High rainfall dominated the Geelong-Otways-Bellarine region in January. Most areas received at least double the normal January rainfall, and some areas got up to four times as much. Urban Geelong averaged 130 mm for the month compared to the average 33 mm. The rainfalls that caused flooding over much of northern Victoria in the second week of the month brought moderate flooding of the Barwon River system with only minor disruption around Geelong. Several roads were closed for a few days in low-lying areas and the infamous Breakwater was once again affected. Water catchments stand at 77.2%.
It was Geelong’s wettest January since 1981 when 131 mm fell at the Moolap Salt Works station, and 1970, when 133.3 mm fell at the Geelong Golf Club in Bell Park. Our wettest January saw 142.9 mm recorded at North Geelong in 1896.
The heavy rains of the second week were caused by a combination of tropical moisture and low pressure system moving from the north, then an active cold front from the west. It was quite amusing that, up until a day or two before this major event, the Bureau of Meteorology was continuing to forecast “scattered showers” for Geelong despite the clear insistence of heavy rain by most of the guidance models.
January temperatures were slightly warmer (by 0.9 C) than the Geelong Airport average. Minimums averaged 14.0 degrees C (mean 13.0 C) and maximums averaged 25.3 degrees (mean 24.5C). There were four days over 30 degrees and the top temperature reached 39.0 C on 30th. On a large number of days the forecast temperature was not reached by up to 3 or 4 degrees C, and on the 31st, after a predicted top of 34 degrees Geelong’s maximum reached only 24 deg, owing to an almost 100% cloud cover accompanied by a persistent southeasterly sea breeze most of the day.
There were no severe storms but one thunder day on the 12th. There were three windy days and a maximum gust of 72kph on the 8th.