Another month of below average rain has created a dry spell which, if it had occurred in winter, would have been classed as a serious regional drought. The latest signs are that this has come to an end owing to the effects of a large northwest cloud band which brought heavy rain to most of Victoria on the last day of May and which was consequentially recorded in June’s rainfall – the 20 mm for Geelong being about half of our expected June rainfall.
In the meantime only the Otway Ranges exceeded the May average, with Lavers Hill (240 mm) leading the way. The catchments are holding out on about 67% of capacity.
Autumn overall was much drier than normal, with Geelong receiving only around 50% of average rainfall (65 mm in total), almost reminiscent of the autumn of 2005, which yielded only 31 mm in three months. However that year was followed by a good winter and spring, and the current outlook suggests the probability of a similar scenario this year.
It was Geelong’s 2nd warmest autumn since records began in 1903. That figure does not take into account the several changes in our temperature recording sites in the 110 years, from urban to rural then back to urban again. That complication means that meaningful trends cannot be easily detected, unless we manipulate, alter and homogenise raw figures, which is quite unscientific. An approximation is the only solution.
Despite the foregoing, Geelong’s average autumn temperature of 14.9 C was surpassed this year by 16.5 C, partly due to the lack of rain. The month of May recorded 7 days over 20 C but this was not a record. Top temperature of 25.6 C was reached on the 11th and the minimum was 3.3 C on the 29th.
There was only one strong wind day with a gust of 63 kph on the 15th. Two thunder-lightning days were observed, on the 20th and in the northern suburbs on the 31st. Apart from that the only other time of excitement was an earth tremor measuring 3.1 in Leopold on the 2nd. This fortunately only shook a few windows and created no damage.