An excellent rainfall month has seen the whole Geelong region rejoice in well-above average falls. From the Otway Ranges to Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Golden Plains, June’s rainfall has exceeded expectations – with winter off to a promising start. The Geelong area received over 140% of the June normal – 46 mm – with totals generally over 60 mm across the urban area, and Otway ridge towns Lavers Hill and Beech Forest received 296 mm and 257 mm respectively. Barwon Water reports the catchments are well over 70% of capacity.
The causes of this great rainfall were largely the series of very active low pressure systems which crossed the region in the final 8 days of the month. These warm-cored systems passed over the state and Bass Strait bringing wild, typical cold and mainly overcast wintry weather, with strong wind gusts and sometimes squally rains. Strangely enough the wettest 24 hours were up to 9 am on the 15th, when another slow-moving low produced 20 mm at Geelong. There were 17 rain days.
Somewhat surprisingly to many people, the average temperatures of this month were above average: it was the warmest June since 1991 and the third warmest overall. Daily minimums averaged 8.0 degrees, which is 1.7 degrees above the 30-year mean, and maximums were 15.4 degrees, 0.9 degree above the 30-year mean. Temperature wise, only the last 8 days really felt like winter, with strong winds lowering the wind chill factor by several degrees. The coldest day was the 29th (12.4 C maximum) and the warmest was the 11th with 18.8 C maximum. There were no frosts and 2.4 C on the 11th was the lowest minimum.
The wintry conditions of the final eight days of the month were notable particularly for the outbreak of at least 6 consecutive days from the 23rd to the 28th, where gusts exceeded 60 kph, although out-lying areas such as Avalon, Point Wilson and Mt Gellibrand received stronger blasts. In urban Geelong the worst day was the 24th, which saw gusts of 83 kph at Breakwater and 104 kph at Avalon; widespread damage to trees and roofs as a result have combined to make this the second severe storm event for the year.