August was a noteworthy month for several reasons, elaborated below; the warmer than average temperatures and the incredible Otways rainfalls. It was also the warmest winter we have recorded.
While Geelong’s rainfall clearly surpassed the average for August (50 mm), much of the surrounding region exceeded averages by huge margins. Wyelangta on the Otway ridge, close to the Barwon Catchment, reported an amazing 420 mm which was 180 mm more than the average. Several other Otways stations such as Lavers Hill and Beech Forest had in excess of 300 mm. The lush greenery, abundant waterfalls and rapidly filling West Barwon Reservoir – now over 92% – are just a few reasons why a visit would be well worth your while. The catchments overall stand at 82% of capacity.
As predicted several months ago, winter rainfalls in the region were well above average, with Geelong receiving around 190 mm compared to the long-term average 140 mm. While June was the wettest month in Geelong, August was by far the wettest in the Otways. Most commentators believe the good rainfalls appear to be around for spring as well.
August was a very warm month, despite what many locals are thinking. In fact it was Geelong’s second warmest August since 1903 – only 1982 was slightly warmer. But what probably made them feel so cold is not the overnight minimums (7.9 C) which were higher than the average 5.8 C, nor was it the daytime maximums (15.8 C) which were warmer than the long-term average 15.0 C. It was the strong winds which dominated parts of the month; there were six days on which wind gusts exceeded 60 kph. The air temperatures were made to feel colder because of the wind chill effect. On some days when the maximum temperature of 14 C was reached, the wind chill factor made the apparent temperature feel only 6 or 7 C.
Considering all temperature records since 1903 it was also Geelong’s warmest winter overall. The previous record was held by winter 1988, and 2013 passed that figure by 0.15 of a degree. After the warmest July on record and the second warmest August, this winter was clearly a record-breaker.
There were six strong wind days with over 60 kph gusts and several others in the 50’s. The highest gust was 80 kph on the 12th. There were no storms reported, but large hail fell briefly in some of the northern suburbs with a cold front on the 14th.