Rainfall for Daylesford and District has been well below average for the past four months which are normally the wettest time of the year. The 220.4mm total over that period is only 59% of the long-term average of 375.4mm.
A total of 670.2mm of rainfall has been recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology for the year to 31st October compared to the long-term average of 777.1mm. This deficit of annual rainfall is similar to much of Australia and is expected to continue as El Nino conditions are in place and are expected to continue at least until the end of Summer. The sea surface temperatures are warmer than average contributing to the warmer days and nights.
The Bureau advises that across Australia, October rainfall was the lowest since 2002 and August to October was the third driest such period since 1900. Soil moisture for much of Australia is now well below average.
November has continued dry with the potential thunderstorms around Cup Day passing us by.
Over the past few years, higher than average rainfall had resulted in extensive growth of vegetation including grasses, weeds and bushes such as broom and gorse. With the drier, warmer conditions, fire risks are likely to be quite high. It is vital to review your fire risks as well as plans in case fires occur.
Daylesford’s water reservoirs were still full at the end of October and Melbourne’s were still just over 95% full. However, it is important that we conserve water as the drier conditions could continue for some time. Careful household use and watering of gardens together with use of mulches can help to reduce water wastage.
Warmer, sunnier days will result in higher UV levels increasing the risks of sunburn and skin cancer, so please take care. Use quality sunscreens and cover up so that your skin isn’t exposed. A good habit is to have sunscreen on hand at home, in your car and carry with you so that you get used to applying it regularly. Using protection is recommended when UV levels get above 3 and you can get sun damage even on cooler and cloudy days.
Victor Szwed is a Daylesford resident who contributes a monthly weather summary to The Wombat Post.