November was a month of below average rainfall for the Geelong Region. More specifically, urban Geelong’s rainfall (25mm) was about half of the long-term average, the Otways catchment 40%, Golden Plains 40% and Bellarine Peninsula 50%. Only the Moorabool system received anything near average – eg, Ballan had 61mm; its average is 59mm.
The completion of spring saw only October’s totals reach above average yet the totals for the whole season reached the average range. Spring seasonal totals are normally around 165mm for Geelong, 175mm for the Bellarine Peninsula, 350mm for the Otways, 150mm for Golden Plains and 210mm for the Moorabool system.
This year the figures for spring were: Geelong 170mm (103%), Bellarine 180mm (103%), Otways 330mm (94%), Golden Plains 170mm (113%) and Moorabool 200mm (95%).
The Moorabool system received its greatest 24-hour rainfall in a long time on the 22nd, when up to 50mm fell across the catchment as a result of a low pressure wrap-around cloud band which brought 16-20mm to Geelong, 35mm north of Lara and 39mm at Durdidwarrah (40 km NNW of Geelong).
There were three thunder days – 19th, 20th and 30th – but only 2mm rain resulted.
TEMPERATURES AND WIND
November was 0.5 of a degree cooler than the 30-year normals of 10.2C (min) and 21.2C (max), despite the maximum of 33.8C on the 29th. This makes spring cooler than normal because each month was below the average. November’s average minimum was 9.3 degrees and maximum 21.0 degrees. There were 6 days over 30 degrees (average 2.4) and the coldest day was the 22nd when the max was 13.6 degrees; this was the day of prolonged rain when the sky was completely overcast. The coldest overnight temperature was 3.8 degrees on the 4th.
There was one day of strong winds when gusts of over 50kph were experienced.
This dry November has come as no surprise to Ian Holton, the South Australian meteorologist in private practice near Adelaide. He predicted in August that the southeastern parts of Australia could be in for another period of El Nino-like conditions until early 2004.
Despite the fact that the main global climate models did not favour either an El Nino or La Nina-type scenario over the coming months, Holton predicted that “dam, house and irrigation water was likely to be a most precious commodity for farmers through the spring into 2004.” As far as last month is concerned, he was spot-on for this region.