by Benedict Brook
IT'S probably been so long since you used one that you may have forgotten where you stashed it all those months ago. But it's time to fish out the umbrella because rain is on the way.
A weather system, which has parked itself over the country's east for months - bringing tinder dry conditions - could finally have met its match. And that means the skies are about to break.
In some areas of NSW the heaviest rain for seven months could fall in the next few days.
"Our country is extraordinarily dry right now but hold tight, it's almost over," Sky News meteorologist Tom Saunders said.
There's no doubt eastern capitals have been parched. Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane all recorded below average - in some case way below average - rainfall during September.
"The past three months has been the driest July to September period on record for much of northeast and central NSW. September was the driest on record for NSW with a statewide average of only 4.9mm," Mr Saunders said.
There have been exceptions. Perth residents won't have failed to notice the grey skies with some areas getting their wettest September days for decades. While, just in the last week, parts of coastal Queensland have got a battering with flood warnings a plenty.
Now that moisture is finally going to make an appearance in southern Queensland and NSW.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for north eastern NSW on Friday afternoon, including damaging winds and hailstones.
Over the next week, much needed moisture will is likely to fall with some particularly heavy downpours in central and coastal NSW and Queensland.
"The weather patterns are now shifting into a summery set up with humid tropical air and troughs of low pressure combining to produce showers and thunderstorms," Mr Saunders said.
A belt of high pressure which sits over Central Australia during winter can usually be relied upon to migrate south during spring giving a clear road for the wetter conditions.
Saturday will see storms over southern inland Queensland. Widespread storms over eastern Australia will then follow on Sunday and Monday.
Narrabri, in NSW's north, could see 50mm of rain over the next few days, the most for seven months. Dubbo, in the Central West, could also see its highest rainfall for seven months at 25mm.
Tamworth's 25mm would be the most rain since autumn.
Sydney is unlikely to see rainfall of that magnitude but it could be a wet start to the week with around 5mm of rain.
And it won't be a one off, with Mr Saunders saying, "Another band of storms should form up towards the end of next week."