January was well below average in rainfall with only around 50-60% of the long-term average being received. Breakwater received 24.6 mm compared to the long-term average 34.6 mm. Most of the Bellarine Peninsula was in the same dry position, and the Otway water catchment areas only slightly better. Low rainfalls in January are not unusual, and even a dry January does not presage a similar February, in spite of the fact that Bureau models are continuing to predict a dry summer. Water catchments are still in a healthy state, with the system at 84% of capacity, slightly up on last year at the same time.
Above average temperatures characterised January. Geelong’s maximums averaged 27.3C and minimums 14.7C, compared to the long-term averages of 25.1C and 13.2C respectively. This means we have experienced the warmest January since 1982, with a mean temperature of 21.0C. (1982 mean was 21.3C). Geelong’s hottest January was in 1908, with temperatures that will be difficult to beat – Average maximum 31.5C, average minimum 16.1C and mean 23.8C. Geelong’s latest 30-year averages are: maximum 25.0C, minimum 13.5C and mean 19.3C.
This January we had 7 days over 35C, including 5 over 40C which equalled the 1908 record. A heat wave of 4 consecutive days over 40C from the 14th to the 17th did not break the 1908 record, but was very unpleasant nonetheless. A new record high maximum of 45.4C was established on the 17th; the previous record was 45.3C set on 29-1-2009.
There were 3 days with strong wind gusts over 60 kph: the 4th, 5th and 17th, with the maximum at Breakwater of 78 kph on the 5th. There were 2 thunder-lightning days: the 14th and 15th, with minimal rain over the southern suburbs (5 mm).
In short, a hotter-than-average summer month with lower-than-average rainfall.