Forget weather satellites and meteorology websites that claim they know how to read the weather for the moment, let’s take some stock in the old drover folklore to see what is revealed about our allusive wet season.
Centuries before scientists and their contraptions took over the market in weather predictions, people on the land would predict when and if rain would come, or what the weather would be like the next day, by reading their surroundings.
Some predicted rain by looking at the moon and if it had a halo around it, it served as evidence that rain was coming.
And the phenomena of cattle sitting down.
When cows found a place to sit, it was believed that a severe storm would be imminent.
If the birds flew high in the sky, the weather was said to remain as it was, usually cats clean their ears before rain comes and frogs croak loud as if cheering on the rain – keep it coming.
Everything from ants climbing the kitchen cupboards, to an aching dodgy knee or washing your car on the weekend, are all you need to predict impending rain, right?
Or maybe the call of the storm bird, or the black cockatoo, the blossoming jacarandas or flowering gum trees.
Undilla Station owner of Lindsay Miller, whose family have run the property since 1916, said people are paid a lot of money to forecast rain and they can’t always get it right either.
“I don’t have anything against them, but I don’t know what hope we’ve got of predicting it these days either, we just live in hope that it will rain,” Mr Miller
When he was younger, Mr Lindsay fondly remembers listening to the radio the night before the Melbourne Cup, trying to pick up the station through crackle and static because of the lightening and thunder.
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“I’m always a believer that there will be some storms around or during the week of the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
Last week Undilla Station received 10mm of rain from the severe front that struck Mount Isa on Friday evening.
“It’s useful at this time of year, spreads the cattle out and gets them away from the bores.”
Undilla Station has suffered from below average rainfall for over five years.
Mr Miller said when he was growing up the older ones would say if you see lots of ibis flying around it means rain is coming.
“It would be a good season.”
“I haven’t seen any of these things happen so I believe we just have to wait for it. It’ll turn up when its good and ready,” Mr Miller said.