“Disastrous” is the best word to describe Geelong’s six-monthly rainfall from January to June this year. With just 116mm recorded in the urban area Geelong has had less than 50% of its 6-monthly average of 240mm. This is the worst start to a rainfall year since 1967, when only 98mm was received, and our second lowest January to June rainfall since 1871. In 1967 we finished the year with only 269mm, our lowest ever. With Bureau outlooks only offering a 35-55% chance of average rain in our region over the next three months, the immediate future looks grim indeed.
Otway catchment areas have performed a little better with West Barwon Dam receiving just over 60% of its 6-month “normal”. As a result, our reserves stand at only 25% of capacity. And the pollies want to create a population boom here without another dam! Recent suggestions that “it’s no use building dams if there is no rain to fill them” are patently silly because even temporary low runoff rates in the under-utilised Otways will still augment supplies.
Unfortunately Barwon Water’s recent public statements have not helped the public understand our predicament; the spokesman recently resorted to comparing rainfall rates with those of 2007 – why not the average?
Geelong’s rain in June varied from 13mm at Lara and Moolap to 50mm in the Barwon Heads to Clifton Springs area, whereas most of the urban area received around 20mm. The reason the central Bellarine Peninsula received more was mainly due to a localised heavy downpour on the 19th, with most of Geelong missing out. Despite the poor totals June had 22 rain days.
Geelong was about 1.5 degrees warmer than normal in June. This follows a colder April and May, but due to high temperatures in January and March the first six months were warmer than normal overall.
Our warmest day was the 17th (18.4 degrees) and our coldest was the 15th (13.2). Maximums averaged 15.6 degrees and minimums 7.8 degrees. These compare with the long term averages of 14.4 and 6.1 degrees respectively. The lowest overnight minimum was minus 0.2 degree on the 2nd and the highest was 12.8 on the 11th.
There were five very windy days with the highest, 87kph, recorded at Mt Duneed on the 30th. There were no thunder days, but there was one storm at Anakie on the 19th when 19mm fell in one hour. Minor damage was reported.