September 1997

In the Geelong Region, September was noticeable for its timely and above average rains. Geelong had received its average of 51 mm within the first ten days of the month with some heavy falls associated with thunderstorms. Urban area totals ranged from 77 mm at Grovedale to 60 mm at Serendip (Lara).

Most districts received above average rains, in particular Inverleigh recorded 102 mm. Teesdale as well received over 94 mm, including a severe local hailstorm totalling over 32 mm on the 5th which caused many thousands of dollars damage to crops and a tree nursery.

The wet start to spring has temporarily eased local fears of a continuation of the extended drought. The dry winter was a problem which can partly be rectified by solid spring rains, and if October remains wet the outlook will be more positive for farmers , water managers and fire-fighters.

An optimistic outlook however is not shared by many long-range forecasters. Lindsay Smail, of Geelong Weather Services has put together information on sea surface temperatures, the Southern Oscillation (El Niño), upper atmosphere winds and historical patterns. “But you can’t be 100% sure. We predicted lower than average rains for Geelong in the July to October period. So far our prediction is correct because we are still below average to the end of September.”

“From July to September Geelong had about 130 mm and the average for that period is over 140 mm. Obviously this has created a break in the drought we will still have to receive over 70 mm in October to keep us on track.”

“In the 12-months period since last October, Geelong has received only 386 mm, compared to the average of 549 mm. This means we have just passed through one of the worst droughts in our history, with our rainfall being in the bottom 10% of all October to September periods,” Mr Smail said.

Much of the local region has been similarly affected, but all centres received average rains or better during September:



     Location            Rainfall (mm)
----------------    -------------
Aireys Inlet        80
Anglesea            69
Apollo Bay          74
Bacchus Marsh       63
Ballarat            92
Bannockburn         53
Barwon Heads        63
Beeac               87
Birregurra          100
Cape Otway          92
Colac (Eliminyt)    115
Colac (Town)        76
Forrest             112
Gellibrand          92
Inverleigh          102
Laverton            68
Melbourne           56
Meredith            53
Modewarre           76
Portarlington       62
Queenscliff         62
Sheoaks             75
Shelford            59
Skipton             78
Teesdale            94
Warrnambool         106
Warncoort           96
Werribee            75
Winchelsea          51


     Location            Rainfall (mm)
----------------    -------------
Avalon              62
Belmont             67
Connewarre          67
Grovedale           77
Highton             71
Lara                63
Mt Duneed           71
Serendip            60
Whittington         68