Geelong received well above average rainfall with 75-130 mm falling across the urban area and 90.4 at Geelong Airport. (November average is 51 mm.) Totals varied from 75 mm at Lara to 130 mm at Hamlyn Heights. It has been the wettest month of the year. The western Otways were generally below average because much of the rain originated from systems moving from the north and northwest, but the eastern Otways including the main catchments (eg, West Barwon dam 118 mm) received above average falls. Spring rainfall totals for urban Geelong were around 187 mm. (The average is 151 mm).
This result means that, once again, the 3-monthly outlook by the BoM has got it wrong for the Geelong region, only having predicted around a 30-35% chance of average rainfall for spring.
This also means Geelong’s rainfall has recovered to “normal” status since June. On average Geelong receives around 300 mm between June and November. This year’s tally for urban Geelong over the same period is 322 mm. The first half of the year however will result in a poor overall annual figure. The catchments now stand at 37% of capacity, not good, but much better than at the same time last year.
This was Geelong’s hottest November since accurate records began in 1902. Our mean temperature was 18.08 degrees C, fractionally higher than the 18.04 C set in 1982 and the 18.0 C set back in 1902.
A heatwave during the second and third weeks of the month saw 5 consecutive days over 30 degrees C and 2 other days – 7 in all. The 5 successive days were a record for November but the top of 34.9C on the 9th did not come close. Temperatures averaged 3.1 degrees above the long-term mean of 15.0 degrees. Daily maximums averaged 25.0 degrees and minimums 11.2 degrees. (The long-term maximums average 20.5C and minimums 9.4C).
Examining the new record in a historical context shows that this hot November was not outside the range of Geelong’s experience in the last 108 years. It has all happened before. Despite the foregoing, some alarmist commentators are saying this is evidence of global warming, conveniently forgetting that parts of the northern hemisphere have been experiencing record cold temperatures.
Another interesting fact to consider is that, from 1902 to the present, there has been no overall November warming in Geelong, nor at Ballarat, (1908-2009) or for that matter, at Cape Otway (1902-2009). The raw BoM figures show that all three stations show a flat linear trend or even a slight decrease in their November temperatures over 108 years. Of course there have been fluctuations during that time.
There were 3 days of strong wind, including a gust of 81kph at Mt Duneed on the 3rd. Two thunder-lightning days on the 15th and 26th were not accompanied by any severe storms. A dust storm occurred on the 20th.
Two unusual but similar phenomena did however occur, on the afternoons of the 7th and the 16th. At Grovedale on the 7th, a sudden explosion was heard on the roof of a house leading to the owner discovering a number of broken and scattered tiles. Originally this was thought to have been a meteorite, and this explanation is still feasible. Subsequent discussions with others however have led me to believe it could have been due to a willy-willy, or small whirlwind shaped like a tornado but originating from a dry, hot ground surface such as concrete. These have happened before in Geelong on similar days in spring and summer and have damaged trees and dislodged roof tiles. A similar event occurred on the 16th at Hamlyn Heights, when a very short and narrow damage path was caused, along with the characteristic strong wind and subsequent roof damage. Both events occurred during a very hot and dry period.