October’s weather may have been a mixed bag, but there was little joy for farmers hoping dams would fill. October is normally the region’s wettest month – the average ranges from around 60mm at Moriac, Queenscliff, Barwon Heads and Mt Duneed to 70mm at Bellbrae and Barwon Heads, 90mm at Lorne, 102mm at Gellibrand to 170mm at Weeaproinah on the Otway ridge.
This year however, rainfalls in most areas were only between 50 and 80% of the average. The situation would have been much worse if last week’s 30-40mm downpours had not eventuated. That event happened as the result of an intense low pressure system which had tracked fairly quickly through central Victoria.
Moist southerlies and southwesterlies were steered up from the Surf Coast straight over Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula with no blocking mountain range to cause a rain shadow. This type of event happens on average once or twice a year in this region, and readers may remember the recent deluges in April and October last year.
Sometimes when this has happened in the past the low pressure system conveniently slows down in eastern Victoria, causing more rain here as the cloud band wraps clockwise around itself. This time, while there was radar evidence of circulation, the whole system had moved eastward at around 30-40 knots, thus preventing greater totals in our area.
Temperature-wise, Geelong’s October was very typical, neither hotter or colder than the long-term average, with two days over 30 degrees on the 11th and 12th and a cold 13.1C on the 28th. Lowest overnight temperature was 3.6C on the 16th.
There were three very windy days where gusts in the region exceeded 70kph, one thunder day on the 7th and hail on 15th.
The water supply catchments are now oveer three-quarters full, with the Otways system still doing better than the Moorabool. But the Bureau’s latest outlook predicts a less than 40% chance of good rains over the next three months; hopefully we can just avoid any more than stage one restrictions this summer.