October was Geelong’s driest month since March, adding just 11 mm to the annual total. In what ought to be our wettest month, most areas within the district only registered between 10 to 30% of normal rainfall. It was Geelong’s driest October since 1967.
In some suburbs, notably Hamlyn Heights, the 6 mm received was equal to Geelong’s lowest ever October rainfall, recorded in 1967 and 1900.
Geelong’s rain for the year now totals just 263 mm, which is less than half of the annual average (540 mm). By this time normally we should expect around 450 mm. Clearly this drought has hit hard and is not likely to break satisfactorily until after the summer, perhaps around March-April, although there may be some good falls in the meantime.
Water supplies are now down to the concerning level of 27.5% of capacity.
October was a very strange month, temperature-wise. Although the overall mean temperature ended just around half a degree below average (13.3C compared to 13.7C) there were several notable features.
Our hottest-ever October day was recorded on the 12th; this 37.1C passsed the previous record by more than 2 degrees (35.0C set in 1977). Our coldest morning (1.2C on 10th) only failed by 0.1 degree to beat the lowest 1.1C set in 1970. There were 4 days over 30C and the October average is only one, and there were 3 days with minimums of less than 2 degrees, with the “normal” October only expected to provide three such days in every ten years.
So, while daily minimums were almost three degrees below normal, maximums were nearly two degrees above normal.
It should be pointed out that this situation is not unexpected in a drought year. Hot days are often a function of little cloud cover, which also causes less rain and colder overnight minimums.
There were three frosts, on the 10th, 16th and 22nd, and eight very windy days with gusts over 60 kph, and an estimated maximum gust of over 120 kph at Corio on the 17th, brought about by a dry microburst associated with a cold front. This storm damaged house roofs and other property in several streets near Purnell Road.
The Corio storm on the 17th was our only severe severe storm for the month, but there were no thunder days.