Below average rains characterised the Geelong region in September. From 24 mm at Lara and Whittington to 48 mm at Mt Moriac, most areas have been left with a poor start to spring. As far as Geelong itself is concerned, this September was our driest since the drought of 1994, and soil moisture levels are still very low. Areas to the southwest, including our Otways water catchments fared better, with over 137mm at West Barwon and runoff flowing well, but the dam is still only 12% full, with most of our water coming from the Moorabool system at present.
In spite of a lot of (well-deserved) pessimism from local farmers, October looks promising, although hopefully not too late. October is historically our wettest month, and rains are already predicted for the first week.
September was also warmer than average. The average maximum was 17.6 degrees (normal 16.7) and average minimum was 7.4 (normal 6.8).
|Forrest (West Barwon)||137.4||(130.6)|
|Mt Duneed Airport||33.0||(53.2)|
|Mt Duneed West||45.4||(53.2)|
SPECIAL NOTE:The impression was given in Thursday’s Geelong Advertiser that this was Geelong’s driest decade on record. This is not correct: the driest decade was 1876 to 1885, when the annual average was 452 mm. The period 1989-98 has had an annual average of 524 mm. In the 1994 drought our rain was only 354 mm and in 1997 it was 449 mm. So far this year (1998) we have had 349 mm.