A dried up pond cracking under the pressure of the drought has been completely transformed in the space of just weeks.
A devastating photo of the barren Busbys Pond in the middle of the popular Centennial Parklands in Sydney caused disbelief, with people saying it was one of the saddest things they had seen.
The image showed the withered bottom of Busbys Pond – a far cry from the expansive body of water that is one of the park’s greatest attractions.
But the pond, reminiscent of scenes in Africa during the dry season, has evolved into a floodplain with trees and picnic tables submerged under water.
Even a sign that says “please do not walk in dry ponds” is now swimming in waters flowing through the parklands.
It took just a weekend of rain for Centennial Parklands to transform, with Sydney experiencing torrential rain on a scale not seen in more than 20 years as floodwaters engulfed NSW and wreaked havoc.
Between 9am on February 7 and the same time on February 9, between 200 and 400mm of rain soaked Sydney, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains.
A Weatherzone spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia many places in Sydney through to the Central Coast and further north had generally seen the biggest rainfall in more than three and a half years.
‘It’s looking magical’
Farmers are smiling for the first time in years after widespread parts of Queensland also received massive downpours.
Major flood warnings remain across the state after heavy rainfall swept away cars, flooded roads and caused rivers to swell.
The deluge prompted 15 schools and 14 child centres to close on Friday.
But as waters subside, one southeast Queensland mayor is delivering good news for the first time in months.
Long-forgotten waterfalls have been revealed in the Scenic Rim after bushfires stripped away overgrowth, mayor Greg Christensen said.
"It's looking magical," Cr Christensen told AAP.
"(The bushfires) burnt areas back and exposed waterfalls that people didn't realise existed."
Will the drought be broken?
Farmers in drought-affected areas were celebrating the heavy rain, with dusty paddocks turning a lush, healthy green.
However, the drought is far from over, a struggle Les and Laura Jones still face on their property in Gunnedah in northeastern NSW.
Their Goolhi farm copped more than 60mm of rain between February 6 and February 10, and on January 25 was hit with a one-hour deluge of 92mm.
“Don’t let that fool you,” Mrs Jones said of her green pastures.
"It's a false green if we don't have any more rain incoming ... I'd say days and days, weeks of it before we even contemplate coming out of the drought."
The rain has fallen on parts of drought-stricken NSW, including the northwest slopes, which received up to 100mm last weekend.
"That's more rain than they have seen in quite a few years," NSW Bureau of Meteorology acting manager Jane Golding said.
But not all farmers and rural communities had been blessed with rain.
NSW Farmers said in a statement issued earlier this week that the big wet had lifted many farmers' spirits, particularly those in livestock and some crop farming, but it had been patchy across the state's central west.
"They [governments] think: ‘oh well, we've had some inches of rain now, let's call the drought quits’ - well, no, let's not," Mrs Jones said.
"Otherwise we're going to end up in the same place we were 18 months ago."
Rain helps extinguish disastrous bushfires
The RFS says the rain helped firefighters extinguish more than 30 fires, some of which had been burning for months, including the destructive Gospers Mountain mega blaze northwest of Sydney and the Currowan blaze which ripped through the south.
Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said 17 fires were still burning in NSW on Monday, all at the lowest alert level.
Water from the Georges River also inundated Milperra and Liverpool in western Sydney early on Monday, the NSW State Emergency Service said.
River levels at Milperra are now higher than during the 1988 flood and major flooding is affecting other areas such as Warwick Farm and Chipping Norton.
The SES responded to about 10,000 calls for help and carried out multiple rescues of people trapped by rising rivers and floodwaters.
Sydney's parched dams are also filling up, with Warragamba Dam at more than 60 per cent capacity, surging from about 45 per cent last week.
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