After months of devastating drought, farmers were struggling to make a living on parched lands covered in dying crops.
But rural families rejoiced on Saturday as they were greeted with torrential downpours – as Australia’s coast was battered with 300mm of rain in just 24 hours.
Farmers in drought-ridden areas of New South Wales took a moment off work to enjoy the rain with their families.
But as the rain bomb continues to blanket the state for at least 72 hours, not all Australians are happy, with some at risk of fatal flash floods and landslides.
The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) had 1,170 calls for help on Friday and Saturday alone, with more than 700 staff deployed.
Emergency services are bracing for a difficult weekend, as flash flooding, monster waves and high winds batter NSW – with the worst yet to come.
Wild weather descended on Sydney on Saturday, bringing torrential rain that is unlikely to stop for 72 hours.
The rain bomb dropped an incredible 300mm on Byron Bay in just 24 hours on Friday, causing flash flooding and forced businesses to close.
The NSW SES said they had already rescued 15 carloads of people after rain battered the Central Coast on Friday night.
Overnight, the area was dumped with 200mm of rain before the deluge continued on Saturday afternoon.
The SES has over 600 volunteers on the ground as it prepares for flash flooding all weekend with a severe weather warning current from Coffs Harbour to Moruya.
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of flooding on the Central Coast, greater Sydney and Illawarra regions, Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains.
Heavy rain and flash flooding is also expected in the mid-north coast and lower Hunter regions.
It’s more unwelcome news for the NSW south coast, which after being destroyed by bushfires will now face dangerous landslips, the Bureau of Metereology warned.
‘There is an elevated risk for things like landslips occurring,’ the weather bureau’s acting NSW state manager Jane Golding said.
‘There is also a lot of debris around at the moment because of the fires and that tends to get washed into creeks.
‘It’s a hazard either by flying down the creeks into the rivers but we also think there will be points where it will get blocked and then at some point the energy of the water will push it down the stream and exacerbate the risk of flash flooding.’
But the drenching rain helped to extinguish dozens of bushfires in NSW, some of which had raged for months, dropping the number from 62 to 38.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the rain bomb as ‘good news’ for farmers left devastated by the droughts.
Sharing a picture of a toddler enjoying the rain in NSW, he wrote: ‘Some good news for drought-affected communities with some areas receiving their best rainfall in years in recent days.
‘This gorgeous photo of Annabelle from Warren in NSW made me smile.
‘We know one rain event doesn’t break the drought but it’s encouraging, particularly with rain predicted to fall in areas where it’s really needed right across NSW and Queensland in the coming days.
‘We hope it does fall in the right areas, and doesn’t lead to large scale flooding.’
‘We’ve also seen decent rainfall across fire-affected areas in south-east NSW, which has seen the number of fires burning in NSW drop from 62 on Wednesday to 38 today.’
BOM parts of the rain would only intensify in NSW over the next 36 hours, after receiving more than 200mm of rain on Friday and falls of 100mm-plus on Saturday.
‘The system that is driving this rain looks like it moves off the coast during Monday,” Ms Golding said.
‘We have showers forecast for the next week but that intense, widespread steady rainfall looks like it will rapidly ease either late Monday or during Tuesday.’
The NSW SES said they had pre-positioned resources in regions which were expected to be flooded and warned residents to avoid unnecessary travel during storms.
Forster on the mid-north coast and Nowra on the South Coast were also expected to cop damaging wind gusts in excess of 90km/h and abnormally high tides.
The BOM had warnings in place for the Brunswick, upper Nepean, Orara, Moruya, Clyde and Colo rivers, Wollembi Creek, Tuggerah Lake and St Georges Basin with moderate to major flooding expected.
Strong winds were also expected with waves of between five to six metres set to batter the coast between Bateman’s Bay and the Central Coast.