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Queensland rainfall a welcome Christmas gift

14 January 2021

Key points:

• Most weather stations in Queensland experienced above-average rainfall in December 2020
• Above-average summer rainfall should translate into improved pasture availability in Queensland
• Cyclone Imogen was the first of the 2020–21 cyclone season.

The current La Niña has produced widespread rain across Queensland’s key cattle producing regions in late December, in a positive seasonal change that has continued into the new year. In December, the majority of weather stations in Queensland recorded rainfall above the long-term average. In some places such as Jochmus in central west Queensland, the December rainfall of 249mm was nearly four times the monthly average.

Falls of up to 300mm were also recorded in some agricultural areas such as Miranda Downs in December, and have been followed up by subsequent weather events in January from both coastal lows and cyclones.

Cyclone Imogen, the first cyclone of the 2020–21 cyclone season, made landfall on 3 January and brought significant falls to northern Queensland. This signaled an earlier start to Queensland cyclone season than 2019–2020, which began in February 2020 with Cyclone Damien.

The increased rainfall across December and January has resulted in widespread flooding to large parts of western Queensland, which has not yet subsided in many areas. The current eight-day forecast (as of 14 January 2020) indicates that a weather event will deliver moderate rain to most of Queensland by January 21.

The increased rainfall is expected to bring abundant pasture to Queensland’s cattle regions, which have experienced long-term drought, and may signal the consolidation of a herd rebuild.

View recent and historical rainfall maps, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2021