The past month has been the wettest October in Geelong since 1975, according to Lindsay Smail, Geelong Weather Services director. With some suburbs receiving over 160 mm, the record October total of 177 mm set in 1949 was seriously threatened for a while. The urban area received an average of 142 mm bringing the total for the last seven months from April to 440 mm. The last time we reached 440 mm in those seven months was in 1978. he said. The average for the same period is 335 mm.
The whole region received drought-breaking rains in the last eight days of October. That the drought has broken may be judged from the following quote from the Bureau of Meteorology publication “Living with Drought”, published 1997:
“Allowing for seasonal conditions, the Drought Watch may continue for many months and ceases when plentiful rainfall returns. ‘Plentiful’ is defined as well above average rainfall for one month, or above-average rainfall over a three-month period.
The Drought Watch Service provides a consistent starting point for national drought alerts. Drought declarations take account of other factors in addition to rainfall and are the responsibility of the State Governments.”
October 2000 contained the wettest October day since records started in 1889: on the 23rd October Geelong recorded from 61 mm at Hamlyn Heights to 78 mm at St Albans Park. Over four days most suburbs received over 90 mm. Totals were lower towards the Otways but even Forrest’s total was well above its monthly average.
It was very pleasing to note that runoff into the Barwon and Moorabool catchments have now increased the storages to over 65% of capacity.
A slightly cooler month was the result of more general cloudier skies. Average maximum for the month was 17.8 degrees C. and average minimum was 8.1 degrees C. These compare to the normals of 19.0 and 8.4 degrees respectively. A light frost was reported in the district on the 17th, when the overnight minimum reached 1.5 degrees C. The warmest day was the 5th, when the mercury rose to 26.1 degrees C.
On the 19th between 12.30 pm and 2 pm several funnel clouds were reported over Batesford and Hamlyn Heights. They were observed to be forming, then dissipating and redeveloping with almost monotonous regularity. Several were photographed and videoed. They were extending out of a rotating wall cloud below a slow-moving multi-celled thunderstorm which left hail at Batesford and minor flash flooding in Corio and Manifold Heights. Anakie received 48 mm in a 4-hour thunderstorm. No tornadic ground damage was reported.