October 1997

“October a pleasant surprise”

The Geelong Region’s October rainfall totals were described as “a pleasant, last-minute surprise” by Geelong Weather Services manager, Lindsay Smail, yesterday.

Geelong officially recorded 59.2 mm.”Up until the last day of the month, most areas had received very little rain, and this was continuing the extended drought period which started in October last year,” he said. “But almost without warning extensive soaking rains have brought a reprieve to some areas. At Grovedale we received 47 mm in the last 24 hours of the month, including 14 mm in one hour.”

For some local farmers however the rain has come too late, crops having already withered. For many areas, October totals are still below average.

“Rural areas of the region are still concerned about the possibility of summer fires, and water resources are still below normal, although the recent falls have made some farm dams look a bit more respectable,” Mr Smail said.

From Forrest in the Otway Ranges, catchment area for most of Geelong’s water supply, to normally dry areas such as Little River, October was a disappointing month. Forrest received only 58 of its normal 101mm for October. “In the 13 months since October last year Geelong has received about 402 mm,” Mr Smail said. We are technically still in an extended drought of the type that has only occurred in less than 10% of Geelong’s 160-year recorded history.

“The El Nino situation is still serious, according to Mr Smail. The October index was still moderate to strongly negative (-16), he said, although from now on it was not as useful for predicting drought as in the winter to spring period. In other words, rainfall prediction for the summer months could not be done as accurately as before.

“Many long-range forecasters have warned of an eastern Australian summer drought,” he said, “But it is not as easy to localise the prediction for the Geelong region as it was for the June to October period.”In June Geelong Weather Services predicted low rainfall for this region for the July to October period. This prediction has proved accurate, as Geelong’s rainfall this period was 195 mm compared with the average of 206 mm. But the forthcoming summer presents a not-too-pretty picture of pessimism.

“Even if average rains are now received in November it would not improve the crops situation, but the fire prevention programs and the water catchment problems now faced by farmers and urban dwellers alike would start to look better,” Mr Smail concluded.


Location Total for Month (mm) Monthly Average (mm)
Aireys Inlet 39
Anglesea 39.5
Apollo Bay 80 (99)
Ballarat 48 (70)
Bannockburn 49
Barwon Heads 55.4
Bellbrae 39
Beeac 51
Birregurra 48
Cape Otway 77.2 (82)
Colac (Elliminyt) 68 (68)
Colac (Town) 57.5
Forrest 58 (101)
Gellibrand 66
Inverleigh 63
Laverton 44 (60)
Melbourne (City) 31 (68)
Meredith 73.8
Modewarre 32
Queenscliff 52.3 (65)
Sheoaks 54
Skipton 39
Teesdale 59.8
Warrnambool AP 42.4 (84)
Warncoort 47.8 (82)
Werribee 37
Winchelsea 41
Location Total for Month (mm) Monthly Average (mm)
Avalon 44.2
Belmont 58
Connewarre 58.5
Corio 58.5
Grovedale 65
Lara 43
Mt Duneed 54 (58)
Serendip 49
Whittington 62.5