Wet weekend a cool change for Ipswich

RAIN is headed for Ipswich and it couldn't come at a more desperate time.

Ipswich and surrounding south-east Queensland regions have all been officially drought declared this week, following a prolonged spell without a meaningful downpour.

Amberley weather station has recorded a paltry 30mm since the beginning of June, leaving the landscape a greyish shade of brown.

While it might not break the drought, rain forecast for this weekend could provide some short-term relief.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Matthew Bass said the combination of an upper low and a surface trough would result in a huge rain band passing over Ipswich, dropping up to 60mm between tomorrow and Sunday.

"The main rain band will move through Saturday afternoon and will clear Sunday morning," Mr Bass said. "Ipswich is looking at rainfall of between 30-60mm, but that figure is likely to be higher down around the Main Range.

"It could also be higher in Ipswich if a thunderstorm comes through.

"Either way, it looks like it will be a good rain event."

The expected arrival of rain will coincide with a drop in maximum temperatures this weekend, with tops of 18 degrees predicted for both days. It will warm back into the low to mid-20s by mid-next week.

Farmers in Queensland's south-east corner may qualify for assistance from the Queensland Government after the region was officially drought declared yesterday.

The declaration follows a deterioration in rural pastures in the region.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said the drought-declared area extended from Mt Isa to Coolangatta and covered more than 75% of the state.

"Unfortunately, the dry winter and heavy frosts from the cold nights have hit pastures in the south- east," Mr McVeigh said.

"The drought now has a vast geographical spread across our state."

The Queensland Government has so far allocated $62 million towards assisting farmers.

For more information on drought assistance, visit daff.qld.gov.au or phone 13 25 23.

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