Despite a poor monthly total for October, the Geelong region’s rainfall has been around average over the June to October period. As a result, vegetation growth has boomed during the winter-spring and soil moisture levels and the dams are becoming replenished.
In October the Geelong urban area received only around 30 mm – Geelong Airport AWS average is 50.8 mm according to http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_nccObsCode=136&p_display_type=dailyDataFile&p_startYear=2009&p_stn_num=087163.
The Geelong Airport AWS has recently struggled to reflect accurately rainfall totals for this district (rainfall catch affected by strong wind gusts), but since June, the urban area generally as monitored by Geelong Weather Services observers has received 227 mm, compared to the 25-year AWS average (Bureau of Meteorology) of 240 mm. This means we received 95% of “normal”, which puts us well within the average toleration.
If November and December are not good rainfall months however, Geelong may be looking at a dry start to summer. The BoM model is predicting such an eventuality, although Weatherzone is suggesting a wetter late summer. The catchments are currently at 37% of capacity, the highest since December, 2007, and the Otways have received approximately 95-110% of their average rain for June to October, so there is no need for pessimism. 2009, especially sinch March, has been a much better rainfall year than 2008, and this is reflected in the water storages.
Geelong was cooler by around 0.7 degree C in October, along with most of western Victoria. Average daily minimums were 6.9 degrees C compared to the long-term mean 7.6 C, and average daily maximums were 18.0 degrees C compared to 18.7 C.
The lowest minimum reached 2.5 C on both the 11th and the 24th, and the hottest day was the 20th (29.8 C).
A fairly benign weather month, October produced small hail on the 6th and 5 strong wind gusts, including 80 kph at Geelong Airport AWS on the 13th. There was one thunder day with spectacular lightning displays on the evening of the 30th and 31st, but no major storm damage except some temporary loss of power in some areas. On the last day of the month heavy rain fell in North Geelong – Bell Post Hill but this will be included in the November figures because it occurred after 9am.
The coming fire season should not be a cause for undue fear or anxiety in the region. Despite the fact that preventive burning and fuel reduction has been only minimally practised this year, the outlook is not for any more extreme fire danger days than you would expect in a normal summer. Despite the fear-engendering rhetoric employed by some, we should remember that the forests and grasslands in this region are presently much wetter and greener than at this time last year. Of course they will dry off, but later in summer, so the danger period ought not to be as long as last year when low rainfalls all year ushered in the fire season. And we must not forget that arsonists can operate in any climate.