One Wet Year

Our normal average rainfall in the town of Melton is 467.1mm (18.38 inches).

Our rainfall this year has been 466mm (18.34 inches) of rain to the end of October.  This is what it looks like in a graph, and you know how much I love a good graph!  Click to enlarge, and you will see that our rainfall has been above average for most of the year.

So what sort of impact would this have on our district, seeing last month was the wettest October since 1983?

Well, here is a good example.  My good friend Daryl O’Rourke took these following photos of Melton Reservoir, where the rainfall is measured.

The above photo was taken in 2009.  It shows how low the water was against the dam wall.  Look how dry it was!  13 years of drought will do that to the landscape.  Even native flora was struggling.   To the left of the picture is the spillway, which is not even close to being reached.

Just to get some perspective, you can see the normal level of the against the landscape.  Also taken in 2009.

So fast forward to November 2010.

This is the same reservoir, and water going over the spillway.

Note the high water mark now.  Even the trees that had crept down the banks over the years to reach the receding water level are now underwater.

On the other side of the dam wall, the water rushes down the Werribee River.  An amazing sight indeed.  Green native grass springing up all over the place.  In fact so much grass the this has been the worst year for hay fever that I have ever experienced since living in Melton.  I hate these itchy eyes, sinus headache, and runny nose!

Another example is that our tanks are full, as is the swimming pool, and now I am just dumping water onto the ground instead to store the water.  However every time it rains, the water just turns into a river and floods my beer shed.

So will this cold and wet trend continue?  Well according to the Met Bureau the Summer Seasonal Outlook goes something like this;

“The pattern of seasonal temperature odds across Australia is a result of warm conditions in the Indian Ocean, as well as cool conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean associated with the current La Niña.
The chance that the daytime temperatures will be warmer than the long-term median maximum temperature for the December to February period is greater than 60% over southern New South Wales and in the south of the South Australian pastoral areas, with the odds strengthening to greater than 75% over all of Victoria and South Australian agricultural areas. This means that out of every ten years with ocean patterns like the current, six to eight years would be expected to be warmer than average for this summer.”

So it is going to be a warm one this summer.  With all this incredible growth of native grasses throughout the SE of Australia, which will soon dry out when the heat hits, I dare say we are in for one hell of a bushfire season.  At least we have more water than we usually do, however I fear that this year is just a one off, and the warm dry climate that we have grown accustomed to over the last 13 years will continue.

Better get another rainwater tank or I won’t be growing any food in the longer term me thinks.  This rain won’t last.

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  1. says

    So that’s where our rain went. We have had drought conditions this Summer and Fall,in Kentucky, but we did get a good rain during the night, last night.

  2. says

    Oh, Gav
    why did you have to get all scientific with me! I have just planted out tons of fruit trees because I thought we were in for a rainy summer. You had so better be wrong about this.

  3. says

    You might hope the rain would somehow temper the heat & dryness of Summer, but nope, it just means more fuel has grown. Time to think about bushfire preparedness… my husband is the team leader of the local Community Fire Unit here, and is giving a talk to our Neighbourhood Watch next week… he just needs to find time to do some prep on our own house!

  4. says

    oh no! I thought this summer was wet one. I thought I don’t have to water my garden often, I thought I can skip my dog walks when wet. It’s been great so far for a lazy gardener like me… You think the rain won’t last hey? well, then I’m going to enjoy this lazy days while I can :)

  5. says

    I live on the west coast of the US. This last summer and the spring before it were insanely rainy. This meant very wet ground (massive slug problems in the garden) and low summer vegetable yield. Hopefully you will not have as bad of luck as us!

  6. says

    La Nina and (for us) El Nino keep us guessing here too across the ditch.

    I really hope your rain keeps on, but am also hugely relieved your reservoirs are so full. It is a beautiful, and I guess in recent years, a very rare sight!

    Sending care and rainy huggles to you all,

    Michelle and Zebby Cat (he is “pretend” sleeping) in Wellington.

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