Geelong suffered a terribly disappointing rainfall result in April, with a total of only between 4 and 12 mm falling across the urban area. It was the driest April since 1997 when 4 mm fell. The lowest was zero in 1923 and the current monthly average is 40 mm. The strange thing to notice however, is that rain was recorded on no less than 14 days, but most of those days showed only 0.2 or 0.4 mm in the gauge, usually as the result of light mist, drizzle or fog.
The Otway catchment also experienced lower than normal rainfall, with West Barwon Dam recording 48 mm or just over half the normal. Our catchments now are a little over a quarter full (26.3%) and the outlooks from the Bureau of Meteorology and Weatherzone for the next 3 months give no cause for great optimism despite 2008 being a La Nina year.
April was around half a degree colder than normal, with descending temperatures in the last week mainly responsible after a warm start to the month. The top temperature was 30.0 degrees on the 11th and the lowest daily maximum was 14.5 degrees on the 28th. Coldest minimum was 3.2 degrees on the 30th. Maximums averaged 20.5 degrees and minimums 8.2 degrees. The long term averages are 20.1 and 9.5 degrees respectively.
April was generally a very benign and settled month, although this was punctuated by a severe windstorm on the 2nd when very strong northerlies,caused by an approaching low pressure system and a blocking high in the Tasman Sea, brought a dust storm across the district. Winds gusting over 100 kph created some local structural damage to roofs, trees and cars, and the meagre rainfall (1.4 mm) mixed with the dust created falls of “red rain” or “mud rain” which settled on everything as a layer of thin red mud. There were three days of strong winds exceeding 60 kph and just one thunder day (27th) which delivered nothing in the way of rain.