From dancing cows to the overdue shaving of a two year old beard, Australians across drought-stricken and fire-hit parts of New South Wales and Victoria have celebrated the arrival of much-needed rain.
Up to 100mm of rain has fallen in parts of NSW over Thursday and Friday, in what was, for some areas, the most significant rainfall in months.
While in Victoria a bushfire at Mount Buffalo in the state’s northeast prompted both an evacuation alert and an emergency warning on Friday evening as spotfires, fanned by erratic southerly winds, threatened homes near the locality of Nug Nug.
In Buladelah and Boonanghi on the mid-north coast, 112mm and 126mm of rain fell in the 24 hours from 9am Thursday to 9am Friday.
Bilpin in the Blue Mountains – which has been hit by the more than 500,000 hectare Gospers Mountain megafire – saw 30mm of rain in the same period. Nowra, just north of the multiple fires burning down the south coast, received 12mm.
In the upper Hunter at Scone, six-month-old calves jumped through paddocks at the first experience of rain in their life, in the middle of a record-breaking drought.
In nearby Muswellbrook, the humans couldn’t hide their excitement either.
Near Broken Hill in the state’s west, farmer Nick Andrews had made a promise not to shave his beard until he saw an inch of rain fall.
After nearly two years, on Thursday, it came off.
Bundarra in the northern tablelands received 105mm, its best rainfall in more than nine years.
The NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed that some rain had fallen over “most firegrounds” but it was not enough to put out fires – though it would help containment.
As of Friday, 30 fires were still uncontained in NSW, and 82 were burning.
In Victoria, the Country Fire Authority said the rain has had “minimal impact in suppressing fire activity” across east and northeast. As of Friday morning, 17 fires were still burning.
Residents near Mount Buffalo were warned to evacuate on Friday afternoon ahead of forecast erratic southerly winds, which was predicted to cause a significant increase in fire activity.
The fire, which is part of the Abbeyard complex, formed a smoke column on Thursday afternoon and the department of environment, land, water and planning, which is managing the fire, warned that if another column forms in strong winds on Friday afternoon it could send spotfires into the Buffalo Valley and communities of Nug Nug, Merriang, and Buffalo river.
And more is scheduled to come, with up to 15mm forecast for parts of the NSW south coast, 5mm for the Snowy Valley and the same for East Gippsland in Victoria on Friday.
On Friday, Sydney is expected to receive up to 25mm, while other parts of the state could see 50mm.
Even more is expected over the weekend, including up to 50mm in Victoria.
Across both states, people rejoiced to see the downpour after months of dry, devastating weather.