We got some!

By JENI FAULKNER

IF YOU want it to rain, introduce Level 4 water restrictions.

Coffs Harbour hasn't seen decent rain for months, and with Level 4 water restrictions introduced on Saturday, it was always a sure bet that it would rain.

And rain it did! Firefighters, farmers and even your friendly neighbour had something in common yesterday: They were relishing the sight of rain.

But despite the much-needed and welcomed downpour, the Coffs Coast, and indeed the entire State, has a long way to go before the drought breaks and water restrictions are lifted.

Yet these prayers could still be answered. Late yesterday afternoon, the Bureau of Meteorology gave out a severe weather warning of widespread winds, heavy rainfall and flash flooding for the Northern Rivers and the Mid North Coast.

From 3pm yesterday, Coffs Harbour had received a total of 63.8mm of rainfall, with more rain expected over the next two days.

The council said the rain was helpful but, unfortunately, it would take more than three-days of the 'wet stuff' to fill Karangi Dam.

The operations manager of Coffs Harbour Water, Simon Thorn, said restrictions would remain at Level 4.

"The recent rain has lowered the consumption rate, which dropped from 19.5 megalitres to 18.5 megalitres at the weekend," Mr Thorn said.

"But this is what we expect after some rain and there was only 30mm (of rain) measured at Karangi Dam and this hasn't affected the flow of the rivers."

The officer in charge of the Coffs Harbour Bureau of Meteorology, Gavin Tait, said rain was something everyone had been waiting for.

Over the 24-hour period from 9am Saturday, Coffs Harbour received 16.4mm and then in the 24 hours to 9am Monday, a further 34.8mm fell.

"Over the whole weekend, there was about 51.2mm, and within the first three hours from 9am to midday yesterday there was a further 7mm," Mr Tait said.

The most generous falls for the area were measured north at Ballina with 78mm; Murwillumbah with 110mm and Coolangatta with 111mm.

For Thursday, there is expected to be scattered showers and Mr Tait said this was the result of an inland trough deepening with a low forming off the Far North Coast.

Also happy with the weekend's rainfall was manager of the Mid North Coast Rural Fire Service Warwick Roche.

"There had been reports of fires west of the Ulong/Lowanna area and we were concerned," Mr Roche said.

"All up, 10 fires had been spotted in a short period of time and this widespread rain meant we didn't have to worry anymore."

The RFS is still allowing permits to light fires but Mr Roche said despite the rain people should still be careful.



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