weatherzone said dust storms were more likely across NSW during drought years.

“This is because seasonal thunderstorms passing over the state whip up dry topsoil and carry it across the barren landscape,” the website said.

Records show NSW has experienced its fourth driest January to October since records began in 1900.

A few locations in western NSW have experienced their driest year-to-date in more than a century.

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