Rainfall for January across the region showed some amazing variations, according to Lindsay Smail, manager of Geelong Weather Services. Totals varied from 75 mm at Barwon Heads to only 26 mm at Highton. The wettest suburb was Whittington with 71 m. The January average for Geelong is 44 mm.
It is not yet resolved how the Bureau of Meteorology will record Geelong’s January rainfall, given the breakdown of the rain gauge at Mt Duneed. Probably the best solution would be to take an average of all the suburban figures. This would give a total of 41 mm.
One major reason for the variation, Mr Smail said, was the five thunderstorms experienced during the month. One storm over the City and eastern suburbs resulted in a recording of 46 mm at Whittington, but very little elsewhere. Other storms during the Australia Day weekend brought rain to most of the urban area.
Falls in the water catchment areas were insufficient for good runoff owing to the dry nature of the topsoil. Rain at West Barwon Dam totalled 51 mm for the month but there was little resultant runoff. Water restrictions for Geelong are now in place for February.
The signs for future rainfall are mixed. The El Nino signals are weakening and Indian Ocean surface temperatures are increasing; this usually means good rainfalls for the Geelong region. On the other hand the Queensland Department of Primary Industry has forecast only a 30% probability that the Geelong region will receive average rains over February-March.
Temperatures for Geelong were very close to the January averages. Maximum temperature average was 25.1 degrees, compared to 25.5. Minimum average was 14.0 compared to the average of 13.5.
Geelong had five days when temperatures exceeded 30 degrees, including one day when the mercury reached 42. This however is well below the record 44.2 set in 1908, 43.9 in 1913, 43.3 in 1968, 43.2 in 1985 and 43.1 in 1982.