Summer weather usually fades away close to the autumn equinox coming on the 21st of March. Often this can include hot weather in early to mid-March. This summer’s maximum temperatures have been cooler than average – very few days over thirty degrees and a lot of pleasant days in the low to mid twenties.
After a very wet 2022, Daylesford rainfall has fallen away and has been well below average since the first week in December. January total rainfall of 7.2mm was well below the mean of 48.1mm. February has seen only 20.6mm compared to the long term mean of 44.4mm.
Lower than normal rainfall is expected to continue through to June according to Weather Bureau. It will be important to use water wisely and ensure important plants and vegetable gardens receive adequate moisture. Also, we need to be aware of the higher fire risks as vegetation has dried out and several grass and bush fires have occurred around Victoria.
The Bureau expects cooler than normal maximum temperatures to continue for the first half of March but then warmer than normal maximums through to June. Similarly, minimum temperatures are expected to continue to be above average.
Many gardeners have seen their tomato crops ripening very slowly. Maybe the forecast for warmer than average autumn days and nights might allow crops to keep ripening. About 17 years ago I had a great crop of tomatoes that were destroyed by an early autumn frost. Hopefully no frosts for the next few months.
Some suggest that an “Indian Summer” is underway – that is warmer and drier days well into autumn. At this stage, the Weather Bureau forecasts appear to be heading that way. Over the years we have seen many variations of autumn from cool, wet, warm, dry and so on. While it would be nice to get some decent rain, an “Indian Summer” might also be nice if the fire risks drop off and our town water supplies continue at a good level, currently at 91%.
Victor Szwed is a Daylesford Resident who contributes a monthly column on the weather.